How well do you know your customers? Here’s the bigger question – how strategically is that knowledge reflected in your digital marketing?
One of the biggest mistakes businesses can make in marketing is not starting with a deep understanding of their customer’s needs, goals, and challenges. We end up making a lot of assumptions about how we can help — when we focus on ourselves and what we provide, instead of our customers and what they need.
That’s why creating a buyer persona is so crucial.
What is a buyer persona?
Think of a buyer persona as a detailed description of your ideal client. A persona is a semi-fictional character that represents key traits of a large segment of your audience. These traits are based on the data you’ve collected from user research and digital analytics, giving insight into what your prospective customers are thinking and doing as they weigh options that address the problem they want to solve.
Why are buyer personas important?
Buyer personas can provide value and insight to your organization. They help your team:
- Develop a deeper understanding of customer needs so that you know how to best marketing your products or services.
- Guide product development by adapting features that help buyers achieve their desired outcomes.
- Prioritize which projects, campaigns, and initiatives to invest your time and resources.
- Create alignment across your organization to pull various employee teams together around a customer-centric vision.
- Fully equip you to serve your customers and deliver a user experience that creates loyalty.
Buyer personas are only as powerful as the data-driven research that goes into creating them. They should be based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative data collected from multiple sources—not from the opinions and assumptions of your team.
How do you develop your buyer persona?
Identifying with your buyers is key to developing strong marketing and sales techniques, so it is important to develop your buyer persona strategically. Start by answering simple questions:
- Who is your ideal buyer?
- What is this person’s background?
- What are some of the goals and challenges this person faces?
- What are some everyday questions this buyer has during the buying process?
- What are some common objectives that get in the way of this buyer selecting your product or service?
- Who are your biggest competitors in gaining this person’s attention?
Then, dig even deeper.
Consider interviewing real buyers. And before you immediately shy away, recognize that by interviewing current buyers, it shows that you value their opinions and are committed to providing the best products and services — something they appreciate! You can reach out to buyers, without causing much interruption, using a variety of familiar marketing tools:
- Online surveys
- Social media
- Web research & analytics
- Analyst reports
- Direct phone call or email
Buyer Persona Institute offers this advice:
“By channeling the buyer’s authentic voice — clearly, accurately and persuasively — the buyer persona gives marketing the confidence to say, ‘This is what really matters to our buyers. So here’s the plan.’”