The concept of buyer personas is not new. But it is certainly gaining a great deal more attention these days as businesses shift their focus to online inbound marketing. When you begin to develop content to attract the right kinds of leads it becomes apparent very quickly that you need to have an understanding of customers goals and aspirations - not just demographics.
So, how do you build a powerful buyer persona to drive your profit growth?
Lets start with what a Buyer Persona is: your Persona is a fictional representation of your ideal target customer (built on real world buyer data). The Persona helps you understand the characteristics, behavour and motivations of your target audience to enable you to create a strategy and the content to attract, convert, close and delight them to build your profit.
Well researched Buyer Personas give you insight from your customers' perspective and inform not only your marketing and communication strategy but help you view your product or service from their perspective.
They give you the ability to assess whether your products or services and the way they are accessed and used, truly solve you customers problems or needs. And if they don't you're armed with the insight to improve your offering to better address your potential customers needs and grow your business.
Tony Zambito, who has worked with some of the world's largest B2B clients, reports revenue performance improvement for his clients by as much as 25% year on year in addition to increased customer retention (up to 10%) and improved ROI on content marketing.
Robust buyer personas are built by researching
- existing customers
- prospective customers
- and seeking insights from your sales and marketing teams who deal with customers
Demographic information (age, industry, geographic location) can't reveal the 'why' of a buyer's decision making. You need to understand their goals and aspirations. What drives their buying decisions.
- Define your ideal target customer(s) - these should be the most profitable target customers. Now is a good time to define who you don't want as customers.
- Determine the questions you want to ask that will help you understand their decision process.
- Survey and/or interview current customers, prospective buyers and your sales and marketing teams.
- Anaylise your findings - look for patterns which reveal the answer to the question 'why'.
- Look at your transactional data or other useful data – are there patterns which help explain why decisions were made to buy?
- Build your buyer personas for your most valuable prospects/customers. If you haven't done any before then between 1 and 3 is plenty - at least until you've fine tuned the personas and reviewed your products & services, marketing strategy and communication tools with this new insight in mind.
- Check your personas with people who ‘know’ the personas. Do they need tweaking?
- Integrate these personas into every aspect of your business - every staff member needs to 'know' your personas - that way you know that every touch point those persona's have with your business will be consistent with what they want.
- Build your inbound marketing strategy with these personas in mind - using the information they want, language they use, the places they hang out and the understanding of what will help you develop their trust.
- Review your personas on a regular basis. Build persona questions into your sales and marketing data capture process and update them on a regular basis to improve the accuracy of your personas but also to reflect any changes in the market, products, trends and social influences.
For a step by step explanation of how to build Buyer Persona's download this free e-book >