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Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. They are based on market research, real data and personal experience with your current customer base. They designate a name, demographics and behavior to your audience members as well as highlight common pain points for each segment. They also define your goals for each group.

Buyer personas are an essential part of a successful inbound marketing strategy. They provide insights and organisation across your business so that you can create valuable and engaging content for your audience. This helps you to focus your efforts on attracting the most valuable visitors and prospects.

What is included in a buyer persona?

A buyer persona includes detailed information including:

  • Background
  • Demographics
  • Identifiers
  • Goals
  • Challenges
  • What can we do
  • Real quotes
  • Common objections
  • Marketing message
  • Elevator pitch

What is a negative persona?

Whereas buyer personas illustrate your ideal customer, a negative, or exclusionary, persona is a representation of who you don’t want as a customer.

Why are buyer personas so important?

Buyer personas give your business a detailed target audience. This gives you valuable insight for developing your products and services, as well as focusing all of your marketing tasks toward your ideal customers. Negative personas are important to make sure that your efforts aren’t going towards people with little or no buying potential. If you don’t take the time to develop your buyer personas, it is very difficult to create relevant content and you may wind up wasting a lot of time, effort and money marketing towards the wrong prospects.

How can you use buyer personas in marketing?

First and foremost, by helping you understand your customers on an intimate level, buyer personas allow you to identify your target audience, and organise them into different segments. You can now create content targeted at each specific persona, increasing your ability to provide your customers with relevant and valuable content. When you combine your buyer personas with their lifecycle stage, you achieve the ability to pinpoint who your prospects are, and exactly where they are in your sales funnel. Using highly targeted, personalised content marketing, you can provide your customers with content designed to answer all their questions and help them progress through their buyer’s journey.

Furthermore, once you’ve made a sale, you can continue to engage with your customers in order to turn them into advocates for your business – the holy grail of any marketing campaign!

Common mistakes with buyer personas

In order to maximise the utility of your buyer personas, here are a few of the most common mistakes to avoid when it comes time to put together their buyer personas.

Creating too many personas

The whole idea of defining your personas is to create a personalised experience that resonates with each one. Therefore, each persona should have clearly defined delineations that separate them into different segments. If you create too many personas, chances are these lines will begin to blur, making it difficult to see where one persona ends and another begins.

Skipping negative personas

Negative personas help increase your marketing team’s awareness of who you are creating content for, and who they should be keeping out of their efforts. Without them, your content strategy may include people who don’t belong in your target audience.

Describing an idealistic persona

Buyer personas are based on who you are making money from, not who you dream of making money from. Yes, you can create a persona who you plan on targeting in the future, but it’s important to stay grounded and realistic until you have the means to reposition yourself to attract this clientele.

How to create buyer personas

There are a number of methods to create your buyer personas including:

  • Customer interviews
  • Using the data from your contacts database
  • Creating forms that capture important persona information
  • Consider the feedback you are receiving, especially from your sales team.

For a detailed, step-by-step guide, complete with examples and blank templates, download our free eBook “How to Create Buyer Personas”

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