By
Bill Walls
Bill Walls on November 22, 2013

Buyer Persona | What Are They and Why Do I Need Them?

Are all your customers the same, or are they motivated by different things?

Inbound Marketing Strategy

If you have done any research lately about generating leads for your small business, you have probably been told about the need to create buyer personas. You may be asking yourself just what is a buyer persona and why do I need them.

Back in the early days of your business, before the rise of the internet, mobile phone technology and indoor plumbing, company marketing content was either non-existent or created around product launches or a company milestone. Simply put, it was done only when perceived necessary.

Many companies simply skipped any formal marketing strategy and just relied on sales teams or word of mouth referrals.buyer persona
Times have changed!

Corporate buyers and savvy consumers have made business marketing an up at dawn, all day every day necessity.

Creating relevant content for your customers or prospects on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis can be an overwhelming undertaking which leads many companies to quickly dump their marketing strategies, or worse push out bad content that attracts the wrong type of prospects.

It is crucial for companies to have a detailed picture of their targeted prospects in order to create the right content for them. This is where buyer personas come in, and why they are so important.

Personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers, based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.

As a starting point ask yourself the following three questions to begin building your buyer personas.

1. Who are my ideal customers and prospects?

A great starting point is to look at your existing customer base to identify the most common buyers for your product or service. If you are like most businesses you probably have a variety of customer types, so break these customers into smaller sub-groups and give each one a detailed description. This should include a name, occupation, industry and demographic information.

As an example, a car dealership may have different types of buyers including general contractors for their truck line, a mother of four for their minivans and SUV’s and students for their subcompacts. The dealership’s marketers might name these personas “Carl the Contractor, ” “Suzy the Soccer Mom” and “Sarah the Undergrad Student”, and then provide details about their responsibilities, income, etc. to develop a greater picture of who their clients are and what is important to them.

2. What are my prospects needs?

Based on the profiles that were created in the first step, you can outline the pains, needs, and challenges of each persona by asking yourself several important questions:

  • What is their biggest challenge?
  • What do they need most?
  • What are they typically searching for?
  • What influences personal or professional success?

Figuring out the journey that a prospect takes on the way to becoming a customer is a good way to learn about the needs of the audience for your online content. At InTouch we use the Hubspot marketing platform to help us drill into the key analytics that drive customer behavior. What keyword searches drove website traffic? How long did prospects stay on our website and which pages sparked the most interest? Which offers were filled out the most? These are a few of the pieces to the puzzle which help us determine future content and help us to know our clients better.

3. What do my prospects do when they are online?

The final question we want to ask and develop is what do my prospects do when they are online? The key is to attempt to figure out how and where prospects research future purchases online? Here are some of the areas you want to target:

  • Where do they spend their time online?
  • Are they active on social media sites?
  • Which social media sites do they frequent?
  • Do they watch videos? Listen to podcasts?
  • Who are their influencers?

By taking the time to determine your ideal prospects, figure out their needs and where they spend their time online, it will be easier to develop great content that draws the right prospects to your business.

Buyer personas are the key to developing killer content and ultimately driving new customers to you!
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Bill Walls

Bill is the CEO and Founder of InTouch Marketing. Bill drives the vision and direction of InTouch except when England's playing in a soccer tournament, because everything stops!