Taking the time to compose a marketing strategy that compliments your business plan is something often overlooked by most small to mid-sized businesses, but when weighed against potential ROI and wasted budget, it’s an essential component for success. An important piece to the marketing puzzle is your definition of buyer personas.
First and foremost, a buyer persona is not the same as your target audience. Buyer personas take your target audience a step further by using deeper insight and data to segment users into actionable categories. Buyer personas can be grouped as broadly as “Busy Mom,” to a more defined persona that breaks out the different IT decision makers into groups like “Mainstream Innovator.”
These personas outline information from basic demographics, role in the buying process, buying behavior and selling factors, top priorities and how they measure success, and more.
Common Information in a Buyer Persona:
- Industry / Vertical
- Job function
- Role (Decision maker? End user? Stakeholder?)
- Education level
- Top priorities
- Pain points
- Attitudes, concerns, & objections
- Success factors
- Buying decision criteria
“If you’re trying to talk to everyone, then you’re talking to no one.”
Why is taking the time to segment your audience into personas so important? All of these aspects are used to determine how you reach and talk to each segment.
Each persona within your target audience approaches your product or service differently. They each have their own set of needs and requirements, as well as how they actually find, evaluate, and use your product/service.
Knowing this type of information can be applied to identifying bottlenecks and inefficiencies, and used to optimize your marketing budget and stimulate business growth. For example, if you offer an array of products or services, some may not be relevant to a certain buyer persona, and promoting these irrelevant offerings is a huge waste of your valuable resources.
Where Do I Start and What’s Next?
We recommend starting with 3-5 buyer personas. To develop your buyer personas, the primary source of information will come straight from your past and current customers. This data could be gathered through face to face conversations with your sales team, on your website via contact forms, satisfaction surveys, emails, etc.
Once defined, these personas can be mapped to the buyer journey and specific marketing activities can be planned for each. You don’t have to overwhelm yourself – activities can be as simple as providing dynamic email content per persona.
We’ll be talking more about how to use buyer personas to improve your SEO and online marketing, but for now, here are two great resources to help get you started:
- Template: Creating Buyer Personas For Your Business [HubSpot]
- Cheat Sheet: How To Create A Buyer Persona And Journey [Marketo]