The definition of a marketing persona strategy based on “buyer personas”, also called “customer personas” or “audience personas” can help your business in many areas, such as creating content to better target your ideal customer, designing better products and services, fully adapted to demand, improve your conversion rates, etc.
In short, it is a must for any company that wants to optimize its marketing spending and improve its results.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how to define and leverage your marketing personas , but before that, let’s take a look at what a buyer persona is.
What is a buyer persona?
– Definition of a buyer persona
A marketing persona or buyer persona refers to your company’s ideal target customer, represented as a fictitious person. It is a precise and fictitious portrait of your main marketing targets which details in particular their family situation, their tastes, their consumption habits, their centers of interest, their needs, their challenges, their problems, etc. With this, you will be able to better target your communication and your offer.
To define and create your marketing personas, you will have to take into account your current customers, know their online habits in order to understand what type of content is likely to appeal to them, the questions they ask themselves, their motivations, their objectives, and above all, what are called “pain points”, ie the “pain points” to which your product or service will have to respond.
– What a buyer persona is not
Your buyer persona are neither real people nor target markets. They have to do mainly with the intentions of your prospects, their motivations, their expectations and their behavior.
It is a kind of sample representative of a precise target, in relation to a product.
– B2B and B2C: what is the difference in terms of personas?
In both B2B and B2C, buyer personas represent detailed profiles of each type of buyer for your solution.
However, there are some notable differences between B2B and B2C buying processes that will undoubtedly influence how you define and create your own personas.
In B2C, purchases are most often based on an individual decision, and they are usually much more impulsive, while in B2B, the decision to buy is generally collective. Several stakeholders weigh the advantages and disadvantages of products and services that can solve their problem. In principle, there is no impulse buying. In addition, as purchasing cycles are often longer, it is necessary to build a relationship of trust upstream.
What are the consequences for your marketing persona?
In B2B, the decision is taken collectively. It is taken by a group of individuals within a company. You will therefore have to build your personas at two levels: company and individuals within that company.
You will then have separate personas for each type of business and for each sector. But you will also have types according to the roles of the employees within the company. In fact, your first contact will generally not be the decision-maker. In addition, you will probably need to work on several personas in order to implement actions that reach the end buyer.
Why define marketing personas?
Defining marketing personas is a key part of a successful inbound marketing strategy. The real goal of personalized marketing is to connect with your ideal customers, where they are connected. In other words, it means that your marketing and sales team is going to be able to deploy value by using content in the different touchpoints of the customer journey.
If you know what marketing personas want to achieve, then it will be easier for you to help them achieve their goals by providing them with the right products and services, at the right time.
Marketing personas allow you to do all of the following:
- Define your different typical customer profiles
- Get a clear idea of the problems your prospects want to solve
- Know what type of content to produce to attract them
- Know when to publish your content
- Determine the right keywords for your SEO
- Know their sources of information and the influencers they follow, which allows you to develop a content distribution plan adapted to their behavior
All the actions of your marketing team must be carried out for one or more of your personas. If you can’t match the topic of your next blog post to one of your personas, you’ll have to do it again.
Not developing a buyer persona is like putting a cross on the ROI of your content marketing plan. It will be too far removed from your prospect’s needs and your value proposition, and will certainly generate few lead conversions.
How to create a marketing persona?
In order to help you create your marketing personas, you will need to write a questionnaire comprising the following steps:
– First step: identify the questions you need to ask yourself
If you ask general questions, you’ll get general answers, so if you want specific answers, ask specific questions.
Each time, you have to ask yourself if the answer to the question can really help you understand your audience better and help you respond to their issues better. These questions have 5 levels:
1 – The sociological profile:
- Masculine or feminine ?
- How old ?
- Education training
- Career path
2—? The company
- What sector of activity?
- What type of business (Start-up, VSE, SME, listed company, etc.)?
- Number of decision levels
3 – The role within the company:
- The seniority of the person (senior, junior)
- Typical day
- Degree of expertise required to perform their duties
- Decision-making level
4—? Specific information:
- What tools, solutions, products or services are they already using?
- What strategies are relevant to them?
- What are their main goals?
- What are their brakes (ecosystem, internal, financial, R&D etc.)
5—? Information sources:
- How do they get information?
- What websites / blogs do they visit?
- How often ?
- What about their presence on social networks?
– Second step: determine the research channels
While you can often answer the questions above yourself, persona creation requires qualitative investigation to avoid making overly risky assumptions. In this phase of creating your personas, you will need to multiply your search channels.
In this step, you will listen carefully to your audience by going to where your customers and prospects are. For example, you can inspect their LinkedIn accounts, to find out if they belong to groups and if they are active (posting of news or articles on social networks).
When researching keywords on social media, take a look at comments on blogs in your industry, and don’t be afraid to ask questions in dedicated LinkedIn or Facebook groups, for example.
Then ask each of your employees to express their perspective on customers. This is particularly relevant for salespeople who are in direct contact with your customers. Feedback from sales staff on objections they encounter will be a rich source of information when building your buyer persona profile.
– Third step: Compile the answers
Owning data is one thing. Having data organized and bringing it to life is better. To present your data in a clear and precise way, you now need to compile this valuable information in a concise way in order to derive the best analysis.
How to use your personas?
Now that you’ve created a descriptive card or table for each of your marketing personas, how are you going to use them in practice?
These personas will give you a direction to follow for all the marketing actions – and in particular inbound marketing – that you are going to implement.
When creating personas, you will detect the main “pain points” of your prospects, and it is through your online content that you can respond to their problems.
By using personas, you will also avoid making the mistake of talking only about yourself, your products and your services, and falling into sterile self-promotion.
Once you’ve revealed your persona’s issues, perform an SEO analysis to check volumes on different keywords, and then prioritize the top performers.
Finally, personas are also essential in building your conversion mechanism. Without a clear understanding of your personas’ buying journey, it’s impossible to create content sequences that allow you to move them through your conversion funnel and build a more effective marketing strategy.
Knowing who your ideal customer is and who should buy your service or product is a critical part of your marketing strategy. Defining the buyer’s personality is one of the first steps to consider in making better decisions about business investments, product development, and marketing strategy. Take the time to take a data-driven approach to build accurate marketing persona profiles and implement more strategic and targeted marketing practices.