Building Ideal Buyer Personas
You have identified your key target markets or customer groups through segmentation and your most profitable customers using CLV, you are now ideally placed to take the next step and define profiles or buyer personas.
These are fictional, generalised representations of your ideal customers, which can be used across all functions of your business, to help you attract and relate to your customers as real people rather than just numbers. The creation of personas was, at one time, only practiced by large corporates; however, as competition grows, it’s increasingly important to have targeted, relevant communications.
Personas provide a summary of the key factors that help you to understand your ideal customer’s needs, motivations, concerns and potential spend opportunities within your identified markets.
You can create a composite personality for each persona using research and analytics based on your current customer data, which depicts characteristics such as motivations, lifestyle, demographic and engagement activities, product/service used and spending patterns.
The Value of Personas
Having detailed buyer personas is invaluable. They allow you to focus your time more effectively, concentrate your spending, target your efforts, improve your initiatives and even steer product development.
Having defined personas helps you to create content geared specifically towards your ideal customers, ultimately generating better quality leads. Your buyer personas can be used to guide targeting of desirable customers based on inbound marketing data. Personas can also be used to target social media groups whose demographics, areas of interest and member traits appear to overlap with those of your ideal customer personas. This activity can be fine-tuned as you evaluate which content-driven marketing is working best in guiding promising prospects through the customer journey.
Build your profiles
In addition to the data you already hold, there are additional routes that can assist you in building a persona. Surveys are an excellent source of data, as the questions can be framed to fit your specific research. Customer success interviews also uncover vital insights. To create a buyer persona, respond to these questions:
- Who are they? Demographics such as gender, age and education
- What do they do? Data such as title, company size, industry and general job responsibilities
- What is a typical working day like? Describe what an average day is like for them, who they are dealing with and what decisions they are making
- What are their primary ‘pain’ points? Highlight the primary challenges they are trying to overcome that relate to your products and solutions
- What do they value most and what are their goals when purchasing? Locale, price, support, etc.
- How do they research and acquire information? Identify the primary sources they use in their research and purchase decision process
- What’s important to them in selecting a vendor? List what is most important; cultural fit, technology leader, proven expertise, availability, etc.
- What are their most common objections? List the reasons you hear most often for why your solutions won’t meet their needs; too busy, time poor, lack of resource etc.
From this information, you can then distil the collated details into definable types.
Simplifying data access
Accessing all this data is simplified by having a properly configured CRM. You will be able to access and assess the full history of the relationship: what has worked, what has not, their specific situation, inclinations, any past difficulties and other pertinent details. Comparing them with others in the same customer segment can also help guide your approach, and indicate a successful path to upselling or cross-selling to similar customers. Simply put, it helps you hone your message so it resonates with your ideal customer.
It's important to remember that your personas will change as you discover more information and what motivates them. As you gain more insights, don't forget to review and redefine your buyer personas to ensure you're aligned and up-to-date with their requirements. This will make sure your communications remain effective.
Personas are people
Customer personas can provide tremendous insights into how to create better user experiences, credible copy or relevant product improvements.
Most importantly, remember your personas should reflect real people with real needs and concerns. When we lose sight of the human element, the customer isn’t far behind.