Content Writers’ Complete 2018 Guide To Buyer Personas

December 4, 2017

by Virtucom Group Team

In the world of digital marketing, the term buyer persona carries great weight. Buyer personas are (or should be) a major driving force behind virtually every action your business takes across every stage of the sales funnel, from the digital marketing content it creates to the advertising channels it employs. But if you’re still a marketing beginner, you may not fully understand the benefits of buyer personas or how to create effective buyer personas. Keep reading, and we’ll guide you through the basics, from the definition of buyer persona to the plethora of details required to create one that gets the job done.

What Are Buyer Personas?

Let’s start our discussion of the buyer persona with a straightforward definition: buyer personas, sometimes referred to as marketing personas, are in-depth descriptions of the ideal customers to whom your business wants to sell. Businesses typically use several buyer personas, and each represents a portion of the company’s customer base that can be grouped together based on various common characteristics identified from research, observation and hard data. That should cut it for now – we’ll get into the nitty-gritty details later.

Why Does Your Company Need Buyer Personas?

Buyer personas are absolutely essential because they provide a company-wide sense of direction. Oftentimes, customers represented by each buyer persona experience challenges and employ buying habits that are distinct from those included within other buyer personas. This requires your company to create unique marketing methods that cater to each persona at every stage of the buyer’s journey. After all, data shows that personalized marketing is essential if your business would like to stand out in today’s marketplace – a study by Monetate reported that 79% of businesses that exceeded revenue goals had documented a personalization strategy, while 83% had allotted a budget strictly for personalization efforts.

What Makes Up A Buyer Persona?

Thorough buyer personas require information, and a lot of it. Those unfamiliar with the work that goes into a high-quality buyer persona might assume it simply comprises demographic information and career stats, but it’s much more than that. The essential elements of an effective buyer persona include:

  • Demographics and basic information: Age, gender, income, geographic region and more are all commonly included in buyer personas. This category also delves into slightly deeper background details, including the buyer’s current role in their company, the time spent at that company, their buying habits, internet use information and more.
  • Objectives: What is your buyer seeking to accomplish? What does their role in their company require them to do? Most personas feature more than one objective.
  • Challenges: What difficulties does your buyer run into when working toward their goals? Is there anything that prevents the buyer from performing their duties as effectively as possible? Sizing up the buyer’s challenges is the easiest way to identify places where your business can help out.
  • How your products can help: If you can’t solve someone’s problems, then they probably aren’t your buyer. Once you’ve acknowledged the challenges your buyer faces, explain how your products offer a solution.
  • Interview and survey feedback: The most specific information behind a buyer persona is typically found through surveys and interviews. If you intend to conduct this sort of primary research, make sure to include real quotes from your subjects and any observations that may be relevant, such as any objections the buyer may have toward your product. This information is ideal for prepping your sales team for real-deal conversations with future buyers.
  • Your message: Complete your buyer persona by deciding how you’ll present your product as a solution to your buyer’s issues. Include not only the general ideas, but the specific language, too. Many buyer personas even feature a quick, simple sales pitch for use in case an unexpected marketing opportunity presents itself.

This list certainly isn’t exhaustive. Other miscellaneous information that might be collected includes how the buyer researches products, the content formats they’re most likely to consume and much more. Think about every element of your company’s marketing process, and include every scrap of information that could possibly be helpful to your content writers.

How Do You Collect Information For Buyer Personas?

Now that you know what goes into a great buyer persona, you’re probably wondering the best ways to collect that information. There are several ways to do so, and the odds are good that you’ll employ most of them. Here are the most common recommendations:

  • Use website information forms: You probably already have various forms on your website that collect basic customer information, but are you making the most of those forms? Don’t hesitate to increase the amount of information required to collect more valuable content, like white papers and webinars. This is a great way to gather career information, such as the visitor’s role in their company, the size of their company and their industry.
  • Conduct surveys and interviews: This is a critical step in creating a thorough buyer persona, because it provides you with genuine, specific feedback to in-depth questions that simply can’t be asked through website forms or answered with sales data. Interviews in particular also allow you to ask one critical question: “Why?”
  • Talk to your sales team: Your company’s sales representatives communicate with your buyers firsthand, so they can probably provide a great deal of valuable information, especially concerning buyer habits and objections.
  • Examine company contacts: If you’ve already compiled a lengthy list of contacts, take advantage of it by sifting through to identify helpful trends.

Finalizing Your Personas

After compiling your research, you can begin to build your personas from common traits identified within the data. You’ll probably end up with several personas, but you shouldn’t need a huge amount – having too many personas will cause nothing but trouble for your marketing team in the form of extra work. Once you think your personas are complete, provide them with a name – you’ll want it to be memorable and relevant, such as Business Owner Bernice or HR Manager Harrison – as well as a relevant image. Though it might sound like overkill, it helps your personas seem that much more like the real people you want to purchase your goods or services.

Refining Your Marketing Approach

Creating a buyer persona isn’t a walk in the park, but this overview should give you a solid idea of what buyer personas are, why business blogs and other digital marketing content need to use them and how they’re created. By creating your own buyer personas, you’ll have the opportunity to personalize your marketing efforts and deliver your customers the specific solutions they’re looking for, thus earning their respect, loyalty and hard-earned money. Not sure how to build custom content around your buyer personas? Our content subscription packages can help craft your strategy and provide the blog posts and other content you need to speak effectively to prospects and current customers.

Is Your Content Falling Behind?

Did we miss anything you feel is important? Let us know, and feel free to tell us how buyer personas have helped your business succeed in the comment section below. Plus, keep up with Virtucom Group by connecting with us on all major social media platforms.

About Virtucom Group

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