Every digital marketer knows that buyer personas are necessary for success. But too commonly their buyer personas end up in a back folder or computer file, rarely used or thought of.
If you want to create powerful buyer personas and make the most out of them for your business, follow the 9 easy tips below.
Tip 1: Define What Information You Need
Before you do any research into your buyer personas, you first need to define all the information you want to collect. Otherwise you might end up overlooking important details you should take note of.
Here are some important elements of data you’ll want to collect:
- Age range
- Job title
- Education level
- Income level
- Relationship/family status
- Concerns/pain points
- Potential buying motivation
That’s a starting point — but you should also clearly define your own parameters of information you want to collect as part of your research process. Then you can ensure you aren’t leaving any gaps in information as you collect data.
Tip 2: Use Social Listening
Social listening is a great way to get insights into your audience’s interests, feelings, and pain points. SharpSpring Social allows you to find and filter conversations by hashtag, keyword and more, so you can stay in the loop on what people are saying about your brand. There are also many other tools that give insights into your audience’s behavior on social media, like Social Mention, Hootsuite and Keyhole.
With tools like these, you can follow social media mentions of your brand (or your competitors) to track sentiment related to your industry.
Tip 3: Start Broad, Then Narrow Down
It’s true the most effective buyer personas are detailed and specific. But in order to get to that point with your personas, you first need to think broadly. Most businesses have several buyer personas to focus on, but they all stem from the same root group: people interested in buying their products/services.
So that’s where you start. Then you can narrow them down by considering why each group would want to buy from you. For example, they could use your products for themselves or want to buy them for someone else. These are two buyer personas you would market to in different ways.
Tip 4: Use Analytics Tools
There are a variety of analytics tools you can use to get more details about your audience. Facebook Analytics and Google Analytics are prime examples of tools that can tell you more about your current audience’s demographics and behavior.
You can also use tools like Compete or SimilarWeb to see how your current audience measures up to those of your competitors. Comparing audience makeup can help you identify new personas you may want to target.
Tip 5: Use Your Website
You can gather a lot of valuable information about your audience using your lead capture forms. Or even better, create interactive content that offers value to your audience and helps you collect information as well.
SharpSpring provides in-depth form insights to help you see which landing pages and content are driving the most conversions. Quicksprout, for example, has a tool on their homepage that helps people analyze their site performance, while also collecting information about their audience:
Tip 6: Survey Your Audience
You can learn a lot about your personas from your current customers as well. Don’t hesitate to send out surveys to your email list to help you learn more about who they are and why they buy from you.
This strategy works best if you incentivize them in some way to take your survey, such as offering a discount on their next purchase or entering them in to win a prize.
Tip 7: Humanize Your Data
At this point, you should have a lot of raw data related to different aspects of each buyer persona’s life and personality. The next step is to take this knowledge and turn it into something that can represent a real person, not just data points on a page.
Flesh out what you know about your target customer, including details like what their average day is like and common objections they might have to your products. Give them a name, photo, and a visual profile your marketing team can use to base their ideas on.
Here’s an example of one from OptinMonster:
Tip 8: Map Personas onto Your Sales Funnel
Once you have complete persona(s), you should next map them onto your sales funnel. This is an important step for building out your buyer personas, as their needs and perspectives change at different points of the lead nurturing process.
Most marketers tend to focus only on the awareness stage when discussing audience needs. But consider a lead who’s already at the comparison stage. At this point, they care less about understanding the value of your product and more about understanding if and why it’s better than an alternative. People in the middle or bottom of the funnel are also much more likely to convert, so you can adjust your marketing tactics to take advantage of that.
Tip 9: Apply Personas to Your Marketing Strategy
The last and most important tip for getting the most out of your buyer personas is actively applying them to your marketing strategy. You’d be surprised how many marketers simply use their personas as a resource for brainstorming without actually testing out their strategies with the buyer in mind.
If you want to build the strongest marketing strategy possible, then look at all of your content and your entire funnel through the eyes of each of your personas. Identify any content that isn’t 100% relevant to a given persona’s needs, and then make changes to optimize it. Repeat this process every time you create new content for your sales funnels.
Make a Strong Investment in Your Buyer Personas
Don’t think of your buyer personas as a necessary chore. Instead think of them as an opportunity to really know your customer.
Invest enough time and resources in building out the most accurate and relevant buyer personas. Then double down by using them in all areas of marketing, such as brainstorming, execution and analytics. This ensures you receive the most value for your efforts in the long run.