What are Buyer Personas and Why Are They So Important?

Buyer personas are one of the most valuable tools in a content marketer’s tool belt.  

Buyer personas help you better understand your target customers and provide services and products that appeal to them. They also help you generate content and marketing materials that really speak to your customers’ wants, needs and goals. You could say that well-developed buyer personas are the conduit to effectively connecting with your customers.  

What are Buyer Personas? 

According to HubSpot, 

“A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.” 

Simply put, each buyer persona is a document that provides a deep description of your ideal customer. They usually include insights into many of your customers’ key traits, such as: 

  • Job titles 
  • Demographics 
  • Family size and structure 
  • Typical income 
  • Behaviour patterns 
  • Motivations and goals 
  • Pain points and challenges 
  • Hobbies and interests 

…and more, depending on how far you want to go. And believe us–some companies go far into developing rich buyer personas 

Depending on how long you’ve been in business, and whether you’ve been attracting the kind of customers you ideally want, your buyer personas will be based on what you already know to be true about your ideal customers, along with a few un-tested assumptions—hypotheses that you’ll need to test and confirm as you get to know more about your customers. 

Here’s an Example of One of Our Own Buyer Personas: 

When we launched McAllister Marketing, we knew that our ideal customers are hard-working business owners. But before developing our own buyer personas, that’s about all we knew. 

So, we got to work on creating three distinct buyer personas—one to represent each segment of our target market.  

Why three buyer personas instead of one? Well, that’s because while our clients are all business owners or directors, their business needs and goals may be distinctly different.  

  • A start-up business is going to have different needs than an established business seeking consistent, sustainable growth.  
  • Some businesses, namely local businesses and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers, need to place more emphasis on customer retention to succeed.  
  • A mid-sized business without a dedicated marketing department is going to have different needs and require more support than a medium-to-large sized business that’s looking to supplement their in-house marketing. 

And so on… 

Here’s a synopsis of one of our buyer personas: “David,” a fictional business owner, created to represent the type of clients we want to work with and can help the most. 

Our Buyer Persona Profile: “David Kastle”

  • David is a medium-sized business owner, located in Seattle, WA.  
  • He’s 45 to 55 years old. 
  • Married, a father of 2 children who are adults and on their own now. 
  • He and his wife live in a small suburban area just outside the downtown core. 

Our Buyer Persona‘s Situational Analysis: 

  • David started his career as a project manager for a large software company. He has since gone out on his own with a small team of developers and a silent partner/investor to offer a niche suite of SaaS project management and business management tools. 
  • His business makes approximately 1.5 million per annum. He takes home about 90k per year so he can apply some capital gains towards marketing and further growing his business.  
  • He has a website, but no idea whether it’s helping him convert enough customers or not. He thinks his website is Search Engine Optimized, but he hasn’t had anything done to it since it was built for him 5 years ago. 
  • His business isn’t in the position to hire an in-house, salaried marketing department, so he’s been doing what he can from the side of his desk and outsourcing bits and pieces to various advertising reps and his administrative assistant.  
  • He spends most of his time working towards growing his business and evolving his products, so he doesn’t have much time to dedicate to his marketing.  
  • His marketing thus far has been piecemeal and inconsistent—a little of this and a little of that without any formal strategy. 

Our Buyer Persona‘s Needs: 

  • David needs to attract more enterprise-level customers to his software products if he wants to survive and continue to grow and evolve his products while securing his next round of funding from his investor.  
  • David is analytical, logical and pragmatic. He knows he needs more than fancy ads and catchy slogans; he needs a plan. He needs a strategy, and marketing that ties all the pieces together. 
  • David knows that the marketing landscape, like technology, is constantly changing and he can’t keep on-top of it all by himself.  
  • He wants to be able to measure what’s working and what’s not before he loses too much money on underperforming areas of his business. 
  • David is an “impatient problem solver:” He’s too busy to ruminate on things much longer. He needs to find the right help and needs them to pick up the ball and run with it quickly while he gets back to running his business. 
  • He needs direction and someone who can identify the way forward for his business, do the work and execute on the tactics he signs-off on. 
  • He wants to be somewhat involved, but he wants someone else to do the busy-work of his marketing so he can focus on his business operations. 

Our Buyer Buyer Persona‘s Goals: 

  • To attract more enterprise clients: to increase enterprise users of his software suite by 30% by December 31, 2020. 
  • Increase annual revenue by 10% each year. 
  • Improve his software’s’ user experience and features, according to customer feedback. 
  • Successfully secure his second round of investment by December 31, 2018. 
  • Leave work at 5pm, spend more time away from the office and take a vacation in the next three years. 
  • Sleep at night: take pressure off him and streamline his role so he can spend more time leading product development and less time on day to day busy work and marketing. 
  • Establish a trusted circle of advisors to help support his business growth. 

Our Buyer Persona’s Pain Points: 

  • Upon looking at this year’s business metrics, David is frustrated because he knows his business’s potential, but he worries that he’s not going to reach his growth targets this year or next unless he does something different.  
  • He realizes he needs marketing help, but he doesn’t know where to start. 
  • He’s tried different things in the past, but nothing has really delivered any measurable ROI and he doesn’t want to keep wasting the marketing budget he does have on tactics that won’t work.  
  • Without a digital presence, and increasing his customer conversion rates, David knows his business won’t last long in the coming years.
  • He’s not afraid to embrace new technologies–but at the same time, the overwhelming nature of the platforms intimidate him.
  • He has no interest in spending his time on social media. He needs an expert to help guide him along the way and free up his time.  

After reading all that, I’m sure you’re probably wondering: 

“How Will Creating My Own Buyer Personas Benefit My Business?” 

On the surface, it may not be clear why you’d ever need such a thing. But a closer look will reveal why it’s definitely worth investing the time it takes to develop your buyer personas. To start: 

#1 Buyer Personas Help You Understand Your Customers and Their Pain Points: 

Empathy is the key to creating winning marketing strategies.  

It’s not enough to know your customers’ age, gender and location. You need to understand their behaviors and thought processes as much as humanely possible. Buyer personas serve as a lens that offers perspective into what a day-in-the-life of your customers is like.  

If you know what your customers struggle with–what annoys them, what keeps them up at night, and what prevents them from growing–then you can create products, services and marketing materials that directly addresses what they care about most. 

#2 Buyer Personas Help You Identify How You Can Improve Your Products and Services to Better Appeal to Your Ideal Customers: 

Understanding your customers gives you valuable insight into what product features to highlight and what to change. This can also include tweaking your customer service model, delivery options, or post-sales follow-up and support.  

When you know what your customers’ needs, goals and deepest pains are, you’ll be in a better position to resolve them. 

This is how businesses achieve “intuitive products and service models.” 

#3 Buyer Personas Also Help You Generate Ideas for Content: 

At the heart of all successful content marketing strategies lies one simple intention: 

To connect with your customers and help fulfill their wants, needs and goals. 

Your content should answer a question, be informational or educational, and establish you as a trustworthy provider in a way that helps guide your customers through to conversion: making a purchase; retention: returning to do more business with you; and referrals: recommending you to their friends, family and colleagues.  

And with detailed buyer personas, you’ll know exactly what content you need to create to do just that. You already know your customers’ pain points. Now all you have to do is publish content that helps showcase your products and services as the best solution. 

#4 Lastly, Buyer Personas Help You Improve Your Writing:  

Great writing is human, conversational and easy to consume.  

When your prospective customers consume your content, they don’t want to feel like they’re reading the words of a brand talking to an audience. They want to read the words of a human being talking to another human being. This is why envisioning your customers as a commodity versus a real person is futile. 

And when you have an in-depth description of your ideal customer, you can keep them in the back of your head as you write to ensure your content speaks to them and answers the questions they’d most likely ask if they were sitting down with you having coffee.  

How Can I Create My Own Buyer Personas? 

To learn how to create the perfect buyer personas for your business, you first have to understand what it means to create a really bad one. Let me explain: 

When most businesses create their buyer personas, they ride entirely on assumptions.   

They assume they know what their customers are like. They assume they know what challenges they face. They don’t do any actual research into their target customers because, let’s face it, research takes work while making assumptions is easy. 

While your buyer personas will likely consist of some untested-assumptions, don’t base them entirely on assumptions alone. 

To Create an Amazing Buyer Persona: 

  • Most importantly, speak with your customers. 
  • Utilize the information you can gather about them via the data your business collects about your users. 
  • Look at your analytics—which areas of your website currently get the most views and longest visits?  

Grab a coffee (or hop on to a Skype call) with a few of your best customers and ask them questions about their lives: 

  • What does a day in their life look like? 
  • What are their motivations and goals? 
  • What challenges do they face? 
  • What annoys them?  
  • What do they wish they had, but don’t? 
  • What made them come to you for a solution? 
  • How did they hear about you? 
  • What were the other alternatives they considered? 
  • What made them decide to trust and buy from you? 
  • What do they love about your product/services? 
  • What do they think could be better? 
  • And finally, ask them to give you an example of when they successfully used your product or service to solve a problem they were having? Then listen and takes notes, capturing what your customers tell you—in their own words and terminology. 

Learn everything you can about them (without being creepy, of course). And don’t forget to follow-up with a genuine thank you.  

Once you’ve done that, you can connect the dots across each of your interactions to create the ultimate description of your actual buyer.  

“Then What?” 

By now, you should have enough knowledge to go out and start creating your own buyer personas. But here’s the thing: 

Buyer personas are only the beginning.  

To create truly effective content marketing strategies, you have to master many different skills: search engine optimized writing, content promotion, influencer marketing, email marketing, SEO–the list goes on and on. But that’s what we’re here for.  

At McAllister Marketing, we take the weight of content marketing off your shoulders. We’ll custom-develop a marketing strategy for you and manage the logistics of your content marketing tactics to ensure you’re effectively attracting, converting and retaining more customers. We take care if this for you so you can focus on where your skills are needed most—running your business and super-serving your customers.  

Interested in learning more about our services? Let’s start with a no-obligation chat. 

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