Buyer personas are vital to ensure that your content reaches its intended target audience. The best way to think about a buyer persona is as a fictional character that you can help focus all of your efforts towards. Ideally, your buyer persona should be an accurate reflection of your company’s goals.
But, how do you create a buyer persona, and how can you convert your ideas about what they should be to fully fleshed ideas and profiles. Here are the top 10 questions that you need to ask. With any luck, they should help ease the tensions between sales and marketing, proving that both departments do, indeed, “get it”:
1) Does the buyer Know the Product Well?
No matter whether you’ve invented something completely new or you’ve come up with a way of improving a product that is already widely available, you need your customer to know how much they need the product.
You need to make sure that you’re appealing to both people who are aware of the product and those who know it well. It’s up to you whether you want all of your content to appeal to both or whether you want to split it and tailor it. There’s no specific answer for what works best.
2) What Media Do They Use and What Are They Using?
One mistake that several big brands make is having an ad hoc approach to social media. Although it may be true that Facebook is the largest social media platform, this doesn’t mean that this is the place where your buyers are consuming their information. If you spend all your time and budget on Facebook, then you may be wasting both your time and your money doing so.
Usually, a blend of options is deemed as best practice, but do your research to ensure you’re not left with any nasty surprises. Of course, this doesn’t only apply to social media, but other media outlet such as television and radio.
3) Why Are They Choosing You?
Your business model will have to be flexible to accommodate the needs of your customers, and it is likely that these will change hugely over time. For this reason, it is vital that you specifically know why your customers are coming to you. Are you the cheapest, the most up market, the funniest or do you provide the quickest delivery?
It is vital that you review this regularly, as both the business landscape and the needs of your customers are likely to change frequently.
4. What Size Impact Does Your Product Have?
From a simple comedy t-shirt to a newly fragranced air freshener, each product has an intended impact. Although these may not be deemed as ‘life saving’, it doesn’t mean that they’re not important to a customer.
Work out what the impact your product has, and accentuate this benefit, linking to it at all possible times.
5) How Do You Compare in the Landscape?
Feeding into the above question, it is vital that you know where you sit within the business landscape. In essence, what you need to know is what your company does better than everyone else. Is functionality better, price or the usability? Once you work pout what area you’re better than your competitors in, you’ll also be able to work out who you’re appealing to and who is buying the product.
6) What Separates Each Persona?
Unless you’re selling an incredibly niche item to a very narrow customer range, it is likely that you’ll have more than one buyer persona. Due to this, you have to separate them. To do this, you need to determine certain factors such as age, gender, hobbies and income.
Of course, you can’t ask all of these directly at the same time, and it is important to build a relationship before getting into sensitivities.
7) What Impacts Do External Influences Have?
Although you may have a persona in mind, it may actually be the case that there is a secondary audience who you also have to impact, as the persona may not do the actual buying. For example, in business, it is likely that the board is responsible for the buying of new equipment/ office stationary rather than the individual you’re targeting. If this is the case, then you need to split your content to ensure that you cover a number of bases. You need to also be aware that this splits your buyer persona.
8) What Appeal Strategy Works Best?
Different appeals work differently for different personas. Whereas some personas are affected by emotive rhetoric, some are persuaded through powerful, persuasive techniques, while others prefer comedy. You need to work out what works for your personas, and then you can tailor your product and your customer services accordingly.
9) What’s the Ideal Channel?
We’ve already spoken about targeting the correct social media channels, but what about other forms of media?
The channel that you choose has to be what’s right for your customers. In the 21st century, we’ve seen a reluctance on the part of the consumer to give out phone numbers due to cold calls, so be wary of asking for their numbers too early.
Before you start targeting people, you need to find how they want to be contacted. Once again, this is dependent on factors such as age, so do your research before you begin.
10. Can Your Customers Adapt to New Tech?
Finally, think about how your audience adapt to new technologies. For example, are they likely to have already bought the iPhone 6, or are they more likely to still be using their old Nokia 3210?
Answering this question is vital to learning about how they will accept and adapt to changes in the product offering.