How to Develop the Right Buyer Persona for Your Brand
Is your lead generation content hit and miss? With properly researched buyer personas you can make sure your content is always on target!
Starting out with Content Marketing is a bit like starting a company. You just don’t dive straight into it without (some) strategic plans. If you don’t know the audience you are writing for, you’re sure to write content that will not be engaging. Always understand your audience’s top concerns if you want to be able to write to them!
Creating Buyer Personas and User Journeys will help determine the type of content you need. It will help set the tone, style and delivery strategies for your content. And it will also help set the topics you should be writing about and understand where your customers find and consume more information.
There is a lot that goes into effective content marketing. You need lots of different kinds of content, you have to figure out how it all fits into your buying cycle, and your content has to adjust to the different media through which you share it.
So how do you do all that effectively? You start by creating Buyer Personas.
Understanding Buyer Personas
According to Wikipedia:
“Personas are fictional characters created to represent the different user types that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way.”
Simply put, Buyer Personas are a kind of semi-fictional persons. They represent your ideal customer and include names, history, behaviour patterns, motivations, and goals.
A detailed Buyer Personas will help you determine where to focus your time, guide product development, and allow for alignment across the organisation. As a result, you will be able to attract the most valuable visitors, leads, and customers to your business.
A Buyer Persona should have enough details so you can conveniently view your products and services from their perspective.
The more detailed you are, the better!
Creating Buyer Personas
For a lot of startups, it’s usually tough to come up with the proper personas. This will result, like most other things around your startup, that your personas are assumptions which need to be validated! If you start doing more and more “Customer Conversations” however, you can sharpen these assumptions and validate them.
To start off easy, try writing down all characteristics of your potential customers. There are certain online tools like personapp available to help you begin with this process. Or if you like to work more with pen and paper, use the template we use at Inbound Rocket.
Try to describe this person as detailed as possible, write down:
- Facts & demographics (Name, gender, age, education, occupation?)
- Behaviours (What websites he or she visits? Where he or she gets their information?)
- Problem & Needs (What services, similar to yours, are he/she using but are unsatisfied with?)
- Goals & Dreams (What exactly is he/she trying to accomplish? What is most crucial to him/her?)
- Places (where online and offline can you find him or her?)
- Key influencers (Who does he or she consider a thought leader?)
For example: If you are trying to sell high-end golf equipment, you’d be looking for avid golfers with a lot of money. This person would probably be:
- Have Kids
- Watches CNN
- Business owner
- Between 40 and 65
- Industry professional
- He makes about 280K/year
- Owns a home near a golf course.
That’s a good start for our Buyer Personas. So let’s imagine a guy named Robert, he lives in a gated community with a golf course, has two kids, been married for 17 years, he’s 50, he’s a dentist, and owns his own dental practice. That’s our guy we just described as our ideal candidate for high-end golf equipment!
Now it’s your time to write down the characteristics of your customer.
Using Google Analytics for creating Buyer Personas
After you wrote down your Buyer Personas, you should already have a clear view of whom you are writing content for. With these in mind, you can start writing your first sets of content.
Next to doing Customer Conversations, you can use your Google Analytics too for an even more accurate overview of your customers.
Let’s dive into Google Analytics to find out:
Step 1: Research Your Website Traffic by Keyword
Begin by logging in to your Google Analytics, then go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Campaigns > Organic Keywords.
This will show you the keywords your visitors are using to get to your site while using search. Nowadays the biggest part of the keywords are “not provided”. This data should give you sufficient information to get started, though.
Next step is to export this list to a spreadsheet so you can work with this data.
Step 2: Find User Similarities in Search Traffic
After you copied the list into your favourite spreadsheet program, sort through all these keywords and start grouping them into similar categories or themes. For example, if you are marketing alcoholic beverages, you can divide their keywords into categories such as wine, spirited, beers, and other drinks. You might have categories for location-specific searches or even cocktail related questions.
Use these categories you just created to determine what types of people are searching for these terms. With this in mind, you can start asking yourself the previously mentioned questions to come up with accurate representations of your ideal customer.
Next step is to attach a face to your list of personas. With every step, we’re making our Buyer Personal more specific.
Step 3: Refine Buyer Personas by Social Channel
By using the referral traffic data from Google Analytics, we’re able to create even more advanced audience members for each of your social media channels. Let’s go back to Google Analytics, now go to Acquisition > Social > Landing Pages. Choose Second Dimension and click on Social > Social Source Referral.
If you export this data again to your favourite spreadsheet program and group the landing pages by social channel, you can figure out which kind of content works best on which of your social channels. This spreadsheet will help you create an even more precise persona for each of the social networks you are active on.
For example, a beauty salon might find that Twitter refers more people looking for reservations and that Facebook refers more people looking for specific deals. With this information, the beauty salon can install a custom tab on their Facebook page to better help promote their deals and also begin promoting for their existing customers on Twitter.
Bonus step: If you have a Universal Analytics property with your Google Analytics ID, you can enable Demographics & Interest Reports. Enabling this setting will give you:
- the age of your viewers;
- their gender;
- their “Affinity Categories” (identifies users regarding lifestyle)
- the In-Market segments (identifies users regarding product-purchase interests);
- “Other Categories” (provides the most specific, focused view of your visitors. For example, while “Affinity Categories” include the category Foodies, “Other Categories” includes the category Recipes / Cuisines / East Asian).
Advantages of Aligning Content with Buyer Personas
You now know who your customer are, it’s time to start aligning your content with your personas. If you keep on improving your content to the needs of your customers, they’re more likely to have a great experience when they arrive on your site. Next to this, you can now make sure that your company will have similar messages in every blog post, in every social media update, paid advertising and sales.
Every day you spend driving a marketing campaign to the wrong audience is a day wasted. Your messages are being sent but ignored. This ends, up on you and your team members wasting hours and probably even direct money from paid campaigns.
If you refine your content strategy to start focusing on your real customers, your company is less likely to waste time and effort on content that doesn’t connect with your target audiences. Each campaign you do will have better results. This improvement will clearly be visible in your conversions and click-through rates.
So go out there and start writing content that matters to your audience!
How has creating Buyer Personas improved your Content Marketing? What other resources have helped you define them?
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This article first appeared in a different form on the Inbound Rocket blog.