Develop Personas to Prioritize Buyer and Customer-focused Content
We mentioned the question, “who are we trying to reach?” in the section above. However, just knowing the “who” isn’t enough for a strong buyer and customer-focused content marketing strategy. You have to dig into the “how” and “why” behind each persona so that you can create relevant content. What motivates someone to buy from your business?
So what is a buyer persona? HubSpot defines “buyer persona” as follows: “A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”
Defining the Who
When you create your buyer persona(s), your goal is to develop a concept — a character of sorts — whom you can understand and even empathize with. Your persona should help you:
- $Understand the buyer’s job title, job description, and how his or her employer evaluates the individual’s job performance
- $Define the typical challenges and pain points this buyer type faces
- $Buying behaviors
- $How the buyer will likely look for a product or service like yours —
- Lsearch keywords
- Lsocial media
- Lreview sites
- Lindustry media and influencers
- $What formats of content the person typically like to use
- $Other demographics that may influence a buyer when it comes to your product or service
Defining the What, How, and Why of a Persona’s Decision to Change
When creating your B2B buyer persona, get a little granular when assessing the buying process. The Buyer Persona Institute defines five different areas of buyer insights that you should consider when crafting personas:
- tPriority initiative — what caused the buyer to consider changing from the status quo and start looking for a different or new option? Think beyond pain points — what is the typical “last straw” scenario that pushes a persona to consider a change.
- tSuccess factors — what is the persona expecting, in terms of success, after switching solutions? You can list rational, logical expectations as well as emotional and aspirational ones.
- tPerceived barriers — what is likely to get in the way of a purchase decision? These barriers may be internal, external, real, or imagined.
- tDecision criteria — what are the top three to five criteria a buyer will use to compare solutions and determine the winning option?
- tBuyer’s journey — what is the role of this persona at each stage of the buyer’s journey? Will he or she be the final decision maker? Who are the influencers? Depending on the size of the investment, many organizations purchase by committee. Therefore, you may need to create influencer personas, too. Will your target persona be involved when:
- $realization of a required change occurs?
- $researching solution alternatives?
- $considering the available options?
- $approval of the final selection occurs?
How do I get all this information?
Maybe you’re wondering, “how am I going to get all this data?” If you don’t have the budget to develop your own market survey, use information that is already at your disposal to improve your content and inbound marketing efforts.
- $Interview sales representatives about the people who buy and don’t buy.
- $Review Google Analytics Audience reports to learn more about who visits your site.
- $Use FollowerWonk to create a word cloud of your followers’ bios (which words stand out — clues to who your personas are).
- $Review your Facebook Audience Insights, Twitter Analytics, LinkedIn Page analytics, and other social media platform reporting tools that give audience details.
- $Talk to new customers about why they selected your brand, how they found you, how they would describe you.
- $Survey existing customers about what keywords they would use to look for a company like yours. Try tools like Typeform, SurveyMonkey, WuFoo, or any of the free and paid survey options available today.
- $Read available research about the use of social media and online marketing by people in your industry.
- $Try using SEO solutions like SEMRush or Moz’s Link Explorer (ten free queries per month) to discover who links to you and your competitors. What do these sites and influencers say? Who is saying it?
- $Use these same SEO tools to perform keyword research to understand what queries and terms buyers use on search engines to find your competitors’ sites and your own. (Moz’s free Keyword Explorer gives you ten free searches per month.)
Persona Creation Tools
Once you’ve gathered your research together, synthesize your findings to develop your buyer persona. You may even consider giving him or her a name, job title, job description, and other background story elements to help you and your team keep the pertinent facts in mind about what’s important to this persona when he or she researches solutions online.