Why buyer personas are the next marketing goldmine

You might have come across terms like buyer personas, user profiles & customer profiles before but do you actively use them in your day to connect with clients in more meaningful ways?

The answer to this question is usually no, simply because if the buyer personas are defined, most businesses struggle to think of how to actually use this tool to enhance their marketing proposition.

Terms like buyer personas shouldn’t just be marketing buzzwords that get pulled out right at the start of a project, but the bread and butter of everyday life in your business. Personas should form the spine of your marketing plan, defining not just how to obtain clients but the goals you want to achieve with them too.

In this blogpost, we will bring more clarity to these terms and help you navigate the world of digital marketing with practical insights as to how you can improve your overall marketing through truly understanding your customers.

Buyer Personas – where did it all start?

While the term buyer personas might have only come to your attention recently, it’s actually already part of most marketers’ toolkits (although with varying degrees of impact).

As a basic foundation, it’s important to understand that your customers won’t always fit into one neat type. They won’t all use the same medium to communicate, or get their ideas from the same place, they won’t have the same problems or measure value in the same way.

Firstly then it’s important to understand that a person does not simply go out and make a purchase. In fact 93% of purchases have had some sort of consideration applied before the event i.e. research. A great marketing department should use this to their advantage, but first comes working out how and where this research is taking place.

Secondly, it’s important to reflect on how marketing departments used to find these people starting out their buyer journey by doing some research. Traditional marketing was invasive, it used huge billboards and radio adverts to throw content into the world in the hope that people on the buyer journey would stumble upon them and their end decision might somehow be influenced as a result by this advertising.

This shotgun pellet like marketing did have positive results, but they weren’t as lean as they could be with the majority of budget going to waste.

With a host of targeted marketing tools available, a modern marketing department’s goal should therefore be to understand where your target clients are doing their research and to deliver relevant useful material that will genuinely influence that persona’s buyer journey for these channels.

Yet finding these insights isn’t the only goal for marketing departments, it’s to actively get that person to not only look at their material but in fact ask to be marketed to. A potential client that wants to listen to you is ultimately much more valuable than one who isn’t paying attention. Seth Godin termed this way of thinking as ”permission marketing”.

Why do you need a buyer persona?

In broad terms, if you were to have 100 potential customers, the goal of your marketing department should be to segment those 100 potential clients into buyer personas based upon various factors including their behaviours.

Each persona will look for different things from your marketing and act differently as a result, meaning you need to not only classify your clients into personas but attribute different expectations and buyer journey to each.

Ultimately as it stands today, you might already have access to 15/100 of those clients (you would probably call these your ideal clients) but you’re probably thinking; where do the other 85/100 go. Why don’t they make a purchase?

The answer probably lies in the fact that your marketing material doesn’t attract these people even if you know the places they are researching in. Unlock buyer personas then and you can unlock the other 85 people you are not currently talking to.

Reach 85% clients

What is a buyer persona?

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional portrait of your business’ typical customer. In essence, it’s a carefully researched and designed archetype that’s meant to represent the people who not only buy or use your products or services but may also be on the journey to become leads and potential customers.

A good buyer persona will be created using collected, qualified data which will include informed facts that demonstrate certain behaviours, such as likes, dislikes, habits, lifestyles, aspirations, motivations, fears and frustrations. Think about it as less creating profiles for specific customer and more about identifying common characteristics amongst potential and existing clients to develop a generalised image of who your ‘ideal’ customer is.

Here is an example of our own Buyer Persona – Sasha Bloggs, Head of Marketing for an up and coming tech brand that we created at Report Central.

Buyer persona

So, if you look back to the 100 potential clients, your personas might look like this:

  • 15% Persona A
  • 25% Persona B
  • 35% Persona C
  • 20% Persona D
  • 05% Persona E

While you might currently deal only with people in Persona A, figuring out Persona C, for example, would be a big win for your business.

Of course, you can’t simply call someone’s Persona A, in fact in order to unlock the secrets of this persona group you are going to need to really nail down who persona C is.

For example, Persona C might actually be:

Builder Dave

  • 45 years old
  • Owns his own business
  • Drives a van
  • Has an expensive car at home
  • Loves football
  • Has two people working for him
  • Owns his own digger
  • Has a small unit
  • Gets most new customers via referrals

Using buyer personas to grow your business

Understanding your customers is an essential part of building a successful business. Without this, businesses can easily alienate customers, miss opportunities, fail to develop promising leads and launch misfiring marketing campaigns.

On a basic level, buyer personas allow you to not only understand your customers but also to plot out their different buyer journeys.

Once you understand what your potential customers are thinking, feeling, concerned about and hoping for, you can use this to not only find out where they are doing their research but to help guide the type of content you share with them in order to most appeal to them.

For example, the content and campaigns you produce for Persona A might be subtly different to Persona B, but without that difference in content you never actually get to speak to Persona B.

In a similar vein, the expectation of where you join the buyer journey of Persona B vs A will need to differ. Persona A might represent people ready to buy right now, whereas Persona B people might be looking to buy in a few months.

Why then would you set your goal as an immediate purchase from both when Persona B clearly isn’t quite ready yet? In this instance, both your content & your goals need to be aligned to accept that right now the best you can achieve is to build a relationship with Persona B and nurture them through their own buyer journey to get the sale in a few months’ time.

After all, a business that understands the reality of their customers’ lives is relatable. A business that understands their customers’ problems is able to offer solutions.

In marketing terms, understanding your customers through buyer personas allows you to refine your goals and marketing messages in increasingly powerful ways. Not only does it allow you to focus on the issues your individual personas need resolving in a way that suits them, but it also improves your ability to reach the right people, at the best time, with content that really makes an impression thus increasing your chances of turning each persona into customers.

Why are buyer personas a marketing goldmine?

Personas play an important role as the spine of your entire marketing strategy by providing a foundation that allows you to truly target your various potential clients. When aligned with your goals, buyer personas are an incredibly powerful tool that can turn your marketing plan into a goldmine by helping you to not only find your potential clients but take them on an exceptional buyer journey too.

Buyer personas are your way of accessing the potential clients that you never closed, or even the ones you never got to speak to while minimising the marketing spend you waste to ensure you get targeted results.

But personas are only the tip of the iceberg, because if you don’t align your marketing and goals with them correctly, you don’t give yourself an opportunity to make the most of your marketing budgets and spends.

Next Steps – Ready to define your buyer personas?

Creating your buyer personas can be a complex, time-consuming process, but they come with fantastic long-term benefits and as such the time you put in at the start will be reflected in what you get out in the long run.

In the next few posts, we will be sharing practical tips and insights on how to develop buyer personas from scratch, the common pitfalls to avoid and we’ll even share with you our own persona template and how we aligned our marketing plan with needs our customers.

Let us know in the comments below how you work with Buyer Personas. If you find this information useful, please share with your friends and colleagues. 

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