What Are Buyer Personas And Why Should They Matter To My Business?

So here’s a question for you (actually two): Do you really need to have a particular person in mind when you’re writing blogs? Isn’t it enough to just put useful, relevant information out there that establishes your products or services as the best solutions for what people are searching for?

Maybe a decade or so ago, yes, but in today’s highly competitive market…no. Knowing who your target market is—i.e., who is most likely to buy what you’re selling—is key to writing effective blogs that get read by the widest possible audience of qualified prospects.

In two previous blogs, I talked about how to write great blogs (“10 Tips For Writing Great Blogs That Get You Noticed”), then how to get people to read them (“How To Make Sure Your Blogs Reach The Right Audience”). Now I’d like to focus on whom you should write your blogs for: the buyer persona.

Personas allow you to create content that appeals to your target audience

personas-589570-edited.jpgBuyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customer, based on real data and educated speculation about customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations and goals. Much more than “imaginary customers,” personas are a crucial component of successful inbound marketing.

Personas help a company’s entire staff—marketing, sales, production, R&D and customer service—zero in on the ideal customer they’re trying to attract. That’s why having a deep understanding of your buyer persona(s) is critical to driving content creation, product development, sales follow-up and customer acquisition and retention.

Why are buyer personas important to your business?

Buyer personas help you understand your customers (and prospective customers) better. This allows you to tailor your content, messaging, product development and services to the specific needs, behaviors and concerns of this population.

For instance, let’s say that you know your target buyer loves motorcyles, but why does he love them? Is he a lifelong fan or a johnny-come-lately? Is he a collector who keeps his cycles safely stowed in his garage or does he take them out on the open road every other day and twice on weekends? And, is he a she? Finally, what are your persona’s particular needs, questions or problems that your blogs, and in a broader sense, your company, can solve?

As this example hopefully illustrates, in order to reach the right people with the right message at the right time, you need to know what makes your customers tick. To do that, you need to develop detailed personas for your business.

Depending on your business, you could have as few as one or two personas, or as many as 10 or 20. The strongest buyer personas are based on market research, as well as insights you gather from your actual customer base through surveys, interviews and other ways of gathering pertinent information.

Negative personas are also useful

As well as knowing who your ideal customer, it’s also useful to know who you don’t want as a customer. For example, these could be experienced professionals who are too advanced for your product or “one-offs” who are unlikely to purchase again from your company.

How to create buyer personas

Buyer personas can be created through research, surveys and interviews of your target audience. This audience includes customers, prospects and those outside your contacts database who might align with your target audience.

Here are some practical methods you can try for gathering the information you need to develop personas:

  1. How have customers found you? Look through your contacts database to uncover trends about how certain leads or customers are finding and consuming your content.
  2. Use forms to get valuable information about your website visitors. Whenever possible, use “gated” forms on your website that interested parties have to fill out in order to get something you’re offering (i.e., white paper, e-book, webinar or workshop). Customize these forms so they capture important information as to the type of person who is coming to your site and buying from you.
  3. Get feedback from your sales team about the leads they’re interacting with most. What generalizations can they make about the different types of customers you serve best?
  4. Interview customers and prospects, either in person or over the phone, to discover what they like about your product or service, as well as what they would like to buy from you if only you offered it.

To learn more about blogs and buyer personas, download our white paper

In our white paper “How Do You Write Great Blogs And Why Should You?” we take you step-by-step through 10 best practices for writing compelling, impactful blogs (including how to target your buyer personas) that will propel your company and your solutions to rise to the top of search engines so that potential customers choose you. Download by clicking the link below.

Could inbound marketing help your business grow?

At SAMC, we help organizations grow and thrive amidst today’s changing times. Without a doubt, blogging is very important component of this. If learning new strategies for robust, results-driven blogging might be of interest to you, we would like to offer you a free consultation. Please contact us!

Andy Simon, Partner
Simon Associates Management Consultants