Creating buyer personas is essential for marketers to better understand their targeted audience, and how to best attract and engage with them.
What Are Buyer Personas?
Let’s start by defining what a buyer persona is. Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. They help you understand your customers—and prospective customers—better, and make it easier for you to tailor content to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups.
The strongest buyer personas are based on market research, as well as on insights you gather from your actual customer base—through surveys, interviews, and more.
Depending on your business, you could have as few as three personas, or as many as 10 or 20. But if you’re new to personas, start small! You can always develop more personas later.
What Are Negative Personas?
Whereas a buyer persona is a representation of an ideal customer, a negative, or “exclusionary” persona is a representation of who you don’t want as a customer.
For example, this could include professionals who are too advanced for your product or service, students who are only engaging with your content for research and knowledge, or potential customers who are just too expensive to acquire.
How Can You Use Personas?
At the most basic level, personas allow you to personalize or target your marketing for different segments of your audience. For example, instead of sending the same lead nurturing emails to everyone in your database, you can segment by buyer persona and tailor your messaging according to what you know about those different personas.
If you take the time to create negative personas, you’ll have the added advantage of being able to segment out the “bad apples” from the rest of your contacts, which can help you achieve a lower cost-per-lead and cost-per-customer (and see higher sales productivity).
When combined with lifecycle stage—or how far along someone is in your sales cycle—buyer personas allow you to map out and create highly-targeted content.
How Do You Create Buyer Personas?
Buyer personas are created through research, surveys, and interviews of your target audience. That includes a mix of customers, prospects, and those outside of your contact database who might align with your target audience.
Here are some practical methods for gathering the information you need to develop these personas:
- Interview customers either in person or over the phone to discover what they like about your product or service.
- Look through your contacts database to uncover trends about how certain leads or customers find and consume your content.
- When creating forms to use on your website, use form fields that capture important persona information. For example, if all of your personas vary based on company size, ask each lead for information about company size on your forms—you could also gather information on what forms of social media your leads use by asking a question about social media accounts.
- Take into consideration your sales team's feedback on the leads they are interacting with most. What types of sales cycles does your sales team work with? What generalizations can they make about the different types of customers you serve best?
As an extra bonus. HubSpot makes it easy for customers to create and manage your company’s personas within the Marketing dashboard of the Hubspot software. See who your top personas are and simply add or remove personas as you dive deeper into your marketing goals.
As marketers, it’s important to remember to cater to your personas for better overall campaign success. We hope you found this information on the buyer persona useful. And for more marketing tips, remember to subscribe to our blog!