Have you ever used Google to search for a solution to a problem, found what you thought was a good match within the search results only to land on the website and then go, this website is useless it doesn’t answer any of my questions? Similarly have you ever landed on a website and gone, WOW, this website answers all of my questions and is really useful? I know I have and the main reason for this is simple, one website owner understands his audience members (buyer persona) whereas the other one doesn’t.
Similarly have you ever tried to advertise online using Google Adwords or Facebook Advertising only to find that you are spending way too much money and hardly making anything in return. Chances are your advertising isn’t targeted at the right buyer persona and therefore isn’t engaging them, solving their problems and is therefore falling flat, whilst costing a small fortune.
Buyer personas are fundamental to every marketing activity you undertake both online and offline, they help you really engage and turn casual visitors into raving customers and fans, whilst also saving you money, increasing the effectiveness of your advertising and increasing your conversion rates and profitability.
Does any of this Sound Familiar to You?
Sure it does I know when I really got to grips with buyer personas it was as if I had found the secret to achieve almost anything in marketing and I was amazed because it was in front of me all of the time. I have to be honest, I’m not much into demographics and even now I don’t really rate all of that data, sure it’s useful but it’s not the meat in your sandwich so to say.
Buyer personas to me, enable me to:
- Know where my audience is online
- Attract the attention of my audience
- Generate Interest in my audience
- Generate Desire in my audience
- Get them to carry out some action
The bottom four bullet points are generally called the AIDA formula and this formula if employed on your target audience, enables you to turn them from visitors into buyers.
How Many Buyer Personas Do You Have?
There is no definitive answer, every single product, group of products, services, etc. could in theory have a different buyer persona. Whenever I talk to clients, I tend to group products and services together so that I get a manageable number of buyer personas. For example, I offer website design and online marketing services… this means that I have two distinct buyer persona groups even though there is potentially some cross over, I could and do go further in that I could split my online marketing services down to paid advertising, content marketing and social media marketing… which could attract another three buyer personas again with some cross over.
What Should You Include in a Useful Buyer Persona?
Once you have worked out who your different buyer personas are, all you need do is ask them the following questions. Now, this doesn’t mean you get your sales department to answer these questions, it means you actually get out and speak to customers and get real cold hard facts, because these will be of much more use to you.
These are the questions you should seek answers to.
Online Activates of Your Buyer Personas
What do your buyer personas do online? Where do they go, what do they do and what social media platforms do they use regularly?
Worries and Problems
What are three or more problems or issues that your buyer persona dedicates time, budget and energy to solving?
What does success look like?
What does success look like in the clients’ eyes, this could be revenue growth, or personal development such as a promotion?
Road Blocks or Blockages
What could prompt your buyer persona group to question whether you can help them achieve their success goals? This is where you begin to uncover the hidden objections such as office politics, prior experience with a company likes your, a lack of trust, etc.
Do You Know Their Purchasing Cycle?
What process does your buyer persona follow in exploring, evaluating and selecting a solution that can overcome their perceived road blocks and achieve their success goals?
What will your buyer persona group think about the products offered by your competitors? What aspects will they like, find useful, decide are better than yours, worse than your own. If you really push the boat out, you should aim to find this information out from those that purchase from a competitor and those that decide that no solution is right for them.
Buyer Persona Interviewing Techniques
Remember when interviewing customers, they rarely tell you the cold hard facts as you want them. Instead they often tell you what they think you want to hear, just like friend and family do, which might make your ego feel great but in the cold hard world of marketing a truthful answer no matter how hard to take is of much more use.
In order to get to the truth, I have found that an interview technique that allows you to go wide and then go deep helps reveal the real answers to the questions you might ask. For example, if I ask a website owner what his success goals are, chances are they will say to increase website visitors. Now once I have been given this answer along with every other answer they might give (going wide) you should then ask, and what will this allow you to do, or how will this help … so website visitors might then lead to increased sales … which then if I go deep again might lead to a promotion, an increased salary, company car, etc. Now once you understand this, you know your buyer personas real goals … his initial answer of increased website visitors doesn’t mean much now … because you could for instance increase conversion rates, lift sales and thus help them achieve their goal without any additional visitors … and you can achieve all of this, simply by asking the right questions and digging for the right answers.
Buyer Persona Conclusion
As you can see buyer personas are much more than knowing the age and inside leg measurement of your last twenty or so customers. Simply by understanding who your audience is, knowing their problems, what they are wanting to achieve and how they have to go about it will enable you to craft content that truly engages your audience… and turns them from visitors into raving fans and long term customers.