5 Steps to Creating Buyer Personas for Your Audience

January 2, 2019

To achieve success in Content Marketing, you must have a commitment to developing unique, high quality content on a consistent basis. However, even if you have the best content in the world, it is nothing without strategy. Your strategy should be the foundation on which your content stands.

One of the major pillars in any good content strategy’s foundation should be the Buyer Persona.  A buyer persona is essentially a summary of the ideal type(s) of customer(s) for your product or service.

Despite this, only 57% of B2B marketers reported having a deep understanding of their buyer personas in 2018.

The ideal number of buyer personas for a brand is 3-5.  But before expanding into multiple buyer personas, you want to create one solid buyer persona that is an accurate description of your ideal customer and therefore: the ideal audience you should be tailoring your content towards.

Why Are Buyer Personas Important? 

Before we get into how to make a buyer persona for your business, let’s take a quick look at some of the ways they help improve your online marketing campaigns. 

1. Better Understanding of Your Customer

Through all the research that goes into a buyer persona, you gain deeper insights into what makes your ideal customer tick.  Things like where they spend their time, what social media channels they use, and what type of content they consume, who their favorite influencers are, what their job title is, their personality type, what common problems they have, etc…

2. Consistency Across Your Marketing Channels and Beyond

It pays to have one giant, well defined target to aim towards with all of your efforts.  When departments work towards one goal, they are often much more successful, and everything works as one well oiled machine.  Metrics improve, waste is reduced, and efficiency is achieved.

3. Production of More Targeted (Better) Content

Because buyer personas give us a deeper insight into the minds of our customers, they also give us insight into what type of content will be most effective amongst our audience. Tailoring your content strategy towards this newfound knowledge is the way towards achieving your conversion goals for your buyer personas.

4. More Efficient Campaigns

By targeting very specific groups of potential customers, a buyer persona enables businesses to be very cost efficient with their marketing efforts. This means more results for less money, but also, more quality results, with desirable outcomes. On top of this, these more targeted ads can continually be improved upon to become even more efficient.

5. Segmented Audiences

Dividing your audiences into segments allows you to more easily organize your marketing campaigns, your outreach campaigns, and also track results of your marketing efforts. By utilizing buyer personas to segment your audience, you can dramatically improve the efficiency of your online marketing efforts.

6. Improve Team Morale

Nothing brings a team together more than all having one common goal.  By giving everyone in your company one target to aim at, and then implementing systems to do so, you have everyone operating on one wavelength.  If you have the right group of people with the right energy, there is no telling what you can achieve with a diligent and comprehensive strategy.

In summation, buyer personas identify the stages of the buyer’s journey, from problem to solution, and help you to create relevant content for each stage to guide them through the sales cycle.

how to create buyer personas 

How Do You Make A Buyer Persona? 

The ideal buyer persona should have the following elements: 

  • Age 
  • Financial status 
  • Problems 
  • Family 
  • Hobbies 
  • Occupation 
  • Interests 
  • Education 

There are plenty of other things you can add into this mix to get more specific in your targeting, but having these main factors is a great place to start. 

The main idea is to make a comprehensive outline of your ideal customer. By defining your customer profiles, you improve your likelihood of properly targeting your audience and engaging them. This leads to more conversions and better content marketing ROI over time. 

Let’s go over some examples of buyer personas to give you a better idea of how they are structured and why they are effective. 

guide to creating buyer personas

How to Create the Best Buyer Personas

1. Internal Research

The best place to learn more about your ideal customer is to take a deeper look on the existing data you have on your current customers. Asking the right questions is key.

Where are they coming from?

What are their demographics?

This data should come from a multitude of sources in order to get a more well rounded understanding of your customers when creating a buyer persona.

Ask Your Teams

Take a day or two and interview everyone on your sales team.  If you run a larger corporation, this may sound like a large undertaking, but the information you get in return is definitely worth the investment of time and money.

If you have internal sales and marketing teams, these next sets of questions are a great place to start developing your buyer persona.

Once you begin to ask these questions, and track data based on them, you can fine tune your buyer persona, and even begin asking deeper questions about your data sets in the future.

8 Questions to Ask Your Marketing Team to Develop a Great Buyer Persona

Start by taking a look at your Google Analytics data.

Based on that data, ask your marketing team some of these key questions. Add in your own as well.

  • What is the traffic break down? How many people are coming from social, paid, referral, and organic?
  • What has been converting the best? What about worst?
  • What pieces of content have the most social shares? What do the successful ones have in common?
  • What is one area do you think we can improve marketing efforts? (touchpoints, branding, message, pain points)
  • What is our competition succeeding at? What type of content is converting for them and why?
  • Where is our audience from, what is their average income?
  • What other influencers do they follow, how do they prefer to get content?
  • What new trends are emerging that are effective? How could we use them?
  • What is your audience searching for?

Look for the breakdown of where your traffic is coming from in social, search, and referrals.

Additionally, you want to take a look at your most effective pages. Which blogs have gotten the most shares?  The most views? Who were the people that came to these pages?

Don’t forget to look at your competition either.  Use tools like SEMrush to analyze your competitors sites, and see much of the same information about their audiences.  Which pages do well, their traffic breakdown, keywords, geo, and much, much more.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to find access to all of this information. An easy way to find out more about what your audience is looking for is to check out the free content marketing tools that we created recently.

8 Questions to Ask Your Sales Team to Develop a Great Buyer Persona

  • Who do you speak with on your calls?
  • Who makes the decisions at this company?
  • What is their budget, what are they willing to spend on a solution?
  • What are the major needs they are looking for a product/service to solve?
  • What are their major objections, concerns, reasons for not wanting to proceed?
  • What competitors are they considering and why?
  • What approach has proven most effective?  What are 5 other good approaches?
  • What approach has proven the least effective?  What are 5 other bad approaches?

If you don’t already, you definitely want to begin tracking your sales teams progress in a CRM tool.  I prefer HubSpot, but other alternatives like Salesforce, and Zoho CRM exist.

Having this type of data on hand, all in one place, for all of your people to access is a must have in today’s fast moving economy.  It allows you to move qualified leads through the sales process, identify more qualified leads earlier, and build their overall profile for your buyer persona.

how can i make buyer personas

2. External Research

Equally as important as internal research, you should focus on asking your existing customers questions.

The information that you can glean from asking a few questions to each of your existing customers or clients is very powerful.

11 Great Questions to Ask Customers to Develop Buyer Persona

  • What is a day in the life like for you?
  • What are some challenges you consistently face?
  • What are your main priorities?
  • What solutions do you seek/need for your challenges?
  • Who is responsible for making this decision, what is the chain of command?
  • What were some other solutions that you considered for your problem?
  • Where did you find information about us, where did you find information about the other solutions you considered?
  • What were some objections you had about us and others?
  • What were your reasons for choosing us?
  • Where could we be better?
  • Where do you think we bring the most value?

Know Your Competition

Be sure to evaluate all the same questions when analyzing your competition. It pays to know where they are performing well and where they are not.

Based on how they perform, you can begin to develop strategies based around gaps, and also find your own needs targeted towards your buyer persona.

You want to know what keywords they rank for, what pages do best for them, where they get their traffic from.

Also, it pays to analyze their overall strategy across platforms and get an idea of their brand identity. What channels are working well for them? Where do they succeed that you would like to?  Where do you outperform them?

best tips for creating buyer personas

3. Building Your Buyer Persona

With all of the data we now have from both internal and external sources, we can begin building our buyer persona.

When building a buyer persona for your B2B company, you want to be sure to give them an identity that brings them to reality in the eyes of your sales and marketing team.

This is basically just the process of taking all of your data such as demographics, interests, problems, problems, objections, satisfaction level, complaints, etc… and personifying it. Hence Persona.

Obviously, industry-specific factors should weigh in on the components of your buyer persona, but a great place to start is by using a build that includes these nine components.

9 Components of a Great B2B Buyer Persona

You want to combine these components with the obvious ingredients we listed above: 

  • Age 
  • Financial status 
  • Problems 
  • Family 
  • Hobbies 
  • Occupation 
  • Interests 
  • Education

Integrating these together with the following components to a buyer persona will help you bring these personas to life and really understand how your audience works and how you should be interacting with them.

1. A day in the life

What is the average day like for your ideal customer?  Perhaps they are a single parent, for a business owner, perhaps a lawyer. Giving this a visual representation can be huge in helping your sales team.

2. Objectives

What are their goals? What do they wto achieve on a daily, monthly, and annual basis?

3. Problems

What objectives have they not achieved? What is holding them back, what need is created out of this?

4. Orientation

Some of their professional attributes. Perhaps they are knowledge seekers, people who aspire to be leaders or already are. Whether they are problem solvers, team leaders, decision makers, etc…

5. Objections

These are the common obstacles you’re going to have to overcome in order to sell the people who fit your buyer persona.

6. Questions asked during each stage of the buying process

Try to develop sales training around the answering of these questions and the approach for each given buyer persona.

7. Content channel preferences

What channels your audience is most likely to use. Which ones are most effective, and why. This is where you can begin to develop your content strategy contingent on your buyer persona.

8. Keywords and phrases

Here’s where our analytics research comes into play. You now want to gather this data and begin to create messaging, branding, and content around what your ideal customer is searching for.

9. Watering holes and social media

This is where our data on power social media preferences for our ideal customer comes into play. You want to publish and distribute content in these common customer hangouts or “watering holes”.

techniques for creating buyer personas

4. Focusing Existing Marketing Efforts on Buyer Persona

Now that we have a lot of data on our buyer Persona, and have created one, we want to begin directing our marketing efforts to focus on the buyer persona itself.

This means going through all existing marketing campaigns both paid and organic, and reevaluating how well the strategy you are currently using targets your new buyer persona.

You want to be exhaustive in this effort, and really try to overhaul your entire process towards targeting this buyer persona as best as possible.

In this revamp, you should focus on the following:

  • Keywords
  • Titles, Metas
  • Branding
  • Existing content
  • Specific landing pages
  • New channels
  • Existing channels
  • Existing brand loyalty

For each one of these categories, you should break down how efficient your being in relation to your buyer persona.

Undoubtedly, there is room for improvement with keywords, metas, titles, and descriptions alone. You can easily do this using our free content marketing tools.

We can then dive deeper to even repurpose some old content in order to retarget your buyer persona.

Lastly, for the people you are already targeting or will target eventually, you want to begin tailoring your landing pages and messaging / branding to reflect your new knowledge of them.

This can include addressing specific needs and pain points felt within your buyer persona, as well as appealing to specific interests that they may have.

strategies for making buyer personas

5. Improving Buyer Personas and Creating New Ones

After your buyer persona has been created and you have revitalized your marketing efforts to be more on target with your buyer persona, you can continue tracking your data to become even more knowledgeable about your ideal customers.

Ideally, over time you will begin to notice Trends and the fine-tuning of your demographics for your audience even further.

This will also allow you to produce even more high quality and relevant content for your audience, and improve the quality of your leads drastically.

This will always be a continual process, as new trends emerged within markets, new products and services exist, as buyers continue to evolve.

However, the convenient part is once you have created a buyer persona, and begin tracking data about giving customers who fit that set of demographics, most of the leg work has been done up front.

New Buyer Personas

It is recommended that the average company have three to five buyer personas. However, I usually suggest when people first start off developing a single buyer persona to understand the process and the principles behind it.

Once you have created this first one and have been improving it for a while, it is time to develop additional personas.

You want to be sure when doing this that your buyer personas are not too similar. At the same time, it is important that they still share some similarities so that you are not being too broad in your overall marketing strategy.

You want to use the same principles for building a B2B buyer persona that are discussed here when creating a second or even third buyer persona for your company.

Examples of Effective Buyer Personas 

Let’s look at a few examples of buyer personas: 

B2B Buyer Persona Example

As you can see, in this example of a B2B buyer persona, we have a man who is around the age of 45. For the purpose of the example, we will call him Harry. He also has an income of about $400,000 per year, a PhD, and 2 kids. 

Harry is a C level Executive at a large software company. He handles technology and software for his company. He is responsible for making sure that his company works with the best software and technology firms in order to make sure that they are up to date, secure, and efficient with their spending.

Harry has 3 main problems that he needs help solving: 

  • He needs to reduce his firm’s spending on software by 10% 
  • He needs a solution that is trusted, and is evolving with the ecosystem that he will be able to rely on in 5-10 years 
  • He needs a solution that can be easily integrated with his firm’s existing solution without losing data or compromising security

Now, let’s focus on how this knowledge about Harry can help us address him with a custom piece of content: 

We know that 96% of B2B decision makers want to engage with custom content before making a purchasing decision. 

We also know that Harry has a PhD, and is a subject matter expert in the software sector. This means we will have to try very hard to impress him, and make sure that we answer a wide range of questions and objections he may have right away. 

We are the supply to his demand, he knows there are dozens of companies that offer services similar to ours. It is our job to tell him why we are different. 

Understanding his needs and problems helps us to create high quality content that feels personalized to Harry, making him more likely to engage. 

So, the solution? 

We make a custom piece of blog content talking about each of these main problems that many CTO’s like Harry (who are our ideal buyer personas) face on a daily basis. 

We then create a video all about our service offering, and why it is superior to the competition and fits their needs exactly. 

We place this content on a separate custom landing page made for Harry’s buyer persona. Then, we create our content marketing campaign with all of his problems and demographics in mind. And we make the main goal of the campaign to filter Harry into the next stage of the marketing funnel.

We set up paid campaigns to promote the video content on popular B2B social media platforms like LinkedIn, and target people with Harry’s demographics. We then create retargeting campaigns which tag people’s browsers who have visited the page, or seen the video, and continue to market to them with additional custom content that addresses their objections. 

Buyer personas travel help to create effective web content the entire purchasing cycle. That is why they are so essential to your business. 

B2C Buyer Persona Examples

Linda is a 35 year old mother of 3 who is a stay at home mom. Her husband has an income of $120,000 per year, and they live in a suburban home. 

While they know college is important for their children, and they want each of them to have as many opportunities as possible, they can’t help but feel overwhelmed with the rising costs of education.

As a result, Linda and her husband are looking for a way to invest their earnings in order to make sure that they can afford for their children to go to college. 

Their main problems are: 

  • Not sure where to start investing for college 
  • Want a financial service provider they can trust 
  • Want the ease of use to be able to move their funds in case of an emergency
  • Earning enough residual income through investments to afford college for their children when it’s time 

Say you are a financial services company trying to target this exact buyer persona. You know that they do not have a lot of money on hand, but they do have enough to make it worth managing for both of you. 

Having an in depth knowledge of your buyer persona now helps you to target them very specifically with your content marketing strategy. 

By making a video expressing your understanding of their needs, and then pointing it to a landing page which further explains your understanding of their problems, then advertising it to relevant audiences on Facebook and YouTube, you will be able to address Linda and her husband on a personal level.

You are not selling by pushing, but rather by pulling them in like a magnet. This is the power of content marketing. When you combine this amazing strategy with a buyer persona, and some heavy monitoring of your campaigns, the results are undeniable.

buyer persona guide 2019

Ways to Improve Your Buyer Personas

Once you have your marketing personas for each demographic you are targeting, you want to make sure that you are constantly monitoring your marketing campaigns for them.

You also want to make sure that you are continually honing in on exactly what your customer is looking for in your service or product. By doing this, your sales personas will drastically improve over time, improving your bottom line, retention, and conversions. 

So how can you improve your buyer personas? 

1. Buyer Persona Questionnaires

While questionnaires may not be the most exciting way to reach out to clients, they are effective. Having past clients or consumers fill out questionnaires about your product or service will give you a strong idea of where your brand stands in their mind. 

Consumer feedback is a huge part of building a brand that should not be avoided. You want to be constantly updating your persona profiles, and the best way to do this is get feedback right from the source. 

A great way to administer these questionnaires to your audience is through email, or a page on your site. Offer some sort of free incentive for them for taking the questionnaire. Keep it short, only about 10 questions or less. And make sure that the questions are in depth and that they aim to uncover more details about their experience, not your product or service. 

2. Keep A Persona Sheet

Keep a running sheet full of all your B2C or B2B buyer personas. Over time, you will update them and reference them as you are making different content. 

Your buyer personas should always be at the center of your thinking when it comes to producing content, because it represents the people you are trying to market to and convert into clients. 

This means that entire pieces of content like blogs and videos should be aimed towards these sales personas. By also creating custom landing pages for your personas, that address their specific problems and path through the buying cycle will help them establish trust and make them much more likely to convert. 

3. Create Buyer Persona Survey Questions 

Similar to your buyer persona questionnaires, surveys can be used to update your buyer personas and understand them more in depth. This is a great way to uncover hidden problems that your target audience has. 

Usually, you want to have clients fill out surveys as they are about to enroll in something such as a webinar or ebook. This will help you understand their path, how they arrived to your content, and what you can do to help them solve their problems. 

This information can then be stored and accumulated over time to create custom outreach and more relevant content in the future for that given audience segment. 

4. Keep In Touch With Past Clients 

Just because you are no longer working with someone does not mean that they have no value to your business. In fact, past customers play a huge role in a company’s brand image and trust. 

You want to keep in touch with past clients to not only get a better understanding of your marketing personas for the future, but also in order to get great testimonials that you can use in order to create the best landing pages for your services. 

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Why Your Business Needs Buyer Personas And Custom Content

A buyer persona should epitomize your ideal customer. In order to create an effective buyer persona, it is essential that you conduct both internal and external research.

Within this research, it is important to be asking the right questions in order to help shape what your ideal customer looks like.

Because the buyer persona reflects the ideal customer, once you have the right data, you need to begin shifting your existing marketing efforts to reflect this new target audience.

Over time, continual tracking and refinement of this buyer persona will lead to more conversions and more clients.

Once you have a solid understanding of your buyer persona, and feel you are doing an effective job of targeting and converting them, you should create additional buyer personas. Having no more than 3 to 5 is strongly recommended.

If you are looking for ways to improve your lead conversion, click through rate, website traffic, and ROI on your marketing efforts, we strongly recommend you consider implementing a content marketing strategy into your existing marketing efforts.

At PoofNewSales, we help businesses to reach a larger audience online and convert on this improved traffic. Give us a call, or shoot us an email today for a free custom consultation for your business which includes:

  • Content analysis
  • Competitive analysis
  • Keyword analysis
  • And more!

Contact us today to speak 1 on 1 with one of our content marketing experts. poofnewsales content marketing free consultation

2 thoughts on “5 Steps to Creating Buyer Personas for Your Audience

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