Getting Inside Their Heads: Using Buyer Personas & Customer Journey Mapping as a Tactical Framework for Learning about Your Customers [Part 2]
Now that you know what a buyer persona is, you need to understand the science behind creating them for clients’ customers.
Creating buyer personas is somewhat scientific in nature because it involves lots of research.
While many people’s first thought in creating a buyer persona is to simply create hypothetical customer personalities based on their target audience, these will ultimately get you nowhere.
A target audience is much different than a target buyer. Your target audience may refer to key demographics like location, age range, gender, and occupation type; however, your target buyer will include these characteristics and even more specific criteria.
So what’s the scientific method to crafting the ultimate buyer personas?
Complete a persona profile checklist.
This checklist should include both the categories of information you will collect on your target buyer, as well as the questions you will ask while conducting research that will ultimately complete the information for a given category. Here’s a small (and by no means exhaustive) checklist put together by Hubspot:
Do the research to accurately identify your target buyer(s)
It will require you and your organization to really dive in and do some market research to get the most accurate picture of who the target buyer(s) is/are. This will ultimately mean doing more than a simple Google search to get a sense of who’s shopping for a particular product or service.
Here are a few research activities that you and your team should consider engaging in:
- Client’s Pre-existing Sales/Marketing Data – Collecting information on your clients’ current sales calls and outcomes, as well as the revenue that is being collected per transaction can prove extremely useful to creating a thorough buyer persona.
- Web Analytics – Diving in your clients’ web analytics is a must when creating buyer personas. Take a look at and segment their site traffic, bounce rate, conversion rate, referring site traffic, and the leads they’ve generated from at least their social media channels and mobile traffic and/or ads.
- Client & Customer Surveys – It’s easy enough to create a survey using SurveyMonkey that you can easily send out to both your clients and some of their existing customers to collect key demographic and psycho graphic information.
- Focus Groups – If you’re feeling extremely ambitious, you can work with your clients to organize focus groups with existing customers. Bloomberg Business wrote a great article on how to conduct focus groups a few years back; it’s an oldie but a goodie.
Create the buyer persona
Once you have collected information from your in-depth research on your clients’ customers, you can now create the buyer persona. Using your persona profile checklist, summarize the data you have collected. Ultimately, you should have information that covers at least the following categories:
- A real name and title at a fictional or real company
- A nice, professional picture (this makes the persona more realistic)
- Demographics (age, location, education, salary, etc.)
- Key Responsibilities
- Typical Day (9-5)
- Where They Get Their Information (news sources, blogs, etc.)
- How the Client Can Help (Pain Points solved by the product/service)
Keep in mind that having one buyer persona for each client is infinitely better than having none; however, at Foxtail Marketing, we put together at least three unique buyer personas based on three hypothetical customers for each client. The more buyer persona profiles you complete, the more targeted your content strategy can become.
While this may seem like a lot of work – and let’s be honest, it is a lot of work – it is a necessary step digital marketers must make to take their content quality and audience targeting to the next level. Understanding your client’s customers better – I mean knowing their goals, challenges, values, fears, where they search for and regularly find information – is what will allow you and your organization to create content that your potential and existing customers want to read, share, and that will turn them into loyal brand evangelists.
Once you know the science of creating stellar buyer personas, however, your work is not done.
You need to understand the journey each hypothetical customer makes as they make their buying decisions.
Stay tuned for the next piece in the series, Part 3: Mapping the Customer Journey!
Read the complete series:
- Part 1: What is a Buyer Persona Anyway?
- Part 2: The Science of Creating a Buyer Persona
- Part 3: Mapping the Customer Journey
- Part 4: Mind the Gaps: Filling Holes in Your Client’s Content Strategy