Introduction To Buyer Personas – Knowing your Audience
Buyer Personas or Avatars, as they are also known, are semi-fictional characters who represent the ideal customer at any given organization. Personas need to be rooted in real data, behaviors, and demographics learned through actually interacting with your respective audience.
They aren't based on whom you wish they were or who you think they are—in other words; personas are not purely fictional.
Research firm Zenith found that North Americans spent 10.2 hours (612 minutes) per day consuming media of some sort. They also reported it is on the rise.
That increasing amount has led marketers to realize that creating content and media to get into a potential buyers' media stream is a great way to get into the buyer journey and create brand awareness.
The amount of time spent consuming media per day by North Americans
Engaging With 21st Century Buyers
The 21st century has redefined commerce. Success and communication have shifted from feature-focused, specifications-rich tactics to adopting a more buyer-centric approach.
Sellers need to learn how to think about these areas from a strategic perspective and discover new tactics to employ to help design a customer experience that drives increased engagement and revenue. I'm not talking about what Amazon calls buyer-centric. I'm talking about genuinely putting the Buyer first.
They have been eclipsed by businesses that have shifted from pushing products to acting as a helpful concierge. Companies answer the questions and concerns of their audience while being on their team instead of the opposing side.
These companies that have migrated to becoming customer-centric are enjoying unbridled success in many cases. Amazon was once this type of company and it was part of the downfall of brick and mortar.
Only now, as these companies were forced to change in order to survive are we seeing some recovery in the retail sector. This strategy made Amazon famous. Unfortunately, they have forgotten and abandoned this key principle and the marketplace is suffering, along with Amazons customers booth internal and external.
This is an area that now any business can compete against Amazon to some extent.
Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable compared to companies that are not focused on the customer, according to Deloitte and Touche.
63% of CEOs feel that rallying their organizations around the customer is one of their top three investment priorities this year, according to PWC.
Change Your Messaging
Consider how successful you will be when your messaging appeals to your audience's core thoughts and feelings. No more preaching about features, specifications, and generic benefits like your competitors.
It may sound easy, and it is not super complicated, but first, we need to get you aligned with really understanding your audience. It is imperative that you know precisely who your audience is, and the issues they face, that you can help resolve.
Figuring out exactly how you can improve the quality of the lives of your audience as it pertains to your company values should be a key priority in the strategies for your business.
Why Create Buyer Personas?
According to Ardath Albee: “A marketing persona is a composite sketch of a key segment of your audience. For content marketing purposes, you need personas to help you deliver content that will be most relevant and useful to your audience.”
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.
What if I were to tell you that just by creating a buyer persona, marketing results, lead generation and revenue would skyrocket? I'd be lying. Just creating brand personas accomplishes nothing. They also need to be put into place across your business and your staff need top understand its' role.
Studies do show, however, that businesses that do integrate their buyer personas throughout the business produce drastic improvements from their marketing efforts as well as customer satisfaction which leads to additional sales.
Once the data is gathered, and you've have had a chance to talk to some of your audience, the data will then be sifted, sorted, and discussed. Besides knowing about your buyer, what questions do you want to address on the persona itself that will assist your future efforts?
Depending on who you ask or are following in the field of buyer personas, this answer may vary slightly, but most marketers don't address this and mistakenly use demographic info instead. Not giving your persona a voice in the development through real interviews and actual quotes, makes the entire process questionable.
5 Major Opportunity Areas That Benefit
Listed below are 5 significant areas that you will want to ensure all of your data addresses. These are specific areas where you can gain tremendous value out of creating a buyer persona.
Buyers are the most receptive to the sales pitch, marketing, and PPC when they have already prioritized the decision that they need a product or a solution. This is why slapping the buy now page immediately after the first click is not very useful.
Google is used for information searches and shopping searches as opposed to Amazon search results, which contain users looking for actual products.
With this understanding, you realize that you are coming in contact with potential buyers at different stages of the buyer's journey on Google.
Personas 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 types of buyers. 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 so on.
Sometimes it is wiser to provide content, tools, or resources that build trust and lead to the purchase than to send them directly to the purchase page. This builds out your audience potential and is an excellent opportunity to make a mailing list.
We often hear the term gap analysis thrown around a lot concerning content and information. For our purpose, it refers to gaps in your systems and marketing efforts.
Understanding the process triggers allow you to develop a strategy for engagement earlier in the buyers' journey. Understanding how potential buyers approach their decisions leading up to the trigger, fosters opportunities to create relevant, non-sales information that can be used to help the buyer get to that process trigger while building trust and introducing them to the brand.
Gaining an understanding of the perceived barriers, the information gap between the barriers and the decision factors will enable you to address concerns while satisfying the different factors leading up to the decision. This is best discussed with comparisons, reviews, and testimonials that address those points.
Evaluation of the decision factors and your available content will identify gaps in coverage. It enables you to provide needed high-value details to prospective buyers at precisely the right moment as they weigh their decision.
It will also identify any tools or training that you might need to provide your customer service to assist them in becoming an expert for your buyers' questions.
Understanding The Buyer Persona
A vital component of a successful marketing effort is understanding precisely who your audience is, their motivations, and demographics. What motivates them to need your product or service?
This is accomplished by developing several personas(avatars) of potential buyers.
It should be a valuable tool and not a laborious task. Where the act of creating it has as much value as the persona, you will create. It allows you to customize your messaging, marketing, and outreach eﬀorts to target the audience most likely to purchase your products or services.
It makes it easier to map out content, create ads that resonate with them, and achieve ALIGNMENT across your company.
Assumptions Will Not Work
Changing your focus on customer experience starts with empathy. What does it feel like to be them, and what are they going through? A customer-centric approach puts you in their shoes.
You need to understand their struggles to know where your place is in helping resolve them. Taking the time to really understand your buyers and not just sitting around the table in an office projecting what you think your Buyer goes through.
Many marketers will segment their audience and call it a day. Segmentation is dividing a broad audience into smaller groups based on shared preferences or actions. However, effective buyer personas delve much deeper to reveal the attitudes, issues, feelings, and goals that motivate customers during the buyer journey.
Buyer personas will not design your product or validate your hypotheses. Real people are the only ones that can do that. Personas do not replace research and testing, either. Furthermore, B2B personas are distinctly different from B2C personas in that there usually is a chain of decision-makers with B2B.
Building incredible buyer personas is a three-step process. Develop the questions and data necessary, gather data via research, tools, surveys, and direct interviews, then bring it all together. Organize it into a one-page buyer persona. Don't over-complicate, but be thorough.
Customer research is vital for any successful content strategy. Valuable data can be gathered by checking what types of sites your prospects are already visiting, which content they engage with, and which social media platforms they share content on.
One of the best forms of customer research is to engage directly in a dialogue with your audience. Ask them what they're looking for, how you can help them solve problems.
Conduct a simple survey or have a pop-up on your site asking them. Those methods are only valid if you give them a chance to answer in their own words, no multiple choice.
Find them in Facebook Groups, monitor their conversations. Bring up a topic relevant to them and discuss on Twitter. Make notes using their exact words. Pay attention to which questions they're asking.
Keep a file where you gather this data and be sure to copy their exact wording – this will become an invaluable swipe file to inform your copy going forward.
For something a bit more advanced? Utilize Google Analytics, Facebook Audience Insights and the Alexawebsite to get deeper into the data to learn about the other sites your prospects visit. Look at the content they engage with, and which social platforms they are sharing on.
If you don't have customers yet or a website, find competitors with websites and use the Alexa website to get information about their users. Links to detailed instructions are in the next lesson.
PRO TIP: IF you have your own website. Go register at Quantcast and install their free pixel on your site. The detailed data is far beyond anything google or Facebook provide
Buyer Personas – Knowing your Audience
This workshop will cover the different aspects of creating effective buyer personas for your business. We will include both B2C and B2B in separate areas so you can go through either or both depending on which apply best to your business.
You will finish this workshop with an understanding of how to create personas, the methods used, and how to apply what you learn to your business.
We have templates, worksheets, example personas, and additional information that will make creating a persona a helpful experience while creating a tool that you can use moving forward.
We have gone over what Buyer Personas are and how you can benefit from them. We would be giving you the short end of the stick if we didn't also cover what Buyer Personas are not and some of the common pitfalls to avoid.
The next lesson does just that; it reviews what the common mistakes and pitfalls businesses commonly make when putting then together.
Throughout the Workshop we will provide you with the slides for the current lesson as well as any needed worksheets for the next lessen right here.