Develop insights to make your content so damn relevant that your target audiences are compelled to choose you to help them achieve their top priorities.
Buyer Personas Defined
The first thing you need to understand about personas is that they are not representative of a real person. Buyer personas are a composite sketch of a segment of your target market designed to help brands align with these specific buyers’ needs and priorities to build engagement that results in a profitable relationship.
Because buyer personas are focused on role, needs, priorities and objectives, a single persona could represent a range of titles. Role must take precedence over title.
A well rounded buyer persona informs content strategy.
Buyer personas are not simple one-sheet representations of a target segment that complete a checklist item. Rather, they are deeply researched and well-rounded dossiers that help you understand what the persona cares about, what a day in their life is like, who they interact with, what type of content they may relate to best, and how they may prefer to engage with it.
Components of a buyer persona include:
- A first-person scenario: This is written from the persona’s perspective as if they are telling you about what and whom they’re dealing with when trying to achieve an objective that whatever you sell can help them achieve.
- Objectives: These are the things they need to accomplish and are accountable for, as well as their professional aspirations.
- Orientation: These are commonalities of traits evidenced across the people representative of the persona. An example might be that an engineer prefers precise technical information with sources to back up assertions.
- Obstacles: These are whatever could cause the persona to stop moving toward purchase during any of the buying stages across the continuum.
- Problems: Problems are the flip side of objectives. If there were no problems or challenges in the way of objectives, the persona would have already achieved them.
- Questions: What are all the questions that this persona will need to have answered to make the transition from status quo to embracing change?
- Keywords and Phrases: Which terms will the persona be most inclined to search for when looking for information that can help them to solve their problem or meet an objective?
- Channels for Engagement: Where does this persona hang out online? What offline channels do they prefer?
- Social Media Preferences: Which hashtags do they track? Which groups do they belong to? Which influencers do they follow? What type of content do they share with their networks?
- Engagement scenarios: How will you attract this persona and continue to engage with them as they make progress from status quo to embracing change? What does that path look like? How do they interact with others on the buying committee that must reach consensus?
- Content preferences: Which formats does the persona prefer?
To see this information represented in an infographic, click here
Developing a Buyer Persona
Buyer personas require a bit of effort to develop. This includes interviews and research. While interviews are the most time-intensive part of the development process, spend the time to interview enough people to the point where you’re hearing the same things repeatedly. When you reach this point, you’ll know you have commonalities that will resonate across the segment represented by the persona.
- Internal Interviews: Salespeople, marketers, product development, customer service
- External Interviews: Customers – as many members on the buying committee as possible for each one. You’ll also want to interview prospects who didn’t choose to buy from your company.
- Research: Analyst reports, industry-specific reports, LinkedIn profiles, LinkedIn Groups, social channels, industry portals, job descriptions, and more.
Once you have developed comprehensive buyer personas, you’re armed with what you need and ready to create a winning content strategy.
It’s also important to consider that personas should be developed for customers. These personas will be different. The first difference is that their original problem has been solved. Therefore their status quo, priorities, and objectives have shifted. The second is that those working with your company or solution on a day-to-day basis, or even considering whether or not to approve renewal, may not be the original buyers.
If you’d like to learn more about Buyer Personas, I invite you to download The Intelligent Guide to Buyer Personas, an eBook that I wrote, produced by Cintell. The eBook also includes an excerpt from my new book Digital Relevance.
If you’ve got B2B Buyer Personas but aren’t sure if they’re effective or how to use them, check out my B2B Buyer Persona Assessment service.
Get in Touch to find out how to get moving with your buyer persona project.