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Why your business needs a Buyer Persona

by Jo Shaer, on March 16, 2016

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Inbound Marketers are always banging on about the importance of a company's  Buyer Persona and yet, if you ask most business owners who they want to appeal to, they will almost always say EVERYONE!

The problem is that by trying to appeal to EVERYONE, you invariably end up pleasing NO ONE. Being specific makes marketing much easier because you can target the pain points and behaviours of your ideal customer - the person who is most likely to want your product or service.

So, what is a buyer persona?

According to Hubspot, it is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

It is the person who is most likely to want/need your product or service and includes demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations and goals.

But Tony Zambito gives us the original definition from 2002

Buyer personas are research-based archetypal (modeled) representations of who buyers are, what they are trying to accomplish, what goals drive their behavior, how they think, how they buy, and why they make buying decisions. (Today, I now include where they buy as well as when buyers decide to buy.)

Get it right and your detailed buyer persona will help you identify who to focus on and how to develop your Offers to appeal absolutely to attract the most valuable visitors, leads and customers.

However, as Buyer Persona Institute reminds us, a buyer persona is not merely a description of your buyer and profiling all your buyers will result in too many personas.

You have to think about what causes certain buyers to invest in solutions like yours and what is different about buyers who are satisfied with their life as it is. It's about buyer behaviour.

You have to address the pain points and also the tipping point. So, the problems that would cause someone to need your product but also the change driver that will make them go out and actively research for a solution to that problem.

Buyer Persona Template

These semi-fictional representations aren't that difficult to create - if you know the right questions to ask the right people.

And Hubspot have a buyer persona template that you can use with all the questions on it.

Having said that, the  Content Marketing Institute give us 4 Buyer Persona Mistakes to avoid:
  1. Making stuff up
  2. Getting Sidetracked by irrelevant trivia
  3. Developing too many BPs
  4. Conducting scripted Q&A interviews with buyers

The last one made me pause to think - isn't that just what Hubspot just told you to do? However, apparently,  it is better to be unscripted but agenda driven to get the most in depth detail rather than simple generic answers.

The key to success in developing a buyer persona is asking probing questions based on your buyer’s answers. For example, if buyers tell you they chose you because your solution is easy to use, you might ask follow-up questions to understand what about the solution needed to be easy. 

Buyer Persona Example and why it is so important

The best example of the importance of a Buyer Persona that I have seen in recent weeks came during an episode of AMC's Better Call Saul 

Knowing that ALL his elderly target customers would be watching Murder She Wrote at 3pm on a Wednesday afternoon meant that Saul could target his television ad to the first ad break and be sure to have a hugely successful outcome to his campaign.  

Well, so long as he waited until the programme had finished because no one was going to be making a call until Jessica Fletcher had done her thang!

And, even though you may say that a television commercial is not Inbound Marketing, in this case it is! It was a piece of content that was placed strategically in front of its target audience.  The right place, the right time and with the right people watching. That's guaranteed to get the right results.

Is your website attracting the right people?

Have you developed a Buyer Persona based on the behaviours and problems of your target customers? Find out more about how Inbound Marketing could help your business to thrive by clicking the button below.

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