This week, we’re going to discuss an extremely important step in understand your audience and turning that into actionable information for your marketing planning – buyer personas! We’ve talked about buyer personas a couple times before on Episode 35 and Episode 36, but we want to do a deeper dive in this episode and really discuss how they’re put together. Too many businesses skip creating buyer personas when they are a key part of putting together a strategy, so let’s look at what’s involved.
Ideal Buyers vs. Buyer Personas
There are two broad types of personas that brands should have at the ready. One is an ideal buyer profile, and one is a buyer persona. What’s the difference? Here’s the easiest way to explain what they are and why both matter.
- Ideal buyer profile: With an ideal buyer, you start with your products or services, and create a profile for the buyers that you need to appeal to. This profile is limited by your business reach and activity, but otherwise it can be as broad as necessary to describe the people that could buy your brand.
- Buyer personas: Buyer personas are fictionalized characters that represent different portions of your target audience. While your ideal buyer profile is limited by your business, buyer personas are limited by the customers themselves – where they shop, how they make decisions, how much income them have, and so on. Buyer personas are a better way of understanding the target audience that you have. In B2B companies in particular, personas are used to describe decision makers in particular, and how they make their decisions (which could be several different positions throughout a company).
Finding an Ideal Buyer Profile
Starting with the ideal buyer profile is usually best for brands, since it’s easier to work towards buyer personas afterwards. But how do you put one of these profiles together? We have a handy questionnaire that you can use to get started, and we’re going to summarize the questions here so you have a good idea what’s required for creating this picture.
What size of company is a good fit, or not, for your product? This question basically asks what range of companies you serve. Small, mid-sized, large, corporate, etc. – they all have different needs at different stages of growth, and this limits your ideal buyer.
How do you define company size? Do you use revenue, number of employees, number of customers, or something else? Answering this will help you define your range of companies more clearly, and may open up your ideal buyer profile in ways you didn’t expect.
Which industry verticals are ideal or not ideal? A vertical is simply what category buyers may fit into. For example, self-employed contractors may be ideal buyers for one set of your products, while another big portion of your products may be well suited for electricians that work for larger construction firms. Those are two important verticals that could be buyers. Developing use cases for your products may help with this step (and many others).
Which geographic locations are ideal or not ideal? This is an easy one – what regions is your brand present in? What regions can you ship to?
Are companies that sell to businesses better than companies that sell to consumers? In other words, how close to the consumer is your business? Where are you in the supply chain? This is another easy question, but you should also ask if it’s possible to sell further up or down the supply chain – this could uncover valuable opportunities you may not be focusing on! Download our free worksheet, just click on the image!
Finding a Buyer Persona
So, what exactly goes into a buyer persona? This is a great question and part of the answer will depend on your customers in your industry. However, we have an easy worksheet that you can consult which has the key questions that you should be asking when you put together personas. We won’t go over every question here, but some of the key categories are:
- Personal information: This may seem unnecessary, but it can really help to know if your customers are more likely to have children, more likely to be over 40 years old, more like to have a certain income, etc.
- Goals and values: This covers what really matters to buyers – and so what influences there decisions.
- Professional information: This deals with where buyers work, when they work, what tools they use or skills they have, if they’re in charge of other people, and more. It’s particularly important data in the B2B world!
- Sources of information: How do your buyers get their information? Do they rely on social media, web searches, word of mouth, trade shows, magazine, or something else?
- Challenges: This covers buyer goals, how they see themselves, where they want to be, and how they want to get there. The key is to ask how your brand can help with this!
- Objections and role: What objections may the buyer have to a purchase? If someone else is making the decision for them, who is that person?
Remember, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one buyer persona if you serve different audiences and need personas for all of them. Download your free worksheet, just click the image below!
We can help you figure out just how many personas are right for you if you aren’t sure. We can also help you with the accountability and advice you need to create this content and put it into practice with our coaching program! We still have a few spots left often in our beta program for COACH, and you have the opportunity to join right now. Head to our website and sign up to begin the process.
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