Home > Marketing > Buyer Personas for Inbound Marketing Part 1 – Creation

Buyer Personas for Inbound Marketing Part 1 – Creation

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Knowing what motivates your target buyers is essential for building a successful inbound marketing effort as well as for increasing sales or getting clients for your legal services or getting additional donors for your non-profit.  This two part blog series will discuss what is a buyer persona, why you need to create personas and how to create them.  The next blog post will discuss what to do with the personas once you have them.

Always remember that your buyers are human beings.

What Is?

A buyer persona is a key part of the buyer’s journey to purchase your product or service.  A persona reveals insights in their attitudes, concerns, pain points and buying reasons.  A persona is educational, is short and sweet, and should accurately depict a normal buyer.

Why?

  • You need to know their story so that you can tell your story so that they will want to purchase from you.
  • For a sales person, when you know your buyer, you can speak their language, you can understand their needs and therefore you become a trusted advisor.
  • For a marketing person, when you know your buyer, you can speak their language in your marketing efforts so that they will want to buy from your organization.  Your content is tailored for them so that it is more effective.
  • For a product manager, when you know your buyer, you can have better discussions with them on the products and services your organizations needs to provide to them.

How to Create?

  • First, create the framework you are going to use for all the personas –
    • Determine the owner of the buyer persona – Is it Product Management? Marketing? Sales?  It probably doesn’t matter as all three should be involved but you need one group and one person to run with each individual persona creation project.
    • Create a template – All the personas should look the same and follow the same general outline.  The persona should include demographic information.  Provide this persona with a name, an estimated age and the normal education background.  The template should also include priority initiatives, success factors, perceived barriers and decision criteria.  A good resource for this is Adele Revella’s website at www.buyerpersona.com
    • Create questions that would work for all personas – These should be demographic questions but also questions on why they buy.  The questions should be open ended so that are most likely to produce usable results. I am a big fan of SPIN questions as they lead to discussions.
    • Determine where the personas will reside – Personas need to be easily accessible by anyone in the organization.  An intranet is the usual place.
  • Determine personas to do – Sales and Marketing should sit down and discuss which personas are needed and then put them in priority order for completion.  It is OK to select an easy one as the 1st one to create.
  • Interview internal resources – Find out who in your organization is the most knowledgeable on that buyer.  It could be a sales person, it could be a Product Owner or it can even be the President of the company.  Once you know who it is, interview them with the questions you created.
  • Create a persona draft, review and edit – The persona owner should take the framework, do internet research, take the information provided by the internal resources and create a draft of the persona.  Have the internal resources review the draft and suggest changes.  Your goal is to come up with a draft that is usable and that can be validated by actual buyers.
  • Validate with actual buyers and create the final persona – I have found that this is the most difficult creation step as it is not easy to find buyers who have the time or desire to be interviewed.  Hopefully the sales team can provide customers that can be interviewed for the persona.  My suggestion is that 3 interviews would be enough to validate the buyer persona.
    Here are some tips on the interviews:

    • Respect their time (they are busy and doing you a favor), schedule the interview in advance (2 weeks), be clear on what you are doing and be clear on how long it will take (I would say 45 minutes maximum).
    • Use the questions that you have already created but be prepared to stray from them depending on the answers given.
    • Record the interviews and do not try to take notes.  It is difficult to listen when writing.  At the beginning of the interview, let the interviewee know that they are being recorded for internal use only.
    • Make sure that you thank the interviewee for their help and ask for permission to send them follow up questions.
    • Recirculate the final persona to the internal staff contributors to get their final comments before showing it to the rest of the sales and marketing teams.

I hope that this helps in the creation of your personas.  They are not easy to create but will prove beneficial to your inbound marketing efforts and increasing sales.  The next blog will focus on what to do with the personas once created.  Let me know what you do to create excellent personas to aid your marketing and sales efforts.

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