Question: Are “buyer personas” just another buzzword? Or is there a reason online marketing folks find them so exciting?
Answer: Buyer personas are the bomb! And you should get on board with them.
When it comes to online marketing, the key to success is to create great, SEO-friendly content that builds a connection between your brand and the people who buy your goods and services.
To do this, you must start by figuring out who those people are.
What’s wrong with the traditional approach?
By and large, the traditional approach to marketing has focused on defining “target markets”. The problem is that a “target market” is described in relatively general terms.
Example: “Males, 35-50, Management Professionals, Salary $80,000+, live in Canada.”
While this type of broad information is better than nothing, it doesn’t provide enough details for you to truly understand who this person is and what they care about.
Online marketing is all about making connections.
The more you understand the customer, the better you are at creating engaging content that inspires them to act in ways that benefit your brand.
In essence, this is where the idea of “buyer personas” came from.
What are buyer personas?
In simple terms, buyer personas are fictional characters that represent your ideal customers. When you are able to visualize the people you are trying to connect with, it becomes easier to relate to them as human beings.
While you can customize Buyer Personas based on your business activities, the core elements generally include:
How old is this person? Are they married? Do they have children? Where do they live? Where do they work?
- Fictional Elements
Give them a name and a descriptive title. Add a photo or create an avatar. Include a descriptive paragraph written from their perspective. These elements help the character to come to life.
- Concerns and Interest
What are their concerns and issues? What topics are they trying to learn more about?
- Content Needs and Preferences
What are they looking for online? Expert opinions? Product reviews? White papers? Checklists?
Where do they look for information? Google searches? Forums? Social Media?
What formats do they prefer? Videos? Photos? Text? Infographics?
What motivates them? What inspires them to act?
Why are buyer personas so great for marketing?
Given these elements, buyer personas clearly provide more information and insights than traditional target market descriptors!
And this level of detail offers many marketing advantages:
- Identifying the needs and wants of your customers makes it easier to tailor your products, services, and content, to match those needs and wants.
- Knowing where your customers spend time online and off-line lets you know where and how to promote your business, and what types of content to produce.
- Developing multiple buyer personas allows you to target specific customers with the goods, services and content they will find the most appealing.
- Understanding how your customers make purchasing decisions means that your marketing efforts can become more precise and you can create more effective sales funnels.
- Sharing buyer personas within your company lets everyone become more attuned to customer needs so they can meet those needs consistently and effectively.
For the most part, the traditional approach to marketing just doesn’t work in today’s digital world. The whole idea of making an “ad” and then pushing it at a broadly defined “target audience” is no longer functional.
To master online marketing, you need to STOP trying to sell things and START trying to make connections. Creating Buyer Personas that bring your customers to life is a good start!