No business is all things to all men, as the adage goes (almost). Your products are geared towards solving very specific problems
– whether that’s cut price earpods for people who don’t want to shell out hundreds on Apple products, or a new software package for a business struggling with its admin. There are multiple reasons why people buy what you provide – but it is crucial for you to understand them. In order to do that – you need to create buyer personas.
Buyer personas are fictional characters used by marketers to enable them to visualise that buyer’s particular problem and consequential buyer journey. Understanding and developing personas allow a business to market a product to a specific buyer – resulting in messaging that, hopefully, resonates and pulls a buyer through your sales funnel.
The psychology of pain points
There’s a reason buyers respond to specific messages which address their ‘pain points’ – or problems – and it can be explained by psychology. HubSpot cites a study from the University of Texas, which found that our preference for personalised experiences come down to two factors – our desire for control and our dislike of ‘information overload.’ Put simply, humans dislike complexity and when faced with a torrent of choices, tune into the ‘choices’ put before them and the story most relevant to them. In order to market to people effectively therefore – you need to understand their story.
Depending on the size of your business, you could have one or two personas – or a dozen. You might also only start out with a couple and expand on that as the business – and your data – grows.
Creating your personas
There is no one-size-fits-all way to create your personas. Some businesses offer templates, such as HubSpot, but you might prefer to simply create your own. The sort of questions you’ll want to ‘ask’ of your fictionalised buyers also vary depending on the business, but they can include the following:
What are your personal demographics? (Gender, age range, marital status, location, educational background).
What is your career (what sector do you work in, what is your occupation and what stage are you at in your career?)
Where do you hang out? (Where do you socialise online, what papers/websites do you read – if any etc)
Why do you want to use this product/service? Why do you need it – if applicable?
What are your challenges?
Just a few of these questions will allow you to build up a good picture of your personas. The beauty of fictional personas is that they are not real – you should have an inkling of what makes different customers tick – but you do not have to spend time and money interviewing hundreds of potential customers to find out. All you need to do is apply common sense, imagination and empathy. In any case – any buyer persona work should be revisited at least every year – maybe more often for newer businesses – as you refine your knowledge of your customer base and any emerging challenges they face.
Tailoring messages to personas
Once you understand why ‘Agitated Andy’ or ‘Struggling SME’ want to buy your product or service, you can tailor your message specifically to their pain point, using the right platform, at the right time. Are all your personas on Instagram? Or will some of them be on Facebook? Will all of them respond to GIFs, or do some of them prefer short videos? Content mapping is a process brands use to plan content for each buyer persona – mapping out the who, what, where and how of their communication with customers. You can also find some great templates on the web, such as this example from HubSpot, or – if you prefer – develop your own.
If you need help identifying your buyer personas and tailoring your content, why not book a free online consultation with one of our digital marketing experts? All you need to do is bring the coffee! Book your appointment below.
by Amy Rowe Jul 10, 2020
Amy is a former journalist and content manager with a background across various sectors. She now combines her passion for copy with a deep knowledge of digital platforms and a highly strategic focus, designing content strategies for a range of B2B and B2C clients.