Buyer personas are an integral part of creating a successful marketing campaign. You can create the most breathtaking piece of content with beautifully crafted copy, but if you don’t have an accurate buyer persona, you may as well have not tried at all. Without a buyer persona, you are randomly throwing a fishing line into the sea and hoping to catch a salmon. Unfortunately, all you’ll end up with is a soggy old boot. Buyer personas, if done correctly, will tell you the best place to go salmon fishing, what kind of bait to use, what’s the best time of day to fish… you get the point.
So, what is a buyer persona? According to Hubspot ‘A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.’ It is a detailed projection of your audience, looking at their demographic data, likes, dislikes, challenges, behaviour patterns, and so on. In short, buyer personas will help you target your audience by speaking their language. This is why you need to create accurate ones.
1. IT'S A JOB DESCRIPTION
Forming insights based solely on secondary research is problematic, especially when job descriptions are used to influence your insight. Job descriptions consist of a long list of skills and requirements necessary to be an ideal candidate for the job role – rarely does someone tick all the boxes.
Where job descriptions are idealistic, buyer personas should be realistic. Your personas should be a detailed summary that accurately describes who the customer is, not who you want them to be. How to avoid this? Gain first-hand information. Interview your best-fit clients, and get their answers as to why your company is a great solution for them. Equally, interview those working in this role within your own company. Whilst your personas may need to be sector-specific, there will always be commonalities between those working the same job role, and they could provide some unique insight that you wouldn’t get elsewhere.
2. IT FEELS ROBOTIC
When it comes to crafting your personas, a common struggle is taking all the information you have gathered and churn it out into a simulation of a humanoid. Personas shouldn’t feel cold and robotic – unless your ICP is The Tin Man.
Your personas should have a personality, even give them a name! Use your research to make your personas as realistic as possible. Go into detail about the personas likes, dislikes, day to day routine and common workplace challenges. All of this will help you craft your message to real prospects later down the line.
3. THERE'S TOO FEW (OR TOO MANY)
But, how many personas should you aim to target? One persona is acceptable if your product is extremely niche and specialised. However, with one persona you narrow down your options, limiting the size of your target audience. For this reason, it is generally best to create a handful of personas.
However, If three is a crowd then four or more is far too broad. To implement an efficient targeting programme you need to be specific, and it is incredibly hard to create a personalised campaign that speaks specifically to four different kinds of people. Therefore, you should aim to create two to three personas, as a perfect middle ground.
4. IT HAS REACHED ITS EXPIRATION DATE
Are you the same person you were 20 years ago? Or even two years ago? Your answer is most likely no – because life isn’t static. You experience new things and take on new challenges, and with that, you grow and evolve as a person. But if buyer personas are based on real people, why would you keep the same persona for years on end?
Keep your personas up to date. As a job role evolves and changes over time, your clients will be facing new challenges and difficulties. An up-to-date persona offers you the latest customer pain points, which can then influence how you market your products and services, to be the solution to your customer’s challenges.
Buyer personas can be an excellent tool to use within your marketing strategy. When created accurately, personas will strengthen your targeting efforts, and aid your ABM campaign, bringing you excellent results. If you’d like to chat about how Punch! can help create your buyer personas, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org