The Benefits of

Buyer Personas

What is a buyer persona and why is it important for
Growth-Driven Design?

Buyer Persona

Buyer personas, also known as “marketing personas,” are your brand’s fictionalized ideal customers. They are characters who represent your business’s ideal customer based on market research and customer profiling.

Buyer personas help shape how your content and website should flow to boost engagement and enable more effective nurturing. Instead of creating the content, or website, that you think will engage your target audience, you are able to shape your content and designs around actual data and preferences of your target audience.

01

Persona Benefits

No matter the industry, buyer personas help businesses understand their target audience in a deeper, more meaningful way. Once shaped, they help guide content strategy, buyer journey, website strategy, product development, and any customer facing aspect of a business.

A buyer persona moves your marketing team away from having to guess at what your potential customers want. It guides your strategy and clearly outlines what your ideal customer is searching for, where they are likely to look for information, and what major problems they face that your solution helps solve.

Buyer personas provide a clear understanding of, not only, your ideal buyer but also their decision making process. With personas, your business has a comprehensive document that can easily be shared with the whole team to provide details on why your target customers make their decisions, what their concerns are, and what you need to provide for them to feel comfortable enough to buy.

Growth Driven Design, as well as content strategy, is easier when approaching each decision with a buyer persona in mind. You are able to think about the choices you need to make for your website’s design, layout, and workflows, and align them with the buyer journey based a persona’s needs and habits.

02

Improve Results

Buyer Personas Improve Effectiveness and Results. If you don’t know who you are speaking to, designing, or solving a problem for, both your messaging and design will fall flat. How can you have a strong strategy in place to attract leads and convert them, if you do not have a clear profile of who you aim to attract?

With buyer personas as your foundation, your content, design, and nurturing is stronger and more effective. Your buyer journey is more accurate, and you have a better chance at serving up the right content, offers, and emails (at the right time) to better nurture your leads and create more opportunities.

03

Team Help

Buyer personas help your entire organization understand the exact profile of your target customer. They help everyone understand how to communicate in a more effective and meaningful way - whether they are in sales or designing the new home page.

Buyer personas help marketing create better content - geared specifically to the right audience. Everything from blog articles, email marketing campaigns, and other nurturing sequences can be crafted to answer the concerns of the persona, ensuring the message resonates.

With research based descriptions of the type of person likely to buy, sales wastes less time chasing leads that are unqualified, and can hone in on attributes that match the buyer persona found to most likely make a purchase.

Finally, design teams can create websites that flow in a way that is intuitive for your target customer – based on the way they want to interact with content and graphics - and provide an enticing site that leads them further along their journey with your brand.

HOW TO CREATE A BUYER PERSONA

To craft the perfect buyer persona for your business, you need to understand the questions, attributes, and pain-points of your target customer.

Tip: If you’re just getting started, HubSpot offers an easy to use Buyer Persona Template.

While you may have a general idea of who your company is aiming to sell to, honing in on what actually makes them tick as a person - their wants, needs, feels, questions, quirks, job, family - allows your company to better align your product, service, and content to a “real person,” instead of a broad, hypothetical group.

For example - you may sell software to marketers. Without a buyer persona, this group is large, undefined, and has many different types of buyers within it. By narrowing down and honing in on your core target audience through personas, you are able to understand that, yes, you are targeting a marketer, but your marketer’s name is Mary, she works specifically in email marketing, is usually about 30 – 45, and reports to the CEO of a startup. Suddenly, you have an actual picture of who you are trying to reach.

While you will have some idea of who your persona is, based on target industry and role, you will most likely need to do a bit of market research to dive into who your actual customers and opportunities are. Some businesses have one or two personas, others have ten plus. Start with your most important personas and work your way up. It’s not about having a large number of personas - it’s about understanding your core target personas in a deeper, more meaningful way.

Getting Started

To create a buyer persona, you must first have a deep understanding of who it is you are trying to attract to your website - and ultimately sell to. A good way to approach crafting your first buyer persona is through research: interviews, conversations, and data. The more information you have the better!

Setting the foundation to build your personas

  1. If you have customers, dive into their data. Look at demographics, geographic location, and role at the company.
  2. Conduct customer interviews. Ask questions about the challenges they were facing before your product, how they found out about you, and why your solution is a good fit for them.
  3. How are your current customers and leads finding you? What channels are driving the right people to your site?
  4. If you have a sales team, talk to them about the type of conversations they have with leads. What type of lead usually closes? Are there similar patterns in what they are looking for, what type of organization they work for, or pain points they are trying to solve?
  5. For landing page forms, or any other sign up forms for offers, blog subscription, trials, etc. ask questions that help you uncover relevant information about your personas.

While data from your CRM and sales team’s feedback are all relevant to creating buyer personas, the number one way to understand your target customer is to, well, talk to one.

How to Conduct a Buyer Persona Interview

Before you can conduct your buyer persona interview, you must first find a person who fits your ideal customer profile.

As mentioned above, if you have existing customers you will want to start with them. After all, they have already bought from you - finding out why, and how your solution helps solve their individual problems will allow you to quickly craft a buyer persona.

01

Customers and Lost Customers

Contact both customers you currently work with, and customers who are no longer using your product. This is important, as you are trying to really understand who is the best fit for your product. A previous customer can tell you a lot about who may not be an ideal persona for your company to engage with.

For example, maybe you tend to sell your solution to companies with marketing teams. When you dive into lost customers vs. current customers you might notice that the majority of people who have stopped working with you have teams of less than five people. This type of insight can help you understand that a company with few marketing team members is probably not your target.

02

Opportunities and Lost Opportunities

Talk to your sales team about their current opportunities and their most recent lost opportunities.

Ask:

  • What the reasons are for the lost the opportunities?
  • Was there a specific functionality they needed that your product didn’t offer?
  • What factors move an opportunity toward a sale?
  • What are the FAQ’s that opportunities tend to ask?
  • Why are they looking to your company for a solution?

These insights help you narrow down even further the person, team structure, organization, needs, and problems faced by your ideal buyer.

Buyer Persona

HOW TO CREATE A BUYER PERSONA WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE EXISTING CUSTOMERS OR LEADS

Up until this point, we have only discussed crafting personas based on data that a company might have if it has already had success in sales, or at least been able to talk to potential customers.

If you are just starting out, creating a buyer persona is the foundation for how you will attract the right type of visitors to your website. You need to have personas, but where do you start when you don’t have customers?

Start with who you think your ideal customer is. Start broadly. For instance, if you know that your target customer is probably a marketer who is running an ecommerce shop’s email marketing campaigns, find an ecommerce focused forum, Quora answer thread, or LinkedIn group, and dig into discussions there. Message one-on-one to ask what your ideal persona’s needs are, and who knows, you might even get some new opportunities while you’re at it.

How many interviews should you conduct?

You don’t have to speak to hundreds of people, but you should aim to speak to at least three different people per persona you want to create. Why? You need to get a gauge of what common characteristics, wants, and needs show up throughout a group of people so your persona can encompass more than one individual’s opinions.

Buyer Persona Interview Questions

When conducting your interviews, you will want to make sure you hit upon questions surrounding the interviewee’s:

  • Goals
  • Challenges
  • The company where they work
  • Their role in the company
  • Their decision making style
  • Their personal life

Below are some questions to help guide your interview relating to the above categories.

Goals

  1. What is your main goal at work?
  2. What are you responsible for on a daily basis?
  3. What does success look like for your role?

Challenges

  1. What challenges are you faced with?
  2. What is at stake if you do not find a solution?

Company

  1. How many people work at your company?
  2. Are you responsible for a team?
  3. How many people work on your team?
  4. What industry is your company in?
  5. Who are your biggest competitors?
  6. What unique problem do you help your customers solve?

Role

  1. What is your role at the company?
  2. What is your official job title?
  3. What are you responsible for?
  4. Who do you report to?
  5. What is your day like?
  6. What do you need to know to perform your job well?
  7. How is your performance measured?
  8. Do you use any tools to help get your job done?
  9. Are you part of any networking groups/forums/social media groups that relate to your role?
  10. Do you read any blogs, listen to any podcasts, read any books that help with your role?

Decision Making Style

  1. When shopping for a solution for your company/role, what’s your ideal communication preference with vendors? Phone? Email? In-person meeting?
  2. How much research do you do before making a decision?
  3. What are your go to resources when performing this research?
  4. Walk me through your last purchase for a work related solution. What were the final deciding factors that inspired you to close the deal?

Personal Life

  1. What is your age?
  2. Where do you live?
  3. What is your educational background?
  4. What is the highest degree you have?
  5. What has your career path looked like up to your current role?
  6. What do you like to do in your free time?

Would you like 4 great Buyer Persona Templates to streamline getting started? 

Get Buyer Persona Templates

Growth-Driven Design

Buyer Personas & Strategy Kit

The step by step blueprint to prepare your GDD site strategy. Buyer Persona Examples (and more) included.

After the Interviews: Turning Data into Buyer Personas

Take all of that great data you have just gathered, and find the commonalities. Put them together to create your persona. The best way to do this is with a buyer persona template.

View 4 great example buyer personas >>

However you choose to present your final personas, make sure they are easy to reference, as you will want to revisit them when crafting content, building your website, and adjusting offers.

Don’t forget to name your persona, and add an image of what they look like!

4 Buyer Persona Examples

Buyer Personas, a Foundation for Growth

As your company and product evolve, your buyer personas will inevitably evolve as well. Make sure you adjust as necessary, conducting surveys with both customers and lost customers every few quarters to ensure your personas are still on point with your idea customers.

With your buyer personas setting a foundation for your customer facing communications and website, you will improve engagement, increase leads, and push your company toward greater opportunities as your messaging, site flow, and buyer journey are perfectly matched to the goals and actions of your ideal buyer.

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