We’ve talked about buyer personas in our articles before but what, exactly, are they and why are they important to your brand?
Alan Cooper first introduced the concept of user – or buyer – personas in 1999 to help inform design strategy but since then they have adapted outside of the software industry to become vitally important to marketers. A buyer persona is a fictional character created to represent a user type that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way.
Identifying your brand buyer personas is one of the key components in creating a social content strategy and in ensuring successful customer journeys through your social media activity. They improve your vision and let you see things clearly.
Think of it in this way. When you shop for your significant other, your family or friends, you know their personality and can buy something which you know will appeal. You know their needs and their wants.
This is the same level of knowledge you need to acquire for your brand’s buyer personas:
- Do you know who your typical customers are?
- Do you know where they shop?
- How much money they make in a year?
- How many kids they have?
- What their interests are?
- Where they go on holiday?
How Do Buyer Personas Help?
Top of the list is that by knowing your brand persona, and potential audience, you can tailor content which encourages more leads for your business. As buyer trends change and people are increasingly influenced by social media, creating your personas can help you ensure your website content addresses the needs of your potential customers.
How Do I Create Buyer Personas?
When creating personas, it is important to understand their role in the buying process: are they a decision maker – someone who has the power to make the final decision? Or are they an influencer – someone who will make a recommendation to a decision maker?
The best way to create your personas is to speak to your existing customer base. There are dozens of free templates available online which help you draft up key questions to ask. The results of these will identify commonalities between customers, as well as highlighting key differences.
Some of the many buyer persona templates available online
These are then used to create your different personas. You may have only a couple of types depending on what your business does, or you may have dozens. There is no “right” number but make sure you’ve created a persona type for each unique want or need identified in your customer surveys.
Keyword research is one tool for generating data, allowing brands to discover what customers are looking for in relation to their key business market. Your website must have landing pages which will capture the attention of your potential customers when they are searching for specific search terms.
According to Dutch agency Stan & Stacy:
- 80% of buyers always look online first
- 44% begin their search via search engines
- 70% only click organic search results
- 57% watch TV and simultaneously search online via search engines
One example given by Econsultancy looks at a retailer who may discover that a popular search term is its brand name alongside the word “discount” or “offer”. This could be an indication that potential customers value price over other factors like entertaining or informative content or fast delivery – this provides the motivations part of a persona.
What Do I Do With Them?
When you’ve created your buyer personas and you know their background, you can then use this insight to gain a better knowledge and understanding of your customer behaviour. Where they spend time online, where they go to find out information, what social networks they use to communicate and connect with family, friends and coworkers.
Use them to identify pain points which can be clearly addressed on your website. If you’re selling a product, make sure you have an FAQ or How To guides for it.
Identify which social platforms they use the most. It’s no good running a Facebook Ad campaign if the vast majority of your potential customers are on Twitter. Do they read an online newspaper or get their information from YouTube videos?
Once you’ve identified your personas, you can create campaigns tailored to reach each specific demographic and better organise your marketing activity on key platforms. Beacon allows you to set up targeted campaigns across multiple platforms and makes it easier to monitor them and to analyse and report on the results.
Use Personas To Identify Potential Influencers
Consider joining forces with an Influencer. These are people who have large social media followings who are available to do promotions and sponsorship videos or posts with brands (either through provision of free items to review or other payment).
More than 90 percent of marketers who employ an influencer marketing strategy believe it is successful. Companies like North Face and Rolex use social media based influencer marketing strategies to connect with new audiences and improve engagement with existing audiences.
Content that is tailored to your personas interests doesn’t always need to lead with a promotional motive, but should cater to what they are looking for – even if they’re not aware they’re looking at that time!