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Are You Talking to Me? Understanding Buyer Personas

Chris Kelley
August 13, 2019

Your prospects have lots of questions. “How do I solve a problem in my business?” “Who offers the parts or service that can solve my problem?” “How much will it cost?” And in today’s internet-connected world, they are self-educating more than ever before. With a quick Google search, they can look up product details, compare vendors, and view pricing all on their own.

The question is whether they will find you or your competition when they start looking. Research shows that up to 80% of a buyer’s shopping process is complete before a prospect contacts a company. Consumers no longer depend on sales reps to provide information about the products they’re shopping for. In fact, unsolicited postal mail, emails, or cold calls are, more often than not, a turnoff.

So, how do you identify the people that are asking these questions and provide the answers?

The challenge for today’s savvy marketer is to create helpful inbound marketing content that appeals to your ideal prospects and shows up in their search results when they are looking for product information, so they can click through to your company’s website. Therefore, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of your ideal prospect and the questions, issues, and pains that motivate them by creating detailed buyer personas.

What is a Buyer Persona?

The questions being asked by your personas should guide your content creation process to help educate your buyer personas through the questions they’re asking at each phase of the buyer’s journey.

A buyer persona is a detailed picture of your ideal customer. Ultimately, this document provides a baseline for your inbound marketing game plan by answering the basic question, “Who am I trying to reach?” Similar to a “target audience,” your buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. But a buyer persona goes farther by including educated speculation, based on real data from your marketing research, about customer demographics and their online behavior, along with assumptions about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns. Having detailed buyer personas for each of your ideal customer types helps direct your inbound marketing strategy so that you create the right content for the right people.

Your buyer persona documents help direct content creation as well as sales conversations by providing the information that your ideal customer is likely to want. It should not only answer the question, “Who is my ideal customer?” but also, “What are their pains?”

marketing mary persona

A buyer persona document should include at least these four elements:

Common Questions

Understanding your personas’ common questions is the first step towards being helpful throughout their research process. One place to find them is to ask your sales and customer service representatives what questions are asked most frequently. Another is to interview a few of your existing customers about what prompted them to make their purchase decision. The answers to these questions will drive your content marketing strategy.

Demographics

A basic understanding of your buyer personas’ demographic information will go a long way toward equipping your creative team to develop helpful resources that connect with each persona. Is your content intended for a 20-something new mom or a 60-something employee looking forward to retirement? These two unique personas will certainly have different concerns and questions. Therefore, your web pages, blogs, and other online content should address the unique issues that are likely to motivate the prospect you want to reach.

Background

What are the key qualities that identify your buyer personas? Tell a story about them. Rather than a bullet list of key qualities, constructing a detailed background helps make the personas more relatable as you create marketing and sales materials.

Core Functions

What is their responsibility? Each persona should include a synopsis of their functions and roles within their organization. If your persona is not the decision-maker within their company, they may need to convince their boss that purchasing your product is the best option. Determine what content resources you can create that would help them make their case.

Combining these four elements will help you to generate detailed buyer personas that will guide your marketing team toward creating content that answers all the right questions.

Read the Essential Guide to B2B Marketing for Manufacturers

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