The buyer persona: A fictional character representing a targeted demographic type of customer or prospect, brought to life with rich details.
Defining buyer personas is a very effective way to segment your database, but there’s more to it than simply putting data into buckets. Thinking of your buyers as people, not segments, helps. If you structure, write and create campaigns designed to talk to specific people (personas), your efforts will be much more effective.
Imagine you want to have a conversation with an elderly man about a new cell phone and its features. That conversation would sound much different than if you were talking to a teenager. The elderly man may not care about using the phone to “SnapChat” with his friends, but he might be very interested in taking high-quality pictures of his grandchildren. The values and needs of these two buyers are drastically different, so you must speak to them in a drastically different way—not only in what features and benefits you emphasize but in how you deliver the message (I’m talking about voice, tone, word choice and vehicle/medium).
Now, whether your products target such a wide audience isn’t important—the concept is the same. For maximum impact, you have to talk to your buyer in a way they readily understand, and sell to them based on their values and needs. Before you can do this, you have to define and truly understand the buyer persona. There are typically multiple buyer personas for a product, and defining them will enable you to properly segment your data and send targeted messages to each type of buyer with confidence.
At DemandGen, we’ve developed a system for creating a buyer persona, and it’s based on defining certain facts, traits and characteristics of the buyer. Here are the key points to consider:
Who is the buyer?
Write a summary or overview of the person you’re selling to. Depending on your product or service, you may want to look at different kinds of attributes. The goal here is to build up a solid picture of this person that everyone can recognize. Pretend you’re describing the buyer to a friend:
• Is the person a man or woman?
• What’s her role?
• How old is he?
• What’s her typical workday like?
What are the buyer’s pain points?
Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes:
• What does she worry about?
• What keeps her up at night?
• What does she wish she could change?
What are the buyer’s key concerns and motivators?
These are the issues that mean the most to this person:
• What factors are behind every decision he makes
• What issues may concern him that relate to your product or service?
What’s this person’s role in the buying process?
Depending on your product, you may need to go through several layers of an organization to ignite the buying process. Think about each persona, and their role in making it happen:
• Is this person the decision maker? An influencer?
• Who might influence her?
• Who is she influencing?
• Who does she need to impress?
How does the buyer gather information?
This factor is very important, because it will determine the vehicle you use to deliver your information. A software developer may love to read blog articles, whereas an executive might prefer a short video, and a product manager may want to watch a more detailed webinar. If you’re targeting consumers, promotional emails may be most effective. Consider the following:
• How busy is this person?
• How does he find his information?
• What type of information would help him make a buying decision?
Create the buying stage table
Here’s where it gets a little more technical and granular, and where DemandGen can offer a hand. The Buying Stage Table is a simple grid that makes it easy to see how your messaging needs to change based on your prospect’s stage in the buying cycle:
• First, define your persona’s motivation at each stage and what questions are being asked at that point.
• Next, look at the right messages and value propositions that should be communicated at that stage
• Finally, determine what medium is best.
Here’s an example of a Buying Stage Table:
Defining your buyer persona or personas is indeed a process, but the payoff can be huge. Rather than broadcasting a generic message to the masses, you can whittle it down to what matters for each prospect, and give them the impression you’re working to meet their specific needs.