Buyer Personas and the 6 Reasons You Need Them

Ashley IkelerLearn

Ever feel like your marketing campaigns resemble Adele singing her hit song, ‘Hello’? You know the line I’m talking about, “Hello from the outside / At least I can say that I've tried”.

Yeah, we’ve all been there Adele. In a marketing scenario, this song can be heard lingering in the background of your subconscious every time you don’t get the results you hoped for from a marketing campaign.

Well, I’m going to give it to you straight. If you want to make an impact in today’s oversaturated market, you’ll need to build buyer personas.

Why buyer personas?

Too often we see companies who develop products, launch campaigns and design brands for nameless and faceless users that are defined simply by obligatory data points that lack any real, meaningful context.

It’s easier to craft a visual and verbal identity that resonates with your audience if you have a well-rounded view of who that audience is.

This means knowing more than “a 30-something year old business person”.

Instead, imagine knowing your ideal customer is a 34-year old business women named Joanna who has 3 kids under the age of 10, drives a Honda and primarily shops at TJ Maxx. This puts you in a better position to develop the right content and messaging to serve your audience in a meaningful and valuable way.

Personas not only define who our customers are, but they also serve as a reminder of who is not your customer.

ARDATH ALBEE

You’re probably wondering, “how in the world do you know she has 3 kids, drives a Honda and shops at TJ Maxx”? Promise, it’s not as creepy as you’re thinking.

Personas actually don’t need to be 100% based on factual evidence or research. The point of established personas is to start viewing your ideal customer/audience as real people instead of faceless statistics that you know you have to reach.

Here are some areas buyer personas can come in handy:

Saving yourself valuable time and money

What came first, the chicken or the egg? A hard question to answer, right?

Well, the question I’m about to propose is much simpler: What came first, building a brand or determining who the customer is?

Hopefully you didn’t have to think too hard on that. Determining who the customer is should always come first!

Imagine inviting a client over for a kick-off meeting. Which process is more efficient? Creating a brand identity before learning the goals, values and market of the business or vice versa?

If you start building a brand beforeyou’re buyer personas getting to know your customers, you’re setting yourself up for failure. You’ll have to go back and make costly, time-consuming changes that could have been avoided if you had first created and references your buyer personas.

These established buyer personas will save you the headache down the road but will also allow you to spend your valuable time and energy on attracting and retaining the most ideal customers. 

Aligning your company under common goals

I’ll make this short and sweet: Buyer personas help get everyone in the company on the same page about your marketing goals and the audience segments your marketing initiatives should serve.

Finding your place in the customer's life

If your buyer personas consist of only the main demographics (gender, age, and income) we have some work to do.

It’s time to start looking past the superficial view of a basic buyer personas and to start working towards getting a more holistic view of your customers. This means having conversations with the real people who are purchasing your product or using your service.

This is where the childhood impulse to ask ‘why’ after every statement comes in handy. Except, don’t ask after every statement. That gets annoying fast. Instead, start asking questions, asking ‘why’ and listening to what they say.

This means having a conversation without the driving factor being a sale. Your driving force is now to listen, build a connection and establish trust along the way. 

With a more detailed buyer persona in your arsenal, you can help define common problems among your audience and the pain points they experience. In turn, this helps you effectively present your audience segments with solutions tailored to them so they can be integrated seamlessly into their lives. 

Establishing trust with your audience

The world of business is a lot like the world of dating. You have to give your audience a reason to swipe right on the relationship and then you have to nurture that relationship, so it thrives.

And at the root of every solid relationship is trust…and a multitude of dogs if you’re like me. But that’s not the point.

The point is, when customers are choosing a product or service/partner, people naturally gravitate towards someone they know and trust.

The best way for you to build trust with your customers? Show a genuine understanding and concern for what they are going through. This means using buyer personas to determine their pain points and then address those head on. Show your customers you care about what they are going through and they are more than just a potential sale. 

Tailoring content to your audience

In a time where consumers are inundated with content and advertisements, you have to stand out above the noise. This means you have to write content that appeals to the personas you’re targeting.

You can't target 18 personas with one blog post.

joe pulizzi

Established personas takes the guess work out of writing. You now have the advantage of knowing who you’re writing for/to and what types of content appeal to them. This means you won’t have one blog post that appeals to every persona. Instead, you should be considering more personal content that appeals to the different personas, their interests, where they are at in their life and in the buyer’s cycle.

Think of it like writing a personalized letter to each audience segment/persona. Use that established trust to show them you listening, understand them and are serving up real value that they can take and implement into their own life.

Personalizing your marketing efforts

We’ve already established that developing personas allows you to create content and messaging that appeals to your target audience, but it goes deeper than this.

It’s what you do with this content and messaging that matters.

With messaging and content tailored to each persona, you now have the opportunity to personalize your marketing efforts for the different segments of your audience.

Take lead nurturing emails for example. Instead of sending the same email to everyone on your list, you can segment your emails by the different buyer personas and tailor your messaging, shared content and downloads to what you know about the different personas.

Now you’re armed to take it beyond ‘Hello, [first name]’!

Take your personas to the next level!

Crafting buyer personas really comes down to knowing who you’re talking to and then giving them exactly what they want in terms of tailored content and messaging.

Need help generating your businesses buyer personas and creating content to serve these audiences? Contact us today! We would love to talk about how we can take your marketing efforts to the next level.

Feel like tackling this on your own? Check out our comprehensive buyer persona template to get started!

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