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Buyer Personas: What Are They and Why Does Your Business Need Them?

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Posted by Mark Parent - August 01, 2017

Buyer personas

The first step to building your business is knowing who your customers are. Understanding your customers and creating buyer personas that outline their attributes can help you focus your marketing efforts for better results. This post explores the concept of buyer personas — what they are and how they can help your business.

What are buyer personas?

A buyer persona is the imagined profile of your "typical" customer based on the words of your actual customers. To create a buyer persona, companies need to first amass both data and testimony from their customers and individuals experiencing problems that could potentially be solved by the company's products or services.

As the Buyer Persona Institute (BPI) points out, "A buyer persona is not merely a description of your buyer."

In other words, gathering demographic information is not enough. The BPI explains, "...[W]hen you have insights into what your buyers think about doing business with you, including verbatim quotes from people who have recently made the decision to solve a similar problem, you have the knowledge you need to align your marketing decisions — from positioning and messaging through content marketing and sales enablement — with your buyer's expectations."

Why does your business need them?

A buyer persona creates a clear picture of the needs of your customers and therefore allows you to mold your messaging so that you are directly addressing their concerns. Like other features of inbound marketing, this means you are reducing advertising waste, according to Charles E. Gaudet II writing for Forbes.

"Self-service advertising platforms on social media websites like LinkedIn and Facebook allow you to create highly targeted ads for very specific demographics," he writes. "Knowing which magazine, television station or even mailing list to sell from allows you to better match the message with the audience most likely to bite. If you know your buyer persona is female, age 25-35, has a college education and loves to knit, you can ensure your ads appear only in front of people who fit this criteria."

Buyer personas

Above all, creating a buyer persona helps
you understand how your customers make choices.

Gaudet adds that a detailed buyer persona also permits you to understand the objections of your customers and potential customers, so you can troubleshoot when your marketing and advertising efforts don't seem to be working.

How to Create a Buyer Persona

Hubspot offers a free buyer persona template, and in another post they propose the 20 questions you need to ask to do create the perfect buyer persona. Questions cover details ranging from personal demographics and job titles to media consumption and preferences for interacting with vendors.

This means that, when you start trying to establish the buyer persona for your product, you are not just collecting the factual details of your customers' lives, but going in-depth to get their subjective inclinations on a wide field of topics. That way you will know not just what your customers look like, but what they are like, how they behave and how best to communicate with them.

For more tips on buyer personas and other inbound marketing topics, download our ebook: The Ultimate Guide to Hiring an Inbound Marketing Agency.

Hiring an Inbound Marketing Agency eGuide

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Planning & Strategy, Content Marketing, Sales Solutions, Personas & Buyer Journey


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