What Goes Into a Buyer Persona?

"Target market" illustration with arrow and bull's eyeSpending some time up front will save you both time and money.

By Becky Livingston
The Accountant’s Social Media Handbook

Before conducting any research, it’s important to know who your target market is.

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When I teach workshops and I ask attendees who their target market is, I often get in return, “Everyone!”

That’s impossible. If you have a product that applies to every person in the world, at any age, it must be pretty important … like breathing.

What most people don’t consider is who is their ideal customer? How old are they? Where do they live? What hobbies do they have? I could go on.

Before conducting any keywords research, begin first with identifying your target market.

Here is an activity you can use to help you get started.

What is buyer persona?

According to this definition from HubSpot, “A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations and goals.”

Having a deep understanding of your buyer is crucial to driving the type of content you create, images, text, tip sheets, graphics, etc., to the sales follow-up that works best to engage and retain them.

At its most basic level, a persona helps you to personalize your efforts toward your target market, whether that’s one market or several. For example, you might have a board of directors, people who buy one type of service or another, webinar attendees, downloaders, etc. Knowing who and how is important so you may tailor messages to what you know about each target market.

What is a negative persona?

There is also something called a negative persona. Those are the people you want to avoid marketing to. They might be excluded based on age, gender, geographic location, income and so many other characteristics. They might also include

  • professionals who are too advanced for your product or service,
  • students who are only engaging with your content for research/knowledge or
  • potential customers who are just too expensive to acquire.

Identifying that audience is also key to preventing marketing dollars and efforts being lost on an audience you don’t want.

Who might be some negative personas to stay away from? Here are a couple – people under the age of 20, people in countries outside the U.S., etc.

Why is buyer persona important?

The buyer persona is important because you want to know who your buyers are, as well as the journey they take as they move through a buying process. To get to the bottom of their buying behavior, you need to understand them fully.

Why should you create content?

There are a lot of moving parts to a content strategy, but when you’re working alone or with a small staff, it’s hard to keep the roles and responsibilities clear.

Here are some reasons why most brands develop a content marketing strategy:

  • Increase leads to your website at a low cost
  • Become a thought leader in your industry
  • Build relationships / excite influencers
  • Move leads through the sales funnel

Activity – Buyer Persona

Age range: _____________ Male/Female %: ________________

Where do they live? ______________________________________________________

What are their hobbies? ______________________________________________________

How much money do they make? ________________________________________________

Do they have children? If so, how many / How old? __________________________________

Where do they vacation? ______________________________________________________

Tell us more about your ideal client: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What are your business objectives and the social media objectives to support the goals?

Example: Increase new customers by [%] within the next six months (August 2018) within [niche] industry.

Social Goal: Increase online exposure using social media platform [name the platform], to share information and tips about our brand. Post 3x/wk on this platform with engaging content and images and/or video.

______________________________________________________

______________________________________________________

What is your monthly/annual budget to spend on marketing and social media efforts?

$_____________________________________________________

In order to define where to go for content, as well as to determine the type of content you need to create, you must first know:

Where does your buyer/customer get his/her information?

Choose all that apply and fill in the Other field for other options.

__ Internet   __ Email    __ YouTube   __ Social Media   __ Stores   __ Reading   __ Radio   __ TV   __ Newspaper  __ Events

__ Networking   __ Other

______________________________________________________

 

What are the buyer’s pain points and challenges about getting a product like yours?

__ Price    __ Availability   __ Access   __ Convenience    __ Rate Topic    __ Other

______________________________________________________

 

What is your key marketing message when speaking with this persona? For example, “We offer a wide range of products we know you’ll love.” Write a few potential marketing messages for your brand.

______________________________________________________

______________________________________________________

______________________________________________________

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