How can you possibly market your product or service if you don’t know who your target audience is or what your client looks like? The answer is – you can’t. You could have the best product/service in your industry, but if you don’t market it to the right people, you might as well be selling cigarettes to babies.

What are Buyer Personas?

Buyer personas are examples of the real buyers who influence or make decisions about the products, services or solutions you market. They are a tool that builds confidence in strategies to persuade buyers to choose you rather than a competitor.

3 Tips to Build Your Buyer Persona

Building a detailed picture of your ideal target audience can be time consuming and difficult, but once done, think about how clear your marketing content writers will understand what they need to do to create engaging and quality content. The best way to truly understand your audience is to build buyer personas with these 3 steps:

  • Segment by Demographics – Start by researching your existing customer base to identify your most common buyer for your products or services. You may find you have several different types of buyers, so you need to separate each of them and create a persona for each. Each “buyer” should have their own description, including; name, job title or role, industry or company info and demographic info.
  • Identify Their Needs – Based on the profiles you start to create, you can then identify the pain points, needs and challenges of each. Ask yourself what they need, what are they trying to solve, what are they searching for and what is influencing their purchase. Once you can answer these questions, you will have now narrowed down your profiles even more.
  • Develop Behavior-Based Profiles – The next and final step is to develop a profile of each persona’s typical online behavior. Start to think about ways they research a potential purchase, where are they looking to buy, etc. The result of this step should be a detailed description of your personas’ demographics, needs and behaviors. Remember, the further you research and develop your persona, the easier it will be to create quality content for each of your targeted segments. In addition, you will have learned where to promote each.

Sample Buyer Persona

Below, we have created a sample buyer persona for someone looking into Internet Marketing services. This is an example of how you can gather information about your “typical” buyer in order to create better content and market your product or services in the right manner.

Internet Marketing Persona

Julia is a 40-year-old woman who holds a position at an office in her area as a Marketing Assistant. She knows that to have a strong web presence is key to determining online success. She is married, lives in Michigan with her husband and 2 children, and she makes $45,000/yr.

She has recently been tasked with a project that in a smaller more complicated niche market, and is looking for ideas on where and how to break this project its industry. She checks seomoz.org, searchenginewatch.com, and inbound.org on a daily basis to read what’s new and happening in the industry.

Julia considers herself an excellent computer user, and is connected to the Internet with a broadband connection from home. She is primarily interested in:

  • Search Engine Optimization & Marketing
  • Blogging Resources & Services
  • Web Stats & Analytics
  • Writing & Editing Services
  • Advertising & Marketing

3 Companies That Successfully Use Buyer Personas

Have you ever watched a TV commercial or seen a marketing campaign and though, “Wow, they really got me!” If so, you are probably referring to a company that properly creates and utilizes buyer personas. To me there are 3 companies that currently stand-out and are for sure doing just that:

  • Seventeen Magazine – The history of Seventeen magazine goes back to 1950 where they created a persona named Teena, based on survey data gathered from teenage girls and their mothers during the 1940’s. Even though we are far from the 1950 persona of Seventeen, they have continued to adapt their buyer persona to align with teens now and their hobby’s, interests, fashion, etc. The success of Seventeen magazine speaks for itself and proves they are indeed targeting the right markets.
  • Apple – You didn’t think I could talk about companies who know how to market and leave out Apple, did you? Apple is known for their outstanding marketing campaigns. They have continued to evolve over the years; before they were geared more toward consumer marketing; now they have switched to a business professional focus on making jobs easier and more efficient. Either way, they are picking their target market based on a buyer persona.
  • Procter & Gamble – A company that develops thousands of products for households is Procter & Gamble. Naturally, they create buyer personas based on their products; typically this is a parent – particularly a mom. They create campaigns that pull at the heartstrings of parents. For example, the “Raising an Olympian” campaign. This campaign takes a look at the mother’s role in the Olympian’s life. If you haven’t seen any of these commercials and videos, check them out. They do a great job relating to their target market, mothers.
  • If your competitors are using personas and you are not, you are behind. That doesn’t mean the game is over, though! We have tips for handling your competition online, too.

    Final Thoughts

    So what have we learned? By developing buyer personas and getting more in-depth and personal with your target customer, you can create content that better appeals, educates and relates to your potential buyers. Well-developed buyer personas enable content marketers to see the world through the eyes of their buyers, helping them put their customers first, not their brand.