Inbound marketing is all about thinking like your customer and bringing them resources to solve their pain points or educate them on things they care about, rather than pushing unwanted sales messages down their throat. However, how do you know who your customers are? How can you uncover their needs and pain points? In order to fully follow the inbound marketing methodology, you must create buyer personas.
What is a buyer persona?
Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customer. Unlike vague notions of customers, buyer personas have names, occupations, wants and needs, dreams, budgets, and worries. And, there’s one to represent every select group of customers you have so that you can best target your marketing efforts.
How do I make a buyer persona?
Creating a buyer persona requires time and dedication. You don’t want to wing it or create vague responses, because then your targeted messaging won’t work. All your blogs, emails, and marketing materials are dictated by the wants and needs of your buyer personas. That’s pretty powerful, so you want to make sure that your personas are spot-on. As you begin, you can also use the free Hubspot Buyer Persona template to help organize your different personas throughout this process.
Step 1: Segmenting
Before you create your personas, you need to figure out how many different groups are buying from your company. For instance, if you’re a wall decor store, you probably have many different clients come through your door. Some are housewives looking to spice up their interior. You might call this persona Mom Megan. There also might be an assistant looking for abstract art for her meeting room. You could call him Assistant Andy. Think about the main groups of customers you have coming through your door and break them down into manageable categories.
Step 2: Collecting Data
Let’s continue with the Mom Megan and the Assistant Andy examples. You decided to choose these as two of your personas because you noticed you got a lot of area businesses looking for abstract art and a lot of families looking for pieces to warm up their home.
Now, how do you collect data?
Well, the easiest way to know you’re getting it right with your persona is to survey your customers. Then, you’ll talk directly to them and know their pain points. Sending email surveys in exchange for a small discount can do wonders in helping you build an accurate buyer persona. Possible questions for your survey could look like for our art shop owner could be:
- What’s one thing you find frustrating about finding art for your home or office?
- What is your occupation?
- Why did you decide to shop here today?
- What do you think art does for your home/ office?
- How much does budget factor into your final purchase decision?
These questions will give you a sense of your persona and what they are looking for in you and your business.
Another option some businesses find helpful is to talk to customer-facing employees to get their input. While it’s not as reliable as getting information straight from the customer's mouth, it’s an easier place to start for businesses just getting their feet wet with inbound marketing.
Step 3: Compile your lists into bullet points
Once you have trends in your buyer personas, you can then begin making those trends into bullet points. Let’s make one for our “Mom Megan” persona:
- Works from home and watches child
- Likes DIY, but is short on time
- Wants her house to feel like home
- Prefers to shop in local stores to help local economy
- Convenience is a must, especially because she has a child
Step 4: Create a story based around your bullets
It’s much easier to market to a story instead of a list of bullets. Creating a story around your buyer persona makes the persona real and will make your marketing messages more sincere.
Here’s a buyer persona story about Mom Megan:
Megan is a mom of a two-year-old, and works from home while still being a stay-at-home mom. While she isn’t cooking dinner for her family, she likes doing craft projects and DIY. However, she’s short on time because of all her household duties. While she usually would make art for her home herself by following tutorials on Pinterest, she just doesn’t have time and is desperate for her house to feel more homey. She likes pieces that are warm and center around family. Recently, she’s been looking into art stores and other home-good stores that are both local and have art priced within her small budget. She also loves when a store can ship straight to her house so she doesn’t struggle with carrying packages and her two-year-old.
That story makes you care about Megan and her problems as a mom. Crafting an email campaign to go to her and the others like her will resonate more deeply when the buyer persona is kept at the forefront.Buyer personas are fantastic ways to make you consider the needs of your customers and create targeted marketing to them. What is your favorite buyer persona story? Comment below with yours!