Digital Marketing Strategy, Create Buyer Personas for Your Business: This Is HowNovember 11, 2020Magdalena AndreevaReading time: Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your real buyers. Personas help you better understand your target users and their user journeys. They can provide a structure to your marketing efforts – engaging and navigating your prospective customers, as they weigh their options to address a problem that your company resolves.Buyer personas resemble your most engaged customers. And, just as any real customer, they need special attention. Take the time to develop detailed buyer personas, and you’ll get a solid return on your investment – you will be able to map the user journey better, create content that meets the needs of your prospects and nurtures them down the user journey, and build brand bias to help with conversions.Check out this step-by-step guide for creating custom-tailored buyer personas for your brand. You’ll learn:What is a buyer personaWhy you need themHow to create your personas in 5 simple stepsWhat free tools and resources you can use to develop your buyer personasSaaS buyer personasExamples of buyer personas we’ve helped clients createHow to apply buyer personas to your business and marketing processesWhat Exactly Are Buyer Personas?Defining who your buyer personas are is an essential part of building your brand’s digital strategy. Let’s start with a simple definition. According to Hubspot, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.A buyer persona is a collective representation of your typical client with their background, needs and wants, and their specific digital behavior. They are also referred to as customer, brand, or user personas.Does that mean that if you randomly pick one of your clients’ digital profiles, it could serve as a good buyer persona?Not quite. You would need to analyze way more than just one profile, find similar traits, and narrow them down to several typical clients. They would represent your ideal buyers in a way, but enriched with real-life characteristics and segmented in different buyer personalities.Why Do You Need Buyer Personas?The key to any successful marketing or branding campaign is understanding your audience. This is where buyer personas come in handy.Crafting and using your buyer personas ensures that all brand communication – app content, website copy, marketing creatives – are tailored to the user’s needs. Working out a content marketing strategy without really knowing your personas, for example, can be risky and fruitless.Your audience demographics, needs, goals, etc. work together to form a bigger picture – the buyer personas that you can apply to any of your business processes. Ultimately, this valuable data would help you achieve 8 desired outcomes:Improve your products and servicesDevelop new onesMake your marketing efforts countTap into new audiencesIncrease brand visibilityIncrease your conversion ratesBoost customer satisfactionAchieve a higher customer retention rateThe persona research process itself will help you better understand and address your prospects’ needs. Understanding the persona’s behavior also empowers you to optimize your website for both search engines and user experience. Simply make sure your website provides content that addresses specific buyer persona needs.How to Create Buyer Personas in 5 StepsReady to start building your buyer personas? Here is what you need to do:Step 1. Research your current customers. Understand their needs and their problems Step 2. Research your target audience. Understand their goals and pain points Step 3. Identify repeating traits Step 4. Decide on several separate personas Step 5. Provide specifics for your personas (customer avatars)Let’s dive into the customer research process.Current Customers Research: Tools and TechniquesCollect as much data as possible from your current clients’ database. Any feedback forms, frequently asked questions, and client-facing team’s insights are priceless. You could use:Customers feedbackSales and customer support teams insightsFocus groupsOnline (email) and offline surveys (at meetings, market places, fairs, etc.) You’re looking for answers to these basic questions:Who are your brand’s typical clients?How did they come across your website? What were they looking for?Why did they choose your product/services over the competitors?How do they use your product/service?How do they feel about your brand now?How do they communicate with you?What do they say online about your brand?To develop distinctly unique personas, really the best way is first-hand research. Phone interviews with loyal customers or online questionnaires are the most efficient way to get loads of useful information.Source: Single GrainWhat to Ask Current Customers When Creating Buyer PersonasYour current customers are indispensable in developing your personas. They have their own stories – reach out and ask them how and why they chose you. Use the questionnaire below to get their valuable insights:Demographics: Age, location, education, income levelFor B2B: Industry, company size, job titleWhat were they looking for, when they first became aware of your servicesWhat was their main challengeHow did they discover you – via which channels or platformsWhich competitors were they also researchingWhy did they choose your brand over your competitorsHow are they using your product/serviceHow is your brand helping them achieve their goals or solve their challengesWhat was their experience when they first started using your app/landed on your website? How can you improve?How can you improve your services to help them achieve their goalsGet Audience Insights From Analytics ToolsYou can level up your research by turning to the most efficient digital tools for audience insights. Go on and gather some more data on your customer personas by using:Google Analytics – Audience Report, Behavior Flow, User ExplorerThe Audience report in Google Analytics can help you acquire valuable data about the people visiting your website. “Demographics” and “Interests” are just a part of this report. The behavior metrics show new vs. returning customers. You can track to what extent you encourage first-time users to return to your website.“User Explorer” helps you examine an individual client’s behavior based on their user ID. For further information, check this overview of the standard reports in Google Analytics by Search Engine Watch.Google Adwords Affinity Categories and In-Market SegmentsAffinity categories reveal more about what users are passionate about. You can use them to reach certain groups based on their interests and behaviors. The in-market segments are for users with recent purchase intent. Google Ads Help gives more details on the topic.Google Search Console – Organic QueriesThe organic queries within Google Search Console show what your clients type in the search bar to land on your website. You can easily see how people discover you and what phrases they use to find your content. Use this data to learn more about the searcher’s intent and to optimize their website content for search.Facebook Audience InsightsFacebook Audience Insights gathers data about clients on Facebook in general and tracks users that visit certain pages on the platform. If you have a business page on Facebook, this tool can help you find more users similar to your existing audience. The insights show information on demographic aspects, people’s interests, hobbies, and lifestyle. Learn more about audiences on Facebook for Business.SimilarWeb AudiencesSimilarWeb is another platform that offers additional insights into your website’s audience. You can find what other sites people visit in the same browsing session they used to check your webpage. By having your domain analyzed by SimilarWeb, you can discover new audiences similar to your current one.Put these analytics tools to use to gather useful information and create strong, data-driven customer profiles. Next, segment them and put a name and a face to each of your buyer personas.Ready-to-Use Buyer Persona Tools and TemplatesOnce you’ve gathered all the data you need, start building up your unique customer personas. For this task, you could use any one of the ready-made online solutions. Developing and visualizing your personas has never been easier. And it’s fun, too. Here are our top 3 picks you could test out:HubSpot Make My Persona ToolHubSpot’s tool is free, user-friendly and you don’t need to sign up in order to access it.Xtensio User Persona TemplateYour first step will be to go through a sign up on the Xtensio website. You can then select a free plan to access the persona generator.UXPressia Personas Online ToolThe online tool requires you to create an account with UXPressia. Apart from creating buyer personas, you can also build customer journey maps and impact maps.Feeling like a game character designer? Playing with these tools is fun, but how do you know if you’ve done enough?How Many Personas Should You Create?Remember, it’s quality over quantity. If you’re new to personas, start small. It should be enough to have 3 or 4 buyer personas that account for 90% of a company’s sales.Plus, you can always build more later if your business products and goals become more diverse, or audiences – segmented.SaaS Buyer PersonasGetting the buyer personas right can help SaaS businesses target their high-value customers. To do that, there are 7 points that any SaaS marketer should keep top-of-mind while researching users and segmenting the data:What is the price this buyer persona is willing to pay?What is the estimated Lifetime Value (LTV) of that persona?What is the estimated Customer acquisition cost (CAC) of that persona?What are the 2 main marketing channels used to reach this buyer?Is this persona the decision-maker? If not, who is?Which 2 features do they use the most? The least?This information can help SaaS growth managers focus their resources where it matters most – on high LTV customers.For B2B SaaS, a good way of structuring your persona types is by their decision-making power. You could group them into daily users, managers, and executives that give the final sign-off. And while it might seem like the executives are the best persona to target, the daily users and managers are usually the ones out searching for your SaaS product first.Buyer Persona ExamplesSo, what should your buyer personas look like in the end? Let’s have a look at some persona examples we at Hop Online helped our clients create.For a SaaS cloud telephone solution, we’ve identified 4 main personas – a sales director, customer support manager, and biz dev. We’ve listed goals and pain points, information needs, and roadblocks for each of these personas.B2B and B2C buyer personas examples vary greatly from industry to industry. To see the full picture, though, it’s time to introduce you to the negative buyer persona types.The Negative Buyer PersonaWhy take time to think about the negative buyer personas? Surely, by now you’ve done enough work to define your focus audiences.The negative buyer type has an underestimated value in most marketing efforts. In reality, a negative buyer persona is just as useful as your ideal customer.Defining what users you don’t want to attract to your website helps limit any wasteful marketing efforts. If your campaigns are bringing in negative buyer persona look-alikes, you’d know immediately to stop and re-align them.How to Use Your Buyer Personas to Increase Sales and ROI?By now, you have set clear outlines for specific buyers and have turned them into buyer persona examples. You are at the final stage. It’s time for you to see the personas in action.Apply Them to Your Sales and Marketing StrategyGet the most of your buyer personas. Add it to your marketing strategies:Choose the right marketing channels, platforms, and formats according to your personasPersonalize and fine-tune your messaging – address their goals and roadblocksDistribute better your advertising budgetOptimize landing pages for personasAudit your existing content for persona alignmentCreate content for your personas’ needs on their journey from the top to the bottom of the funnel and get relevant traffic.Apply dynamic content strategy to your website for different personasOn a larger scale, you can achieve great results with client personas beyond your customers. The insights these characters bring are important for the people you work with.Align Team Efforts With Personas’ HelpYou’ve created a powerful tool to align business development and marketing processes across your organization. Sharing this knowledge with your team members can help them better understand various audience groups.Designers can create better UX with these personas in mind. The customer service team could adjust the buyer personas to real-life scenarios, fuelling better internal processes to handle clients’ roadblocks. Your sales experts would be enabled to build rapport with prospects faster. Those two teams would be the first to provide great feedback on how personas work for your business.Boost ROI With Buyer PersonasThe positive effect of using buyer personas is well-documented. Customer personas help businesses focus on their clients’ needs and develop more personalized communication – a win-win outcome for both you and your clients. Let’s check what some interesting statistics are showing:58% of all revenue is generated by segmented and targeted emails – DMAAn average increase of 20% is tracked in sales when using personalized web experiences. – Monetate39% of marketers reported seeing “major uplift” from personalization in search engine marketing (SEM), – eConsultancy71% of companies who exceed revenue and lead goals have documented personas – Cintell A buyer persona is the 2nd most popular criteria for segmenting content, with #1 being product/service category – B2B Marketing ReportHow Often Do You Need to Revise Your Personas?Buyer personas should be revisited every 1 to 4 years. They are as dynamic as your business.Are you planning any improvements to your business model? Perhaps you have a product launch scheduled, or you plan to enter new markets. Take a look at your personas too. You can be a few steps ahead by continuously tracking:Changes in user demographics and interaction patternsTechnology updates that are related to your brand and audienceDone building your buyer personas? Stay tuned for more digital strategy ideas.