As you get to know inbound marketing from our Intro to Inbound series, you will hear many terms that will quickly become second nature to you. But perhaps none is quite so prevalent as the idea of a buyer persona. At this point, you may certainly be wondering "what is a persona?" It's a term that can mean different things in different applications, but for our purposes, a persona is a very specific tool that can help you to generate leads with inbound marketing and do it efficiently.
What is a Persona?
Our friends at HubSpot put it concisely when they said:
"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 represents your perfect customer. It's the ideal person to target with your inbound marketing campaigns. They are the person who has a problem that you are ready to solve. So the reason you're hearing so much about them, is because they are the starting point of your inbound marketing strategy development.
Why are Personas Important?
Target markets are nothing new to experienced marketers. You can think of a buyer persona as an analog for a target market, only much more useful. While a target market might tell you some important demographic information, like age or income level, a buyer persona gets much more specific. Well-crafted buyer personas don't just give you a vague understanding of who you want to sell to; a buyer persona gives you a specific person to target.
We've got the first steps you need to take to create your personas. Find them here.
Buyer personas are not just important to inbound marketing, they are essential. Without buyer persona profiles, it becomes nearly impossible to tailor your content to your ideal customer. After all, you would not write the same content with the same voice to a working suburban mother of three as you would to a teenager living in Manhattan. Personas give you content focus, making it more effective.
Further, buyer personas allow you to segment your leads and better understand who your ideal customers actually are. A good inbound marketing strategy will include at least two personas, and your landing pages will work to put each lead into one of those categories. As you create content and grow your business, you will get more leads and be able to tell which personas are truly the most effective. Indeed, you may even find personas that you had not previously imagined.
How Do I Create a Persona?
Creating a persona takes time. The best way to create an effective buyer persona is by interviewing your current customers. These interviews can be tricky because they should go beyond the basic demographic and even professional information. Buyer personas are complete profiles, including details about family, vacations, news sources, education, and virtually any other topic that could be important to learning what makes your customers tick. When creating a persona profile, be sure to remember that this does not have to be a static story. You may learn more about your customers over time that will change the shape of your personas. You should be willing to make changes when you learn new details. And don't forget to put a face to your persona, that helps your marketing team create a human connection with who they are selling to, which is one of the most important elements of executing on your inbound marketing efforts.
Ready to get started? Get the first steps to create your persona right here.
This blog was originally written in 2015, but was updated in late 2017.