If you’ve ever worked in the inbound marketing space, then you’re probably familiar with the term “buyer persona” – but these fictional character representations are useful even outside the confines of inbound marketing. In short, buyer personas are fictional representations of the types of people who might buy or consume your product – basically a personification of a target audience.
While popular in the inbound marketing space, the importance of persona development expands well beyond that particular marketing discipline. Personas are useful in all forms of marketing, including branding, behavior change, e-commerce and lead-gen.
Why Use Buyer Personas?
Brands use buyer personas to help gain important insights about their target audiences such as where they live, what they do for work, what social media platforms they use and more. By personifying the target audience, marketers are able to better understand the wants, needs, and desires of each group of people. This is why we typically give each persona a name, and treat them as if they were an individual person, even though they represent a larger demographic.
For example, a used car dealership might have three different target audiences – moms looking for a reliable family car, business people that need a vehicle for work, and college students looking for a cheap ride to get to and from class. In order to better understand each of these target audiences they could create personas and dig deeper to understand each; Busy Mom Brenda, Businessman Bob, and College Student Caitlin.
How to Create Buyer Personas
To get the most value out of your buyer personas, you’ll have to do more than just name them. Creating buyer personas involves using either research, experience or inferred knowledge to fill in the blanks about each personified audience.
In our car dealership example, the business owner might use information from previous sales to outline important details about each persona – the types of cars they typically buy, what they do for work, how much money they make, how many children or family members they have, and more. While these details won’t be accurate for each individual buyer that walks through the door, they help create generalizations that can inform marketing decisions such as where to advertise, what type of language or imagery to use, and what benefits or services might entice each type of buyer.
The persona template below outlines the type of information that can be useful to know about each audience.
How to Use Buyer Personas
Once you’ve created your buyer personas, it’s time to put them to good use. Make sure to refer to the relevant persona as you develop messaging, advertising, social media campaigns, offers, and other marketing materials specific to that audience. Everything you create for your brand should be done so with the persona in mind in order to better predict how they might react, or what their objections might be. Use these fictional people to help guide your marketing strategy, and personalize each of your campaigns to have the greatest impact.
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