Lesson #3 - Buyer Personas [Video with transcipt]

Buyer Personas are a critical tool when planning your Inbound Marketing campaign. In this video you will learn:

  • The importance of Buyer Personas.
  • How to create Buyer Personas.
  • Where to find information to help build Buyer Personas.


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Buyer personas are absolutely huge in the world of inbound marketing.

You have probably heard me say that things like funnels and life cycle stages are the framework and backbone of inbound marketing.

If we want to think about it that way, then personas are the heart of inbound marketing.

Everything that you do within your inbound strategy, it should be based on your buyer persona.

So now that I've painted this concept to be so important and so big, you're probably wondering what is a buyer persona, how do I create one, and why should I really care. So what we're going to talk about in this video are the answers to those questions, and by the end of this, you are absolutely going to be starting to think about the ways that you can create and utilize buyer personas within your inbound strategy.

So when we think about the definition of a buyer persona, really the easiest way to explain it is that a persona is a fictional representation of your real life ideal customer.

This could be based on people who have purchased from you before.

This could be based on-- maybe your site is for a new product, and it could be based on the research that you've done on who this product is going to be geared and targeted towards.

But your persona is the ultimate person who you want to be allocating your marketing resources toward and who you want to be actually reaching the bottom of your funnel and communicating with your sales team, or checking out on your website or whatever that bottom of the funnel action may be.

What we have here is a really fantastic drawing on my behalf of a Brand Manager, Billy.

This is a sample buyer persona, and besides the fact that he has horrifyingly high shoulders, Brand Manager Billy is also a little bit self-centered here.

He's saying, "It's all about me." But the truth is, it really is all about brand manager Billy if he is your persona.

Maybe your persona is Mommy Molly, maybe your persona is Shoe Shopping Shannon - guilty.

Whoever it may be, your persona should have a name.

You also want to find an image that actually represents this persona, and the image should be better than a whiteboard drawing like mine here.

You should actually be creating real, like a PowerPoint or a PDF or a Word document, or you can organize all of the information about your personas and you can also include that actual image there.

That is not an image of a real person who has purchased from you.

It should really be something that you pull from Google, someone who you have no relation to, but who helps tell that visual story of who this persona is.

On top of the picture of your persona, there are a lot of really, really important things that you want to be included in your buyer persona profiles.

These are going to be your absolute most essentials.

First and foremost, you want to have the demographic information of your persona.

These are things like the age range, male or female, how many people they have in their family, where they live at, not just they live in L.A.

or they live in California.

Are they urban or are they city-dwelling? Do they live in a house or an apartment? How many cars do they have? This is really, really in depth.

We want to provide as much information as we possibly can to really help paint the picture of this person, not only in the context of how they engage with our business but also how they live their life in general.

Really great marketing speaks to people about more than just the product.

It speaks to them on a deeper, more foundational level.

In order to do that, we need to uncover these things that we might not have thought were so relevant to us.

But if they're relevant to our persona, then they are relevant to us.

So demographic and psychographic information.

This could be also things like their faith, things that are really important to their identity.

Don't be afraid to include too much information here, but remember that this is a fictional representation of factual people.

So we don't want to just pull out of thin air, Brand Manager Billy is a Christian.

You should only be including that if that's something that you have actually found throughout your research to be true, and something that you think could be relevant to your marketing.

We're going to talk in a minute here about where you actually are going to find that information.

So beyond our demographic and psychographic profile that starts to help tell us who this person is - where they live, what they're interested in, what are their hobbies, who their family is - we also want to look at two different sides of the spectrum here.

One is their pain points, and one is their goals.

Pain points are things-- problems that they have that your solution speaks to.

So if you're a car dealership, then it's pretty likely that their pain points are going to be things like they want to buy a car but every time they go to a car lot, they have sales people just flying in on them like vultures and they feel totally overwhelmed.

Or maybe their pain point is, there are too many cars out there and they just can't decide which one is relevant to them.

Or their pain point is, there are so many promotions going on that they don't even know what is a good deal anymore because it seems like everyone is having a sale, they don't know what the best choice is for them.

Those are just some sample, of the fly pain points that could exist for someone who is trying to buy a car.

Now, on the other end, their goals are going to be, obviously, the things that they want to accomplish.

So this is going to be - let's say continuing with the car example - this is a lot more in-depth and bigger picture than something like their goal is to buy a new car.

Obviously, their goal is to buy a new car, but what do they really want to get out of that? Is this Bachelor Billy? Does he want to drive off the lot in a brand new shiny car so he can impress a girl, or maybe does he need to impress a client with a really nice business car? Or is this Soccer Mom Sally who needs to get a minivan that can not only get her kids to and from practice, but that she feels is really safe, but that also she still feels like she's got a little bit of that coolness in her when she's driving a minivan.

She's not totally ready to accept her soccer mom status. So those are a lot more in-depth than they need a new car.

We want to think about their goals as to really how they relate to this person in the bigger grand scheme of things.

So pain points and goals.

Then also - this one could really stand alone - is their objections.

What are their objections to working with your business or to working with someone in your industry? If you're a car dealership, some pretty common objections are going to be things like sticker shock, things like, "Why don't I just get a car from someone on Craigslist." I don't know .

That could be sketchy, I don't know.

Or maybe another objection could be, "I don't need a new car just yet.

My old car is still working.

I'm not quite at the phase to buy a new car yet." So we want to be thinking about what is causing this person problems in their life? Where does this person want to be in a dream world? What are their goals? And then, even if I can position myself as able to get them to those goals, what are the objections they're going to present to me that I'm going to have to overcome in order for this persona to work with me? When you have all of these things well-researched, you're going to compile them into that document that you've created along with that visual representation of your persona, and you have created your very first buyer persona profile.

So congratulations.

Where are you going to get all that information? When I say this needs to be well-researched, it shouldn't be pulled out of thin air.

It should be based on real-life people.

Where is that information on those real-life people coming from? We have a couple different places that you should be looking for this.

Ideally, you're going to be looking at your current customers.

This can be just looking at your leads manager and looking at some of those shared traits between your customers, whether it's, let's say their job title, whether it's their company size.

Whatever questions you're asking on your forms, you can use those to create your buyer personas.

But your customers are the ideal place to start because you can really pick out who are these people who are the best customer, who I would want to work with again, who I want to sell to more people like that, and you can also pick out, this is not such a great customer.

This person has been really high-maintenance and they have given really low margins to my company, or whatever it may be.

So pick out information about those existing customers.

If you don't have enough information, you can just straight-up ask your current customers, the ones that you have a good relationship with.

You can send out a survey, you could incentivize that survey maybe with a discount, or something else that you could offer them to make them actually care about taking that survey.

You could, ideally, shoot out personalized emails or have phone calls where you're really one-on-one interacting with those people.

That's obviously going to be the best way to uncover this information because conversations lead you to places where a standard survey with check one, two, or three is not going to provide you that in-depth information.

So whenever possible, have that one-on-one conversation.

If not, you can go to a survey, and of course, you can go to your leads manager within jInbound.

Lead Intelligence, also a really great place to get this information.

So also, in your leads manager, you can look at how people are moving through your funnels, the people who are and aren't converting, and you're going to start to, again, find those shared characteristics that are going to help you to determine someone who is a brand manager as their job title is a good fit and is someone who I want as a persona, whereas someone who is a marketing director is not a great fit.

They're a little bit too high up and they're not exactly where I want them to be in alignment with my services and my offerings.

So not just your customers, but also your leads can provide you with great information for your persona profiles.

And then also, often overlooked is your sales team, or maybe you are your sales team.

Whoever it is who is actually conversing the last touch point in talking to people before they actually become a customer, it's safe to say probably knows a whole lot about those people who are turning into customers.

So in the same way that you want to have those surveys or those conversations with your customers, have those with your sales team because I promise you, your sales team knows the people who are turning into your customers, and they can provide you with a whole lot of information about them.

Then finally, this is listed last, not because it's the least important, but because these three other sources are going to generally have-- I'd say it's easier to get information from those sources, whereas social media, obviously there's a lot available to you on social media.

There are billions and billions of people active on social media and because of that, you're going to have to sift through a lot of noise to try to find, let's say, either your current customers or the people who you think would fall into your persona profiles may be based on the information that they're providing in their social media profiles, based on who they're following, based on what networks they're on, whatever it may be.

So the option is definitely out there.

Let's say you know that your buyer persona is going to be a, let's just say an inbound marketing specialist.

Because of that, you could go to Twitter and you could search inbound marketing specialist mentions, something like that, and that could help you to do a little bit of research.

Obviously not quite as in-depth as you can get from these other sources, but looking at social media can definitely be a great cherry on top to all the other places that you are finding information.

The average business is going to have anywhere from like three to four buyer personas, which I know if-- let's say you have 500 customers, that's kind of hard to narrow all those people down.

But what you want to look for are those shared distinguishing traits between people.

And there are a couple different ways that you can segment out who your personas are.

It really depends on the size of your business and the nature of your offerings, but keep in mind that happy place is going to be about three to four.

If you find yourself at ten, you need to try and cut it down a little bit more and narrow it down, because once you have those three to four people, you are going to be creating, eventually, entirely nurturing campaigns around each one of those people.

You're going to be creating content for each one of those people.

You're going to be fine-tuning everything about your strategy for those people.

And if you're trying to satisfy the demographic signifiers and if you're trying to speak to the pain points and the goals and the objections of ten personas, you're not going to be able to do that.

Whereas if you have three or four and if you can really hone in on those people, you're going to be able to provide a much more targeted, what feels like a much more one-to-one marketing experience to those people.

One last thing before we go, you can get bonus points from me.

I'll give you a high five if you let me know that you've done this within the buyer persona sector if you create what we call exclusionary personas.

So in the same way that a persona is your ideal representation of your ideal buyer, an exclusionary persona is a representation of someone who you don't want to sell to.

That could be because, I don't know, they are undercover.

They're your competition and you see that they're downloading your concept, and obviously, you don't want to allocate resources marketing to them because they're just trying to see what it is that you're doing and what your process is.

Or again, another example of someone we mentioned who might be an exclusionary persona is that person who buys your product.

They become a customer, but you realize for whatever reason, maybe they're high-maintenance, maybe they're always demanding more, whatever it may be, it's someone who you wouldn't really ideally target again in the future.

Obviously, anyone who wants to buy your product is great, but maybe you wouldn't really pursue them again.

That could be a great example of an exclusionary persona.

And what you do with an exclusionary persona is you share that information with everyone who touches within the lead and sales process, so obviously your marketing team, your sales team, and you let them know, hey, when you see someone who sort of satisfies these guidelines, someone who has these characteristics, we don't enroll them in a complete lead nurturing campaign, we don't pursue them on the sale side.

Maybe we don't necessarily throw their information away, but this is not someone who we're pursuing, and it's certainly not someone who we're speaking to specifically throughout our website through our lead nurturing, throughout all of our other efforts.

So exclusionary personas are definitely not as important as creating your buyer personas, but they are a fun little thing to add on once you've mastered your buyer personas and you're ready to hone it on not only who it is that you do want to speak to, but you're also ready to start sweeping away and not worrying so much about people who you don't want to speak to.

Let us know if you have any questions, and I'm really excited to see the buyer personas that you come up with.

So let us know how it goes.