6 Little-Known Steps to Creating Buyer Personas
More than 600 million people ride the New York City subway annually. Sounds like the advertising gravy train, right? Not so fast. Besides the fact that all these people hop on public transportation in the same geographic area, as a marketer, you don’t know much more than that about their similarities and differences. This makes it nearly impossible to target those most likely to purchase your products. You don’t know their habits, motivations and objections—you’re simply pushing out disruptive messages and hoping they stick.
However, inbound marketing takes a more strategic approach. With inbound marketing, not only are you attempting to find your customers where they already are, but you’re also trying to provide them with helpful content, meaning something that answers a question, enriches their lives or makes their days easier. But before you can steamroll forward with any inbound marketing initiatives, you need to first understand exactly who your customers are so each decision can be made strategically and with them in mind. You’ll want to start by creating buyer personas, or semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers.
Here are six little-known steps to creating the most useful buyer personas imaginable.
1. Mine for Data
Sift through your company and customers’ data and you’ll begin to unearth patterns and signs to naturally guide you to your various personas. Keep your eye out for their background, demographics, goals, challenges, objections and interests. At this point, it’s like you’re attempting to piece together a puzzle without the box cover handy.
2. Look at Job Listings
You may not be able to find all the answers in your data-mining phase. Get creative and turn to online job postings that match the job title of your persona(s) when you need more answers to questions like:
- What type of company does the persona work for?
- What is the persona’s household income?
- Does the persona live in an urban or rural area?
- How tech savvy is the persona?
- How does the persona define success?
- How does the persona solve their challenges?
- What limits this persona?
For example, if one of your main customers is a CMO at a hospital, do some extensive searching on Monster, Indeed and other job boards for the position to fill in the gaps and gain an even greater insight.
3. Bring Them to Life
Personas are much more relatable once you give them a name, put a face to that name and sprinkle in some personality. At Pyxl, we even like to create yearbook-style quotes to add some flavor.
4. Always Think About How You Can Be More Helpful
The most important question to keep in the back of your head while creating personas is “How can our company help?” Gain insight into your target audience’s pain points and questions – this will help you brainstorm relevant content, later on, so you should always be thinking ‘their problem, our solution.’
5. Be Honest
When it comes to personas, always be honest. Your ideal customer may offer some tough objections as to why they shouldn’t or wouldn’t buy your product. Note all of these objections and address them. Remember that only your internal team will see the personas you create, so keep them authentic so they can best serve you moving forward.
6. Consider Exclusionary Personas
I first heard about exclusionary personas in a HubSpot presentation I attended earlier this year. In this presentation, I learned that not every customer is the right fit for a company—and that’s completely okay. Exclusionary personas are those customers who may be less-than-ideal, and are those you shouldn’t waste your time marketing to. Identifying customers who exhibit the same negative behaviors or those who you know your company can’t make happy because your business model doesn’t cater to them is a good place to start.
At Pyxl, our knack for driving results comes from an ability to pair digital and inbound marketing expertise with a deep understanding of our clients’ businesses and customers. Persona development is one of our passions, and we kick off all inbound marketing strategy engagements with this step. Want to learn more? Let’s talk!
Updated: Apr 13, 2022