Every business is different. Even within the same industry, businesses seek to put their own spin on their products, services, and brand identities to set them apart from the competition. If every company were the same, then competition would be pointless. Buyers would be able to confidently make purchases from anywhere without a second thought.
So, it makes sense that businesses would purposely be different from one another. That’s how they stand apart and find their niche. But when it comes to your business’s clients, the same rule applies. Every customer is different. As a business selling to other businesses, you need to know who exactly you’re targeting in your marketing and sales campaigns. That’s where business buyer personas come in.
What Is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional character or entity that you gear your marketing and sales effort toward. You create your company’s buyer persona using data gathered from a rigorous research period. Combining the common characteristics, desires, goals, questions, and pain points of your actual clients and potential clients, you can create a semi-fictional character who encompasses the type of buyers on which you should be focusing your efforts. Then, you’ll aim your marketing at this buyer persona, as if they were a real person or business.
You should be directing all your marketing and sales efforts at prospects who align with your company’s accurate buyer persona. Doing this will help you focus your time and energy on qualified leads and guide the development of your products and services to meet your ideal clients’ needs. It will also shape the type of content you create and how you develop your brand identity to further attract high-value visitors who could turn into lifetime clients.
Why Are Buyer Personas Important?
The importance of buyer personas boils down to one simple fact — they give you a better understanding of your current and potential buyers. Having this understanding makes the whole process of shaping your marketing and sales campaigns easier and more streamlined.
Imagine having a product or service that could help large businesses save time and money on their accounting process. If you’re putting up billboards and posting ads in a small town where only small businesses with one-person accounting teams exist, all those efforts will be in vain. Even if you’re using social media for growth and marketing, posting content that targets small businesses with tiny accounting teams is going to be a waste of your and your readers’ time.
With a buyer persona (or two or three), you can better channel your efforts in directions that will actually yield good results for your business.
Do you want to make cold calls all day, pitching your products and services to other businesses, only to hear over and over that they’re not interested? Or would you rather know in advance who has a high chance to respond positively to your offerings, and possibly take the next step toward making a purchase? Buyer personas ensure you’re focusing on the right leads who have problems that your business is ready to solve.
Can Buyer Personas Add Value to Your Marketing Campaign?
Yes! Here’s a breakdown of three of the best ways buyer personas can add value to your marketing campaign:
- Understand who is interested in your products and services: Have you ever seen a product launch or an ad campaign that made you wonder, “Who is this company’s target audience?” Well, either this company lacks a proper buyer persona to market to, or you’re simply outside their target demographic. A buyer persona ensures you know who you’re marketing to for the best results possible.
- Organize your client list: Your business may need more than one buyer persona if you have different types of clients. Maybe you manufacture and sell cooling systems for offices, but you also sell filters and parts for businesses who do their own repair work and installs. With an accurate buyer persona for both types of clients, you can organize your client list to personalize your marketing efforts. For example, you can tailor your messaging in your lead-nurturing emails to fit what you know about both sides of your client base.
- Create highly-tailored content: Building off the last point, understanding the types of clients you serve will help you create content that is specific for their wants, needs, and interests. Instead of creating blog posts that contain general information about your industry, you can produce more specific content that your intended audience will actually read because you’ve used your buyer persona(s) to align the content with their dreams or fears.
The Different Types of Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are specific to every business, which means that buyer personas are not a “one size fits all” concept. You want to maximize the return on your marketing and sales efforts. To do this, you need to find the right buyer persona to reach your ideal clients. Here’s how:
- Start from scratch: Avoid using an existing buyer persona from your industry. It may get you close, but it’s going to fall short in areas that are unique to the exact clients you’re trying to reach.
- Know who your intended buyer is: Know the difference between a business buyer persona and a consumer buyer persona. This blog has a focus on business buyer personas, which are useful for businesses whose clients are other businesses. Individual consumers have different needs and behaviors than the businesses you serve, so adjust your approach to buyer personas accordingly.
- Understand negative buyer personas: A “negative buyer persona” describes the client you don’t want to attract. For instance, we can return to the example of the company that specializes in maximizing the efficiency of large accounting teams. This company may create a negative buyer persona that describes small, single-person businesses. This will help their teams know what type of content to avoid in their marketing and sales efforts to attract only their ideal clients.
How to Create Buyer Personas for Your Business
Now that you have a solid foundation about business buyer personas, you need to learn how to craft your own. Here are the five essential steps of crafting your own buyer personas.
1. Identify Your Clients
Make a list of all your clients. Access your sales records to determine who has purchased your products. You’ll also want to keep a record of their contact information if you have it, since that will come in handy later as you craft your buyer persona.
This is a quantitative analysis of your clients, so keep personality and buyer intention out of the equation. You’re simply looking for numbers here. You want a list of your customers that you can work with so you can build on that foundation in the next steps.
2. Learn More About Your Clients
Once you have your list of clients, it’s time to find out who they are and what makes them tick. Reach out to them so you can ask them questions about themselves and their interests, slanting your questions toward your industry and the types of products and services you offer.
There are several ways to reach out to your clients and potential customers to get the answers you’re looking for, including the following:
- Newsletters: Use an upcoming newsletter to ask your clients to fill out a survey so you can gain information that will help you better serve them. You can even offer an incentive for filling out the survey, including a discount on their next purchase or a free ebook download.
- Social media posts: Use social media to your advantage. Make posts asking your followers to reveal their preferences on relevant industry topics, or the products and services you offer. This is a great way to learn what your customers want from you in the casual setting that social media offers.
- Website forms: You can make a landing page on your website that encourages readers to fill out a form with their answers to relevant questions. You can then use this information to more accurately craft your business’s buyer persona.
- Direct contact: Sometimes the old-fashioned way works best. Make some calls or send some original emails to your clients and ask them some questions about their wants, needs, and experience with your products and services.
What you learn from this process can be quite revealing, and it’s an essential step toward creating an accurate and usable buyer persona.
3. Segment Your Clients
Once you have a better picture of your clients’ attributes and characteristics, you can divide them into categories. Remember the hypothetical situation above where you sell cooling equipment and offer installation services to offices? In that example, you’d have two types of clients — businesses that need whole cooling systems, and businesses that want to buy parts so they can complete repairs themselves.
Segmenting your clients could confirm details you already know about them, but it will also reveal new information. You could discover that you have a third category of potential customers to tap into — businesses that have never bought your products or services but are interested in an inspection of their cooling system before the summer weather hits.
While this is just an example, it can apply to your business, too. Segmenting your clients after learning more about them can confirm your perception of them, but it can also reveal a whole new door of opportunity to reach new clients and make more sales. Plus, you’ll be better able to target prospects who are most like your current best customers, raising your chances of having more positive experiences and satisfied customers.
4. Create a Buyer Persona Template
At this point in the process, you’ve got plenty of helpful information from the previous steps. Now, you need somewhere to channel that information to create a usable buyer persona. To do this, you must create a buyer persona template. This will include categories that you can fill out, like the following:
- Buyer persona overview
- Pain points the buyer deals with
- The buyer’s biggest fears
- The buyer’s motivation and goals
- The buyer’s hobbies
- Common objections the buyer may present that would cause a sale to fall through
You can even leave space on the template for a stock image of what your ideal customer could look like. Anything that will help you better know your buyer persona is fair game!
5. Fill Out the Template and Start Marketing
Now you’re ready to fill out the template using all the information you’ve gathered about your current and potential clients. This will involve boiling down and distilling the information to find commonalities and truths that could apply to almost everyone you’re trying to reach. It’s this information that you’ll use to fill out your buyer persona template.
When the process is complete, you should have a finished buyer persona that includes enough information to make it feel like a real person. That’s because you’ve made it accurate enough that it does represent someone who actually exists — someone from a business you’d service, with pain points that your company has the solution for. From there, you’ll use that buyer persona to market your products and generate content to attract all the right clients to your business.
Start Creating Your Business’s Buyer Persona Today
If your company has been struggling to attract high-quality leads, or you’re having a challenging time identifying your target audience, then you’re missing out on the benefits of directing your marketing efforts at the right demographics. Today’s the day to start creating your buyer persona, and The Coutts Agency is here to help..
We understand that the process can be a lot to handle on your own, but we know how important it is for your business’s success. That’s why we specialize in helping businesses like yours create an accurate buyer persona and build a marketing campaign that can help you attract more leads and convert those leads into sales. Contact us today, and let’s make it happen!