FAQ Friday: Buyer Personas

Posted by Mathilde Heinemann Jul 10, 2015

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Good marketing starts from the beginning—you can’t market without a strategy, and you can’t form a strategy without knowing your audience. Buyer personas are the first step to getting to know your target market, and ultimately, getting your marketing strategy on track. But buyer persona profiles can be a bit overwhelming, for someone who has never created them from scratch before. Let us ease this process, and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about building buyer personas.

What are buyer personas? What are the main components of well-developed buyer personas?

Buyer personas are fictionalized representations of your ideal customers. They are meant to give you a detailed picture of your target customers and help you better understand their typical research, decision-making, and buying behaviors. Personas are comprised of information about these ideal customers, including, but definitely not limited to: demographics, motivations, goals, pain points, place within their company structure, attitudes, and who they consult with for help making decisions.

How long should my personas be?

Personas should be as detailed as possible—the more relevant information you have, the better. You want to paint a comprehensive picture of the persona so you can fully address their needs.

How many personas should I have?

As many as your organization needs. Businesses with a wide range of products or services are likely to have more personas than businesses with very few products and services. But, don’t fall into the trap of extending your buyer personas to all the kinds of customers you could potentially have. You want your personas to be targeted to the type of customers you want to have.

I've heard you need interviews for buyer personas, is there a way to bypass this process?

You can get information from your sales team if there is really no way you can conduct interviews. However, it is best if you can interview and get insights from your target audience face-to-face. Information from sales is likely to be less dynamic and specific than what you would get from conducting in-person interviews.  

Who should I interview?

The best people to interview are those who have just recently completed the buying process. No matter whether they decided to purchase from you, purchase from a competitor, or not purchase at all, they will still have valuable insights. Since they recently made a buying decision, the feedback will be fresh in their minds.

Where can I find good examples of buyer personas?

There are several great sources of buyer personas, and persona-based marketing (which is, of course, what your end goal should be for these personas). Here are some of our favorites:

Where can I find good examples of persona-based marketing?

Hubspot has a great blog post that features brands whose persona-based marketing is on-target—from Apple to Seventeen Magazine. 

7 Companies That Totally Get Their Buyer Personas

Are there pre-made templates I can use to form my buyer personas?

Although there are several options for buyer persona templates, we suggest this template. Simply do your homework, fill them in, and you're all set to add your personas to your marketing arsenal.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

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