3 Steps to Building Buyer Personas

Posted on March 25, 2015 by Erin M

488103663Your agency just landed a hot new startup as a client and they’re eager to start a comprehensive content marketing program to build their brand. Even better, their app is quickly becoming the new go-to for crowd sourcing the latest happenings, be that a pop-up restaurant in New York City’s Lower East Side or a secret EDM concert in LA’s warehouse district. If you wanted to build your client’s brand (and ultimately increase their sales), who would you target with your content marketing program?

Based on that short description, you may already be thinking about a target customer: Millenials (18 to 34) who are concentrated in urban areas, active on social media, early adopters of technology, and vocal brand enthusiasts. In essence, you’ve already started creating what’s known in the marketing and sales world as a “buyer persona.”

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. It’s based on customer demographics (e.g. age, annual income, geographic location) as well as behavioral patterns, goals and motivations. The more detailed you are when creating buyer personas, the closer you’ll come to honing in on the exact target audience. Buyer personas are more than just a collection of characteristics, however; these personas are also all about motivation and action. Buyer personas answer two questions: who is my target customer and what does it take to convince/motivate them to make a purchase? The reasoning behind your choice is important.

If you’re not currently using buyer personas to help shape content marketing strategy for your agency’s clients, you should. Follow these three easy steps to get started:

#1: Start with the data. I opened this blog with an example of an app dedicated to unearthing the events, places and experiences trending near its users. While Millenials clearly come to mind as the target user, Millenials are a pretty wide demographic encompassing everyone from an awkward 18-year old just starting college to a sophisticated 28 year-old fashion PR associate. Don’t assume you know who would (or would not) be in your client’s target buyer persona until you’ve really drilled into the existing analytics.

#2: Go where your audience is. If your client wants to launch a major social media campaign on Facebook, be sure your team project management includes a review of the target buyer persona’s preferred social media channels. It could turn out that the buyer persona just isn’t that into Facebook anymore, but can’t get enough of Instagram. Buyer personas help you hone in on the target marketing channels that are most appropriate for your content marketing programs.

#3: Test and refine. Developing buyer personas is a dynamic process requiring you to test, re-test and test some more. By measuring and aggregating data, you can better refine your client’s buyer personas, including how they act, click, share, like, recommend and, ultimately, make a purchase.

The brands that a buyer persona champions are part reflect their lifestyle, values and aspirations. Nail your client’s buyer personas, and your agency will be one step closer to sending the right message on the right channel at the right time for a higher ROI on your client’s marketing expenditures. That’s a win for everyone.

Erin M is a freelance writer with a strong understanding of agency-specific needs available for projects at WriterAccess.


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