What in the World Is a Persona Anyway?

Posted by Kelly Braun on August 29, 2018 at 9:27 AM     Content
What in the World Is a Persona Anyway?

We all know that marketing is about appealing to your customers and providing quality products and services. But it’s the first part that’s the most important — your customers. If you don’t know who your customers are, it’s awfully difficult to give them what they want. That’s where buyer personas come into play.

What Are Buyer Personas, and Why Should I Use Them?

A persona is exactly what it sounds like — it’s the image of your desired customer.

Persona Sample

A buyer persona is essentially the profile of someone who you want to buy your product. This persona is your bread and butter, and it’s your job to make sure everything you do will meet the approval of people similar to this persona.

Your marketing may work right now. In fact, it may work very well. However, until you truly understand your customers, your success has an expiration date. An effective buyer persona will keep your marketing firing on all cylinders, and it’ll keep you up to date on all of the changes that occur in your marketplace.

A truly effective persona includes these two main components:

  • Buyer profile — explains who your ideal customer is through relevant demographic and psychographic details.
  • Buyer insight — reveals the questions your buyer asks and the obstacles and goals they face leading up to making a purchasing decision.

The buyer profile and buyer insights together allow you to create a buyer’s journey — the research and decision making process your buyer goes through.

A persona is extremely valuable to a lead generation digital marketing program. It should be used when creating content for your website, social channels, emails, etc., and given to your sales team when they begin nurturing a lead to a sale. This can be key in putting your company one step ahead of the competition. 

No longer will you find yourself losing market share and explaining your troubles by saying, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” A buyer persona gives you the most important tool in your marketing arsenal. 


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How to Create a Customer Persona

It’s not enough to simply craft a persona out of thin air because you assume things about your customer base. Your personas must be carefully curated using research, data and interviews with your sales team, current customers and prospects.

Here is an example of questions and information you want to gather for a persona:

  1. Demographics — male/female; age; occupation; education; family; interests and organizations; any other background information that could be applicable to purchasing your product or service.

  2. Objectives — specific objectives, such as ‘improve xxx by doing xxx by this date’ vs. simply ‘get xxx.’  Ask the what, when, where, how and why behind the objective.

  3. Problem — get the why. Ask: “why are they looking for this product or service? What were the triggers that led to searching?” Ask for examples of a situation.

  4. Obstacles — uncover why they haven’t solved the problem yet. What obstacles did they run into? Why haven’t they been convinced to take this step/buy this product or service yet? What’s holding them back?

  5. Questions — capture the specific questions they ask and Google. Start from the beginning of the sales funnel, such as when the problem was discovered, through the research and buying stages.

  6. Content Preferences — how do they research? What social media channels are they on? What content are they reading? Do they prefer visual? Audio? Long or short? Interactive? Webinars?

These are just some of the questions you can and should ask as you craft a buyer persona.

On the same token, you should ask yourself what types of people you don’t want as customers. This information can also be worked into a separate buyer persona — a negative persona — so you don’t market to the wrong people.


Now the real question...do personas work?

Crafting a persona may seem like a lot of work, but it’s not as difficult as you think. It’s also well worth your while. According to HubSpot, here are some big reasons why you should immediately begin developing buyer personas:

  • Emails targeted toward personas yield 18 times as much revenue as non-targeted emails.
  • Targeted emails boost click-through rates by 14 percent and conversion rates by 10 percent.
  • Websites created specifically to accommodate personas are as much as 5 times more effective than all-purpose websites.
  • Persona-based marketing results in increased website traffic, more efficient organic search results and a higher number of interested leads.

When you consider the power that can be derived from buyer personas, it’s a no-brainer. Creating buyer personas takes your marketing to the next level — as long as you use the right blend of data, research and personal observation to craft your personas.

Button: Increase Your Leads With a Data-Driven Website