What I wish I knew about Buyer Personas earlier
Before I get started, a quick reminder of what I mean by buyer persona:
Your buyer persona is a profile of your ideal customer, that is backed up by research, data analysis and customer interviews. A buyer persona covers the essentials of your ideal customer from their life story, demographics, job titles, business challenges and overall goals.
Buyer personas are at the core of any good inbound marketing strategy, which means that all aspects of inbound marketing hinge on the pain points of your buyer personas. Your blog articles, videos, emails, social media, sales calls, landing pages, assets, website copy, sales templates... every single part of your inbound marketing and sales strategy needs to start with your buyer personas in mind.
Here's what I wish I knew about buyer personas from the beginning:
Buyer personas need to be revisited more often than you think
Once you've decided on your buyer persona, it's very tempting to mentally mark them off as done until you review them in a year's time. So, don't do this. Take a look at your buyer persona after a quarter, or after your first major campaign. While the basics of your persona probably won't have changed, it's very likely that you've got information to add. It might be something as small as your "Big Boss Ben" persona not engaging at all with your content on Facebook, but being an avid follower on LinkedIn. It's a small learning, but adding these notes to your persona can save you a lot of pain in future strategies.
Buyer Personas can be as simple - or as extensive - as you need them to be
There's nothing better than a well-rounded, well-researched persona. However, if you're pressed for time, there's nothing wrong with getting the basics down, and fleshing it out later. Buyer personas vary wildly across companies and industries, but you should have an idea of the following information about your personas before starting your first inbound marketing campaign:
- Their goals (marketing, sales, business or personal)
- Their pain points and challenges
- Where they go for information
- Basic demographics, such as job title, seniority, and industry, or whatever is appropriate for your business
- Knowing what you can do as a business to help them
- Your marketing message
Don't delay until you have the perfect persona. Get the basics done, and let your personas grow organically with the learnings from each new inbound strategy.
Alliteration isn't a requirement when naming your Buyer Persona
There's nothing wrong with loving alliterative buyer personas like "Salesman Sam" or "CEO Celia" or "Marketing Mary", but don't feel like every buyer persona needs to follow this pattern. It's your buyer persona - call them what you want. Just make it easy to remember.
Negative Personas are just as important as Buyer Personas
Spend some time working out the customer you don't want. It helps get everyone on board to achieving the same goals. If your marketing and sales team know the ideal persona, and the negative buyer persona they need to avoid, you can avoid any confusion about the quality of leads coming in.
Whether you're an inbound marketing beginner, or you know the methodologies of inbound marketing in and out, buyer personas will always be at the core of your strategy.
Here are a few resources to help you with your buyer persona and inbound marketing strategy:
- A guide from HubSpot on creating Buyer Personas
- HubSpot's Make My Persona tool
- Download a guide to the basics of inbound marketing below