How to Get Inside Your Readers’ Heads with a Buyer Persona
Noah is 32-year old business owner based in Sydney, Australia.
A self-proclaimed, “go-getter”, Noah has been in business for 10 years and is known to put in 60+ hours a week to provide for his wife and family.
You might be thinking to yourself, “I feel like I know Noah…”
You might even be thinking, “Noah sounds a lot like me…”
And if you are, you would be right in thinking that…
Because he is you.
That’s because Noah represents who we write for, here at Authority Factory.
He’s a fictional composite of the type of client we enjoy working with.
But Noah’s not the only person we write for…
We also write for Liam, Emma, and Olivia, among others.
These, “personas”, help me write content and (hopefully) solve problems I know business owners—like you—are experiencing.
When I put myself in the shoes of one of our buyer personas, it helps me empathize on a much deeper level…
And for this reason, it’s a practice I encourage every business owner to get into.
In this article, I’m going to show you what a buyer persona is, why it’s important (the answer might surprise you) and how to create your own so you gain more insight into your prospects (and hopefully encourage more inquiries for your business).
What Is a Buyer Persona?
According to HubSpot, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.
Adele Revella, author of Buyer Personas: How to Gain Insight into your Customer’s Expectations, Align your Marketing Strategies, and Win More Business, weighs in on this further.
A buyer persona tells you what prospective customers are thinking and doing as they weigh their options to address a problem that your company resolves.
In other words, the more clarity you have on your potential buyers’ goals and challenges, the better you can position your business as the go-to solution for that problem.
And that’s not all…
A buyer persona can also help you:
- Determine what kind of content you need. With content marketing becoming an integral part of SEO, creating original, high-quality content has never been more important … or challenging. The online marketplace is noisier than ever. And with so much competition, it’s crucial you create the right content for the right prospect at the right time. Having a buyer persona will help you create content that aligns with your buyer’s journey and in turn, get more conversions.
- Set the tone, style, and delivery strategies for your content. It’s not enough to write content for content’s sake (there are far too many people doing that already). To really connect with your potential buyers, you need to create content that speaks their language. This includes the everyday words and phrases they use to describe their goals and challenges, and the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that come with them. More on that shortly…
- Target the topics you should be creating content on. Understand: not all content is created equal. Some markets prefer infographics. Others favor how-to guides. But all require original, high-quality content that educates and informs. How do you know what works for your market? I’ll return to that shortly (for more ideas on different types of content, read Convince and Convert’s thorough article on the subject).
- Understand where prospects get their information and how they want to consume it. No two markets are alike. And not all mediums will resonate with your audience. A cash-strapped single mother looking to fix a leaky faucet might be more likely to watch a YouTube video than a struggling business owner looking to generate more targeted traffic. You don’t have to become a writer, cranking out 3,000 words articles every week … but you do need to create content that’s a good fit for what your prospects are searching for.
A buyer persona can be comprised of many areas, but there are two that give insight more than any other:
Let’s discuss each in detail.
Demographics: Who Your Customers Are
If you want to know how your prospects think, you first need to know who they are.
And there’s no better way to familiarize yourself with your potential buyers than with demographics.
Demographics offer a statistical view of your potential buyers.
These include (but are not limited :
- Educational level
- Marital status
- Number of children
(Note: I’ve bolded the most important demographics.)
Demographics influence more than what your products/services will include—they play a crucial role in how much you charge, how you market your business and where, geographically.
One of the most reliable ways to get inside your readers’ heads is through Google Analytics (provided you have this setup on the backend of your site, of course).
Login to your Google Analytics and click “Audience > Demographics > Overview”. This will give you insight into your audience’s age and gender:
While Google Analytics provides a good, general overview of your audience, it won’t reveal important demographics like education level, marital status and most important—income.
To gain deeper insights, you need to survey your existing customers.
Influencers like Michael Hyatt surveys his audience every year to better plan his content marketing strategy:
Doing this allows him to gain insight into more personal information such as his reader’s family annual household income:
Psychographics: What Your Customers Do
Once you’ve identified who your prospects are, you then need to ascertain how they think.
And that’s where psychographics comes in.
According to Neil Patel, psychographics includes things like:
- Why prospects want to learn about (your market)
- How important (your market) is to them, i.e., is it a hobby or part of their job
- What common questions they have about (your market)
- How knowledgeable they are about (your market)
- How they like to consume content
Before you can answer the above questions, you need to gain a better understanding of your market.
There are two effective ways to do that…
Option 1. Reddit
Reddit is a popular social news aggregation site where registered users can submit content and then vote for or against them (upvote/downvote) to determine their position on the site’s pages.
Content entries are organized by areas of interest called “subreddits” dealing with topics such as news, science, gaming, movies, music, books, fitness, food, and image-sharing, among many others.
If you’re a realtor, for example, and you’re looking for insights into how buyers behave, you might go on a subreddit like r/real-estate:
(Note: this will work for any market, but we’ll go with real estate to illustrate how this works.)
Content is aggregated by how many upvotes is has (represented by the number next to it). The higher a post, the more value users have got from it.
To get a good understanding of what’s important to your market, click “Top > All Time”. This will allow you to view the most upvoted posts on the subreddit you’re browsing:
It doesn’t take long to realize that many property buyers are afraid of wasting time and getting ripped off by realtors:
Insights like these allow you to overcome objections when writing copy for your services pages, and marketing and selling your business to new prospects.
Go through 3-5 pages and make a note on what your market wants to move away from and toward. (Use the above bullets as a starting off point.)
To go even deeper, click on one of the similar subreddits listed in the sidebar and repeat the process:
Don’t forget, the more insight you have into your market, the stronger your marketing message and the easier prospects will turn into customers.
Option 2. Quora
I’ve written before about Quora for several reasons. For one thing, it’s great for inspiring content topics. But it’s also an unrestricted window into the minds of how your market behaves.
For instance, let’s suppose you’re a wedding planner looking for more insight into what your prospects are looking for when hiring a professional.
You might go to Quora and type in a question related to common concerns potential buyers have, such as “What questions should I ask before hiring a wedding planner?”
When you do this, you’ll notice answers from other professionals as well as consumers. Similar to Reddit, Quora offers related questions in the sidebar (which, in this case, assists you in your research on your market’s concerns):
As always, record your discoveries as you’re going along, particularly anything you didn’t know previously. This is especially important later when writing your buyer persona (more on that in a moment).
Now that we’ve learned how to gain insight into your market’s demographics and psychographics, let’s look at how to create a buyer persona so you know exactly who you’re creating content for.
How to Create a Buyer Persona
At this stage, you will want to take all the information you’ve gathered and apply it to your fictional buyer.
Open a new doc and address the following points based on the information you’ve acquired:
- Background. What do they do for a living?
- Job details. What are their day-to-day job responsibilities? What do they enjoy/not enjoy?
- Main sources of information. Where do they go for their research? Is it online? Is so, what blogs do they read regularly?
- Goals. What are they trying to achieve? And why is it important to them?
- Challenges/pain points. What are they currently struggling with? How does that make them feel?
- Preferred content medium. How do they like to consume content? (Note: this will vary depending on your market, but your research will point you in the right direction.)
- Quotes. These are actual quotes gathered during surveys or posts from Reddit, Quora, etc. These can be used when writing your value proposition or copy on your services pages. By speaking to your prospects in a language they’re familiar with, you’ll gain more trust and move buyers through the buyer’s journey much faster.
- Objections. These are objections you anticipate from your persona when trying to close them. You might have these in mind already, but researching psychographics will give a further glimpse into what their reservations are.
- Role in the purchase process. How much influence does your persona have in the decision-making process? If you’re in B2C, this is less important, but if you’re in B2B there may be 7-20 people involved in any given purchasing decision. Knowing who you’re marketing and selling to will help you clarify your marketing message.
Once you’ve addressed all these points, you’ll have something that resembles the following:
Give your prospective buyer a name, print off your persona and place it on the wall in front of you: this is who you’re creating content for moving forward.
Once you’ve created one you’re happy with, you’ll want to create a buyer persona for each stage of your buyer’s journey.
Because a person’s goals and challenges change as they move through your funnel.
(Especially if they’re not the key decision maker.)
Going to this length will ensure you understand your market from discovering your company, all the way to becoming a customer (and hopefully, becoming an advocate and recommending you to others).
If you want to generate more traffic, encourage more inquiries and convert more prospects … you need to know who you’re marketing your services to.
And that’s where having a buyer persona comes in.
When you know who you’re marketing to and how that customer behaves, you have a better understanding of who you’re serving, facilitate greater change for your audience and become the go-to solution in your marketplace.
What more could you want?
Do you have a buyer persona? Has it simplified your content creation process? Leave a comment below.