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3 Tips for creating your own buyer personas

So, you want to start working with buyer personas for your content marketing efforts? Great! In Content Mapping Tool you'd definitely want to use your buyer personas to make sure your content really fits the informational needs of your audience. But, as we find out again and again, lots of companies (small and big!) don't have a proper set of personas yet. Don't worry, we're here to help. In this blog I will give you 3 important tips to get started creating your own buyer personas.

Tip 1: 3 - 6 buyer personas should be plenty!

A question we hear a lot is 'How many buyer personas do I need?'. Well, there is no final answer, it can greatly vary depending on your product, your company and your industry. However, if you are working with more than 6-7 buyer personas, then you are probably making things more difficult than they need to be.

The idea of buyer personas is that you look at your customers and look for patterns in the way they reach their purchase goals. This means you can go into details as far as you want and you could probably create 50 or ever 100 personas. But, what's the point in that? The most important goal of creating buyer personas is that you can differentiate your marketing and sales efforts towards your most important types of clients. Differentiating by definition means more work, as compared to the old way of 'one message for everyone'. So, make sure you have enough personas to distinguish between the most important buyers, but limit yourself to a number that still makes sense for you to create different marketing and sales strategies and messages for!

Tip 2: link your personas to your industry and not your products.

So, let's say you have a webshop in which you sell portable devices, such as tablets, smartphones and smartwatches. A lot of marketeers would now be inclined to create buyer personas per product (range). So, you would end up with:

  1. Tablet buyer Peter
  2. Smartphone buyer Mary
  3. Smartwatch buyer Arnold
At first, this seems like a good setup. You can write content about tablets for Peter and content about smartwatches for Arnold. However, although you might know the proper subjects for each of the personas, you still have no idea what tone of voice you need and what kind of incentives are going to work to help your personas navigate through their customer journeys.

Therefore, it makes much more sense to just think of all of your personas 'Mobile device buyer', and further explore the different ways in which different people should be approached to help them in their quest for the proper information. This way you might end up with:

  1. Early adaptor - Peter
  2. Relying on the proven technology - Mary
  3. Need to know everything about a product before I buy - Arnold
Now, you can write content about all of your products, for all of your personas. Plus, you are also able to make sure you write the different kinds of content for each of them. This way you can really make sure you are answering all the different questions with you content. Makes sense, right?

Tip 3: Involve the right people in the process of persona design

If you are developing your buyer personas yourself, I strongly recommend to make sure you involve the right people in this process. Let's face it, the marketing department sometimes is like an island inside an organization, far away from the actual production and/or sales. But, when it comes to 'knowing the customers', everybody seems to be looking at marketing. Not fair? Perhaps. But definitely no reason to just assume marketing can actually get to the bottom of the process of investigating what the customer wants, without any help. Therefore, invite at least the following people across your organization to help you:

  1. Sales: if you have sales people on the road, they are really the ones that can tell you exactly who the customers really are, what their pains and questions are and how proper content could help them.
  2. Customer care/service: these are the people who are talking to your customers every day. Don't waste their knowledge!
  3. .. your actual clients: make phonecalls, do workshops, ask the questions you always wanted to ask, but really: involve your actual clients in the process!
Finally, a question we hear a lot: do you need an external consultant to help you create buyer personas? Well, maybe. Usually, depending on the size of your organization, I actually do recommend to bring a new set of eyes and ears in. Because, no matter how hard you try, there are always to some degree blindspots in your vision about your own organization. Don't be afraid to let someone uncover them! It will help you designing better, more reliable buyer personas!

Jeroen Huynen

About author

Jeroen is the CEO of Content Mapping Tool and an experienced content marketeer.