In our last article on buyer personas, we talked about some of the things you can do to ruin your personas. Here are the things you can do to make sure they’re awesome.
5 Buyer Persona Tips to Improve Audience Targeting
1. Take on the Buyer’s Perspective
Your goal is to sell your product, but your buyers obviously don’t care much about that. All they care about is how your product will make their life easier.
Buyers face consequences within their company if the purchase decision they make is under par. Similarly, they can earn rewards by coming in under budget, choosing an exceptional vendor, etc.
Those fears and motivations should be a larger part of your message than “please buy from me.”
2. Gather Emotional Data
You need insight into your buyers' fears, goals, desires, and frustrations. Personas speak to those anxieties in our lizard brains and say, "Hey, I understand you. I'm just like you. Let's talk."
To take a quote from Jamie Shanks's eBook on social selling:
"People buy from people that they like, and people like people just like themselves."
3. Be Patient
Good buyer personas take time.
In one survey by Relevance, 85% of respondents did not report their persona efforts as being “significantly effective…” but that same 85% did not take the time to gather in-depth, qualitative research. The 15% that DID perform the proper research reported successful results.
4. Designate a Primary Persona
One of the issues we outlined in our previous post was creating too many personas. We advise our clients to make 2-3 personas, and one should be the primary persona that trumps the others in a marketing conflict.
5. Focus on Relevant Details
How many cats does Sales Rep Sally have? What is Business Bob’s hair color? Who friggin’ cares?
One of the major pros of personas is how detailed they are. But, you need to learn the difference between relevant and irrelevant details.
Specifying that HR Hannah has a dog that she likes to run around the lake in the morning is fine. It makes her more real. But if you’re getting stuck on something like what kind of dog it is, just ask: “Will this detail increase my understanding of my buyer’s purchasing decisions?”
The ultimate goal of buyer personas is to help you understand and more accurately target your buyers. Because -- surprise! -- giving your customers what they want makes them more likely to do business with you.
So go forth and create your great buyer persona.
(Editor's note: This article was originally published in August 2015 and was recently updated.)