5 Areas to Consider When Developing Buyer Personas

Written by Lauren Austin


Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. They’re essential to every step of the inbound marketing methodology because every piece of content you create needs to appeal to the customers you’re trying to reach.

In this post, we'll teach you 5 key areas to consider when developing buyer personas to tailor your inbound marketing campaigns towards.

When creating buyer personas, it’s important to pay attention to every detail - no matter how small. These details will help you better understand who your ideal customer is, what role they play in their organization, what they need, what motivates them and, most importantly, how they make important business purchase decisions.

To get started developing buyer personas for your business, the first step is to analyze  your existing customers, and to group them into categories based on commonalities. If you’re just starting out, we recommend creating no more than 2-3 categories.

Once you’ve created a few broad customer groups, shift your focus to each individual customer within those groups. Ask as many questions about each customer as you can, and document your thoughts. Before you know it, you’ll probably start noticing quite a few similarities!

To help you with this process, we’ve identified 5 key customer traits to consider when developing buyer personas for your marketing efforts. Your understanding of how the following details impact how and why your customers make purchasing decisions will become the foundation upon which your entire inbound marketing plan is built.

5 Areas to Consider When Developing Buyer Personas

Personal Background

Any information that lends insight into who your ideal customer is as a person belongs in this section. Remember - the more specific you are, the better.

Example questions:

  • How old is your ideal client?
  • Is your ideal client a man or a woman?
  • Is he / she married?
  • What’s his / her educational background?
  • Does he / she have children?
  • Where does he / she live?

Company / Organization

Once you know who your ideal customer is as an individual, it’s vital that you understand where they work. Your job is to know all about the company / organization your ideal customer works for, as well as the industry they serve.

This information will help you better understand what your ideal customer actually needs, as well as who / what they’re up against.

Example questions:

  • What company / organization does your ideal customer work for?
  • How big is that company / organization?
    • Number of employees
    • Number of divisions
    • Number of offices
    • Annual revenue
    • Where is most of his / her time spent?
    • What motivates him / her?

Job Description

Once you’re comfortable with your understanding of your ideal client’s company / organization, your next challenge is to understand what that person does there. You should start by identifying your ideal client’s title. Your ideal customer’s title will tell you a great deal about what he / she does on a daily basis, as well as how much influence he / she has over major decisions.  

This is where detail is extremely important! In order to develop marketing content that speaks directly to a specific customer type, you first have to know everything about that person. Take your time when analyzing each customer’s job description - the insights you uncover during this process will help shape everything about the content you produce.

Example questions:

  • What’s your ideal customer’s title?
  • What are his / her primary responsibilities?
  • What does he / she do on a daily basis?
  • What skills does he / she have, or need to have to be successful?
  • What tools does he/ she use on a regular basis?
  • Who does he / she work with?
  • Who does he / she report to?
  • Who reports to him / her?
  • Does he / she have a say in major business decisions, or at least an impact?
  • If not, who ultimately makes those decisions?
  • How does he / she influence decisions that directly impact his / her job?
  • Where is most of his / her time spent?
  • What motivates him / her?

Challenges

The more you understand about your ideal customer’s company / organization, as well as his / her job description, the more you’ll understand the challenges he / she faces on a daily basis.

These challenges are the key to your marketing.

Why? Because people aren’t motivated to invest in solutions when everything’s running smoothly - they’re motivated to invest in solutions when they’re faced with serious challenges. It’s your job to understand what those challenges are, and to use smart marketing to both show and tell them exactly how you / your company will help them overcome those challenges.

Example questions:

  • What are your ideal customer’s frustrations?
  • What are his / her top 3 challenges right now?
  • How has he / she tried to overcome those challenges in the past? What was the result?
  • How does he / she plan to overcome those challenges in the future?
  • What does he / she need to overcome those challenges?
  • What resources does he / she have?
  • What resources does he / she lack?

Goals

Last, but certainly not least, you need to understand your ideal customer’s goals. Your ideal customer’s goals are equally as important as his / her challenges, as his / her performance will ultimately be evaluated on the extent to which those goals are met.

This is another area where detail is extremely important! Don’t settle for top-level goals - drill down to find out exactly what your ideal customer is looking to achieve. 

Example questions:

  • What are you looking to achieve?
    • Increase sales
      • Sales volume?
      • Average sale value?
      • Monthly sales?
      • Quarterly sales?
      • Annual sales?
      • Growth - volume?
      • Growth - percentage?
      • Growth within a particular channel, such as online?
    • Drive more website traffic
      • Total visits?
      • Daily visits?
      • Weekly visits?
      • Monthly visits?
      • Returning visitors?
      • Unique visitors?
      • Improved SEO?
      • Paid online marketing?
      • What about conversions? Bounce rate? Time on site?
  • Why are those things important to you?
  • What will achieving those goals do for your business?
  • How are you going to measure success?
  • What metrics are important to you?
  • What will your results be compared to?
  • How are you being evaluated?
  • What will make you look good?

If this information makes your head spin - don’t worry! Buyer personas are extremely complex, and they aren’t developed overnight. Creating impactful buyer personas is a never ending process, and one that often weeks or months to complete.

Our goal is to introduce you to buyer personas, and to show you how understanding the characteristics of the customers you want to attract to your business can dramatically increase the success of your future marketing and sales efforts.

Even if you don’t dive headfirst into buyer personas, we’re confident that thinking through the process and asking the right questions will help you the next time you try to close a sale.

If you’d like to learn more about buyer personas, as well as how inbound marketing can help you overcome your current marketing and sales challenges, click the button below and request a 30-minute marketing consultation!

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