Inbound marketing is, by its very nature, customer-driven. To get a better understanding of your customer’s needs and interests and figure out how your product/service can attend to them, you have to create one or several buyer personas for your business.

A buyer persona is your ideal customer profile – the person you have in mind when designing a new feature or creating a new piece of content. By knowing the problems your customers face and the goals that they have, you can cater your content to your audience in a way that they’ll find valuable.

As an entrepreneur, you can sometimes feel like you have at least 10 types of people you can sell to. What your CMO will probably tell you is that the more focused your marketing efforts are, the better you can personalize your strategy and achieve positive results. Who are the right customers, the ones you actively want to attract?

Today we’ll talk about the optimum number of buyer personas you should have for your business, from an inbound perspective.

1. Start with the first and most important one

Start with the most obvious segment – the one you first think about when you describe your product or service. Be conscientious in your efforts and answer the most important questions when creating your first persona:

1.) What is their demographic information?

2.) What is their job and level of seniority?

3.) What does a day in their life look like?

4.) What are their pain points?

5.) What do they value most? What are their goals?

6.) Where do they go for information?

7.) What experience are they looking for when shopping for your products and services?

8.) What are their most common objections to your product or service?

9.) How do I identify this persona?

Be as exhaustive as possible and, remember, your buyer persona is not static, it will continue to evolve as you learn more about them, as your product evolves and your content strategy unfolds. Constantly update your buyer persona.

Once you start to analyse the data based on your most successful customers, you will start to see where one persona ends and another begins, as HubSpot smartly points out.

2. What’s the next relevant audience segment?

If, after going through the comprehensive creation process with your first persona, you feel like there is another segment you could probably match in information and product/service fit, get started on your second persona.

The same applies, be as thorough as possible. If you don’t have enough information after doing research, maybe this isn’t a relevant persona and you should focus on the first one exclusively.

3. Stop creating more personas when you run out of relevant information

And also when you feel like it’s unreasonable to focus on that many segments. It’s called an “ideal” customer for a reason, when you have 6 buyer personas, most of them are probably average whilst only one or two might really be ideal.

Make sure you distinguish one persona from another and keep in mind their purpose – they’re there to help you create unique, personalized marketing experiences that can result in customer acquisition.

If you don’t have enough information, discard that persona.

I really hope these pointers will help you in your buyer persona creation efforts. For a detailed view on how to get started and how you can use these buyer personas, take a look at our Guide to Creating Buyer Personas.

Image credit: Flickr user JT