For marketers, there really isn’t a more important exercise than creating buyer personas. Buyer personas help create marketing campaigns that are more targeted and relevant for potential customers. A good collection of buyer personas can keep campaigns focused and help produce better lead-generating content. In short, buyer personas are awesome.

Researching target buyers will uncover interesting topics, interests and help set the tone of future marketing efforts. Best of all, it gives you specific, actionable information that you can use to create attractive offers.

A good place to start your buyer persona research is with a template. A template will give structure to the data you collect for each persona and can easily be added to or changed. If you don’t keep this information somewhere then you’ll have a tough time referencing it in the future.

If you need a buyer persona template, you can download one here.

Working Through the Template

So what goes into the creation of a bullet proof buyer persona? You want something comprehensive enough to be specific but not so big it becomes unusable. What you need is something that concisely answers the right questions and gives you a clear path to follow. The following will help answer those questions and identify the key traits of each persona.

Start with profile demographics like age, race, gender, role, education and experience (years on the job).

Next, list the top 3 things this persona is responsible for at work. These can be things like:

  • Making sure orders are shipped
  • Enforcing web standards on projects
  • Making sure people show up on time

Then, list the top 3 obstacles that hinder this persona’s success, like:

  • Ordered software sometimes fails, making me use paper
  • Lack of validation tool for web projects
  • No good way to know if people are showing up to work on time

Then, list 3 metrics this persona tends to use to measure their own success, like:

  • Time from order to ship.
  • of websites that pass validation.
  • of people that show up to work on time.

Next, list 3 ways the persona believes that they could solve their problems, improve their success metrics, and be more effective at work. These might be:

  • Developing or buying a better system for tracking employees
  • Finding a new tool for website validation
  • The order tracking software is out of date and unreliable, an update would be useful

Then, list where the persona researches and consumes information online, like:

  • MarketingProfs
  • Harvard Business Review
  • CSS-Tricks

And finally, ask who else in the persona’s organization is involved in the buying process for a product or service like yours. These could be people like:

  • IT personnel
  • COO and CIO
  • Upper management

Once you have your bullet proof buyer persona template ready, you can pull in any psychographic available. Don’t have psychographic data handy? Well you can use Google Analytics data to understand what products and interests appeal to certain genders and ages. This is something we will write about in a future post…moving on.

tumblr_m92p0qMgXK1qiqf01o1_500Now that your buyer persona is complete, you can start putting them to work. Website navigation, content marketing, landing pages and search can all accommodate your buyer personas.

For content marketers, it’s also important to monitor your results and re-evaluate your personas at frequent intervals. If the content you’re producing isn’t striking the intended cord, then re-visiting a persona’s interests may be in order.

Remember, with every new product or service you need to create personas to tie said product or service to. The above buyer persona template provides a solid foundation for creating buyer personas that will guide your future marketing efforts.