Methods for Creating Effective Buyer Personas

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Buyer Personas

The best practices for creating realistic buyer personas include conducting interviews, social listening, and using Google Analytics. It is important to have a low number of personas to ease segmentation, and there should be a collective understanding of the personas in an organization within the different departments such as sales, marketing, public relations, content and design, and customer service. Market segmentation improves the efficiency of marketing campaigns by tailoring them to target specific persona.

USING GOOGLE ANALYTICS
Google Analytics helps in acquiring information about the people actively interacting with a brand online. It helps in providing information about the number of people who visit the site and the time of their visit, their age, gender, and if they buy or return later to purchase from the website. Linking Google Analytics with information from social networks helps to provide data on the personal attributes of the buyer. It helps to discover information such as their passion, lifestyle, occupation, consumption habits, their other websites or blogs of interest, and how they discovered the business. It provides information on real-life customers that enable the building of realistic buyer personas. This information helps in tailoring messages to specific customers and increases the value of their order on the business website.
SOCIAL LISTENING
The social media provides an important platform for acquiring insights that help in developing buyer personas. Social listening requires monitoring tools such as Hootsuite, Social Mention, and Infegy Atlas that collect data such as the buying behavior, feelings, inclinations, cultural interests, and who the customers interact with most. It provides real-time, fast, and flexible information about the customers, influencers, and competitors. Social listening helps to understand how the customers feel and think, and monitors their reaction, emotion, trends, and the progress of other competing brands. This is important in realizing how ideal customers are likely to react to a new product in a specific area and if the trends are likely to appeal to their interests and buying behavior.
The four main ways of improving the efficiency of social listening include monitoring, listening, interpreting, and transforming. It is important to observe the actions of customers across websites and their social media platforms and connect the relationship between the actions. Listening helps to isolate significant opinions and conversations that can influence the marketing efforts of a business. Interpretation is essential in exploring the short-term and long-term trends from different groups of customers before transforming data from the real-time platforms into useful and applicable conclusions.

CONDUCTING INTERVIEWS AND SURVEYS
Interviewing real-life customers provides a deeper understanding of their needs, feelings, personalities, motivations, and opinions on different products and services. The interviews can be offline or online, and it is essential to ask open-ended questions that allow them to express themselves to learn about their personas and acquire actionable information. The questions should be few and inclined towards the obstacles they find when purchasing, their mindset, and behavioral drivers. Interviews can be conducted in person and using phones or can be in the form of web and exit surveys. In-person and phone interviews are likely to be expensive, but the information from the interviews is important in ensuring growth and success of the business. Web and exit surveys include pop-ups that present a question to customers visiting the website at a specific time. The approach of the interview should be based on active listening and should lead to enough qualitative information about the personality of buyers, ambitions, and what motivates their purchases.

CONCLUSION
In conclusion, the best practices in developing realistic personas include social listening, using Google Analytics, and conducting interviews. The creation of an efficient buyer persona involves asking the relevant questions, conducting research, and perfecting the few primary personas.
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Buyer Personas - Tools

In order to create effective buyer personas, tools and resources that can be used include the following: Tools: Hubspot’s Marketing Tool, MakeMyPersona, Twitter Analytics, Followerwonk, Resources: BuyerPersona.com, Sigma Web’s article — “22 Questions to Ask When Creating Buyer Personas”, and Hubspot’s buyer personas' articles. Most of these tools and resources are free, with some offering tiered payment options.

METHODOLOGY AND ASSUMPTIONS

I found several pre-compiled lists that contain tools and resources in order to create buyer personas that are semi-fictional images of a company’s actual customer. There were no lists that mentioned the top or the best tools and resources based on specific criteria. I also looked at the list of tools and resources mentioned by several internet marketing companies. I cross-checked the items among the lists to find the most suitable tools and resources based on requirements needed in creating an effective buyer persona. A buyer persona can be considered as effective if it can serve as a structure for more personalized and pertinent content that can meet specific requests, interests, and issues that are typically experienced by high converting ideal buyer demographics.

I also did not include anymore simple and straightforward tools like Skype, Google Search, and others to come up with the seven required tools. Note that some sources are older than two years but they have been recently updated by the authors.

TOOLS AND RESOURCES IN BUYER PERSONA Creation

1. Hubspot Marketing Tool

Before actually creating the profile of your buyer persona, there is a huge amount of research to be done in order to gather all the attributes of the fictional character to be created. One tool that can be used is the Hubspot Marketing Platform. The platform can help in gathering lead intelligence for the target buyer persona. The information that can be generated includes some data on how buyers were able to find a company’s website, their conversion history, and the ongoing engagement communications. The Hubspot marketing platform has the following price structure: (1) Marketing Starter - $50/month; (2) Marketing Basic -starts at $200/month; (3)Marketing Professional starts at $800/month; and (4) Marketing Enterprise - starts at $2,400/month. There is an option to include other extra services with varying fees.

2. MakeMyPersona

Hubspot’s MakeMyPersona tool enables users to create buyer personas that can represent a firm’s customer. It just involves selecting a stock photo for a persona and filling up the necessary information such as fictional name, job title, duties, goals, challenges, the persona’s organization, and others. After filling up the form, users can then get their generated persona by inputting their email address and concurring to the terms and conditions. The tool will send the full details of the newly-created buyer’s persona to the user’s email address in a downloadable and editable word document format for free.

3. Twitter Analytics

Another tool that can help in researching the persona of a buyer is Twitter Analytics. The tool can be used to access all the shared data of the user. Twitter Analytics can provide shared information that includes user engagement activities, preferences, gender, location and other demographics. Using all these data for research on a company's buyers can help create more detailed and customized buyer personas. Twitter Analytics is a free service.

4.Followerwonk

Followerwonk can be used to further dissect the data from Twitter Analytics. It offers more specific Twitter user demographics that can be organized further. This can help create more detailed buyer personas. Plan types and pricing plans are as follows: (1) Connect: one connected profile with limited access — free; (2) Target: up to three profiles with more access — $29/month; and (3) Multitask: up to 20 profiles with loads of access - $79/month.

5. BuyerPersona.com

This resource was written by Adele Revella, a marketer with 25 years of experience in constructing buyer personas. This resource contains basic and best practices of building buyer personas that can be effectively be used in businesses. Adele also provides paid workshops, hands-on tutorials, and coaching sessions. I cannot find the prices for her other training classes but I found that her Buyer Persona Masterclass costs $349. Her site also offers free templates, blogs, and other free content.

6. 22 Questions to Ask When Creating Buyer Personas

This resource is from Sigma Web Marketing, an integrated marketing services firm that caters to Fortune 1000 companies. The article states the questions and the processes involved when conducting interviews with actual buyers in order to come up with a buyer persona. The write-up also included suggestions on how questions should be framed such as the use of open-ended questions.

7. Hubspot’s Resources on Building Better Buyer Personas and Buyer Persona Template Creation

How to Build Better Buyer Personas to Drive Killer Content” and “Creating Buyer Personas Template” are two helpful resources from Hubspot, a pioneer in inbound marketing. In the first article, Hubspot lays down a simple three-step method to build personas that can be used as a framework for various content marketing endeavors.
Meanwhile, the second article provides a free template that can be used to easily consolidate and organize all the relevant data for each persona that needs to be created.

CONCLUSION

Hubspot’s Marketing Tool, MakeMyPersona, Twitter Analytics, Followerwonk, BuyerPersona.com, Sigma Web’s article — “22 Questions to Ask When Creating Buyer Personas”, and Hubspot’s buyer personas' articles are the tools and resources that can be used to effectively build buyer personas.
Sources
Sources