What is a Buyer Persona?

If you aren’t using buyer personas yet, you are not operating effectively. Buyer personas shape the way you interact with your customers and prospects and can be used to significantly impact the way you:

  • Segment your audience lists in emails
  • Formulate subject lines
  • Write copy and Calls-to-Action
  • Reach them over Social Media

Furthermore, your personas should impact the way your entire team communicates with them in general. When you create buyer personas, you pinpoint your ideal audience, which makes it easier to provide them with information that’s relevant to them.

What is a Buyer Persona?

Your persona is your best buyer; the person who's most likely to purchase what you have to offer. When you know who you’d like to sell to, you can target your campaign to speak directly to that group. Does developing a buyer persona really work? The short answer is, yes.

Targeted emails produce 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails.

Developing a scientific industry email marketing campaign isn’t something that happens overnight. If you’re going to put time and effort into making sure that your emails are relevant and capture the attention of your ideal customer, you can’t send them out blindly.

Segmentation is key to the success of an email marketing campaign, and it's easier to divide your audience when you have — and understand — your personas. When the approach, language and terminology you use in each email is tailored to a specific reader, it will be more likely to receive a response.

Buyer personas are not just effective for email campaigns.

Your personas should play into just about every marketing decision that you make, from website development to the creation of print campaigns and trade show materials. They should also be taken into consideration when anyone from your team interacts with your customers. Understanding how your buyer processes information and how they interact with people so your team can adjust its approach will help develop a stronger relationship longer term.

Utilizing marketing personas makes websites up to 5 times more effective and easier to use by your target audience.

Before buying, a reader is probably going to check out your website. One key point to remember when creating any sort of content for your site: Only 3% of your market will be actively buying at any given time - They are in the research phase and the frustrating reality is that they will not care that you need their business before the end of the quarter.

What they will care about is what your product or service will do for them. Will it fit within their budget? Does it meet their specifications? Will it help their organization in some way? Your product needs to present a solution to a prominent problem of theirs. By focusing on the things you can control in a slick, timely manner, i.e. the information you provide them with, the subject lines, the USPs and the gentle educational follow up, then your chances of success will increase greatly.

Knowing what a customer needs and values will help you to answer these questions and incorporate those answers into every piece of content that you produce. People respond when they feel like they're understood.

Typical Buyer Personas

Below are some examples of what a typical buyer persona might look like:

Engineer Eric

Engineer Eric

Age 40
Job Engineer
Organisation Private oil company
Qualifications Masters in Engineering, MBA
Key Challenges Pipeline Maintenance, Quality Control, Looking for mechanical faults and flow rates
Social Media Sites Linkedin
Preferred Platform Tablet

Eric the engineer has always been very analytical and detail oriented. He stays up to date with industry trends on Linkedin and uses his tablet when he is in the field. Content written for Eric needs to focus on his key challenges and helping him do his job more efficiently.

Researcher Rebecca

Researcher Rebecca

Age 25
Job Researcher
Organisation University
Qualifications Masters in Science, studying for PhD
Key Challenges Managing experiments, inputting and analysing data
Social Media Sites Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit
Preferred Platform Mobile

Rebbecca the researcher is in her 7th year of study and is currently working toward her PhD. She has buying influence as her research will determine which equipment her department will purchase. She is active across several social media platforms and browses the latest industry news on her mobile. As she is exposed to various news feeds, posts written for Rebecca need to jump of the page and lead her to content which is clearly related to her interests.

Professor Pete

Professor Pete

Age 50
Job Head of Faculty
Organisation University
Qualifications PhD in Chemistry, PostDoc
Key Challenges Overseeing the department, approving projects and all purchases over $5k, setting the research direction, appointing postdocs
Social Media Sites Linkedin, Facebook
Preferred Platform Desktop

Peter the Professor has over 25 years experience in Academia having studied many Post doctorates. He now oversees a whole department and his successes are measured by the number of publications and amount of funding his students receive. Content written for Peter should provide a pragmatic overview or executive summary with further detail provided below.

Each persona has their own distinct challenges, personality type, background, level of experience etc. we aim to group segments of the audience into these target personas. Here are some questions you should be asking:

Key questions to help determine your reader personas

How old are they?

Are they Millennials? Generation X, Y or Z? Baby Boomers? In other words, have they grown up with the internet or were they more likely studying for their PhD in the library by an oil lamp?

What is their occupation?

Engineer, Researcher, Laboratory Assistant, Manager, Director, C-Suite, Student, Intern? They all have varying levels of influence and decision-making power, this will affect how you address and communicate with them.

How many years' experience do they have?

Are they a career long veteran or full of youthful exuberance? Have they been there, done that and seen it all?

What are their key challenges?

Do they not have enough time in the day? Are they under-resourced? Is there a task that can be completely outsourced? Are they hands on or do they delegate more responsibility?

How are their successes measured?

For Academics, how many publications have they had? How many citations? How much funding? Recognition? For Industry on the other hand, how can they reduce downtime? How can they improve processes? How can they save money?

What personality type are they?

Are they extroverted or introverted? Do they process information by "Intuition" or by "Sensing"? How do they make decisions? by thinking or feeling? Are they regimented and organised or do they go with the flow? Find out which personality type you are by taking this short test.

How big is their company?

Linkedin readily displays this data on company size which can be used to gauge how big a team is or how long the decision making process will take. Smaller companies may be able to act faster because they are more flexible than larger organisations who have decision making procedures and processes in place.

What industry do they work in?

Is it a government organisation, an academic institute, a private enterprise or a non-profit entity? These are all factors which will shape how you target reader personas.

Developing Buyer Personas Takes Some Thought

Fortunately, any investment of time you make to come up with your buyer personas will save you time down the road. Once you have established this information, it’s easier to write a marketing plan, create engaging content and embark on a new campaign when you already know who you are speaking to and what language needs to be used.

Since globalization is now the norm, buyer personas need to incorporate the culture and values of specific regions, along with the pain points of those working within a certain industry. It’s also vital to figure out where your ideal buyer gets their information. Whether it’s social media or scientific journals, wherever they are is where you need to be, providing relevant information to them.

Getting started

The more work you put into understanding your buyer personas, the more you will get out. Get started today with a free consultation of your digital marketing strategy and we can point you in the right direction.

Posted by Frank Barker

Having spent his younger years playing Rugby in the sunny climes of Spain and Western Australia, Frank graduated from Loughborough University with a BSc in International Business. Over the past 4 years, he has since forged a career in Digital Marketing and developed a passion for combining big data with great content to deliver messages that resonate with specific audiences. A sportsman at heart, Frank still enjoys lacing up the boots for his beloved Macclesfield 1st XV Rugby or pulling on the whites to represent the more serious Macclesfield 3rd XI Cricket team.

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