Creating buyer personas in content marketing can get a little tricky. Understanding the key factors and developing questions that help you understand how consumers make their purchasing decision is only the baseline of buyer persona development.
Maybe you already have a set of personas that are not aiding your content development process the way you think they should. Maybe you have not even started, or maybe you’ve been working for months and you still haven’t hit the mark. All of these scenarios are common.
As long as you’re willing to put in the legwork and pull your creative hat off the coat rack, you’ll be well on your way to resourceful and well-developed buyer personas.
Let's first review some of the more common questions you can ask and research as a starting point. Because the Internet has so many valuable programs, services, and tools to research buyer personas, many individuals and organizations believe it is sufficient to research their buyer personas solely in the digital world.
Digital research will pull a lot of valuable information if you have time to sleuth. If you are a marketing manager who wears many hats besides the research one, it would be better to head straight to the source—your customers.
Extracting real answers through community engagement, sales and marketing communications, as well as in-person or over-the-phone interviews is an excellent place to start. After all, you have these customers for a reason. Something you have done in the past has built the trusting relationship necessary to attract, convert, close, and delight them into members of your content community as well as paying customers.
Digital research is effective for many marketing actions, but an in-person interview will give you the power necessary to create buyer profiles that will move the needle on ROI and help meet your key performance indicators (KPIs).
Some questions you may want to focus on asking in these interviews:
- How old are you?
- Where do you work?
- Where do you live?
- Where were you born?
- Where or how did you grow up?
- Are you married? Do you have children?
- What is your racial/ethnic heritage?
- What is your highest level of education?
- How did you do in school?
- Did you attend college?
- What was your major?
- What are your best subjects in school?
- How do you retain and process information best?
- What does your employment look like today?
- Have you owned your own business?
- How often do you use email at work?
- How often do you social media at work?
- What is your job title?
- How do you serve the needs of your company / organization?
- How long is your commute?
- What is your company role?
- How often do you check your email?
- Do you prefer to read, watch, or listen to information?
- How do you prefer to learn new things?
- How do you prefer to consume your daily news?
- How much time a day do you spend on:
- Social media
- News websites
- Learning new programs / platforms / software
- What social media sites do you use more than once a day?
- What social media sites do you use more than 3 times a week?
- What social media sites do you use about once a week?
- Do you prefer one social platform over the others? If so, which one?
- How are you using our products or service currently?
- Why are you using our products or service currently?
- How are our services best suiting your needs?
- Where do we need to improve our product or service?
- When do you find our product or service most beneficial?
- When do you find our product or service to be cumbersome or difficult to use?
As you can see, there are a lot of questions you can ask, and these are just the tip of the iceberg. The bottom line when it comes to developing buyer personas is that you want to know who you are marketing to, who is purchasing your products, who is coming back for more, and who would rather choose the competition. Once you have ironed out those details you can begin to analyze why certain individuals are customers and why others are not.
Once you have rooted up the above answers—and any others you think are necessary for your industry—you can begin to develop content, products, and services to better suit the needs of your content community and target audience. Completing the leg work may seem formidable but you will thank yourself and admire your hard work once you see the results of a well-developed set of buyer personas.
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