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5 Essential Steps to Follow for Buyer Persona Research

Katelyn Ahern Digital Project Manager
#Digital Marketing, #Inbound Marketing
Published on June 23, 2014

It's important to define the personas you want to reach with your marketing efforts, but how do you do so? Here are five steps to follow when researching your personas.

We've talked before about why it's so important to create buyer personas for your marketing efforts. From understanding your customers better to creating a consistent message for each persona, these factors all make sense, but how can you find out all this insightful information about your audience? I am going to walk you through several ways to start your buyer persona research and start crafting the most concise personas for your marketing efforts. Let's dive in to these five key steps to your buyer persona research:

1. Interview Sales Staff

Your sales staff typically spends the majority of their day talking with prospective clients. It is also highly probable that someone on your sales team has spoken with all your current clients at some point in time. The knowledge and understanding that they have of these clients and prospects is priceless. This is a great place to start your buyer persona research, especially because they are already in your office and ready to talk. Your sales staff can give you plenty of insight into many areas of your buyer persona profile, including their job and level of seniority, their ideal experience, and any concerns they might have about your services.

2. Interview Client Services Staff

Talking to your client services team members and support services staff is another great resource to tap into. Again, these team members are right in the same office as you, and they have great insights into certain aspects of your current clients. They can help you define areas such as the pain points your clients have, their ideal experience, and any common questions that arise about your services. These aspects are essential to understanding how to better serve your buyer personas now and in the future.

3. Analyze Current Client Trends

After you have interviewed your sales team and your client services team, I would suggest analyzing your current client trends. This can be as simple as looking through your current clients’ demographic information or as robust as analyzing their viewing habits on your website. The deeper you dive into your current analytics, the more insight you will have on what resonates with them, thus helping you cater your future messages to this group.

4. Interview Customers

The true test is when you take all the information you have collected thus far and then get out there and interview a few clients one-on-one. You may not be able to do this with all your clients, but even speaking to a few of them will give you the opportunity to confirm your findings in the previous steps. This will also give you the chance to go direct to the source and answer some of those questions that no else may know the answers to. Some of the categories in your buyer persona profiles that could only be answered from going directly to them may be "A day in their life" and their values and goals. These can come in very handy when you are crafting your message and making sure that your marketing efforts are meeting their needs.

5. Review and Update

This final step is possibly the most important one when creating buyer personas. The reality is that this information is based on people, and although some things may stay the same, a lot of the aspects that make up your buyer persona insights are not stagnant. It's vital to make sure you continually reassess these profiles and continue to talk with your sales and client services teams to ensure that you are still laying the proper foundation to meet your clients’ needs. There are many things that can totally change a persona’s objections or pain points in their industry, and keeping on top of these insights will help set you apart from your competition and better relate to your clients and prospects.

Creating buyer personas can be a tricky journey, but the more effort you put in, the more you can get out of this process. Taking the time to explore these insights and build the proper foundation for your marketing efforts is extremely important, especially if you are practicing inbound marketing methods. I find myself regularly going back to our personas in order to make sure that our marketing efforts are aligning with our audience, and without these frequent updates, I would absolutely be shooting in the dark. If you have questions on where to start with your buyer personas, feel free to leave us a comment or get in touch with a Marketing Specialist today.