How To Create Actionable Buyer Personas That Drive Business

How To Create Actionable Buyer Personas That Drive Business

Content marketing continues to be one of the most prominent forms of digital marketing for businesses. If there's any doubt, consider the fact that 93% of B2B marketers embrace content marketing over traditional advertising. This is likely due to the fact that conversion rates for content marketing are six times higher for those who incorporate it than those who don't. 

graphic that reads: "Conversion rates for content marketing are six times higher"

The right kind of content creation helps businesses build a relationship with their audience and ultimately drives sales. The problem? Many businesses fail to create the right kind of content for their audience. 

With so many businesses following the latest content marketing trends, it's no wonder why many companies miss the mark with their own content marketing. They’re so focused on seeing a high ROI, they’ll use popular marketing channels (TikTok, Twitter, email, etc.) to distribute promotional content without understanding how or if it applies to their buyer personas and caters to their needs.

As a result, their content marketing generally includes red flags such as:

Graphic showing eight large red flag emojis
  • Hard selling
  • Following a content strategy that mimics competitors
  • Creating duplicate content
  • Talking more about products or services rather than establishing themselves as a thought-leader

These types of red flags usually translate to content that is not relevant to the audience. When this happens, businesses aren't able to reap the true benefits of their content marketing efforts.

To help you take your content marketing to the next level and maximize success, we're going to provide an overview of what you need to know about your buyers and why that knowledge is crucial for your business’s success. 

The Impact of an Actionable Buyer Persona

Developing your buyer persona is one of the best ways to avoid the red flags mentioned above and improve your content marketing strategy. 

According to MarketingInsiderGroup, 93% of companies who exceed lead and revenue goals segment their database by buyer persona. But what is a buyer persona and why is it relevant to your content marketing? Let's take a deeper dive into this connection. 

What Is a Buyer Persona?

A buyer persona template that includes age, personality, wants, bio, and income

An actionable buyer or customer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your current customers. When creating a buyer persona, businesses typically include vital information such as customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.

In general, the more detailed you are, the better you will be able to develop an accurate representation of your persona. When businesses take the time to develop 3-5 personas (depending on how diverse your customer base may be), they provide significant structure and insight into their company – and specifically their content strategy. 

Understanding a Negative Buyer Persona

In contrast to a positive customer persona, there are negative personas as well. This essentially helps businesses identify what audience they don't want. A negative persona represents a collection of behaviors, demographics, and scenarios that disqualify a certain group from your target audience. 

Understanding your negative buyer persona is equally important because it helps businesses avoid wasting time on an audience that doesn't fit their product or service. Characteristics of a negative persona may include:

  • Problematic clients
  • Clients that weren't profitable for the company
  • Prospects that made it far in the sales process but never actually closed

When you start creating your buyer personas, it's a good idea to also develop your negative personas as well. 

Why Is an Actionable Buyer Persona Important?

Now that we have a basic understanding of what a customer persona is, why exactly are these personas so essential? A detailed and actionable persona will show businesses where they need to focus their time, guide product development, and ensure the entire organization is aligned to create branded messages for the company and test marketing ideas. 

For instance, an actionable buyer persona will help businesses understand whether their audience prefers to consume content through an engaging email newsletter or through an informative video. 

These types of distinctions can make or break your content marketing and lead generation, which is why it's essential for businesses to have a complete understanding of who their target audience is and what their needs and wants are. 

A buyer persona is also used as a guide to help businesses restructure their content in a way that better serves their audience. Here's a look at how businesses can use their personas.

  1. Reframe content language to speak to your target audience - Not everyone speaks the same “language”, and this is important to consider before creating content for your audience. For instance, is your audience high-level marketers that understand all of the jargon that comes with the marketing industry? Or, are you appealing to beginners who may not know the difference between inbound and outbound marketing? If you are appealing to beginners who don't understand various marketing terms, most of your content will go over their heads and won't be as effective. 
  2. Target social ads more effectively - Social media has become a huge part of business success. In fact, 48% of the population uses some form of social media. A buyer persona can significantly improve social advertising with more precise content marketing efforts. 
  3. Increase ROI - Every business wants to increase its return on investment. After all, you're not producing content just for fun. When businesses have a more accurate representation of their target audience, their content is more relevant, more effective, and has a higher chance of converting. 

Ultimately, having buyer personas goes hand-in-hand with your content strategy. In fact, 56% of companies have developed higher-quality leads using personas. With that said, if you want to see better results from your content strategy, developing a detailed buyer persona is crucial.

Put a Label on It: Understanding Your Buyer Types

Three buyer persona templates labeled: Buyer 1, Buyer 2, and Buyer 3

Once you've developed your buyer personas, it's time to label them. This will help you understand what content you need to engage them. Realistically, some buyers won’t fit just one buyer type, but in general there are four main types of buyers you may encounter. Let's take a closer look at them. 

The Economic Buyer

The Economic Buyer is the one who controls the money. Out of all influencers, this person is likely the “most important” purchaser. This individual may be a senior executive. They will prioritize the broader impact that your product or service has in regard to the company. Here are a few questions that the Economic Buyer may want to know:

  • Will your solution increase their company's revenue or reduce costs?
  • Will your solution drive up the margins?
  • Will they be able to enter new markets?

Ultimately, the Economic Buyer wants to evaluate the ROI. For this reason, they're always looking for case studies, client examples, and financial models that map out the ROI of the solution. 

The User Buyer

This buyer will have a direct link to your solution. They will want to know what impact it has on specific job performance, how your solution will be used on a daily basis, and who will be affected by it. 

Their first point of contact will likely be to consult with peers to see whether other people have implemented your offering. This research is conducted mostly by user groups and on community sites. 

The User Buyer usually focuses on change management. If they believe that there are red flags in your solution, they likely won't move forward as they'll begin to question the usefulness of your offering.

To appeal to these types of buyers, you should focus specifically on their pain points. They will be interested in things like free trials, demonstrations, and user documents.

The Technical Buyer

The Technical Buyer generally holds the title of IT Manager, CTO, or CFO. These individuals will ask a lot of questions related to feasibility. They will want to evaluate things like:

  • Will we have more work to do?
  • Is this something we could develop ourselves?
  • Should we find a better solution that's available that we don't know about yet?

These buyers are on the fence with their decision. They will want to look at contractual terms and conditions, trials, demonstrations, and compliance.

The Coach

This buyer is the one who guides you in the sale by providing you with the information you need. As a result, they have an influential role as they can assist you in getting customers and repeat business.

They want to see your solutions implemented, and will be interested in sales and marketing materials they can promote within the organization. 

Understanding Your Persona's Journey Towards Working with You

Illustration of a person walking down a path with three branches down the path. At each brand there is a person standing and waving at the walker.

The buyer's journey represents the customer's path to your business. Throughout this journey, the buyer will research a problem, find potential solutions, and choose the solution they feel is best. You can meet a buyer at any one of the following stages:

  • Problem recognition
  • Information gathering
  • Evaluating solutions
  • Purchase

The more you understand about your type of buyer, the more likely you will be able to build trust, regardless of what stage they are in their customer journey. For instance, a customer will have a different experience with your product or service depending on their current role and previous knowledge.

A CFO may already know their company's pain point but may not yet know what the exact solution is. As a result, they might not even know which questions to ask but are looking for general information regarding the problem.

In this case, you want to focus on providing them with their answer by offering a clear solution that addresses their pain points. Ultimately, understanding where your buyers are on their journey will determine how businesses need to engage with them to land the sale. 

The Secret to Creating Good Content Is Empathy

Your product or service plays a particular role in the users' day-to-day process. With that said, while highlighting the features of your product or services is certainly important, the secret to creating good content is empathy. 

Empathy is essential when it comes to providing the best customer experience and enabling businesses to better connect with their customers. When businesses create content with empathy, that means they've taken the time to understand who their target audience is, what their pain points are, what motivates them, and how their business solution can make an impact on their life. 

Your content provides a direct line to your ideal customers. At Steel Croissant, we help brands discover who they are, where they want to go, and help them get there. Have a project in mind? Feel free to reach out to us today to see how we can help you take your business to the next level.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Buyer personas are detailed representations of ideal customers based on research and data about their demographics, behaviors, goals, and pain points. They are essential for driving business because they provide insights into the specific needs, preferences, and challenges of target audiences, enabling businesses to tailor their marketing efforts effectively. By creating actionable buyer personas, businesses can better understand their customers, deliver more relevant and personalized experiences, and ultimately drive sales and business growth.

Businesses can conduct research to create actionable buyer personas by gathering data from various sources, including customer surveys, interviews, social media insights, website analytics, and sales data. By analyzing this data, businesses can identify common traits, behaviors, and preferences among their target audience segments, helping them develop detailed and accurate buyer personas. Additionally, businesses should validate their findings through qualitative and quantitative research methods to ensure the accuracy and relevance of their personas.

Actionable buyer personas should include key components such as demographic information, job roles or titles, goals and challenges, pain points and objections, preferred communication channels, and decision-making criteria. These components provide a comprehensive understanding of the target audience's needs, motivations, and behaviors, enabling businesses to create more targeted and personalized marketing strategies that resonate with their customers.

Businesses can use actionable buyer personas to inform their marketing strategies by aligning their messaging, content, and offerings with the specific needs and preferences of their target audience segments. By understanding the goals, pain points, and decision-making criteria of their customers, businesses can tailor their marketing efforts to address these factors effectively. This targeted approach helps businesses attract, engage, and convert leads more effectively, driving business growth and success.

Businesses should regularly update and refine their buyer personas to reflect changes in the market, customer preferences, and business goals. As customer behaviors and preferences evolve over time, it's essential for businesses to stay updated and ensure that their personas remain accurate and relevant. This may involve conducting periodic research, analyzing new data, and incorporating feedback from customers to refine and optimize their personas for better results. By keeping their personas up-to-date, businesses can ensure that their marketing strategies remain aligned with their target audience's needs and preferences, driving continued success and growth.