Buyer personas are crucial for building a B2B marketing strategy
because they allow you to understand, reach, and engage your target audience. Personas can help your business in various ways, from developing content
that resonates with your ideal buyer to setting up targetted pay-per-click
(PPC) advertising campaigns.
Here’s what you need to know about buyer personas and important elements to include in yours to provide the most benefit to your B2B marketing strategy.
What is a Buyer Persona?
A ‘buyer persona’ is a semi-fictional character that represents your ideal buyer's most common characteristics. It includes demographic information, as well as other unique qualities like their interests, goals, frustrations, and more.
Essentially, a buyer persona humanizes your audience. This allows for more empathic messaging that makes prospects and current customers feel like you’re speaking directly to them.
Conducting Buyer Persona Research
There are many ways to gather information to develop a robust buyer persona. Analytics
is a good starting point as you can get a high-level overview of your website visitors’ age, gender, and interests.
You can also review which content, emails
, ads, and other marketing campaigns have performed well with your audience to see what engages their attention and drives conversions.
For deeper insights, conduct surveys and interviews. Find out what your buyers really want and need directly from them instead of making educated guesses or assumptions. You may need to offer an incentive to generate enough responses, but it can be worth it to truly understand your buyers.
Lastly, it’s helpful to create at least a couple of personas since your B2B buyers probably come from different industries or verticals. However, you shouldn’t create too many personas because your targeting will be too broad.
Key Elements of a B2B Buyer Persona
A quick Google search of ‘buyer persona’ shows that there are many different formats, ranging in details and style. Whether you use a template or create a persona profile from scratch, many B2B buyer personas have these key elements to build a complete picture:
This is general information like age, gender, location, and income. It can be a bit tricky determining their income since that’s not something you can see in analytics, and buyers might not feel comfortable sharing, but an average salary based on their profession will do.
Bring your persona to life by giving them a name and including personal background information like their job title, education level, hobbies, interests, and family situation (e.g. single, married, kids).
Everybody is motivated by something. Your buyers are no different! When you understand what drives your buyers, you’ll be able to align your product or service toward their goals.
Big or small, there are roadblocks that get in your buyer’s way. By identifying their pain points, you can build empathy with your buyer. Additionally, it’ll be easier to improve your offering so your buyer can overcome those fears and challenges.
Map out the decision-making process of your B2B buyer personas to craft holistic marketing strategies. Knowing who is involved in the decision-making process, what criteria they use to evaluate options, and what factors influence their final decision allows you to tailor your messaging and content to each stakeholder.
Preferred Communication Channels
B2B buyers have different communication preferences. Some buyers may prefer email, while others want to jump on a phone call. Understanding their preferred channels helps you deliver your message in the most effective way and increase engagement.
Find out where your B2B buyer personas go to gather information and educate themselves about potential solutions. This could include industry publications, online forums, social media
, or conferences.
By understanding their information sources, you can focus your marketing efforts on those channels and position yourself as a trusted source of information.
Identifying the key influencers that impact the decision-making process of your B2B buyer personas is crucial. Their influencers could be colleagues, industry experts, or thought leaders.
Understanding who they listen to and trust allows you to tailor your messaging and content to align with their perspectives and recommendations.
When you pinpoint the buying triggers of your B2B buyer personas, you're better able to anticipate their needs and provide timely solutions. These triggers could be external factors, such as industry trends, or internal factors, like budget cycles or company initiatives.
By staying ahead of these triggers, you can position your offerings as the solution they need at the right time.
Explain how your product or service provides a solution to your persona. What are the specific benefits that help them achieve their goal or overcome a challenge? Although you help all of your buyers, the way you help them will vary depending on their unique needs and wants.
Leverage Buyer Personas in Your B2B Marketing
B2B buyer personas offer numerous marketing benefits, such as targeted messaging, better engagement, and higher ROI. Furthermore, personas can improve your sales
team's interactions, enabling them to close more deals.
Create B2B buyer personas that are based on research and include essential details — like demographics, goals, pain points, and preferences — to make them truly effective.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in May 2021 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.