Customer Research with Buyer Personas

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In order to start building your business you’re going to need to know who your customers are. You will also need a professional looking website for them to go to.

It does not matter if most of your business will be done with direct marketing or you are not ready to go to market. It is still important to build a web funnel to collect and share information.

This part of the guide will walk you through researching your customers. What tools to use to create a great looking a scalable website. And how to use that information to create effective marketing message.


Getting Started with Buyer’s Personas

Before you can sell something you need to have an idea who you are selling to. It doesn’t matter if you plan on reaching out to CEOs on Linkedin or buying ads in Google, you need to do this research. Yes, research takes time, but by honing your messing early, you will save time and money later on.

So, where do you start your research? Start by interviewing your current customers, former customers, prospects and even your coworkers. Your existing customer base is the perfect place to start. This is because they’ve already purchased your product and engaged with your company.

When conducting research, there are a few questions you want to ask to build buyer personas. You will want describe a potential customer’s demographics, goals, and challenges. Of course these questions will change based on who you are marketing to.

Ask questions like:  

  • What is your job role?
  • Your title?  
  • What industry or industries does your company work/is your role in?  
  • What are you working to accomplish?  
  • What are your biggest challenges?  
  • How do you learn about new information for your role?  
  • Do you use the internet to research vendors or products?

The follow-up question to pretty much every question should be, “Why?” Find out what really drives them. People aren’t always good at describing this, so be sure to have specific questions ready. Keep in mind though that you want specific answers.

In this case your not looking to describe an audience but a specific person. By building a customer profile, you’re trying to understand your persona’s goals, behaviors, and motivations.

Of the people you survey at least some of them are likely to represent your perfect customer. Be sure to reach out to both “good” and “bad” customers.

If you don’t have any customers yet and your coworkers are no help, go to Google, Facebook, and Linkedin. Build a list of clients that you want. What do they have in common? Look at the things they like, their habits, and job titles.

How much research does it take to create personas? As much as it takes to identify trends. After speaking to a few people you will start to see trends. Patterns and similarities in your research tell you if you’re on the right path. The more similar your customer are the easier they will be to target. This will also give you an opportunity to learn what people you DO NOT want to target.

And who are buyer persona’s right for? Is it B2B, B2C, or nonprofit? Buyer personas are necessary for any type of business.


Buyer Persona Example

Let’s look at an example of what a complete buyer persona profile might actually look like.

In this example we’re looking at a persona named Sample Steve.

Sample Steve is an example created by an private cloud hosting provider, let’s call them SkyHigh. And they clearly did their research and identified some trends.

Let’s look at an example of what a complete buyer persona profile might actually look like.

In this example we’re looking at a persona named Sample Steve.

Sample Sally is an example created by an private cloud hosting provider, let’s call them SkyHigh. And they clearly did their research and identified some trends.

Here’s what they put together:

Steve is a CTO, but his company is less than 10 people so his job focus in on project management.

He is married, has 2 children

Has been at the same company for many years.

Steve is around the of age 30-35.

Steve is a chill guy. He and the rest of his team wear shorts to the office. He doesn’t post a lot on social media but has a Linkedin profile. You can message him directly on Linkedin but do not have a business email listed.

His goals are to keep employees his team happy and efficient. His team has lost of project in the pipeline so resources are minimal. He is persistently challenged by having to prioritize product features over backend optimizations. He has to support address customer issues and bugs.

So what is your solution for Steve? Well, SkyHigh can best help Sample Steve by providing team making it easy to manage his projects hosted with them.

SkyHigh also makes its simple to migrate to their service. This way Steve doesn’t need to divert resources to work with them.

Your company message should assuage common concerns that Steve has. Things such as worrying about losing data when moving over to a new system. Or he doesn’t want to have to train the entire team on how to use your service.

If you can interview a few current customers remember to pull real quotes to use for Sample Steve. Something like “It’s been difficult getting new services integrated with our technology in the past.”, or “I’ve had to deal with so many painful integrations with other databases and software.”. Quotes like these can make it easier for your employees to know if they are communicating with a Sample Steve.

When it comes to bootstrapping your business, it’s not enough to know who you’re trying to reach, you also have to know what they want to see. The idea of the buyer persona is to give you a clear idea of both. The better you and your team know who your customers are the better you will be able to service them.


Customer Research with Buyer Personas was last modified: June 27th, 2017 by Timothy Solomon

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