Have you checked in with your favorite buyer persona lately?
When you think about it, your company’s main buyer persona is one of the most vital things you’ve got. A detailed buyer persona serves as a North Star for your marketing efforts.
When you’re developing buyer personas, questions are your bread and butter. They’re the backbone of your effort because they help you think creatively.
Let’s gear up with some imaginative buyer persona questions you shouldn’t miss out on.
Note: For the purposes of this exercise, we’re going to call our buyer Tim. There’s two reasons for this. First of all, if you spend enough time in marketing, odds are high you’re going to end up marketing to a Tim at some point. Second, you should always try to give your buyer personas realistic names, and there aren’t many names more realistic than Tim.
1. What Keeps Tim Awake at Night?
When people go online, they’ve usually got one of two goals – answer a question or solve a problem. Your whole Web content strategy can revolve around these two ideas, so your content will be a lot more compelling if you can isolate the biggest problems your prospects deal with. Zero in on those pain points: Not only “what” they are, but “why” they’re so troubling.
2. What’s the First Thing Tim Thinks About in the Morning?
If you answered “the fact that he’s been awake all night,” points for creativity. Most people start their morning thinking about the day ahead. If they have tough purchasing decisions to make (or intractable problems to solve) they usually aren’t looking forward to it. How does the problem you identified in Question 1 fit into Tim’s schedule? Is it an urgent need or a nagging one?
3. What’s the Last Thing Tim Thinks About at Night?
Yes, we’re going for the trifecta here. The ultimate goal of a buyer persona is to build empathy for the people you’re trying to connect with, so walking in their shoes will help. At night, people tend to think about the problems that have followed them home from work. How would Tim’s life be better if his big problem was solved right away? What could he look forward to then?
4. Who Does Tim Trust – In His Industry and In General?
As ad attribution becomes more sophisticated, marketers are learning a huge amount about what platforms, websites, and influencers are the most trusted. Start with the basics: What websites or trade journals does Tim probably read? What conferences might he go to? Then stretch out from there: What markers of authority tell Tim when it’s a good idea to take advice from someone?
5. How Does Tim Solve Problems?
This one is crucial when it comes to speaking your buyer’s language. It may seem simple, but it should shape everything about your message and how it’s presented. Scientists focus on data and repeatable results. CFOs want to see proof of ROI. Some industries tend to reward creativity – which gives greater weight to emotion and intuition. What’s important to your Tim?
6. Why Hasn’t Tim Solved This Problem Already?
Let’s assume, for the moment, that Tim already knows he has a problem. Most problems aren’t a pressing priority when you first realize they’re there. Unless your trash can bursts into flames, you probably have other things to deal with. So – what’s keeping Tim from addressing this problem? What signal does he need in order to decide the problem is serious OR that the answer is at hand?
7. What’s Tim’s Biggest Objection to a Purchase?
You can break this down in all kinds of ways – a purchase in your price range, for example, or a purchase in your category. Each individual answer helps you add up to a bigger whole. Suss all these out and lay them end to end and you might just come across a pattern in your buyer’s thinking. That could help you cut through the clutter and get your message heard.
And, oh yeah ...
8. Height, Weight, Education, Marital Status and All That Other Stuff
Because someone is sure to ask, we didn’t forget about all these. Of course, you should have a sound idea of your demographics before you get too far in the process. On average, these will provide some useful information. But there’s a problem: Too many of these “police blotter” questions can keep you from thinking of your buyer as a real person whose working life you can make better.
Once you have your buyer persona worked out, here’s one thing you should do as soon as you can: Find a real customer of yours and post his or her picture where your marketing team can see it whenever major decisions that impact your customers will be made.
Looking a real customer in the face will bring life to your buyer persona and help you remember there are unique, messy, genuinely interesting people behind the data. That, in turn, will help you make more inspired decisions for meeting their needs.
And that’s what a great buyer persona is really all about.