While customer research lays the foundation for effective content marketing by establishing your B2B business’s target audience, building customer personas takes it to the next level. A target audience includes a variety of different people with various backgrounds, especially for B2B companies. People of all ages, genders and professions are in the market for B2B products and services, so it can be hard to decipher who really fits the mold of a right-fit customer prospect. This is where customer personas come into play. They allow your company to create personalized content specifically for the 25-year-old entrepreneur, 45-year-old project manager and everyone in between.
What is a Customer Persona?
A customer persona is a model, created by your B2B business, that depicts someone within your target audiences. While it may start from a group such as 25-40-year-old males, the goal is to take it much further. You’re essentially creating a character, much like the popular video game series The Sims, with its own interests and behaviors. With each new trait, this character becomes more and more defined until it represents one person.
By focusing on this one specific person, your company can produce content that finds them where they are and fits their needs. This is a practice that should be done more than one time to develop personas that fit within each of your target audiences. After all, people will respond to and engage with content in different ways and you want to reach as many of your prospective customers as possible.
How to Create Customer Personas for Your B2B Company
In order to create personas that accurately represent your B2B’s customer base, you must start with what you know. By studying your analytics, marketing automation and CRM, or customer relationship marketing, you will discover trends that reveal how your current customers found you, consumed your content and selected your company. This gives you a starting point before you begin asking additional questions to create that defined, singular persona.
The employees at your B2B company play a vital role in creating customer personas. They are the face of your company and the people who interact with customers the most. Their insight into your current customers and how you serve them will give you an even better understanding of their demographics and other characteristics. You can even take it a step further by asking your customers directly about why they chose to do business with you and what they like best about working with your B2B business.
Questions to Ask When Creating Customer Personas
After you have established the base for your company’s customer personas, it’s time to start getting specific. There’s no shortage of questions that you can ask when creating these profiles, but be sure to include relevant information about their demographics, background, career, personal life, purchase habits, financial status, personality and goals. The more information you can provide, the easier it will be to create content marketing strategies that effectively reach your target audience.
- Demographics: Name, age, gender, city, education
- Career: Industry, title, job responsibilities, salary range, company size, challenges
- Personal life: Relationship status, number of children, housing situation, religion, political beliefs
- Purchase habits: How they use Google, social media platforms they use, how they make payments online, describe a recent purchase
- Financial status: Net worth, debt, spending habits
- Personality: Introvert or extrovert, optimist or pessimist, risk taker or risk averse, planner or go with the flow
- Goals: Career objectives, life objectives, bucket list
- Pain Points: Issues faced at work or home, Issues related to a problem that your service/product has the potential to solve
With the addition of each attribute, you get closer and closer to building a customer persona that can boost your B2B business’s content marketing efforts. Starting from the group of 25-40-year-old males, you’ll end up with “Mike,” a 31-year-old father of two that works as a car salesman making $80,000 a year, votes Republican and spends a lot of time on Facebook, allowing you to think of him as a person rather than just a list of information like the back of a baseball card.
Templates and Tools to Use
By now, you’re probably realizing that this practice requires a lot of information and keeping all of it compiled and organized can be tricky on your own. Maybe you’re someone who can put it all in a spreadsheet and remain organized. Or, maybe you’re someone who loses track when you open a new tab on your browser (it happens to the best of us). Not to worry; there are a number of templates and tools available to assist your B2B business, such as Digital Marketer’s customer avatar worksheet, HubSpot’s buyer persona template and Marketo’s marketing persona cheat sheet.
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to compiling all the necessary information to create your customer personas. Like many other content marketing efforts, it’s a trial-and-error process to figure out the optimum solution. Try a few templates, determine what works best for your B2B company and you’ll be well on your way to building customer profiles and reaching your target audience.