As most modern marketers know, your customer persona is the holy grail of your marketing.
It’s what defines where you attempt to reach prospects, how you reach out to them, the frequency with which you send marketing messages, and so much more.
We all know how important customer personas are, but many companies don’t take the time to update them as frequently as they should.
I get it: most marketers have a lot of things going on. Every day brings urgent fires that need to be put out right away, making it easier to put something like a buyer persona on the back burner.
But if it’s created and adjusted properly, a buyer persona can have a huge impact on the rest of your marketing tasks and campaigns. It’s a point of leverage that can help you turn around poor-performing campaigns and make successful ones even better.
If you can’t remember the last time you updated your buyer persona – or you don’t even have one – this article will be especially important. The framework below should be repeated for best results with your content marketing buyer personas in the long run.
Evaluate where you are
Before you spend a lot of time planning an update to your buyer persona, the first step is knowing what you have so far. Obviously, if you don’t have a buyer persona, you can skip this step.
But thanks to the prevalence of content marketing, even small businesses today are creating and maintaining buyer personas. Compared to more traditional methods, a buyer persona is one of the most efficient ways to invest in digital marketing.Compared to more traditional methods, a buyer persona is one of the most efficient ways to invest in digital marketing. Click To Tweet
If you do have a previous buyer persona, there are probably elements of it that you can use going forward – even if only as a template for what kind of things to avoid in the new version.
It’s likely that the core characteristics of your ideal customer haven’t changed. For example, if you’re working on a buyer persona for a B2B services brand that targets IT managers, you may not need to change their attributes as much as the ways you reach them.
Take some time to look at previous buyer persona documents, research reports, surveys, and any other form of feedback you may have on hand that influences the way you craft your buyer persona.
Even if the material is outdated, it will still provide a starting point from which you can work on new additions to your persona.
Dive into your research
Once you know what you have already, you’re ready to start building on it to update your customer persona. Start with the lowest-hanging fruit – has there been a significant event or news story in your industry that has significantly changed the way your customers and prospects would consider your purchase?
Maybe there’s a new communication channel or platform that many of your customers are using. For example, despite its association with younger users, TikTok is increasingly being used by older people.
According to recent data published by the network, the hashtag “#momsoftiktok” has 44 billion views. Sure, many of these views and videos are for entertainment reasons, but those users likely have day jobs.
The key to this part of the process is being objective. Come into your buyer persona research with a clear mind – don’t let your expectations or the things that have worked previously influence your decisions.
Where should you go to perform research for an updated buyer persona? You can certainly use the same sources you used originally, but in case you need some ideas, try these:
- Previous sales data, ideally from after the last time you made or refreshed your persona. Think about the problem that drove them to your company, the things they said during meetings, and the things they liked most about your offering.
- Groups on social networks including Facebook and LinkedIn. These platforms are excellent for staying up to date on the newest trends involving your industry and/or customers. Look for the posts or contributions that receive the most engagement in the form of likes and responses – they could be connected to issues you need to address in your persona.
- Check industry publications including blogs, magazines, and columns within larger publications. See if you can identify a particular theme or challenge that your customers and prospects are dealing with more often than usual.
Get input from customers
It’s always best to get buyer persona information from a primary source: your actual customers. Depending on the type of product or service you sell, you probably have anywhere from a handful to dozens of ideal customers.
Focus on your ideal customer when engaging with your customers. This will help you adjust your buyer persona so that you attract the people who are a great fit for your business.
When you solicit feedback from customers, make sure to keep it brief. Ask them a few questions about their biggest challenges at work and the ways in which your offering helps the most. Whichever way you choose to solicit feedback, make sure it doesn’t take your customers more than 5 or 10 minutes.
Ideally, you can offer some kind of incentive to encourage customers to give you information for your buyer persona. Even something small like a gift card to a local coffee shop can help. Some companies also offer a one-time discount on their service to customers who help with marketing.
This is especially true if you feel like you need to ask for in-depth information that takes more than a handful of minutes. You can’t expect people to devote significant amounts of their time just to help your marketing team.
Repeat your buyer persona refresh
After doing research to build on your existing buyer persona and soliciting interviews from your top customers, you should now have enough data to adjust the persona.
Also, remember not to make changes just for the sake of changing things. If you’ve found that not much has changed since the last time you worked on your buyer persona, that’s okay. Stick with what works and make slight adjustments as you need to.
The key to maximizing the success of your buyer persona is to make it a living document. You can’t create a buyer persona and then let it sit idle in a folder somewhere for years and years – it’s important to revisit the persona once in a while to ensure that it stays relevant.
The more comprehensive and detailed you can get on your buyer persona, the better. It can take a good bit of time and effort to develop a fleshed-out persona profile – especially if you have a complicated offering or you serve several different industries.
In these cases, it may be best to let a third-party marketing professional work on your buyer persona.
Credo can connect you with our network of vetted digital marketing providers who have deep experience across the most common marketing disciplines including buyer personas, blogging, and more.
Whether you’re looking to generate a brand new buyer persona or you just need to tweak your old one with some new updates, we can match you with the right providers for your needs.
If you’re ready to shorten the amount of time it takes you to bring on the marketing partner you need for consistent growth, schedule a free consultation with us today to learn how to get started.