All the experts insist on the need to define your marketing personas to get started in inbound marketing. Indeed, the work on buyer personas is essential to get out of your intuitions and put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers. The objective here is to establish the standard profile of its target customers. Associated with an SEO audit, the definition of personas must offer clear indications to produce effective content responding to the problems of its target and guide its marketing actions …
However, like most obligatory passages, the definition of personas does not always arouse overflowing enthusiasm among marketers. It’s complicated, it’s tedious. So we tend to postpone this activity overnight.
Since you have to go there anyway, is there a quick fix for making personas in minutes? In this article, we will present 3 methods to create personas that can be mobilized in practice.
1) The classic method
The definition of personas consists first of all in putting yourself in the shoes of your target customers, in showing empathy. The objective of the approach is twofold:
- Better understand the purchasing path of its target customers;
- Identify relevant topics to feed your content marketing strategy.
However, very often, we think we know our customers well. However, the creation of buyer personas cannot be based on intuition or unverified hypotheses. To avoid this pitfall, the classic method of creating personas is based on 3 key steps.
Step # 1: identify the right questions
Drawing up the typical profile of its target customers is first of all a questioning exercise. We must not lose sight of its objective: get precise answers, usable as part of an inbound marketing strategy.
When listing your questions, you should therefore ask yourself: how will this information help me to better understand the problems of my target client, to offer him more relevant content, to move him forward in my conversion tunnel?
On this basis, we will list the right questions, those that will bring precision and value to the profiles of my personas.
In B2B, the following information constitutes a basis for creating personas:
- Professionnal career
- Activity area
- Type of company (Start-up, Agency, VSE, SME, CAC40…)
- Number of decision-making levels
Role in the company :
- Type of person (senior, junior)
- Typical Day
- Degree of expertise required to practice in his position
- Decision level
Specific information :
- What tools does he already use?
- What strategies concern him?
- Main goals
- Main obstacles (ecosystem, internal, financial, R&D, etc.)
Source of information :
- How does he find out?
- Which sites / blogs does he consult?
- How frequently ?
- Its presence on social networks
Step # 2: find the information
Now that we’ve listed the relevant questions for building a persona, it’s time to collect the information.
As a marketer, it is tempting to say that you know the answers to these questions and that you could save time by answering them yourself. But there is still a bias between what the marketer thinks he knows and the reality and expectations of his target customers.
To avoid this bias, we will avoid building its personas solely on the basis of the collaborators’ customer vision. It is certainly interesting to bring this vision to light. But, in any case, the hypotheses need to be validated by a field survey.
The classic method is to list your best customers and administer their questionnaire.
Step # 3: compile and synthesize the responses in a persona file
Once we have collected the responses from our sample of clients, we must compile them in an easily accessible and usable document. We will therefore create a clear, synthetic persona file, which we can complete over time.
This traditional method of building personas in 3 stages has proven itself. It allows not neglecting any aspect of the creation of typical profiles of target customers. But she has a drawback: it is very demanding in terms of time and resources. This is why we are now going to focus on 2 alternative methods.
2) The method to simplify the creation of marketing personas
To simplify the construction of personas, Louis Grenier, of Hotjar, suggests going back to basics, with a 4-step method.
Step # 1: define 3 key questions
Profile, objectives and brakes are the only information that you absolutely need to create your personas. From this idea, Louis Grenier has developed a simple method to collect this information and define his personas.
Unlike the classic method, we do not multiply the questions to refine the profiles. With this method, we are content with the following 3 questions:
- Describe your role in one sentence.
- What do you use our product / service for?
- What is the main obstacle preventing you from achieving this goal?
Step # 2: submit the questionnaire on the most visited page on their website
As we have seen above, the classical method is intended to be exhaustive. Very often, we send an extended questionnaire to our clients, we spend a lot of time conducting interviews. Or we delegate the qualitative study to a specialized service provider.
None of this here. The marketer is content to administer the questionnaire via the website for a fixed period. As the survey is very short, we can expect a fairly high response rate.
For it to work, you just need make the questionnaire very accessible. This is why we will place it on the page of the site that receives the most visits.
Step # 3: analyze the data
By asking open questions, we get a large amount of qualitative data. Now we have to compile and analyze them to create profiles of actionable personas.
For this, we will create categories to group similar responses but formulated differently by the respondents. It will obviously be necessary to analyze the answers to the 3 questions in a grouped way (and not individually) to identify patterns.
Once we have identified a recurring objective, we will see if we can associate it with a specific profile. If this is the case, it means that a first persona has been identified.
Step # 4: create personas
Based on the data collected and analyzed, we are now able to create a persona file. Each sheet will associate a profile, a goal and a brake.
Here is an example of a persona defined with this method:
- Persona: Stéphane;
- Profile: Marketing manager in a B2B SME;
- Objective: Generate qualified leads via your company’s website;
- Brakes: Lack of time and tools to accurately qualify incoming leads.
3) The “Hack My Personas” method
To create relevant content for our target, the definition of personas is not sufficient. We must go further and complete it with an SEO audit.
On social media, the company has already built an audience. Our personas are online: they follow people, discuss, share. They introduce themselves in their own words, without going through a marketer’s filter.
The Hack My Personas tool uses semantic analysis to analyze social media data and determine topics of interest to the audience with SEO potential. This is crossed with articles already created by the company, thus providing the marketer with suggestions for his content creation:
- The subjects which interest the audience and which the site already deals with. We can therefore deepen these themes;
- The subjects detected during the audience analysis but which have not yet been the subject of content on the website. These are opportunities for future content.
In inbound marketing, the definition of personas is used above all to detect opportunities for relevant content for our target customers. To make our content visible, we will complete it with an SEO audit. The Hack My Personas tool aims to remove the brakes to get started in inbound marketing.
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