buyer persona template download

You won’t be able to position your company to meet the needs of your customers without first understanding who they are. This is the first step in defining your company’s market position. How well do you know your target audience and the people that make it up? How well do you know their goals, challenges, and backgrounds? Do you know what they’re most interested in and what pains they have? Who do they answer to and what are their daily life is like? Do you know more personal things like how old they are, where they went to school, where they live and what their family is like?

These questions might sound a bit excessive, but know this…

How well do you know your ideal customers?

Without knowing things about your ideal customers, it’s extremely difficult to create a strategy to attract, convert and sell to the best opposites for your business. You need to understand as much as you can about your target audience and integrate this knowledge into every aspect of your marketing and your business.

This post is all about what buyer personas (or buyer profiles) are, how you can use them to grow your business, and how to create top notch ideal customer profiles. 

What are buyer personas?

Hubspot has a perfect definition of buyer personas:

“Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers.”

They help you understand your ideal customers (and prospective ideal customers) better. They make it easier to create content that resonates on a personal level with the specific behaviors, wants and needs of the different types of people you are looking to attract.

Depending on your business, you could have just one buyer persona or several. Some companies have as many as 20 – 30. Businesses use their buyer personas for everything from developing marketing and advertising campaigns to creating new goods and service offerings.

The best buyer profiles are based on real data as well as insights from your team and existing customers. We’ll get into creating buyer personas shortly.

Negative Buyer Personas

Where buyer profiles represent your ideal customers, negative buyer personas represent who you DON’T want as a customer. These are people that are not a good fit for your business and you do not want to target.

Here are some reasons for negative buyer personas:

• Insufficient budget
• Too advanced for your offering
• Students who are only performing research
• People engaging in your content for solicitation purposes
• High likelihood of churning or low total value
• Misaligned expectations

Identifying and understanding these people will help you save time and money in the long run. Don’t waste your time marketing or selling to these people.

How to use buyer personas

Your buyer personas allow you to personalize your marketing content for various segments of your audience. Rather than sending generic information to everyone, you’re able to craft messaging based on what your personas are interested in.

Negative personas allow you to eliminate the “bad apples” from your contact database, leading to reduced customer acquisition costs and cost per lead.

When combined with an analysis of each stage of the buying process (how far along someone is toward purchasing), you’re able to create highly personalized content.

Own Your Niche:
Define your Position, Tell Better Stories,
Compete in Your Space…

defining-company-market-position

How to create buyer personas

Buyer personas are created through a blend of real data and insight. You’ll need to conduct some research, interviews and surveys to gather the info you need from a blend of existing customers, prospects, and others who might align with your ideal customers.


Tip: Begin with one buyer persona, then build up from there.

Don’t bit off more than you can chew. Too many personas means exponentially more personalization and customization with your marketing. Each persona needs to be well differentiated from any other. Start with your core customer and dig really deep into their nature. Once you start analyzing the data of your first persona, you’ll have a clearer understanding when it’s time to create new personas.


Here are some best practices.

Interviews

Talk to your existing customers or prospective customers. Find out how they feel about your product or services, and ask lots of questions about their jobs and lives. What tools do they use and who do they answer to? What are their biggest challenges?

Look for Trends

Check out your own marketing data to learn more about how your leads and customers find you and what content they are consuming. Are they finding your organically or through social media? Have they downloaded certain ebooks or watched a particular tutorial video? Which pages are they spending time on?

Talk to your Team

Visit with the people on the front lines. Your sales team will have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to questions, objections and reactions that they’re hearing the field. They may be able to make generalizations about your different buyer personas that will prove helpful.

Example: Foundation for Creating Great Content

Now it’s time to create your buyer personas.

Buyer Persona Example

Here’s an example of a buyer persona that you can create using our template. Let’s call him “Marketing Manager Mark”

Section 1: “Who”

Here, you’ll fill out some background and demographics for your persona.

buyer persona template filled

Section 2: “What”

This section is about goals and challenges, along with what your business can do to help.

buyer persona template goals

Section 3: “Why”

Here are real quotes from actual customers and prospects, as well as some common objections.

buyer persona template quotes

Section 4: “How”

Finally, marketing messaging that you want to use for this particular buyer persona.

buyer persona templates messaging

Use our template and this example as a guide to creating your own buyer personas. If you need help getting started, we’re glad to share some recommendations.

lead-nurturing

As your company begins generating new leads, it becomes obvious that an effective lead nurturing strategy will be very important. In most cases, only a small percentage of website visitors and new leads are ready to make an immediate purchase, leaving 90% of your hard earned leads up for grabs.

A strong lead nurturing strategy can bring huge impact. Research indicates that marketers see an average increase in sales opportunities of 20% from nurtured to non-nurtured leads (source: Forrester.com).

Companies that excel at nurturing generate an average of 50% more sales at a 34% lower acquisition cost. Despite the upside, less than 1/3 of marketers actively nurture sales leads.

Without question, lead nurturing holds some low hanging fruit.

You’re probably asking yourself one of these questions:

• What do really successful marketers do that is different?

• Which lead nurturing tactics work the best?

• How do I get started nurturing leads and existing customers?

Of course, lead nurturing is just one component of a successful website development and inbound marketingstrategy. If you want to learn more about attracting traffic, converting leads, and closing customers, you can check out this complete resource – The Step by Step Guide to Inbound Marketing.

We’ve rolled up our sleeves and sifted through data to come up with the world’s best lead nurturing tactics for you. Let’s get cracking.

Lead Nurturing Tactics that Work

1. REALLY Targeted Content

Lead nurturing increases sales opportunities by an average of 20%

Research proves that custom content based on the interests, goals and behaviors of your leads greatly improves the results of your marketing strategy. It’s all about delivering the right information to the right people, at precisely the right time.

Think about your own shopping experiences. Let’s say you’re in the market for a new vehicle. You venture over to the dealership and talk to the salesperson about a new compact hybrid car. You’re really concerned about the environment and fuel economy. What if the salesman kept showing you everything – cars, truck, vans and SUVs?

That doesn’t make sense does it? Websites that behave this way are often met with the same sort of reaction. Even knowing this, businesses still struggle to deliver targeted content.

There are few requirements to get it done:

1. You need to develop and understand your unique buyer personas.

2. You need to deploy an assortment of content based on the interests and motivations of these buyer personas.

3. You need a software platform to help you convert, segment and target website visitors as you scale strategies over time.

2. Use Multiple Channels

It used to be that a few automated follow up emails was enough. With open rates typically below 20%, you need lead nurturing tactics that extend beyond just email.

You need a combination of marketing workflow automation, email marketing (it’s still a primary nurturing channel), social media, dynamic content on your website (user specific), and an integrated direct sales program.

There are many tactics at your disposal, all integrated with one another. To execute properly, everyone needs to be aligned and working cohesively.

3. Repeat Touches

Every customer and every industry is different, but research from Aberdeen.com shows that it takes an average of 10 touches to turn a prospect into a closed customer.

Funny thing is that almost half of all marketers include less than 5 touches in their lead nurturing automation. If you fall into this category, you might want to ramp up your nurturing efforts.

The best lead nurturing campaigns deliver the right content that users prospects through the buying process. You’ll address common questions in a helpful way, and cure pains. This isn’t typically accomplished with a single email or social media share. Many small steps are better than a big shove to the bottom of the sales funnel.

Use all the tactics you have available to you – blogging, social media, email, online tools or calculators, or even old school snail mail.

4. Quick Follow Ups

The odds of a new lead becoming a qualified lead are 20 times greater if they are contacted within 5 minutes of converting on your website.

Immediate return calls are hugely beneficial, but most companies still aren’t acting soon enough. A Harvard Business Review inbound marketing survey of over 2,200 companies about online sales leads tells us:

• Average response time is 42 hours

• 37% Responded within 1 hour

• 24% Took longer than 24 hours

• 23% Didn’t respond at all

Automation can help, but a quick phone call or email is the best way to convert online leads into opportunities. In fact, the odds of moving leads down the sales funnel are exponentially higher when contacted immediately after website conversion.

Your follow up call should be well informed to be most effective. You ought to have software that allows you to understand where the lead came from, what their browsing behavior was like, and other information about the person or organization.

5. Personalized Emails

Despite the aforementioned drawbacks, email marketing remains the most effective form of lead nurturing. Data consistently shows that personalized emails produce greatly superior results than blanket email “blasts”.

There are many different ways to personalize your emails. If the email was triggered by a download of website content, then you should be able to craft a message using the prospect’s name, company name, or reference the type of content they are clearly interested in.

Other triggers might be clicks on other emails you have sent or visits to certain pages on your website. When you combine these key triggers with some personalization, open rates and click-through rates skyrocket.

6. Lead Rating

Part of delivering the right content to move prospects down the sales process is all about finding the right person. Spend your time and energy on the prospects that are most likely to close for the highest total value.

Lead rating is a numeric system used to rank prospects based on the estimated value each lead represents to the company. Most marketing automation platforms have functionality that can assign values to certain online behaviors, events, contact information, or social media activity.

Determining which leads should be followed up directly by your sales team versus the ones which should be nurtured further down the funnel is a key to sales success.

Back to our original statistic, 90% of new leads are not ready or willing to make an immediate purchase. Lead rating is the best way to tap into that 10% who are looking to buy.

Quick Review

To review, let’s recap what we’ve determined to be the world’s most effective lead nurturing tactics:

1. Target Specific Content – Put yourself in the shoes of your buyer personas and create content that addresses their concerns and motivations.

2. Use Multiple Channels – Email isn’t your only option. Use an array of tools to touch your prospects an user them down your sales funnel.

3. Repeat Touches – A couple website visits and an email isn’t enough. Most prospects take 10 touches to become customers.

4. Quick Follow Ups – Odds of closing a sale decrease exponentially as time passes. Try to follow up with a call within 5 minutes of a new lead conversion.

5. Personalized Emails – Use personalization tokens from lead conversion forms or company research to make your messages more relevant to the individual.

6. Lead Rating – Set up a solid lead rating system so that your sales team can spend their limited energies on your most valuable prospects.

Want to learn more about Inbound Marketing?

inbound-marketing
difference-between-seo-and-inbound-marketing

So, What is Inbound Marketing Anyway?

In a past life, I played some golf professionally. Let’s go with a little golf analogy to answer this question. Don’t worry, nothing technical. (that’s me back in ’04 – photo credit: Cy Cyr Photography).

Search Engine Optimization is kind of like your driver in golf. It’s the “Big Dog”… the club that you use to hit the ball as far as you can off the tee. It’s super important to hit the ball really far, right?

Sure, for some people.

The longest hitter doesn’t win every tournament though. Remember the tortoise and the hare?

If you watch golf on TV, you’ll notice that there are some pros who hit the ball really far and others that don’t. There’s a ton of different strategies and skill sets that bring success. A long hitter may not be a very good putter. Alternatively, the short hitters usually stay out of trouble and they might be really good around the green.

SEO is exactly the same way.

It’s one way to bring people to your website, but the marketing game as a whole is much deeper than that.

In fact, there are many golfers that don’t even use a driver. They choose to use other clubs off the tee. Similarly, many companies find that SEO is not a worthwhile strategy for attracting new prospects and customers. Indeed, other companies (like Web Design Phoenix) rely almost entirely on SEO for new business generation.

SEO is a Component of the Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing is comparable to the entire game of golf.

It involves all of the skills, resources and tools that your company has available to user your prospects all the way through the sales process to becoming happy customers. SEO is one of these tools.

After your drive the ball down the fairway, there’s lots more you need to do before the ball is in the hole. In golf, those “other” skills almost always beat the long driver.

inbound marketing methodology

The difference between SEO and inbound marketing is that SEO is a component of the ATTRACT stage of this marketing methodology.

This is the part where you’re looking to bring strangers to your website. SEO is just one option. You may not even need SEO at all.

There are plenty of other ways to attract new business to your company like:

• Paid Advertising

• Social Media

• Sales Team

• Cold Calling

• Email Marketing

• Networking

• Leveraging Referrals and Existing Customers

Further down the pipeline, there are also plenty of ways to generate leads, earn the trust of your prospects, close sales, and get people to recommend your company.

Develop a Marketing Strategy

The best advice I can offer in marketing (and in golf) is to develop an overall strategy that meets the following requirements:

1. Play to your strengths – define your company’s market position with laser focus and plan your strategy based on what you do best.

2. Don’t follow everyone else – just because you heard that SEO is important, that doesn’t mean it’s true. See #1 and do what’s best for you

3. Evaluate every available tool – there are so many more tools available to you beyond SEO. Take a look and figure out which ones are going to deliver value and leave the rest out.

4. Measure and refine – track your results and tweak your processes constantly. Figure out what’s working and what isn’t working and adjust accordingly.

First Step: Is my Company a Good Fit for Inbound Marketing?

A good place to start is with this Inbound Marketing Rating Tool. In about 2 minutes after a few basic questions, you’ll see whether your company is even a candidate for inbound marketing at all. You’ll get a score between 1 and 100.

The Take Away

In both golf and in marketing, experience often brings the understanding that an effective strategy employs many different tools and skill sets. Don’t limit yourself to SEO. On the other side of the coin, if SEO isn’t a strategy for you, don’t overlook the vast wealth of opportunity in inbound marketing.

A sound strategy will almost always reveal low-hanging fruit for quick wins and immediate improvement.