As we write this, the new Star Wars movie is ruling the box office. Among the charms of The Force Awakens is the way it lets fans reconnect with characters they fell in love with decades ago.
Why are we mentioning this? Because the movie is a billion-dollar testament to the power of knowing your audience.
Who’s in your audience? It’s an indispensable inbound marketing question, and one that you can answer by doing persona research.
How To Do Persona Research
Persona research starts when you create a buyer persona, a fictionalized version of your ideal customer. You create the persona by taking information on your existing customers, and pairing it with the results of your market research.
When you create this persona, you’ll be able to plan content that can reach your ideal customer.
The work you do might tell you things like “Our audience has a lot of technical knowledge” or “The people we’re targeting with our blog influence purchasing at their company.”
To create a buyer persona, you’ll need to hold a series of interviews with existing customers. Your goal should be to create at least two buyer personas, which means interviewing at least six people.
These are some of the questions you should ask your interviewees:
- What is your role and title at work?
- How do supervisors measure your performance? Who do you report to, and who reports to you?
- Describe a typical day at work.
- What are the skills and tools do you need for your job?
- What does your company do or make?
- What are you responsible for, and what does it mean to be successful in your role?
- What are some of your biggest challenges?
- Where do you get new information about your job?
- What are some blogs or other publications you read?
- What associations are you a member of? What social networks do you use?
- Describe your career path. How did you get to where you are today?
- Describe your personal background (marital status, family, etc).
- Describe your educational background. What level of education did you complete, what subjects did you study, and where did you study them?
- What’s your favorite way to interact with vendors (in person, via e-mail, over the phone)?
- Do you use internet research to find out more about vendors or products? If you’ve said yes, how do you search for information?
- Talk to us about a recent purchase. Why did you consider it, what was the evaluation process and how did you decide to buy the product/service?
With many of these questions, follow up by asking “Why?”
You can ask things like “Why do you read the blogs you read?” or “Why is interacting in person your favorite method?” The answers will likely be more revealing than the initial question.
Meet Your Buyer Persona
After the interviews are done and you have your data, look for patterns in the answers to craft your personas.
Start with their basic demographic information: Age, income, location, education. Add their goals and their challenges, as well as what they hope to achieve by working with your company. Your information should include actual quotes from the interviews to help illustrate why this person wants what they want, and why they might be hesitant about patronizing your company.
Come up with a quick elevator pitch for how you could help the persona overcome that hesitancy. And finally, help make the persona feel more like a person by giving them a name and – using the magic of stock photos – a face.
If you’re curious about crafting buyer personas, talk to IQnection. Our digital marketing team can help you understand your customers and what they want. We can’t promise you you’ll make as much money as Star Wars, but you will come away with a better picture of the people in your audience.