We covered buyer personas in an earlier blog—what they are, how to identify them, and why they’re so important. If you’ve already come up with your own, great! You’re one step closer to a more targeted (and therefore more effective) marketing strategy. The next step is creating content that specifically matches their needs.
Here’s the catch: it is not as easy as it sounds.
As we’ve established in our previous post, buyer personas are important for you to have an effective content marketing strategy. Poorly researched personas, however, are about as productive as releasing blogs without a proper content calendar (in other words; not at all).
In order to dig deeper into your buyer persona, you need to gather data regarding your actual demographics—i.e. the people who might be interested in or who stand to benefit from what you have to offer. This means actually taking the time and making the effort to talk to them. There are a number of ways you can do this.
From online polls, email surveys, and actual face-to-face interviews, gathering personal data to better build your buyer persona needs to be done firsthand, and it needs to be done correctly. In this article, we’ll focus on conducting actual interviews.
The questions you should ask to define your buyer persona will depend on your business. Check out this list of questions and categories to help get you started.
If appropriate, you can ask your interviewee specific questions about their personal background. This can help you give a more human and personable touch to your buyer persona.
- How old are you?
- Do you have any kids?
- What is your marital status?
- What city do you live in?
- Tell me something about your family life (i.e. only child? Siblings? Live with both parents? Etc.)
- How do you like to spend your free time?
The professional background gives you a little more insight on your persona, career-wise.
- What is your current job title?
- What are your roles and responsibilities in that position?
- What skills are needed for the job?
- What are the specialized tools required when performing your job?
- Are you in charge of supervising anyone else?
- How many years of experience do you have?
- What does a usual workday look like for you?
- What kind of challenges do you face at work?
- How do you solve those problems?
- How do you define success in your job?
- What frustrates you the most in your chosen career?
- What do you enjoy about your job?
Business and Industry
As with the professional background, these questions give you a little more insight into your target’s career. However, these questions are better suited for individuals who might own or be a part of a business themselves (not necessarily in the same niche).
- Which industry does your business belong to?
- What is the size of the company you’re in?
- How many employees work there?
- Name some of your top important priorities when making decisions for the entire company.
- What are the company’s long- and short-term goals?
- What are the typical objections to your service or product?
- What are the most common challenges faced by your industry?
Knowing what they consider to be challenges or hindrances in their career tells you a lot about their pain points and frustrations. This equips you with the knowledge you need to further position yourself in a way that is beneficial or helpful to them.
- What are the biggest challenges that you often face in your job?
- How many times have you experienced those problems?
- What have you done to deal with those challenges?
- What are the major obstacles your company plans to overcome this year?
- Can you tell me about a challenge you recently encountered? What steps did you take to address it? Did it work?
- If your answer to the above question is no, what would you do differently next time?
These questions are important. If you only have time for a few questions, then these are the questions to ask. The whole point of this is to get these people to try your brand. You can only do this if you get them to realize that your product/offer is the solution to their problem—whether or not they’re aware that they have one.
- Tell me some of the goals you’re trying to achieve in your life right now. Why do you value these goals?
- What steps are you taking to reach these goals?
- What motivates or drives you to achieve them?
Sources of Information
These questions are a good way to gauge how internet- and tech-savvy your persona is. It’s also useful for finding out the channels or places they go to get information.
- How do you prefer to communicate with others? (i.e. e-mail, phone, in person)
- Which social media platforms do you prefer—for personal use and professional use?
- What websites or media outlets do you visit regularly?
- How do you keep yourself updated on your industry?
- What search terms would you use if you were to look for a certain product or service you needed?
- Look back at an item you recently purchased. How did you find it?
- What doubts did you have during the purchasing process?
- Did you receive help from anyone else when making the final decision?
- Do you make it a point to attend industry events, trade shows, or conferences related to your industry?
- How do you prefer to consume information (formats, mediums, channels, etc.)?
- How do you find information on new services or products that would benefit you?
- How did you find out about our business?
- Were you referred to us by someone you know?
Take note: these questions are all just guides. Don’t feel like you need to use them all, or use them verbatim! Feel free to customize your questions based on your customer—you’ll get more substantial responses that way, anyway.
What to Do After Asking Questions
Even if you only manage to ask a few questions from each category, the data you gather from all of them should be more than enough to sufficiently pad your buyer persona. Well done. Crafting a comprehensive characterization of your target market may only be a small piece in the entire puzzle that is your marketing strategy, but it’s an important one. If you rush its design or skip important steps, you risk coming up with a half-baked audience representation and—by extension—a weak, generalized marketing plan.