by Mark Hayes

Remember the closing scene of ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ where Jordan Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio walks up to various audience members and asks them to sell him a pen? Without pausing to think, each of them starts babbling off reasons why the pen is great, which looks pretty stupid.

Yet, while it is easy for us to laugh at the screen, some of us are guilty of doing the exact same thing with our online sales funnel. How you ask? Because just like the point being made in the movie, if you don’t know whom your customers are, it doesn’t matter what you try to sell to them. It won’t work.

Buyer personas – Helping you put a face to a wallet

If you want to get the best return on your marketing dollars, you don’t want to rely on just a ‘killer’ sales pitch to do all the heavy lifting.

Instead, you need to know exactly who your target customer is. In marketing, we call this your buyer persona. Developing a buyer persona results in stronger and more cost effective marketing. Here’s why:

It coveys a stronger message. If you aren’t sure exactly who your buyer is, it will invariably result in weak messaging.

Untargeted marketing tries to target both everyone and no one in particular. When you have identified your buyer persona, you can use the language they are used to and provide a solution that seems tailor-made to their needs.

It minimizes advertising waste. Understanding your buyer persona is very useful when purchasing advertising. Self-service advertising platforms on social media websites like LinkedIn and Facebook allow you to create highly targeted ads for very specific demographics.

Knowing which magazine, television station or even mailing list to sell from allows you to better match the message with the audience most likely to bite. If you know your buyer persona is female, age 25-35, has a college education and loves to knit, you can ensure your ads appear only in front of people who fit this criteria.

It helps you discover objections. If you understand your buyers’ most common objections to buying, you can address them in your marketing efforts.

Sure, you can use testimonials, case studies, and examples of previous work to show that you’re someone who can deliver – but when those testimonials come from people who fit your buyer persona, they are seen as more credible. People tend to trust their peers.

Next step? Information. Information. Information.

There’s no cliff notes version of building your buyer persona. You have to dig deep into every avenue of customer information you can lay your hands on and mine for any information you can use to aid your sale.

Collecting demographic information. The first step in defining your buyer persona is gathering demographic information. This can include their income, occupation, interests, gender, level of education, and where they live. Demographic information doesn’t tell you everything about your buyer persona, but it’s a good starting point.

Talking to previous customers. One of the best ways to find information about your buyer persona is to interview your previous customers. Not only can you ask probing questions, you can also learn exactly how they express their problems and goals. If you don’t have time to interview, try a using a questionnaire. You can automate this process through various free online survey and questionnaire services such as SurveyMonkey, SurveyMoz and FluidSurveys. 

Checking your site analytics. Inside your analytics, you can see where your visitors came from, what keywords they used to find you, and how long they spent once they arrived. This data is key for personas as it can reveal the desires that led your audience to your site as well as the tools they used to get there.

Involving your team in creating profiles. Get the team together—not just marketing, but customer service, growth, development, and more. Anyone with interactions with customers and customer data should be involved in sharing their perspective on what makes your customers tick.

Researching via social media. You can also do some research with social media. Use social media listening to find your potential customers asking questions or airing problems your product can solve on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, or even try Pinterest for retail-oriented insights.

First build the wings. Then fly the plane.

Once you have a bunch of information on your potential customers, it can be a bit overwhelming to look at without a roadmap.

So to make things easier, here’s a simple guide to build your first few buyer personas. But remember, we said roadmap. Not treasure map.

While you can follow this template, it isn’t the only one out there. Nor is it the best one. The best one will always be one that suits your business and works for your sales funnel.

Name of the persona: A persona should have enough psychological detail to allow you to conveniently step over to the persona’s view and see your products and services from their perspective. A persona can function almost like another person in the room when making a decision. They look at what you’re doing from their particular and very specific vantage point, and points out flaws and benefits for them.

Job title, role, and company: Your greatest resource for coming up with jobs for your personas is likely to be customer surveys. When you are building the surveys, you can include a field for job title, company size, and type of business. For instance, a recent survey of Buffer users showed that a large percentage are small-business owners—founders, owner/operators, or one-man teams. These can all fit nicely into a single persona.

Demographics: For demographic information, you can glean some insight from Google Analytics, plus your best educated guesses and survey info. Drilling down into the Google Analytics stats can show you where your visitors live as well as age, gender, affinity, and technology. Navigate to the Audience section of your Google Analytics to see a wide range of information. However, as a basic checklist be sure to include the following:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Salary / household income
  • Location: urban / suburban / rural
  • Education
  • Family

Goals, challenges, values and fears: Actual customer interviews will be helpful in determining the objectives here. Some of the key data points you should look to cover include:

  • Primary goal
  • Secondary goal
  • How you help achieve these goals
  • Primary challenge
  • Secondary challenge
  • How you help solve these problems
  • Primary values
  • Common objections during sales process

Now, while this may seem like deep, soul-searching information to uncover, you can get most of your answers by asking the right questions such as the ones we’ve listed here:

  • What’s important to them and what’s driving the change?
  • What’s impeding or speeding their need to change?
  • How do they go about change?
  • What do they need to know to embrace change?
  • Who do they turn to for advice or information?
  • What’s the value they visualize once they make a decision?
  • Who do they have to sell change to in order to get it?
  • What could cause the need for this change to lose priority?

While coming up with these goals and challenges, you can also identify the ways in which you can help customers meet these goals and overcome the challenges. Your intuition here will be helpful. Try to put yourself in the shoes of your customer and approach the solution with empathy. Consider what common objections arise for them during the sales process. What might keep this customer from closing the deal? Then brainstorm ways you can help.

Marketing message and elevator pitch: This part is all up to you! Put your knowledge and information to use and determine the best ways to meet the needs of each type of customer. At this step, ‘message’ refers to how you might describe your product for this particular type of person.  Are you a complete social media service? An enterprise customer management tool? Then your elevator pitch can go into detail and set a consistent message on how to sell to this customer.

Segments, cohorts and personas

The terms are often used interchangeably, but they can mean slightly different things. All of these concepts are abstractions of people, but the basic difference between the three lies in their specificity.

A segment is the broadest concept of a person while a persona is the most specific snapshot of a user archetype. Let’s understand each a little better using the cartoon ‘Smurfs’ as an example:

Segments: Segments are groupings of similar entities. On the Smurfs you had humans, animals and Smurfs. Each of those could be a segment. You could segment just the Smurfs themselves by color of their mushroom homes.

You can segment them based on things that happened on the show. Two segments could be ‘Those that Gargamel Has Captured’ and ‘Those that Gargamel Has Not Captured.’ You could segment by where they live in the Village – North Smurfs, West Smurfs, Southeast Smurfs.

You could sub-segment any of these groups with any granularity that you see fit or combine criteria just like you would with standard clickstream data in Google Analytics.

The point is, although you can segment by anything you can track, will it be actionable? Popular actionable segments that are used every day are geographic, behavioral, seasonal, and benefit segments.

Nielsen PRIZM is a popular market segmentation system that is based on zip codes where people are chunked into subsets regarding their location, income and behavior.

Nielsen builds this system on top of US Census data and sends out surveys to a large sample of people to create 66 segments throughout the United States.

Experian Simmons is similar, and maybe more interesting to inbound marketers with its connection to Hitwise, but Google has recently brought segmentation purely online and has the potential to supplant them all.

Cohorts: Cohorts are groupings based on similar experience. In common terms, we might refer to them as generations. In the Smurf Village you had three generations of Smurfs. Firstly, the Baby Smurfs. Let’s call them Generation Next.

You had adult Smurfs like Jokey, Vanity, Brainy, and Smurfette’s cohort. Let’s call them Generation Now. And you had Papa Smurf and a few of his buddies. Let’s call them the Elder Smurfs.

Obviously, each individual in any of these groups is different from the next, but they are grouped by their shared attitudes, cultural interests (fashion sense, music etc.) and life experiences.

In the real world we have Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the ever elusive Millenials. Baby Boomers were a generation defined in the post-World War II era of increasing affluence, Civil Rights movements and the death of JFK.

Generation X was a people defined by rebellion, MTV, baggy pants, the dotcom bubble, the rise of grunge, Microsoft, and the death of Kurt Cobain.

Millenials are defined by 9/11, job-hopping, Apple, Google, Facebook, free music, nerd glasses, tight jeans, everybody having a startup and the death of Michael Jackson.

And right now every big product-driven company is asking the same question – how do we get Millenials to care about us?

Personas: Personas are specific archetypes of people in the target audience. The attributes identified across the group are collected to create a single entity representing these users.

A persona has a descriptive name and ideally, you should think of him or her as somoeone who really exisits. This is not to say a persona is completely fictional. They are generally a composite of people that do exist.

In this case we will use individual Smurfs themselves as our personas. While some people in the 80s found the cartoon a bit communist it can also be seen as an exercise in behavioral segmentation. Each character was clearly differentiated by what they specifically did or how they acted within the Smurf Village.

You had Brainy Smurf, the original hipster. He’s a bit of an introvert and likely to be found at an Indie bookstore sipping a soy macchiatto latte, discussing post-modernism.

He spends a lot of time updating his blog, and he’s a freelance copywriter for a multinational ad agency, but he only shops at the mall. Brainy prefers Facebook over Twitter as he would rather have a long-form discussion where he can definitively disprove what you believe.

He listens to underground music and of course is a Mac rather than a PC.

You had the Smurfettes. The first Smurfette was a tomboy who just wanted to hang with the boys. After all she was created by Gargamel as a way to distract and trap the Smurfs. She shopped at second hand stores before it became the cool thing to do.

Old Smurfette goes to open mics and loves to be around music. She enjoys vintage vinyl records and playing with her rescue cat.

The Old Smurfette is a bit of a couch surfer who frequents SmurfBNB and eats at Baker Smurf’s restaurant rather than the big chains. Esentially, Old Smurfette is a persona based on the female hipster Millenial cohort.

Then you had Jokey Smurf. His persona name would probably be Terrorist Tom because he loves to hand people presents that explode.

In the context of marketing, Jokey is the type of user who loves extreme sports, sites like, and the type of content that Red Bull creates. He’s highly likely to buy Ed Hardy clothing. Jokey loves craft beer, Xbox One and action movies.

In the cases above, we’ve taken what we know about the millennial cohort and layered it into a story about the different Smurf characters based on things observed on the show.

As marketers building personas, we need to do this with regard to the context of our marketing programs. We need to focus on elements of the story relevant to our goals rather than including every data point we can find.

A key distinction to be made in the context of inbound marketing programs is that between the buyer person and the audience persona.

The audience persona is typically someone looking to consume content for education or entertainment.

These people are not actively looking to purchase a good or service and are better measured via KPIs having to do with the spread or the building of authority for that content or the building of community.

Conversely, buyer personas may also be looking to consume content, but only as a means to make the specific transaction to support their needs.

There is frequently overlap between both personas and a user can also transition between the two types. Keep this in mind as you develop your personas.

Personas aren’t just a checklist item

If reading thus far is starting to make you dread the thought of building personas, maybe you should take a break before reading further. Because if you see it as just another marketing chore, chances are you’ll end up filling your personas with pointless info which will end up being utterly useless. Especially in a complex B2B sale situation.

For example, when you develop content for a buyer of a complex B2B solutions, how would the knowledge that your buyer had a Jack Russell terrier apply? Don’t think too much about the answer. It was a trick question. The fact is, it doesn’t mattter in the least.

What does apply are insights to the work life, objectives, orientation, and obstacles your buyer faces that could be addressed by whatever you sell.

No one cares if he lives in a tent, a sprawling rambler in the suburbs, or a cramped apartment in the city. That’s not going to influence how he builds consensus with his team to buy cloud storage, beef up his network to enable mobility, or decide to virtualize his company’s call center.

While following a process is always recommended, we’ve all felt the urge to cheat. To skip a few steps and just color in the boxes ourselves.

The problem is when you create a persona based on your interpretation of getting to know someone, you end up with a pretty looking persona that is also pretty useless and does nothing to inform content strategy.

For personas to become useful tools, they must be based on interviews gathered from salespeople, customer service interactions and the buyers (customers) themselves.

And not just any kind of interview will do. The conversations must be focused on what the buyer is trying to achieve. For example:

  • What’s important to them and what’s driving the change?
  • What’s impeding or speeding their need to change?
  • How do they go about change?
  • What do they need to know to embrace change?
  • Who do they turn to for advice or information?
  • What’s the value they visualize once they make a decision?
  • Who do they have to sell change to in order to get it?
  • What could cause the need for this change to lose priority?

In essence, personas should identify how we can help buyers manage and breeze through change. Building personas this way helps us develop our content strategies and even our marketing programs. Plus, borrowing an infomercial expression – “There’s one more thing”

Personas are also useful to customer service, to salespeople, to lines of business, to product development and R&D. And, if you involve them in the process, they’ll have an investment in helping to apply them to the business in ways that count.

No system is ever foolproof

To quote the indomitable Douglas Adams, “A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools”.

This logic also prevails when trying to build personas. What could go wrong, you ask. Good question. Here’s six potential pitfalls to look out for:

1) Relying on Anecdotal Evidence From Your Team 
For marketers, it’s incredibly easy to rely on your team for research when creating buyer personas. Ask the accounts team what current customers are saying, ask the sales team what they’re hearing from prospective customers, have the interns do some online research, and call it a day, right?

Maybe not.

For starters, your current customers aren’t always the best example of the person who would buy your product today; the pain points of last year aren’t the pain points of 2015. And the pain points of current customers are different than those of someone who’s never worked with you before.

While your accounts team should definitely be finding out as much as they can about your current customers’ challenges, that information shouldn’t necessarily be dictating your buyer personas.

If you can convince them to work it into their conversations, have your sales reps ask potential buyers questions like, “How did you hear about us?” and “Out of curiosity, why did you choose us over X competitor?”

The more information you have, the better, but remember that not all sales reps are likely to dig for the kind of in-depth insights that you need. Instead, you need to get out there and conduct intensive interviews.

2) Asking the Wrong Questions 

Since creating a buyer persona is all about crafting an archetype of the types of people who would choose your product, it can be pretty easy to fall down a rabbit hole of irrelevant questions: Where did they go to school? How do they dress? Do they like yogurt?

We found this blog post by Adele Revella, author of The Buyer Persona Manifesto, extremely helpful. These are the five insights she suggests pursuing, and we couldn’t agree more.
Priority initiatives: What are the three to five problems or objects that your buyer persona dedicates time, budget, and political capital to?

Success factors: What are the tangible or intangible metrics or rewards that the buyer associates with success, such as “grow revenue by X” or a promotion?

Perceived barriers: What factors could prompt the buyer to question whether your company and its solution can help with achieving his or her success factors? This is when you begin to uncover unseen factors, such as competing interests, politics, or prior experiences with your company or a similar company.

Buying process: What process does this persona follow in exploring and selecting a solution that can overcome the perceived barriers and achieve their success factors?

Decision criteria: What aspects of each product will the buyer assess in evaluating the alternative solutions available? To be useful, the decision criteria should include insights both from buyers who chose a competitor and those who decide not to buy a solution at all.

3) Only Talking to Recent Buyers 

People who just bought your product are definitely pleasant to talk to; they’re excited and happy and optimistic about your company. But the people who chose your competitor instead are arguably even more valuable.

After all, they too are recent buyers, just not from you. And as a bonus, you can always steal some great competitive insights from those conversations.

You also don’t want to talk only to people at the bottom of the funnel. Prospects in the beginning or middle of their purchase journey are incredibly valuable to talk to as well.

4) Not Talking to Enough People 

A good buyer persona interview requires a substantial, in-depth conversation, but convincing someone to sit down with you for 20-30 minutes isn’t always easy. At this point, it’s so easy to say “Screw it” and rely on a small sample size.

But if you just fight past that urge, there are many ways to get people to sit down with you. You can start by sweetening the pot. Offer incentives, even gift cards and you’ll have more receptive talkers on your hands.

5) Letting Your Persona Photo Drive Your Insights 

Once you’ve started to craft your buyer personas, it’s definitely helpful to mine stock photo sites to put a face to a persona. However, it’s also deceptively easy to start making things up about your buyer persona based off that stock photo.

If good marketers are good storytellers, it’s easy to start telling yourself stories about the face you’re staring at all day long.

Before choosing a face for your buyer persona, be sure to really flesh out your persona in writing, and return to that text often throughout the process.

6) Creating Too Many Buyer Personas 

Creating dozens of buyer personas is another tempting fruit in the buyer persona garden; it just feels like you’re being more focused and specific! But usually, you simply don’t need a buyer persona for every potential job title or industry vertical.

The distinguishing characteristics are quite often trivial at best and fictional at worst.

Instead, group buyers based on the analysis you glean from your interviews; you’ll end up with a clear picture of the handful of people you can target to take your business to the next level.

Enough talk. Now, let’s walk.

Working with buyer personas is a bit like going to the gym. Often it’s easier to talk about how good it would be to do it than actually get down to doing it. So if you’ve got a plan, warmed up collecting data and building your first few personas, time to do some heavy lifting. Here are 13 steps you can take to start putting your newfound buyer personas into measurable and profitable action:

1) Reallocate your ad spend. 

After creating your personas, you’ll have a better understanding of where your personas spend their time online. And, ideally, you’ll also know what their favorite online publications and news sources are. Armed with this knowledge, you can audit where you’re currently spending resources (e.g. on Facebook ads, retargeting, etc.) and reallocate those resources based on your persona research.

2) Reallocate your human resources. 

The same principle can be applied to personnel: If you know the majority of your audience is on Twitter, you’ll want to make sure you — or someone on your team — is regularly monitoring that network and engaging with people who belong to your target persona.

The goal here isn’t to hunt people down (you’re not The Terminator). Instead, you just want to make sure you’re hanging out in the same spaces as your personas.

3) Use the lingo your personas use. 

Once you know how the people in your different persona groups communicate, start speaking their language. Use their buzzwords to get their attention.

Use their slang to get accepted into the fold. After all, you’re not a spying parent snopping on their teenage kid’s social streams (if you are though, that’s not cool).

You’re a member of the community and have a deep understanding of how people in that community like to interact. Using their lingo should come naturally.

4) Segment your list of contacts by buyer persona. 

List segmentation is the key to delivering more personalized experiences to your leads and customers. Once you’ve segmented your list by buyer persona, you’ll be able to do all sorts of fun stuff.

5) Write an ebook with a specific persona in mind. 

Creating buying personas gives you an enhanced knowledge of what your ideal customers like and respond to, as well as what they struggle with.

Using those insights, you can create a targeted ebook that solves a common problem — or answers a common question — that a particular persona has. And if you’ve segmented your contacts list by buyer persona, guess what?

You can easily share that ebook with just the group of contacts who you know will be interested in it.

6) Write blog posts with specific personas in mind. 

You can target very niche long-tail keywords, and eventually, you may even decide to create persona-specific sections or channels for your blog.

7) Create a video with a specific persona in mind. 

Of course, creating content for your personas isn’t limited to ebooks and blog posts: There are tons of other content formats out there that a persona might prefer.

In fact, you might discover during your research that one of your personas hates reading, and would rather watch short videos than read 400-word blog posts.

By catering your content formats to the preferences of your personas, you can deliver a more enjoyable experience.

8) Audit your existing content for persona alignment. 

Perform an audit of all your content and try to figure out which persona each piece aligns with. If you discover content that doesn’t align with any of your personas, you might need to consider updating it or — if it’s had zero success in generating leads — just get rid of it.

At the end of the day, to attract the right people, you need to create the right content.

9) Combine personas with lifecycle stages to map out content ideas. 

In addition to targeting content according to personas, you can target content according to another dimension: lifecycle stage.

Lifecycle stage refers to how far along someone is in your sales cycle (and how close they are to making a purchase).

By adding this dimension to the mix, you can ensure that you’re not only creating the right content for the right people, but that you’re also creating it for them at the right time. Want to learn more about content mapping? Download this free content mapping template.

10) Optimize landing pages for personas. 

When you offer up a new piece of targeted content, make sure that the accompanying landing page conveys to your persona — in their language — how that content can help them solve a problem or add value to their lives.  And if you’re not sure what call-to-action copy is going to drive the best results? Run some A/B tests to figure it out!

11) Use dynamic content to tailor your website to different personas. 

Say goodbye to the one-size-fits-all website. With dynamic content (HubSpot calls it Smart Content), you can display different messaging to different people based on what persona you have them assigned to.

12) Do co-marketing with companies your personas find cool.  

Whether it’s a webinar, a co-written ebook, or simply a guest blog post, working with other businesses that you know a particular persona likes and respects can score brownie points, big time! Businesses, like people, are often judged by the company they keep. So make sure you’re always in good company.

13) Segment out your negative personas. 

A negative or “exclusionary” persona is a fictional representation of who you don’t want as a customer. This could include, for example, professionals who are too advanced for your product or service, students who are only engaging with your content for research/knowledge, or potential customers who are just too expensive to acquire.

If you take the time to create negative personas, you’ll have the added advantage of being able to segment out the ‘bad apples’ from the rest of your contacts, which can help you immensly with lead generation and lead-to-customer conversion rates.

Putting your personas to work for PPC

Once you’ve arrived at your buyer personas and taken them through the paces in terms of meeting broad marketing objectives, don’t crack the champagne just yet.

If you look just a little harder, you’ll see there’s even more you can get from them. For starters, better PPC conversion rates.

The user is the single most important element in any PPC campaign, and your website doesn’t have just one type of user. And since each persona behaves differently, the content you deliver via your PPC campaigns should match the personas of users you expect to engage with your ads.

If you do this carefully, you can be assured of a quality user experience and improved conversion rates.

Marketing Personas Depend on Conversion Phase & Decision-Making

At the most basic level marketing personas are derived from two factors: interest and reason. We can use stages in the conversion funnel (awareness to purchase) to represent a user’s level of interest.

We can use the types of decisions people make (emotional or rational) to represent reason. Every visitor to your site can be represented by some combination of these factors.

To illustrate this, let’s look at this simple chart below and visualize how these factors combine in different ways to create marketing personas:

marketing- personas



Delivering the right message at the right time is critical to developing an appropriate marketing strategy.  Some users might be discovering your product for the first time. Others might be comparison shopping.  And some might actually be making a purchase right now.

Whichever it may be, your marketing message and associated on-site content needs to match the qualities and intent of each persona to build a quality user experience.

Creating Content to Match Intent

This chart is good to look at but let’s dig a little deeper. We’ve started to identify our different marketing personas, but what do we do once a user has reached our website?

Provide relevant content. More specifically, the type of content each persona expects.

Entertainment-Driven Personas 

These types of users are currently in the awareness phase of the conversion funnel and are driven more regularly by emotional triggers. They are typically the least engaged but their value is incredibly high because they are your latest round of candidates. They’ve only come to know your brand very recently and are looking to digest relatively simple types of content. For them, the type of content you should build includes:

  • Branded videos
  • Quizzes
  • Games

Inspiration-Driven Personas 

These users have moved past the awareness stage and are ready to complete a purchase on your website though they still tend to make decisions based on emotional response. They are looking for cues from outside sources to motivate them to complete the purchase. For them, the type of content you should build includes:

  • Reviews
  • Community forums
  • Celebrity endorsements

Education-Driven Personas 

These users are rational decision-makers but are in an awareness phrase. They have a strong need to learn about a product before they will even consider moving further along the conversion funnel. For them, the type of content you should build includes:

  • Infographics
  • Press releases
  • Guides & manuals

Persuasion-Driven Personas 

Of all the marketing personas mentioned here, these are the most likely to convert. They are in a position to buy and have made all rational decisions leading up to now. Support your product or service purchase with detailed information about the product or service. For them, the type of content you should build includes:

  • Case studies
  • Webinars
  • Data sheets

Personas Falling into the Gray Areas 

In a perfect world every user would fall neatly into the buckets mentioned above. But the truth is users are frequently transitioning back-and-forth between user personas. And this isn’t necesarily a bad thing.

Part of your job, a large part, is to move users from one persona to the next, constantly making them more comfortable with their eventual choice to work with you.

Strive to move users from an emotional state-of-mind to a rational one. Urge visitors to move closer to purchase as they become more aware of your products and services. Naturally there is content to support these gray areas:

  • Articles or eBooks can be presented to users between entertainment-driven and education-driven mentalities.
  • Demo videos or reports can be supplied to someone between an education-driven and persuasion-driven mindset.
  • Events or ratings can both inspire or persuade users.

Funelling this knowledge into PPC 

Consider the marketing personas we’ve just covered when creating and optimizing your paid search campaigns in order to create a robust, interactive advertising experience. You can build campaigns meant to target different personas by closely examining your keywords, ad copy and landing page content and matching them to different audience types.

Keywords & Intent 

Locate or create keywords that expressly declare user intent and the content they wish to find. Your keyword text actually should include words like guide, video, whitepaper, buy, press release, or forum because these are words expressed by users.

Sometimes though, the keyword can be more obscure and the user doesn’t expressly declare their intent. In these cases we can’t associate the user to any particular persona.

Selecting a particular persona-driven strategy – entertain, inspire, educate, or persuade – isn’t clear. So we must test and optimize.

One more thing!

“Really, there’s more?” you ask. Well, that’s the beauty of buyer personas. If you think hard enough, you’ll be surpirsed to see even more uses come through.

Personas can be really handy for copywriting and generating A/B Tests since it gives you the ability to target customers with specific messages to make the whole process easier and faster.

Let’s look at four more potential personas you can create and leverage in your testing:


It’s often best to start by working backwards from whatever data you already have. Unless you’re Facebook, you’re probably not collecting reams of demographic data on your users. But even with just an email and basic Google Analytics you can start with gathering:

  • Email provider (Personal or Corporate, Gmail)
  • Geographic location
  • Mobile Device
  • Desktop Operating System
  • Browser

If you’re already making sales, this persona should be associated with your current most popular sales plan/product.


The second persona that you create should be of your current most profitable customer. This is hopefully someone who is subscribed to your most profitable plan, or has been a customer for a long long time.


There should always be room to improve. So while your second persona should capture the basics of who your current most profitable customer is, there should be a next tier of profitability or prestige that you can shoot for.


If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’ve probably come across a customer you’d rather avoid. Even in the street. As a marketer, you need to be aware (and wary) of such customers too.

As a general rule you should try to constrain your creativity to no more than half a dozen personas or they quickly start to lose their purpose as a target you can address with features and headlines.

Using the Personas 

Personas function as a shorthand for a particular subset of customer wants, motivations and sensitivities. After naming them, when you sit down to write a headline or landing page, loop through them and try to think in terms of what would appeal to each one.

This technique typically results in a series of much more focused messages which resonate better than mushy generic platitudes resulting from trying to speak to a very broad audience.




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