To create effective three-dimensional buyer personas, one must be creative, improvisational and maybe even a bit mad. But there is more to creating them than simple guess work. Being able to back up your buyer personas with cold data does not guarantee a hit, but it certainly helps avoid a miss.
What is a ‘Buyer Persona?’
In a nutshell, a “buyer persona” is a fictional target customer. This customer thinks, has goals and has a name (sometimes even a face). In content strategy, buyer personas are used to build prospective audiences composed of people you wish to sell your product to. But, like real breathing human beings, these audience members change over time as they react to events around them.
For example, if I sell rubber boots, I may create a buyer persona named Bob. Bob is a man aged 25-34 years old who loves hiking. Bob lives in Calgary to take advantage of the city’s close proximity to Banff National Park. Bob does not own a pair of rubber boots, but, after experiencing the 2013 Alberta floods, is looking to buy.
But the problem with the above buyer persona is that it doesn’t change and isn’t based on any real concrete analytical evidence. Although we assume there is a higher demand due to a gut-feeling or current events, at the end of the day, you need the numbers for it to make sense. Using Google Analytics, you can shed some light on your shot in the dark to see if you’re actually on target.
Using Google Analytics Demographics
Using the “Demographics” reports supplied by Google Analytics, view your users in terms of age or gender. To compare and contrast the two, add “Age” as a secondary dimension to the ‘Gender’ report or vice versa. This action allows you to see who your most valuable users are.
For example, I may see that the majority of my users are men aged 18-24. But notice that, despite making up just 25 per cent of this age demographic visiting my site, female users have a lower bounce rate and higher conversion rate. This leads me to believe that female users aged 18-24 are my most valuable target audience.
Using Google Analytics Interests
There are three categories of interests supplied by Google Analytics. All three can be filtered according to gender and age.
1) Affinity Categories
Using top-level data, this section identifies, categorizes and ranks a website’s users in terms of who they are. Here you can view whether your top customer is a “Technophile” or a “Travel Buff,” amongst others. For each category, you are supplied with the usual Google Analytics metrics.
2) In-Market Segments
Like the above, this section identifies, categorizes and ranks a website’s users. But they are instead ranked in terms of products or services they are likely to buy, such as “Real Estate/Residential Properties” or “Financial Services/Investment Services.” Google Analytics supplies the usual metrics for each segment.
3) Other Categories
A bit murkier than the former two interest categories, this section identifies other possible interests of your users. Since this data helps you identify products or services external to your company, use it to identify possible collaboration opportunities.
For example, if I am selling adware software and I see that an “Other” interest of one of my target demographics is “Computers & Electronics,” I may reach out to a computer manufacturer to see if they’d like to cross-promote our products.
Creating Your Buyer Persona
Now that you know who your users are, it’s time to assemble a buyer persona based on your Google Analytics data:
- Choose a name and picture
- Choose their age
- Create a brief backstory of who they are, where they live and what they do for a living
- Assign them interests and goals
- Determine why they would or would not buy your product
- Determine if they would have any questions about your product
- Write down your responses
From this persona, you can determine what content to write and who your content is targeting. Although these personas are fictional characters who live on your computer, based on your Google Analytics findings, they do indeed represent a group of real people. So feel free to chat with them, ask them questions or even ask them for advice.
I know I do.
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