A standard in good marketing that remains a staple to successful marketers is the development and profiling of buyer personas. The Internet has introduced the ability to efficiently and quite thoroughly sift through demographic, behavioral, psychographic, and geographic data within a few minutes. As the use of social media has increased, the collected data has also expanded. Today, research that took extensive time and care in the past is available with a few strategic queries of trusted resources. In light of the easy-access to this useful information, now is the perfect time to go through the exercise of crafting your representative buyer personas for dominant market segments.
Begin development of buyer personas to represent top-tier industries or "master" personas. Start by collecting the obvious bits like basic demographics and industry statistics then venture into social media networks, respected discussion forums, and even custom focus groups. Layer the relevant interests, perceptions, and opinions overtop the statistical detail and look for commonalities and trends.
Use the existing resources online to dig deeper, mining company information, group interests, keyword search trends, and more to develop a very detailed picture of target audiences and their unique traits. Look at both potential buyers and influencers to round out your marketing strategies.
There is a superb article written by Marty Weintraub, Psychographic Targeting Unhinged! The Zen of "Whole Customer" Persona Modeling. This article comes highly recommended for reading by anyone that wants to understand how to build in-depth buyer personas for better marketing. If you're looking for a more comprehensive walk-through of using advertising tools within popular social media networks to show useful targeting and psychographic data, this post delivers the goods. It's important to note that there is no cost for a marketer or business owner to use these features on Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube and they offer a gold mine of insight.
For example, consider a company developing a solution for a client that wishes to reach more targets selling rights-managed or stock music. They already know that their primary targets include job titles like creative directors, movie and game producers, and others requiring professional recorded music. In this case, there is a hunch that LinkedIn is the preferred business-to-business network for nurturing strategic connections through engagement and paid advertising.
To find the value of such a program, investigate by querying the advertising reach in LinkedIn using specific filters. Narrow down a broad audience by filtering by job title, interests, group membership, and more. This investigation is free. Simply create a company page, post an update, then click the link to sponsor the update to enter a series of setup screens where it's possible to complete searches for relevant audience statistics. The same is possible on Facebook and the depth of psychographic data revealed on culture, perception, interests, and opinion is massive and free when stepping through the advertising process. Compare the mined details with what is available from Google Analytics, Trends, and the Adwords Keyword Planner tool and it's easy to see how the mysterious customer persona can become more clear and defined.
If you're ready to try this marketing exercise on your business you'll gain truly useful intelligence that will improve your online engagement through better targeted content that's published where your potential customers regularly hang out. There is also a helpful worksheet and complete list of resources to jump-start your buyer persona research at Moore Than SEO. For the best results, try to get as detailed in your persona development as possible and gain and edge on competition with more meaningful marketing to target audiences.