Knowing your customers is a crucial component of successful inbound marketing. Get started with buyer persona questions that can help you understand customers’ mindsets.
We’ve gathered 20 questions that can help you identify your audience. After you explore the answers, use this free buyer persona template to share your findings with the rest of your company.
Collecting demographic information is a great place to begin drafting your personas. These questions paint a clearer, more personal picture of your customer.
Understand what communities they are a part of, and how those identities impact their interaction with your brand.
Are they married? What’s their annual household income? Where do they live? What are their cultural and racial backgrounds? What is their gender identity? How old are they? Do they have children?
Having an idea of your client’s background tells you a lot about the type of information that they consume and the problems that they can face regarding their work. This can be especially helpful if you sell a B2B product.
How did they end up where they are today? Has their career track been pretty traditional, or did they switch from another industry?
Get specific here. “Boston University” is better than “liberal arts college.” Where a person went to school can impact their worldview. That includes both the size of the college, their major, and the location of the school.
What level of education did they complete? Which schools did they attend, and what did they study?
Keep an eye out for specific details about the company. The size of a business impacts how many people use your product, as well as the way they use your offering. Understanding the amount of revenue can help you set appropriate pricing.
How many people work at the company? How much revenue does the company generate? How many customers does the company serve?
The answer to this question isn’t the department in which your buyer persona works. Your buyer persona’s industry is the type of service they deliver to their clients, and knowing this can help you measure your business’s impact in the markets you’re targeting.
Depending on the challenges your buyer persona faces, it might also be worth getting information on the industries your client’s business serves, not just the actual service they provide.
For example, if your buyer persona provides renewable energy plans for hospitals. They are in the environmental services industry for education and medical customers.
What sector do potential buyers work in? Are they in a broad industry like healthcare or insurance? Are they in a more niche market?
The importance of your buyer persona’s job depends on the product or service you’re selling.
If you’re a B2C company, you may simply consider this information as another way to better understand the nuances of your persona’s life.
If you’re a B2B company, this piece of information becomes more crucial. Is your persona at a managerial or director level, and well versed in the intricacies of your industry? They’ll need less education than someone at an introductory level, who may need to loop in other decision-makers before making purchasing decisions.
How long have they had this role and title? Are they an individual contributor, or do they manage other people?
If you have a B2B offering, knowing your buyers’ seniority levels is especially important. This information can help your sales team understand who prospects might be.
For B2C companies, your users’ seniority level can give you insight into their lifestyles. Do people spend most of their time in the office? Are they often in meetings? That will impact when and where they use your product.
How senior is your buyer? How many people work for them? Where are they in the larger organization?
If they were hiring someone to replace them and had to write a job description of what’s required, what would it say? Understanding your buyer’s skillsets can help you understand the level of training they need when using your product.
Or perhaps, your product is intended to supplement a skill they lack. Knowing where their strengths are can help you focus your product development efforts.
What are the ideal skills for this job, and how good is your persona at each of them? Where did they learn these skills? Did they learn them on the job, at a previous job, or by taking a course?
This should include both the tasks they do for their job, as well as what happens during the day outside their job. Knowing your personas’ schedules can help you understand when they use your offering. That holds true for both B2B and B2C products.
For their time in the office, look for the following.
For time spent outside of the office, take note of the following.
You should know what metrics will make your user successful, and what they might be worried about when it comes to “hitting their numbers.” This can help your marketing team identify which features to highlight.
Which metric(s) is your persona responsible for? Which numbers or charts or waterfall graphs do they look at every day?
Understanding what products they love (and hate) to use can help you identify commonalities in your own product (and adjust your positioning accordingly). You can also understand how your product integrates with their pre-existing tech stack.
Which applications and tools do buyers use every single day? Every week? How much do they like these existing tools?
This goes beyond the metrics they’re measured on. Your team should know what their primary job responsibilities are. With this knowledge, you can better explain how your offering makes buyers’ lives easier.
You can also identify ways to help your persona achieve their goals and overcome their challenges.
What’s their primary goal at work? What about their secondary goal? What are their daily responsibilities? Quarterly responsibilities? Annual responsabilities?
You’re in business because you’re solving a problem for your target audience. How does that problem affect their day-to-day life? Go into detail, and focus on the nuances that illustrate how that problem makes them feel.
For example, let’s say your company sells personal tax software directly to consumers. One of your personas may be a first-time tax preparer. What are the pain points of first-time tax preparers? They’re probably intimidated by the prospect of doing their taxes by themselves for the first time, overwhelmed by a tax code they don’t understand, and confused about where to start. These pain points differ from those of a seasoned tax preparer.
Try coming up with real quotes to refer to these challenges. For example, “It’s been difficult getting company-wide adoption of new technologies in the past,” or “I don’t have time to train new employees on a million different databases and platforms.”
What are the different challenges for demographics? How do pain points vary by seniority and experience level? How do these challenges affect their daily life?
Companies that take the time to understand what makes their personas successful will likely enjoy more effective communications from both the sales and marketing teams.
What can you do to make your personas look good? What features of your product already help them achieve their goals?
If you’re going to market and sell to these personas, you need to understand how they consume information. Dive into their required upskilling at work, as well as the professional development your buyer individual sought. Your goal should be to best understand their learning style.
Do they go online, prefer to learn in person, or pick up newspapers and magazines? If they’re online learners, do they visit social networks? To Google? Which sources do they trust the most — friends, family, coworkers, or industry experts?
You should already be investing time and resources in social media marketing. Identify the associations and social networks where your buyers spend their time. Then, you can prioritize which accounts to create and which conversations to participate in.
What in-person or community-based gatherings do buyers attend? How are these gatherings promoted? What do they learn from these events?
What social media platforms do your buyers prefer? How much time do they spend on these platforms? What platform features do they actually use?
To piece together a typical day in their life, figure out where they regularly go to stay informed. If you know how they prefer to gather information, you can make yourself present in those spots. The next step is to establish credibility in those communities.
What magazines or news outlets do they read? Are there blogs they frequent? Which trusted thought leaders do they turn to?
You should understand your buyers’ evaluation process when making a purchase. How do they decide what they buy?
If you can anticipate the objections your persona will have, you can be prepared for them in the sales process. You will also be able to educate them in your marketing collateral to help allay fears right away.
Why did you consider a purchase, what was the evaluation process, and how did you decide to purchase that product or service?
Is this their first time purchasing a product or service of your kind? If not, what caused them to switch products or services? What might make them reticent to buy from providers in your industry?
These questions will help you determine which sources of information your buyer trusts. This can help you identify what type of reviews you would like to elicit. You can also plan your marketing collateral appropriately.
You should know the best ways to get in touch with potential buyers. From there, you can understand how they want to interact with you — as well as how frequently. The experience of purchasing your product should align with your persona’s expectations.
What should their sales experience feel like? Is it consultative? How much time do they expect to spend with a salesperson? Do they anticipate an in-person meeting, or would they rather conduct the sales process online or over the phone?
Once you’ve gone through this exercise and worked out any lingering questions about what makes your persona tick, browse through some stock imagery and find an actual picture to associate with your persona. Going through this exercise forces you to clarify an image of your target audience in your entire organization’s mind that will help keep your messaging consistent.
Another useful exercise is to practice being able to identify your buyer persona so you can tailor your communications. How will you know when you’re talking to this persona? Is it their job title?
Once you’ve established not only who your persona is, but also how you can identify them when you encounter one or another, your employees will be able to maintain a consistent voice that is still customized to each person they talk to.
Then, use our free, downloadable persona template to organize the information you’ve gathered about your persona. Share these slides with the rest of your company so everyone can benefit from the research you’ve done and develop an in-depth understanding of the person (or people) they’re targeting every day at work.
Want to learn about some of the best real buyer personas? Check out seven companies with awesome buyer personas.