Why Use Buyer Personas?

Brian Bluff co-founded Site-Seeker with his brother Eddie in 2003. He received his degree in micro-electronic engineering from RIT and later served in the United States Navy.

Site-Seeker, like many Internet marketing companies, is highly versed in the trade of analyzing potential Internet volume based on Google keyword usage and website analytics. Combined with each of our client’s marketing research we can create Internet marketing strategies based on a few target markets. We know Internet metrics!

However, while we may have looked at website user information, we never truly bridged the gap between our research and our client’s buyers. That is until Rick Short opened my eyes to the process of creating buyer personas. Life at Site-Seeker hasn’t been the same since.

The concept we struggled with was the difference between website user metrics (bounce rate, click-through-rates, and etc.) as it relates to target markets. Simply put, we knew how many people might visit a website and we knew how a website would perform with specific design parameters but we never were able to focus our efforts on both at the same time.

Confused? We were too. Once we started our research on buyer personas we too couldn’t differentiate between a buyer and a target market. To help explain the value of buyer personas I put together this simple example:

Seeking Sites Ceiling Fan Company Example

SSCFC wanted to redesign their website and they weren’t sure if a blog is of value; what would they write about? Based on traditional marketing research they already had three different target markets in both commercial and residential properties. 56% of their revenue came from regional companies which had very little Internet traffic. Based on surveys they knew their current commercial customers didn’t want to read a blog, just prices.

After going through a buyer persona process they identified three typical buyers. They then created a matrix of buyer personas and target markets. This enhanced table identified a potential blog opportunity that traditional target market research may have missed.

They estimated that 21% of their revenue comes from a much larger group of post-1990’s homeowners in which most are uninformed about ceiling fan installations but were eager to do-it-themselves. Using just target markets they might not have designed their website for a blog. With this new information they decided to blog 3-5 times a month about different ceiling fan installations in semi-modern homes.

Obviously, you might have a lot of unanswered questions about SSCFC. Get beyond them, it’s just a fake example designed to sell the idea of buyer personas. Instead, think about your business and how you conduct your research. Are you using buyer personas in your marketing efforts? How?