The Why

How to conduct persona research for Inbound Marketing

Posted by Nicole Quin on 8/03/21 9:30 PM
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If you just discovered the amazing world of inbound marketing you probably know that one of the first steps to start working with this methodology is to create your buyer or customer personas. In this blog, we will take a look at how to conduct persona research so your Inbound Marketing will be a success. But first, let's review some basic concepts.

What is a Buyer Persona?

According to HubSpot Buyer Personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on data and research. They help you focus your time on qualified prospects, guide product development to suit the needs of your customers, and align your marketing, sales and service teams to deliver a better customer experience.

For your buyer persona to be useful, it needs to include customer demographic and psychographic data. The more detailed you are, the better.

If you're wondering where to start, the good news is that creating buyer personas is not difficult and we're here to help guide you.

To get started you will need a good template like this to guide you. Then you need to start gathering the data.  Before we get into that, it's beneficial to understand why you need to create buyer personas.

Why are Buyer personas so important?

The reason inbound marketers create buyer personas is because they represent the people who are most likely to engage and buy your products and services.  Having an understanding of your ideal customer makes it easier to tailor products, services and content to attract and convert prospects into leads, opportunities and happy customers.  Without buyer persona's, your left talking about yourself and we all know how annoying that can be.

For your buyer personas to be effective, they must be developed from the point of view of the customer.  Using real customer data from your database, customer surveys and other research available to you.  If you don't have sufficient data to build you persona profiles, you can conduct persona research by phone or send out a survey - and it wont cost you much at all. If you'd like to learn how click here.

How to use buyer personas for inbound marketing?

As we previously explained, marketers use buyer personas to inform content offers, messaging and channel selection for advertising.  WIth your inbound strategy already in place, you simply need to drop the relevant information from your persona profile into your Inbound Marketing Programme template and you're ready to brief your creative team.

The best part about Inbound Marketing is that once the content is developed and in market, it will continue to work in the background, attracting qualified leads for your sales team.  You just need to report the great results.

You can also use your buyer personas to create SMART content offers and serve this dynamically by segment or group with automation.  Hopefully you understand now how useful Buyer Persona's can be.

How to create buyer personas

You already know that the best buyer personas are made through market research and real data from your customers so we will start from there: your customer database.

When you create a database you add fields that you as a company have interest in besides name, surname, email and phone number. Take a look at your database for those fields that you look for when working with a possible customer, these fields might look like: Yearly Income, Company Name, How did you hear about us, country of residence, etc…

If you don’t collect this kind of information, it would be worthwhile to start adding form fields to help identify your customers better. If you don’t know how to do this, we invite you to explore HubSpot’s Free CRM to see how easy it is to create and embed forms on on your website and capture this information in our database.

Other ways to create buyer personas is to talk to staff across different areas of your business.  A great way to do this is by facilitating a workshop, where you ask staff about their experience dealing with your existing customers. What the common pain points or frustrations customers have when dealing with your company.  Likewise, what makes them happy.  Creating a forum for your colleagues to share their experiences and ideas for improvement can be really insightful.  Another great way to capture information about the current experience is surveying your existing customers and asking them directly. 

Once you have all your research you need to start identifying patterns and themes and organise your customer database into groups or segments. signs of the ideal customer you want. Here are some steps you can follow to create buyer personas.

Start with Demographics

It's pretty standard for companies to capture demographic information such as: Job Role, Company he/she works for.  Annual income range. Marital status. Education, Ethnicity, Age etc....

Move on to what drives them

This is the really important psychographic data which gives an insight into their goals, needs, wants, motivations and challenges.  Knowing this helps you build better products and services, designed to help them achieve their goal and meet their needs and expectations.

Make it real

Now that you have all the basic information it's your turn to make it look real. Making it real means that while you are creating a buyer persona you will include real phrases that your sales reps can use to approach them like: “ I’ve had to deal with a lot of problems regarding integrations and I don’t know what to do” or “ I don’t want to train the whole company on how to use a new system”.

When you make it real your sales reps will be able to predict the common answers and be ready to mitigate all your prospects doubts. This will also help sales reps to know how you should approach a prospect and everyone in the company will be able to “speak the same language”

When you are done creating your buyer persona's don’t forget to give them a name so everyone internally will know what you are talking about

Now that you have a general idea about how to conduct persona research for Inbound Marketing it’s your turn to do make yours. You can download our Persona Template here or get in touch if you would like us to help you conduct your Persona Research.

Topics: Buyer Persona, Inbound Marketing, Persona Research

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