The most critical document when you're kicking off marketing

From Hubspot's Buyer Persona tool

The Buyer Persona is a fictional outline of your ideal customer that informs all your marketing work and is a critical marketing document. Today I'll guide you through making one, how to use it, and its strengths and weaknesses.

What's it for?

Almost everything! The Buyer Persona informs landing page design and copy, product roadmap prioritisation, support forms and style, sales and marketing messaging, and basically everything user-facing in your startup.

Knowing your persona better than anyone else is a competitive advantage.

Can you answer the following questions about your ideal customers?

  1. Who is your ideal customer? Name, age, education?
  2. What is a short bio. Use this to humanise the person.
  3. Where do they work?
  4. What problem are they trying to solve?
  5. How do they currently solve this problem?
  6. What do they want in their role?
  7. What do they need in their role?
  8. How are they currently realising their objectives?
  9. How do they talk about their problem?
  10. Who influences them when they need advice related to their problem? The communities, blogs, search terms, podcasts?
  11. Who isn't a good fit for your product or service? Why?

Example Personas

  • Example 1: Coming soon
  • Example 2: Coming soon

Anything else?

This is also a good time to document how you might target your buyers on paid platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora and Facebook. Targeting could include:

  • Listing the Twitter accounts they follow
  • Listing their Job Titles they would have on LinkedIn
  • Listing questions they might ask on Quora
  • Listing Facebook Pages they might like
  • Listing the Subreddits they may be members of

Some important notes

  • Most startups have multiple buyer personas. Focus on your ideal, obvious one first.
  • Create it fast and iterate often as you learn more.
  • Go niche. Go detailed and paint a vivid picture that tells you who this buyer is and isn't.
  • Marketplaces have at least two - the buyer and seller.
  • Use online tools to create personas.
  • Hubspot have a free one here.
  • Here's another one, by Xtensio.
  • There are lots of approaches. But for an early stage start up I would always start lean and iterate. Continue to refine and refer to this document as you experiment and learn.
  • A persona is not meant to be literal. Not all customers will match it precisely. It is a guide to focus your marketing efforts, and is to be used like that.

Marketing Basics For Startups