The Future of SEO Strategy:
Buyer Personas

The concept of digital marketing is changing on an almost daily basis. SEO strategists are constantly kept on their toes and finding ways to continuously improve marketing initiatives is an important aspect of this job. When considering the future for SEO copywriters and strategists, focusing on buyer personas is going to be our new bread and butter.

What Is a Buyer Persona?

Buyer personas are fictional characters created based on your ideal customer; based on research and data about your different user types on a website.

Um, okay. So we have to come up with fictional people for marketing purposes? Don’t be so shocked. Writers do it all the time. And yes, they should have names.
Don’t panic. Ultimately, buyer personas are going to benefit you and your clients, allowing you to focus your marketing in ways you never considered. They will help to ensure your campaigns align with your customers’ needs, and also identify usability and user experiences amongst your competitors. When you begin researching your clients’ current methods of research and user habits, you will start to understand how their habits and points in the journey where they decide to go with your competitors. This also allows you to discover what your clients may like or dislike about other products, giving you a chance to fill a gap in your market.

How Can Buyer Personas Be Used for SEO?

Keyword research is the backbone of buyer personas because you are looking at search volume. So, optimizing your website is the first step to building your buyer personas. If you don’t know how your website is being searched for and found, how can you figure out who’s searching for it?

If you’re generating your seed terms for a keyword search, having buyer personas in mind allows you to consider if they reflect the overall needs and intentions of people using your site. When searching for shows in town, “Angelica” could be searching for musicals, while “Alexander” could be searching for comedies, and “Eliza” could be searching for drama.

When you look at the keywords being used to optimize your site, you’ll begin to notice a pattern amongst the type of person using these search phrases. For example, someone who is looking for theater tickets would use a narrow, local search such as “theater tickets Minneapolis”. But, someone looking for a specific type of show could search something like “Hamilton theater tickets Minneapolis.” In this instance, you have two buyer personas: “Aaron” is looking for theater tickets; “Peggy” is looking for Hamilton theater tickets.

Buyer personas bring us out of the realm of generic audiences into a more personal one. Knowing that someone likes to buy theater tickets is a good way to focus your marketing, but knowing they like comedy shows is even better.

How to Develop Buyer Personas

Step One: Get information on your users.

This makes sense, you want to know how to target your audience and provide them with the best – and most personal – experience possible. There are several ways this can be done before tapping into your keyword phrases.

  • Conduct surveys from your existing customers
    • This is a good approach to make with both your most satisfied and least satisfied customers. It will allow your understand a variety of buyer personas to grow.
    • Find out why your customer sought out your product in the first place.
    • What are their priorities as customers? Budget, finding the most ideal product, etc.
  • Investigate your email newsletter lists
  • Check on-site search history
  • Check purchase history

Step Two: Start Building That Persona

Begin with one extensive persona – make sure you really get to know this individual. Typical information could include:

  • Environment they are activating your site in
  • Tasks: what they’re doing on your site
  • Motivation: what is their desired outcome from your site
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • What do they need most?
  • What problems are they trying to solve?

A buyer persona is not simply a description of your buyer, however. Having insights into your buyer will give you the knowledge you need to properly market to them. Keep in mind that when you find a way to properly communicate with your buyer on their terms, you will develop a sense of trust that competitors won’t be able to match.

Three: Build Your Persona

The best way to successfully build your persona is to encompass both web analytics with personal customer experiences. Take time to meet with your customers, again making time for both your best and worst clients, in order to gain a thorough understanding of how your business and marketing techniques are coming across. When interviewing your clients or customers, be sure to focus your questioning on finding out information that cannot be tracked simply through keyword research. Find out their needs, what problems they’re looking to solve, and how your company can be the best solution to meet their needs. When you’ve gained as much information as you can, both in-person and through web analytics, you can begin to create your ideal buyer persona.

Step Four: Keep Going

After building your first buyer persona don’t hesitate to make more. You don’t have to go crazy though. Targeting too many types of customers can be overwhelming; focus on 2-4 personas to keep your content manageable. You can even use the same persona and simply adapt him/her to a different place in the buyer cycle.

Say you have Hercules from the example above. Change some of his demographic or background information and you have a whole new persona. Two people who work in the same industry will have similar content needs, but working at different levels means they will have different problems to solve. Having different identifiers and research habits means their needs and the information they seek out will be different as well.

Now you have a second persona. Someone who works in the same field, has similar interests, but is at a completely different place both in their age, career level, and their priorities and identifiers. Peggy, for example, has been in the business longer, and has been actively involved in many different departments of the same field. Her goals, her desires, and her marketing needs are going to be comparable to Hercules’, but ultimately, you’ll be looking to pair her with more advanced marketing solutions.

Creating Your Own ROI

Buyer personas are meant to develop a picture of buying behavior. And focusing in on these will present you with an end result of satisfied customers who feel that their needs and expectations are being met to the fullest degree. And, of course, the more detail you can gather on your personas, the easier it will be to create content to target your ideal customer.