Buyer Persona: the first steps towards an editorial marketing strategy

Florencia Di Giovanni

When we talk about identifying a buyer's profile for a product or service, we automatically think of the field of advertising. In this area, the public is thought of as a target. This term refers to an objective or a goal where the aim is to reach the highest number of people to make a sale. We can use the analogy from darts where one tries to aim for the bullseye to get the most points (in this case people), and the limits of the bullseye indicate the sale itself.  Similarly, in advertising or marketing, the target concept is used to define the addressee to be reached through media campaigns.

How do we relate the advertising target to our ideal reader?

It is worth mentioning that the marketing campaign's audience and our ideal readers are very different objects of study. However, both have an ideal construction that is developed from market research. The main difference between the two is that the creation of a target or objective public is more generalized while, a Buyer Persona involves collecting authentic and determining data when it comes to a personal and individualized purchase. In both cases, the main idea is to have the recipient identified. For example, suppose a company wants to sell a new brand of home furniture. In that case, it will have to grab the attention of economically-stable adults capable of investing in their own homes. However, if the objective is to launch a new type of candy, whose target audience may not be so obvious, a  decision must be made whether to target children or teenagers. If this isn’t well-defined or clear, you may end up spending money on advertising that does not capture the attention of the ideal customer for that candy due to its characteristics, composition or flavor.

So what happens in the publishing world?

All you have to do is replace the objects in the previous examples with books, distinguishing them through their genre, length, writing style, authors, illustrations, among other characteristics. Although it may seem that a book as an object can always be sold equally, this is clearly not the case.

When selling books, the focus shouldn’t be on the object but rather the content because this is where you will find your ideal reader. If your idea is to sell young adult suspense or horror books, you have to put yourself in the shoes of teenagers and understand their movements on the web, both on your platform and on social networks. In this way, you will discover the best strategy to reach them and boost your sales. But in order to understand, you must first know your audience. That's why we give you some definitions to start your own research.

What is a Buyer Persona or ideal reader profile?

A Buyer Persona is a customer model (or, in this case, an ideal reader) that potentially responds to the thoughts, opinions, decisions, searches and insecurities that specific users of the service or product we market may have. It’s a profile that shows us the attitudes and criteria when making decisions on a purchase, subscription or any other business model. But it is not only a matter of designing and knowing your ideal reader; it is also essential to understand their behavior: how they would move within and interact with your platform or virtual library.

Once you can know and understand your buyer persona, you can move on to the next step, which will be to plan strategies to improve your sales. And here lies the importance of creating the profile of your ideal reader. Unlike the target audience or advertising target, you can create several different profiles that adapt to different needs within your content with the buyer persona.

According to a study conducted by The Buyer Persona Institute, 44% of companies have Buyer Personas, but only 15% consider their profiles to be effective. This ineffectiveness is due to the quality,  verisimilitude of the procedure, and how they bring about their ideal profiles. If the content doesn't fit your potential customer, all your efforts to build the Buyer Persona were pointless. You may be creating excellent quality content, but who it’s aimed at is all wrong. This is why you have to discover your customers' interests and connect them properly to your service.

Creating your Buyer Persona Step-by-Step

In order to create our Buyer Persona model, it is necessary to follow a series of steps that help to get the most accurate information possible. Ideally, you should be very specific with the information of these profiles. We know that it is not an easy job, so here are some things to keep in mind: 

Collect data from your users through your store

You have to learn your readers' data and what they consume and how they consume the content you offer. To accomplish this, Publica offers its customers different ways  to gather this information:

  • Capture data from your print book buyers by generating a QR code. How does this work? By offering the possibility to get the digital version of the physical book by simply adding a QR code to the print publication, you can find out who is part of your reading community.
  • Analyze key metrics that allow you to detect which are the most read publications, how many views each user had, the time spent or the percentage of reading.

Create surveys

Incorporate surveys on your website, platform, or social networks to get to know your audience better. The questions you ask should capture the necessary information to create the detailed profile of your ideal reader. Remember, the goal of designing a Buyer Persona is to know their motivations and insecurities when buying from you. If you are not focused on this goal, you may fall into one of the most common mistakes: simply describing the ideal customer's personality.

Take Advantage of  Your Sales Team

If your business or enterprise has a team dedicated to customer service or direct sales, you should take into account their knowledge and experience as customer representatives. Their direct contact and treatment are fundamental in discovering more about your customers.

Interview your readers

Another tool that cannot be overlooked is a phone or face-to-face interviews with your current customers. These can also be questionnaires focused on the moment of purchase or access to the service. When preparing interviews keep in mind that the goal is to learn about the customer's actual needs.

What to do with your Buyer Persona

Once you have collected all the information needed to create your Buyer Persona, you should separate it into more specific data such as personal information, demographics, customers’ personal and professional goals and challenges, main concerns, workplace solutions, etc. This can help you decide with what tone you will need to approach the way you communicate.

HubSpot is a platform that offers tools for marketing, sales and customer service. In 2019 at a conference, the CEO and founder Brian Halligan shared some essential insights to keep in mind about customer insight. Halligan's core message was that companies must hone their understanding of the buyer experience. From there, they can build and align around strategies in product development, sales and marketing.

The importance of creating your Buyer Persona is to understand how your target audience behaves, the type of content they seek to consume and how they do it and determine the keywords they use when searching the web. All of this information will help you correctly define and orient your editorial marketing strategy. The steps found in this article will ensure that your digital activity has the profitability you expect and need.