For those unfamiliar, HubSpot Examples is a repository where HubSpot customers can show off how fancy they've gotten with a HubSpot tool. On top of it being a matter of pride in one's work, this is an opportunity for a HubSpot user to earn some exposure for their talent in a particular tool, including landing page creation, blogging, or emails, among many.
In this piece you read here, we'll be digging into the granddaddy of all inbound marketing: the buyer persona.
We have two great examples to go over. We'll examine why it was so vital the HubSpot user created them, how they pieced it together, and what this kind of action means for their business and yours.
Maybe you'll be inspired to create and submit your own! Let's dig in.
The two persona we're reviewing were submitted to HubSpot Examples by Visual Creatives and Fourdiaz Vargas. Lucky for us, they are unique takes on the persona creation task. We'll go into that in a moment. First, an important question to prime the pump.
Why Create a Buyer Persona?
Inbound is a holistic experience. The same way a traditional storefront has to decorate its windows with exemplary work to invite in foot traffic, business' digital real estate must do the same to pull in visitors navigating a Google search, or a promotional tweet, or an email.
You need to create a buyer persona to understand which type of work you should hang in your website's window to attract the best kind of buyer. You need to know their story.
Who they are. What they spend. How much time they have. What they worry about. Their doubts. Their hopes. You create this buyer persona as an ideal buyer.
Maybe you have a buyer persona in mind but you just haven't written it down? That's great! A buyer persona is make-believe until its definition is written down, preferably in a collaborative effort with your sales and marketing teams.
Visual Creatives and Fourdiaz Vargas have created real people in their buyer personas. Take a look.
How Is a Buyer Persona Created?
Below is the language from Visual Creatives' "Agency Owner / Founder" persona. The link to the full example will be included below. For now, a breakdown of how this customer did exemplary work creating the persona in HubSpot's buyer persona tool:
Roles: Creative Director, graphic designer, babysitter of staff, HR, marketing and janitorial services. I am a husband, father, and friend.
There is already an understanding here. Visual Creatives knows its persona is strapped for time, resources, employees, and cleanliness. This persona is the head of a frantic business, and the guy is slammed. They need help. This demonstrates how Visual Creatives sees themselves at their best while working with committed companies fighting through the peaks and valleys.
Goals: I started and run my own creative design agency. We are a small company, but have reached profitability and stability. I am the owner and founder and chief bottlewasher. I value creativity, speed, and loyalty. With those traits, I can create almost anything. I am trying to create an inspiration environment for myself and my employees, a place where good work done on time for the right budget is the rule and not the exception. I would like to reach a point where we are not just financially stable, but thriving. I would like to be known for our quality and creativity, and I would my services to be scalable nationally.
These are exactly the Goals you'd imagine the person described in the Role segment further up. They speak to ambition. Again, these characteristics are what Visual Creatives looks for in their prospective clients. The persona echoes up and down a conversion funnel, its presence felt in everything from keywords to sales review questions, and the offers nurturing in between.
In contrast, here is Fourdiaz Vargas "Business Owner" persona:
Roles: Business Owner
Goals: Growth in business and sales. Be number one.
Challenges: Lack of skill in Marketing. Busy running his business.
At a glance, this is lacking. However, the moment they reach the Story section of the persona, it becomes more thorough:
Story: Walter is married and has 3 children. He has worked in his family business his whole life. His father built it from the ground up. He knows all the facets of the business from sweeping the floor to accounting. He has a business degree and understands this side very well. He is innovative and an early adopter. He loves creative different solutions and is not afraid to try new things. He shops online via desktop, attends networking events & conferences, and is on Facebook. Honesty, integrity, & Quality of Service are what he wants to maintain while his business grows.
Fourdiaz is making up ground. Storytelling is a critical skill for inbound marketing. Marketing itself is already the Story Of Why You Need. Adding inbound takes the intrusiveness out of the story. It becomes more persona-focused. Fourdiaz covers a day-in-the-life of the persona and their information search process. This means they know how the persona seeks answers. Now they know which door to throw open to welcome them in.
The story continues:
Story (cont.): Walter knows for his business to thrive in today's world, he needs to tap into other veins of clientele. He's aware the world of marketing is changing -- and he wants his business to grow from where his father left off. He is aware in order to reach these potential customers, he must increase his online presence. He has a lot of current clients, but needs to change with the times of his industry. He buys the latest equipment for his business and needs to do the same with his marketing.
This is two things. First, Fourdiaz knows their persona's pain point. Second, they know their persona already recognizes the need to pivot. This means the persona is discerning and won't be fooled. This is great. It will keep Fourdiaz honest.
The persona's story goes on for one more paragraph to discuss the persona's type of experience desired. I'd encourage you to read it here.
By comparison, let's check back on Visual Creatives persona-story, written from the persona's perspective:
Story: My objection to Visual Creatives is that we are fundamentally competitors, offering many of the same services (branding, design work). When it comes to inbound marketing, I don't know if I can afford to outsource it yet and if it will yield the results I am looking for.
If I were to engage Visual Creatives, I would want to look at them as an extension of my own product line and staff. I'd like their work to feel like m work, and I'd need to have confidence in their ability to deliver ahead of my deadlines. I don't need any more stress in my life.
My day is filled with client calls, outsourcing calls, and running the business. I have to fight for the time that keeps me creative, but I find it. For information I go to the web and whatever TV news shows my wife has on in the mornings. At night I unplug to watch TV or read or rent a movie and play with the kids.
This is packed. It includes day-in-the-life at the top. It includes anticipated objections. If I have a critique, it's almost as though Visual Creatives fears their potential client.
If you find yourself packing too much negativity and potential objections into your persona creation, I recommend using that as your own call to action for creating a very thorough inbound retainer to deal with a worthwhile, but potentially demanding, client.
Start adding information. It can always be updated later! Even if you don't have the creative juice to write up a backstory for the persona, at least fill in the demographic and biographic info. Give the persona a name. Give the persona an age range, an income range, an education, and a location. Those are seeds that will help you write their story.
Using Visual Creatives as an example, you should feel free to be honest in this process, in particular when imagining the persona's possible apprehensions in working with you. Don't pretend this is going to be easy. Take your time. The more you can write down and air out your own potential challenges in working with the persona, the more prepared you'll be.
Or you might decide you don't want to work with this type of customer, now that you see it all spelled out in one place. In any case, this is a good thing! Good pot-hole dodging.
Do you think you've created a really good persona in your portal? Interested in earning some exposure, or even some referral traffic? Submit your work to HubSpot Examples through this link. If landing pages, blogging, or workflows are your forte, we take examples for them, too, all through the same link.
Originally published Jul 8, 2016 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017