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How to Create a Buyer Persona with the HubSpot Persona Tool

This post is co-authored with Noor-ul-Anam Ruqayya, a Software engineering graduate from the University of Karachi. Noor is currently working as a content writer and digital marketer.

What Are Buyer Personas?

Buyer personas, also known as marketing personas, can be defined as a general profile of your typical (or ideal) consumer. 

Buyer personas are based on real data collected through market research or extracted from a customer database, for example, CRM (Customer Relationship  Management) or Google Analytics.

In simple words, personas combine research-based data and educated guesses about your clients. 

Among the three major types of business personas (user persona, buyer persona, and website persona), a buyer persona is the most popular. Its popularity stems from the fact that it helps marketers empathize with the customer and see them as more than cold data.  

In this article, we will explain the step-by-step process to create buyer personas using HubSpot’s ‘Make my Persona’ tool. We’ll also discuss buyer personas in more detail and why they’re important in devising an inbound strategy

What is HubSpot’s ‘Make My Persona’ Tool?

Hubspot’s Make My Persona tool creates a profile of your potential or current buyer personas with the data you provide. To collect the data, the tool asks simple questions like names, age, education, etc, and generates a buyer persona, which is kind of a “CV” that represents your ideal customer segment. 

Creating a persona manually, i.e., on paper or using graphics tools like Adobe Photoshop can be a long and tedious process. With the HubSpot persona tool, you can create your buyer personas within minutes. 

How Does Creating a Buyer Persona Help My Business?

Buyer personas help you understand your existing customers and prospective customers. It’s more than acquiring new customers or devising a marketing strategy. Creating a buyer persona is about targeting your customer segment and taking a peek into their mind to understand their background, problems, goals, interests, and behavior patterns. 

According to the HubSpot’s buyer persona infographics, the effects of behaviorally-targeted ads are double as compared to the un-targeted ads. 

A few industries that particularly benefit from personas include marketing, sales, and website UX design. A buyer persona also helps with content strategy, product development, inbound sales, and marketing. 

How to use HubSpot Persona Tools, Step by Step

The ‘Make my Persona’ tool on HubSpot is quite easy to use. The questionnaire is ready-made and includes almost everything you need to create your buyer persona.

To demonstrate the process of creating buyer personas with the HubSpot persona tool, I’ll create a buyer persona for the purpose of marketing a new project management software. The software is designed to help software companies organize the day-to-day activities of their employees and keep track of their day-to-day tasks.

Before Creating The Buyer Persona

Creating a persona is easy but you need data to do that. Without authentic data, your buyer persona will not match the ideal buyer. Remember, your persona is only as good as your data.

For my buyer persona, Arya, I used multiple sources to collect data:

  1. Social media platforms
  2. Forums like Quora 
  3. YouTube videos
  4. Interviews and discussions 

The interview and discussions basically helped me separate facts from theory. I strongly recommend interacting with current or potential clients. Even if you can’t conduct interviews or don’t have time for discussions, at least discuss the persona with your team. Getting a second opinion can be truly insightful for your buyer persona.

How To Collect Information About Your Buyers

Establishing a basic picture of your buyer is a necessary step for persona creation. You won’t have to go through tons of data for this, but some efforts are needed. Once you know the target audience, further information can be collected through means such as:

  • Interviews
  • Online forms
  • Surveys
  • Brainstorming sessions with your team members 

Once you have the information, then follow these seven easy steps, and your buyer persona will be ready in less than 10 minutes.

  1. Give your buyer a name and a face
  2. Define their age and educational qualification.
  3. Define the industry of the buyer persona and the size of their organization.
  4. Define the job title of your buyer persona, and what they deliver.
  5. Define the job responsibilities of your buyer and challenges along with their goals and objectives.
  6. Define the tools and platforms your buyer persona uses on a daily basis. 
  7. Define the social habits of your buyer and the platforms they use to gain information. 

We’ll discuss each point in detail (with screenshots) and explain why they’re important in creating buyer personas. 

How To Access the HubSpot Persona Tool?

To access the HubSpot persona tool, open https://www.hubspot.com and click on Resources -> Ebooks, Guides, and More. 

You’ll be redirected to a new page, scroll down to Make My Persona tool, and click on it (see the Figure below).

On the new pages, click on build my persona button to begin.

Step 1: Create Your Avatar

To begin creating a user persona, we need to humanize it. Giving your buyer a name and face makes it easier to see them as a real person. 

How do I name my buyer?

Add the first name of your buyer to their respective industry. For example, Marketing Vlad or Mary Sales.

 That way it’s easy to remember and categorize each persona as you move further. Also, your teammates won’t confuse one persona with the other. 

I’ve named my buyer persona ‘Arya Software’ as it’s supposed to be a part of the software industry. Arya doesn’t need to be a girl in particular as my product is gender-neutral. In case you’re targeting a specific gender, edit that information in the final draft. We’ll discuss editing further below. 

Step 2: Demographic Traits 

Traits set each user apart and mark each customer’s behavioral patterns. It’s the second question that’s asked in the HubSpot persona tool. 

Age and educational background are important in a number of cases. For instance, if you’re selling computer games, then there’s a higher probability that 18-year-old Alex will buy it than 55-year-old Jane.

The former was just an example but some products and services are designed specifically for a particular age group. There’s also the issue of age restrictions for particular products or services. Cigarettes and alcohol are among products that cannot be sold to an underage (18 or below) individual. 

Educational background also gives you insight into your customer’s goals and objectives. A person holding a Bachelor’s degree is likely to pursue further education. This information is especially helpful if you’re advertising for an online course or learning platforms like Udemy or Coursera

In the case of Arya, age and educational background are important because she’s a software developer. Most organizations require software developers to hold at least an Associate degree. An associate degree holder is likely to be 18 years or above. A bachelor’s or Master’s degree holder is likely to be over 22 years old.

Step 3: Business Industry 

The business industry of your potential buyer plays an important part in their persona development. A deeper knowledge of your buyer’s industry offers insight into the problems they’re facing. Understanding your persona’s problem is the first step to find a solution.

Also, the needs of small and large businesses are different. Two organizations in the same industry may have totally different problems. For example, an organization with less than 10 employees is less likely to need an employee management system compared to a large multi-international organization. Some products or solutions are designed for a particular industry or for either large or small organizations. 

 For my project management software, I’ll be targeting both small and large organizations. It’s designed specifically for a particular domain of technology, i.e., software development but both small and large organizations can benefit from it. 

Step 4: Career

The job title of your buyer persona is important because there are two kinds of people who interact with a product or service (in any organization). The one who makes the purchase and the one who directly interacts with the product or service. 

The job title of my buyer persona is an associate software developer. The developer may not be the buyer but (s)he is the one who will interact with it on a daily basis. The needs of this developer are addressed in both the design and marketing phases.

Also, I’ve established who they report to in order to target them in the marketing phase. Now, I’ll create a separate buyer persona for their project managers and other individuals involved in the buying process.  

Step 5: Characteristics of Your Buyer’s Job 

To convince a buyer persona into purchasing your products or solution, you should be solving a problem they face. For that, you need to understand their objectives and daily challenges. 

My buyer persona, Arya, works in software development. As she interacts with tens of people from different departments every day, scheduling conflicts are common. Her day-to-day challenges include project management and communication issues and those are the problems that my project management software addresses.

Step 6: How Do They Work?

Tools are an important part of every industry. Especially in the recent pandemic, COVID-19, project management platforms like Trello and communication platforms like Zoom have proved their importance. 

 If you know about the tools and technologies your buyer persona uses, you know three important things about them:

  1. Similarities in your solution and their current solution
  2. How they operate on a daily basis
  3. How to position your marketing message

In the case of Arya, she uses multiple software on a daily basis like CRM, project management, email, etc. As project management software is part of it, I know that I’m targeting the right audience. Also, she uses social media, text messages, and email daily and I can use those mediums to reach her.

Step 7: How Do They Operate?

Information is critical at every step of your life but how you obtain that information changes over the years. This step is crucial as people from different age groups have different social and behavioral patterns.

You can’t expect a Gen-X user to scroll through social media feeds all day. As for the Millenials, they prefer social media platforms and watching videos over reading books. 

Reaching out to your audience goes in vain if they don’t take an interest in the message. This step gives us two important pieces of information:

  1. Where to reach your buyer
  2. How to get your message through

Arya is a Gen-X user and product of the information age. She uses all social media platforms and prefers online learning platforms over traditional classrooms. As a software developer, she also spends most of her time around a computer screen. I used social media platforms and discussion forums like Quora to collect information about her. Also, I’ll probably be using social media for marketing too.

Done! Take A Look At the Persona We just Created:

Next Steps: Download or Share your Buyer Persona

Now that your user persona is ready, you want to download or share it with your colleagues or teammates. The HubSpot Persona Tool is free and accessible to everyone, but to download or share it, you need to fill out a small form.

As soon as you’ve filled the information form, your persona is ready. HubSpot gives you two options for sharing the buyer persona:

  1. PDF file -> This can’t be edited so perfect for storing information or sharing with managers.
  2. Link to your persona -> This can be edited or you can make a new persona from scratch. It’s also easy to share with your teammates and get feedback.

What are the Pros of Using the HubSpot Persona Tool?

Finally, we’ll discuss some strengths and weaknesses of the HubSpot tool. In general, tools and software make life easier but the HubSpot Persona tool helps us in more than one way.

Pre-planned Questions

The first issue with creating personas is planning the questionnaire. It might take hours to search through the internet, discuss the draft with your team, and make sure it’s ready. HubSpot persona tool solves this problem. The questions are pre-planned and ready to be answered. Just collect data, input it into the persona tool, and your buyer persona is ready.

Fast and Efficient

There is more than one way to create your buyer’s personas but persona tools can reduce the effort considerably. For instance, if you’re creating a buyer persona for a new client management software. 

The first step is to design a questionnaire, review and refine it with your team, and start developing the buyer persona (by hand or using graphics tools). The HubSpot persona tool cuts the first and second steps entirely. You simply conduct the market research, enter the information in the form, and your buyer persona is ready.

Easy to Share or Save

Regardless if you used a design tool to create a persona or made it on paper, sharing it is always a headache. Even if everyone can see it, editing will become an issue. In the  HubSpot persona tool, you have two options for sharing personas, PDF, and a direct link to the buyer persona draft. Each option is easy to edit and share with the team.

What are the Cons of Using the HubSpot Persona Tool?

Hubspot persona tool is definitely an improved and fast way of creating personas but it also has its shortcomings. 

Lack of Personal Questions

The questions asked in the HubSpot persona tool are purely technical. They’re mostly related to educational background, professional experience, and job industry. This information is not enough in most cases. To address this issue, you must edit the final template and add new sections. 

To do that, open the link of your buyer’s persona, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click on Add New Section (see the figure below).

Add a Backstory

Background information defines the way your buyer thinks and works through life. A small backstory also gives you some excellent ideas for ads. 

Form to Collect Details

HubSpot’s persona tool is free but they collect information from you before giving up the download access. It doesn’t take too long but can be annoying to some people and a genuine con of using the HubSpot’s persona tool. 

Conclusion

Every business sells what its customers want because if your consumers are happy, the business will thrive. Personas give you a better and more personal understanding of your consumers. What they like, dislike, and how you can solve their problems. In short, with personas, you can take proactive measures, and make long-term strategies to connect with your customers. 

Give buyer personas a try, you won’t regret it. 

By Joni Salminen

Dr. Joni Salminen works as a Scientist at Qatar Computing Research Institute, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, and as a Postdoctoral Researcher at Turku School of Economics, University of Turku. His research interests are heavily focused on personas, including topics such as automatic persona generation from social media data (YouTube, Facebook, Google Analytics), persona perceptions, biases in data-driven personas, optimal number of personas, etc.