A cheat’s guide to creating buyer personas in minutes

Good copywriting is all about putting yourself in the customer’s shoes, but what if you don’t have time to create a full-on buyer persona? This handy trick can help when you’re in a hurry.

A cheat’s guide to creating buyer personas in minutes

We all know buyer personas are essential if you want your marketing copy to get read and acted upon.

If you can frame the world from your target customer’s perspective – rather than your own – they’re far more likely to pay attention to what you have to say. It’s the first rule of B2B copywriting.

In an ideal world, you’d create detailed personas for every campaign: sifting through analytics to see what buyers are interested in, talking to sales people to understand prospects’ needs and concerns, even interviewing real customers to find out why they bought your product and not another.

But the world is far from ideal. Some days you barely have time to finish your latte before the first deadline hits, let alone spend hours mapping out the daily thoughts and habits of a notional super-customer.

Yet you still need to write from your customer’s perspective, even when your copy has to be in the studio by half past three. So what do you do?

My advice: hit up the job ads on LinkedIn.

Using LinkedIn job ads to create quick personas

Say you’re writing a campaign aimed at HR directors in large UK organisations. By far the quickest way to understand this community is to search for job ads for the position and read through a few.

The first job is to do some judicious filtering, like so:

1. Search jobs for the role you’re targeting

Using LinkedIn for buyer personas.

2. Filter by location if (for example) you’re only targeting UK-based businesses…

Filtering LinkedIn jobs by location to a build a buyer persona.

3. Filter by industry to narrow it down to a vertical sector…

Filter by industry to help build a buyer persona from LinkedIn jobs.

When you’ve got a decent selection of relevant ads, here’s how they can help you:

They provide a cheat-sheet of your persona’s responsibilities

Here, usually in a handy list form, are all the things an HR director is expected to do in the role. Which of them could your product or solution help with?

getting a cheatsheet LinkedInWhich of these can your product/solution help with?

They reveal the expectations the organisation has of the individual

B2B campaigns often overlook the personal angle. How can your product or solution help the HR director, personally, to succeed, get noticed and advance their career?

expectations LinkedInHow can your product/solution help your prospect to be this person?

They can reveal problems that organisations are facing

In reading through job ads, do you get a sense of any common underlying problems the new person will be expected to sort out? Any suggestion that organisations are having difficulty recruiting new talent, for example, or that they can’t hang on to skilled employees? The pain points are often there between the lines – you just need to demonstrate how your product/solution can address them.

problems orgs are facing LinkedInJob ads often reveal business pain points your products/solution can help to resolve.

They’re a great guide to the language your customers use

Job ads are full of the jargon and terminology your target customer uses, which may be different from how your client or employer talks about its products and services. A glance through a few job ads will highlight language common to the role or industry you’re targeting, which will make your content and communications resonate more strongly with your audience.

A quick persona in just 10 minutes

With careful filtering and some judicious reading, in just a few minutes you can quickly start to build a picture of your target customer, the challenges they face in their role, the expectations their employers have of them, and the pain points the business as a whole is facing.

And if you have a persona template already developed, you can do some quick copying, pasting and editing to create a persona document on the fly for the campaign you’re working on.

It’s no substitute for proper persona-building – or, for that matter, for talking to real customers – but when you’ve got a tight deadline and you still want to make sure your copy hits the mark, it’s a brilliant shortcut.

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