By Carly Ries

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Before getting into the nitty gritty of the questions you should be asking when developing buyer personas, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what a buyer persona is and why it’s important. Simply put, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. Your personas can be based on actual data as well as educated guesses of your customer demographics, goals, behavior patterns, and motivations.

Why are buyer personas so important? They can help you:

  • Identify where your customers are on the internet so that you can be there too
  • Guide product development: By understanding what your customers goals are and what they are trying to achieve, you can create content that will help them reach their goals and overcome their obstacles
  • Focus your time
  • Attract the most valuable visitors, leads and customers to your business

Now that you’re clear what buyer personas are and how they can help you, it’s time identify who your personas are and learn more about them. One of the first steps in doing this is to interview your marketing team, sales team, and customers.

Although questions may change from industry to industry, the 55 interview questions below should help guide your conversations:

Questions to Ask Your Marketing Team

  1. What technical and demographic information do you have about your website visitors?
  2. How do you currently market?
  3. Describe marketing campaigns that have been the most successful.
  4. Describe marketing campaigns that have failed.
  5. Which blog posts have received the most traffic?
  6. What are the most frequently asked questions from customers?
  7. Which page on the website receives the most impressions?

Questions to Ask Your Sales Team

  1. What types of customers do you typically meet?
  2. Why do different types of customers typically make a purchase?
  3. What reasons do customers cite for selecting your business over a competitor?
  4. What are the most common objections you hear?

Questions to Ask Your Customers

Demographic Questions

  1. What is your marital status?
  2. What is your HHI?
  3. Where do you live?
  4. Are you a homeowner or renter?
  5. What is your gender?
  6. What is your age?
  7. Do you have children? How many? What ages?

Career Questions

  1. In what industry do you work?
  2. What is your current job level?
  3. To what job level do you aspire?
  4. How long have you been in your current position?
  5. What is your education level?

Daily Life Questions

  1. What does a typical day look like for you?
  2. How much time do you spend at work and at home?
  3. What do you do for fun?
  4. Who are the people in your life that are most important?
  5. What type of vehicles do you own and why?
  6. What do you watch on TV?

Consumer Habit Questions

  1. Where do you go to learn about a product or service?
  2. What offline resources do you use?
  3. What online resources do you use?
  4. Where do you prefer to do your shopping?
  5. How do you prefer to interact with vendors?
  6. Who do you ask for product/service recommendations?
  7. How important is it to get a good deal?
  8. What types of mobile devices do you own?
  9. What type of indulgent or luxurious purchases do you make?

Pain Point Questions

  1. What is the most frustrating part of your day?
  2. What is the worst customer service experience you’ve ever had?
  3. What regular activity do you find stressful?
  4. What makes you nervous?
  5. What is the fastest way for somebody to make you angry?
  6. What is your least favorite part of your job?
  7. What is the worst job you can imagine?
  8. What purchase under XX dollars did you most regret?
  9. What do you worry about?
  10. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
  11. What are the top three things on your bucket list?

Industry Specific Questions

  1. What are the most common challenges related to your industry?
  2. What value is typically associated with your industry?
  3. What is the preferred type of sales experience in your industry?
  4. What are the most common objections to your product or service?
  5. What are the top questions asked by customers?
  6. What are the top questions asked by prospects?

Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions. They can often leads to some of your most helpful answers. While the list above can be very useful to refer to, feel free to create your own questions as you see fit based off your industry.

What other questions have you found useful in your buyer persona development process?

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Carly Ries

About the author

Carly Ries is a Senior Inbound Marketing Consultant for SmartBug Media. With over 7 years of marketing and account management experience, Carly helps clients develop and implement inbound marketing strategies to grow leads, conversion, and revenue. Read more articles by Carly Ries.