Buyer personas: how to identify your leads – the right way

So, you’ve created a couple of personas for your company… Great! But that’s only the beginning. The goal of personas is – simply put – to increase your conversion rate by sending the right content to the right persona. But how do you know which lead fits which persona? There are a few ways to discover just that:

Firstly, you can identify leads by doing some research, FBI-style. What do they like on social media? Who do they follow? And what does it say about them? Secondly, you can take a look at their actions. Do they mainly download technical or innovative and fun content? And how does it fit the personas I’ve created? Those two methods, however, require a lot of effort. And let’s be honest, if you wanted to do all that research, you would better join the FBI for real!

Therefore, we’ll be discussing a third method: simply include a few questions in forms on your website. Well… hold on… there are a few best practices you have to keep in mind. Let’s have a look.


Which questions should I ask?

Obviously, your form should ask a few necessary questions in order to maintain your contacts, such as name, email address and company name. Furthermore, you should ask questions that allow you to segment your leads into personas. As you created your personas, you know best which questions will give you the right information. For example, if you diversified your personas based on their location, or on company size, you should definitely include questions probing those elements.

But it doesn’t end there. When asking your question, you have to make sure that it’s relevant to the offer. If your leads have to fill in a form in order to download a whitepaper about efficiency at work, you shouldn’t ask the question ‘how do you like to spend your free time?’… Moreover, it must match the perceived value of your offer. If your offer has a high valuation, you can ask for more complex information.


How many questions should I ask?

You don’t want to ask too many questions. That will only scare your leads away. Some say you should only ask your leads one simple question, and let your leads tell you who they are. Such question could be: ‘How would you describe yourself?’. You can then use a drop-down menu to let the lead select an answer addressing one persona type, for example:

How would you describe yourself?
– I like to take the lead (persona 1)
– I feel the need to prove myself (persona 2)
– I like to solve problems (persona 3)

However, one relevant question may not always put you in the position to link a lead to one of your personas… It’s common practice to have 4-5 answer fields. Seven or more fields is usually too much.

If you really need more than 6 or 7 questions, there are a few tricks you can apply. Firstly, you can make your form appear shorter by having multiple questions on the same line. Secondly, you can work with something we call ‘smart forms’. Smart forms gather more information the more someone fills in a form. Not really clear what I’m talking about? Take a look at the following example:

Let’s say Bob visits your website and fills in a form in order to download one of your whitepapers. He has to leave his name, email address and company name behind. That’s little information, so Bob won’t be scared off. A few days later, Bob sees another interesting piece of content on your website which he wants to download. Now, he has to fill in the form by answering a more specific question, like ‘What interests you most about this content?’. Bob can choose between 3 options, making it easy to answer. Every time Bob fills in a form on your website, he’ll receive another question. And just like that, you gather a whole load of information! That makes it easy for you to link Bob to one of your personas. On the plus side, Bob never had to fill in a 15 questions long form.

You should also keep in mind that the value of the content is in relation to the information they need to give. If you’re not sure, the best thing to do is some A/B testing to determine your ideal form length.

PS: Want to learn more about the buyer persona? Read our previous blog post.

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