The Innovative Marketer's Blog

The Most Valuable Piece of a Buyer Persona: What Triggers a Search?

Posted by Joe Pettirossi

Not that kind of trigger.

Buyer insight is the holy grail in marketing. The more we know about our prospects, the more helpful and educational our messaging and content will be to them. When we’re in tune with the wants and needs of our prospects, we can capture their attention. More importantly, over time, we can build trust.

This is why it’s so important as inbound marketers to develop in-depth personas of our buyers. (If you don’t know what a buyer persona is, HubSpot has a very succinct definition: “A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”)

There are as many different ways to build a buyer persona as there are inbound marketing agencies—some better than others.

At our agency, through our client engagements over the years, we have learned that no buyer persona is complete without certain very valuable pieces of information. We call them triggers.

A trigger is an event, or a set of events, that causes a prospective buyer to become aware of a problem that they need to solve or a goal that they need to achieve.

Examples of Triggers

Let’s consider the home security business. If you’re a homeowner, what might trigger you to start thinking about beefing up your security? Here are a few common triggers:

  • You’re going on vacation for an extended period of time and worried about your home being vacant.
  • You’ve just seen news reports of recent break-ins in your town and realized that your home is not safe from burglars.
  • You’ve come across several articles and advertisements about the convergence of home monitoring – heating, cooling, security, etc.

So what action do these events trigger? For most of us, that would be doing research on Google. If you were to experience any of the above triggers, you might Google:

  • “How to protect my home while away for several weeks”
  • “New home automation technologies”
  • “Home protection systems options”
  • “New home monitoring technologies/systems”

Where are Triggers in the Buyer’s Journey?

Triggers and the resulting questions that a potential customer may have are the early stages of the buyer’s journey. This initial stage is often called the awareness stage. An effective content marketing strategy must start with a clear understanding of what these triggers are and the resulting questions they prompt.

So How Does One Uncover These Triggers?

At our agency, we uncover the triggers of our clients’ buyers from two major sources:

  1. Interviewing existing customers
  2. Talking to the sales team.

Customer interviews are part of our buyer persona development work. A key component of the interview is to have the customer share with us what prompted them to even start learning about the product or service they eventually purchased.

Once we have identified the “trigger” for the customer, we then focus on what they searched for so that we can understand the questions prompted by the trigger. With the sales team, we ask them to uncover this same information as part of their sales process and log it into their CRM so we capture the data.

The early stages of the buyer’s journey (awareness stage) starts to become much more clear, which directly leads to content strategy. Awareness stage starts with the “trigger” which leads the prospect to asking questions and doing research on Google.

By understanding the questions your buyers are asking and topics they’re researching, you can develop the blog titles and premium content pieces you’ll need to attract these prospects to your website.

5 Steps for Building a Content-Based Sales Funnel

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing