Knowing how to create a buyer persona (AKA a marketing persona) is great for building an accurate picture of your target market and defining the tone and messaging you want to convey in your online content. We have compiled this guide to explain what a buyer persona is, why your business needs them and how to create personas for marketing.
What does ‘buyer persona’ mean?
A buyer persona is a detailed, targeted customer profile that is often structured as a fictional character. The character is based on the research of a specific target market, combined with the data of existing or historical customers.
Of course, many businesses have a range of different customers, so it’s necessary to categorise these into clearly defined buyer personas. To reach the right people and speak ‘their language’, you need to understand their personality and key characteristics fully.
Why are buyer personas important?
- They help keep all employees focused and centred on who it is their customers are.
Top Tip: Make your buyer personas available to each department in your company. This will help to bring all employees together so that a unified idea of the customers you have is established.
- When blog posts are created, each employee will have the same buyer personas in mind, and therefore you will have vital consistency across the whole business.
- Customers are more inclined to go to companies they trust, which is where buyer personas come in. If you can understand the trials and tribulations experienced by your customers and offer a truly effective solution, they are much more likely to use you over your competitors.
- When you truly understand your customers as people rather than sales stats, it shows in your marketing and advertisement campaigns. Buyers will immediately respond to that.
What are the benefits of buyer personas?
There are many benefits of using buyer personas for your business. For example:
- Creating buyer personas allows you to personalise your marketing campaigns more effectively – this means better quality leads that are more likely to progress through the buyer’s journey with your business.
- Knowing what kind of people you’re targeting helps create a connection and allows you to target marketing campaigns specifically at those who would be interested.
- Buyer personas help create consistency throughout the business, not just in terms of content but also between the sales and marketing teams.
- Marketing needs to know what kind of language to use, what the persona would find useful, and how they’re most likely to look for answers to their questions.
- Sales can then use the personas to target that content at the right people and the right time for it to be most effective.
- Consistency improves efficiency; with more targeted content, it will be read by fewer people who aren’t looking to engage with you, and your teams will know who they’re writing for and why.
- When you’re developing your services or products in the future, you can use buyer personas to do that in favour of the kind of people you’re looking to attract to your business.
- Identifying negative personas, which is to say users who are unlikely to become customers, helps you to know what to avoid in your marketing campaigns.
How to create a buyer persona
- Research your target customers: The first (and arguably the most important) step is to do your research. There are numerous ways to do this research, and we suggest covering your analysis from all angles.
A common assumption amongst many businesses is that they know their customer already, and this research stage may seem like a wasted exercise. However, dedicating the time to create a buyer persona that is a broader, more holistic view of your target audience helps you to understand what a realistic persona looks like and perhaps uncover details of which you weren’t aware.
- Use your data. Start with the data you already have stored within your customer database. Collect all the useable insights from your records, and this will give you a clearer picture of the types of people who convert. You could also supplement this data by sending out surveys to existing customers via email or even undertake market research and hold focus groups, either in person or on a video conference.
- Explore your analytics data. Google Analytics can be a great source of information and, when utilised correctly, can give you some interesting insights. Investigate demographics such as location, age, interests, gender and buying behaviour and gather all of the relevant information into one place. There are several social analytics tools too. Facebook audience insights, for example, allows you to view aggregate details on your current customers. You can also analyse a broader market of potential customers, discovering insights such as relationship status, job role and household size.
- Review your competition. Competitor analysis is commonplace in many research methods, and it’s still important to see what your competition is doing when it comes to buyer personas. Some questions to keep in mind when you are checking out the competition are as follows:
-Are they targeting the same sort of people?
-Have they adopted a different tone of voice? Do they define their markets clearly?
-What else can you learn from their activity?
2. Identify your customer challenges: Every customer has pain points and problems they face in their day to day lives. It’s our job to identify these challenges and work out how they stop customers from achieving their end goals.
The best way to do that is to ask questions and direct them to your customer service or account management team (if you have one). Ask them about the common queries that come up repeatedly and other types of problems the team has to solve. Trawl reviews, testimonials and general customer feedback to identify trends and include customer quotes if relevant.
3. Outline customer objectives: In the same way you need to outline common challenges, you also need to determine the goals and objectives of your prospective customers. Throughout your research, you need to understand your target market’s personal and professional aspirations to help you deliver content that meets those objectives.
- The goals you outline don’t always have to be related to the service or product you offer. Simply providing knowledge, reassurance, or expertise via inbound marketing can often help customers meet their end goals.
- If you have a sales team, it’s essential to sit down and talk to them to understand the goals of your existing customers as they are the ones asking the important questions.
4. Humanise your personas: There are many reasons you should personalise the digital experience, which starts with humanising the people you want to speak to with your content. As you sort through the statistics and begin categorising the information into unique customer personas, you can flesh them out into ‘real’ people.
The best way to create a buyer persona is to name them and attach a picture that accurately visualises the profile created. Create a personality for each person and include characteristics such as:
- job title
- relationship status
The aim is for your buyer persona to feel like an individual with whom you could realistically have a face to face conversation.
You’re looking for a similar depth of information as an online dating profile, and it’s important to remember that just because you have a list of key characteristics doesn’t mean you have a buyer persona.
Humanising the data you have acquired is essential in creating a realistic representation of your target customer. Butit’s also important to not get preoccupied with the details of your persona.
The persona may not be an exact fit for every type of customer you have. Still, the purpose remains the same – to help your business and marketing partners think of your target market as actual people rather than a mundane list of characteristics.
B2C and B2B Customer Personas
Marketing to business to business (B2B) and business to client (B2C) buyer personas are very different. B2B customers tend to be a team of people making decisions on behalf of a company, whereas B2C customers are individuals.
Where a B2C customer might be more inclined to buy something spontaneously (for example, because they might need it or it’s a great deal), B2B customers are more likely to go through a long process of deliberation and may ask for a trial before committing to purchase.
B2B customer personas are often a little more difficult to create as they are often based on a core member of the company (such as the purchasing manager). You also need to consider the background of the entire business and not be too specific. You should also consider brand loyalty and if they have a history with your business or your competitors.
When creating buyer personas for a B2B customer, you could undertake online research and examine the job roles that matter to you. Search for these roles in Google or LinkedIn and look at what other companies consider key responsibilities of their job advertisements to consolidate with your existing data.
If you need help with creating your buyer personas to build an accurate picture of your target market, contact our professional and friendly team with any questions you may have.
We are also offering a free template download of an example customer persona for readers who would like more information on what exactly should be included in a buyer persona breakdown. Simply enter your email details and have exclusive access to our carefully customised template – designed by our specialists.