If you are a business owner, you may have heard the term buyer persona. Do you know what it is and how to use it? A buyer persona is a marketing tool that will help you better understand your ideal customer and market to them. This guide will show you how to create a buyer persona for your business and how to use buyer personas to improve your online marketing.
If you’ve identified your target audience, you may assume you already know what a buyer persona is. While understanding who you are targeting is part of the process of creating buyer personas, creating a buyer persona involves more than just knowing who your general target market is.
What is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a fictional customer profile that helps you visualize your ideal customer. You create a buyer persona by analyzing market research, data from current customers, interviews, surveys, or questionnaires. But, creating a buyer persona is different than making a spreadsheet or compiling data about your ideal buyer.
Think of your buyer persona as an imaginary person who might buy from you. Your buyer could be a certain age, live in a certain area, work in a specific occupation, or have any number of characteristics. Creating a buyer persona helps your team to understand your customers’ needs, issues, and interests. It can also help you identify what motivates them to buy or what frustrates them.
Benefits of Creating Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are a powerful tool that can help you improve your marketing strategies. By creating a different buyer persona for each potential customer profile, you will have information at your fingertips that will help you and your team create targeted marketing campaigns.
No matter what stage your business is in, buyer personas can provide your business with incredibly valuable information. Here are a few reasons why:
Buyer personas can be used to help your business to:
- Get to know your ideal customers. A buyer persona will help you understand your ideal customer’s characteristics, interests, goals, motivations, pain points, and frustrations.
- Create unique and targeted content marketing. You can use the information collected about each buyer persona to create the type of content they are most interested in.
- Understand where to reach your ideal customers. Buyer personas will help you determine which platforms your customers prefer and how they prefer to communicate. (For example, do they prefer to receive messages by text, email, or phone.)
- Improve your call to action. Once you understand your buyer better, you will know how to write content that speaks to them and be able to create a more effective call to action.
- Create a more effective SEO strategy. Buyer personas can help you identify keywords, search intent, and what type of content your buyer might search for.
- Filter out marketing that won’t reach your audience. Once you understand your customers, you can avoid wasting marketing on certain platforms or using methods that won’t reach your ideal customers.
- Provides a visual aid for everyone on your team. Buyer personas make it easy for everyone on your team to be on the same page. This way everyone has a clear picture of whom you’re targeting and how to connect with them.
How to create a buyer persona for your business
Step 1: Create a Buyer Persona Template
Before you begin collecting data, you must first decide what you want to know. Brainstorm a list of the most important characteristics and data that you want to include in your buyer persona. Then create a buyer persona template to use as a guide for conducting research.
Some information you might want to include in your template:
Choose a name for your buyer persona — one that reflects the characteristics of your persona but is also easy to remember. Naming your personas helps you relate to them on a personal level. You want your personas to feel like real customers. One way to create a persona name is to use alliteration, such as Gabby Gamer or Entrepreneur Eric.
Your buyer persona should include basic demographics, such as their age, gender, job, education level, family size, and location.
It’s important to know what your customer does for a living. What industry do they work in? This can help you target advertisements, improve search engine strategies, and help you understand where to reach them. Additionally, you’ll want to know their role in their company. This way you can identify whether they make decisions or have any purchasing power in their organization.
What kind of goals does your ideal buyer have? This can include personal goals, financial goals, or business goals. By understanding what your customer wants to accomplish, you can better understand how to make your product and marketing appealing to them.
Beliefs and Values
The values of an individual determine their social behaviors and buying decisions. For example, are they Republican or Democrat? Are they environmentally conscious? Are certain social issues important to them?
These values can have a powerful influence on the types of content they will be interested in engaging with. In order to appeal to these audiences or to avoid alienating them, business owners should include this information in their buyer personas.
Interest and Hobbies
To connect with your ideal customers, you need to know what they like and how they spend their time. You can learn a lot about them by finding out what they are interested in and their hobbies. This is a great way to learn what products they might buy, and what type of content they might be interested in.
Perhaps one of the most useful pieces of information you can include in your buyer persona is what they do when they’re online. Do they prefer written content, videos, or podcasts? Do they use social media, if so do they prefer one platform over another? Do they follow certain influencers? Where do they spend most of their time when they are online?
Motivations and Frustration
It’s important to understand what motivates your customers. What makes them buy something or what frustrates them? By identifying these points, you can tailor your marketing strategy to connect with them and solve their problems.
For example, there are often things that people dislike about a product or service they use or things they wish were better. Once you’ve identified their issues, you can create marketing that appeals to their emotions.
To better understand your customers and their buying habits, you might ask these questions: Are they the decision-maker for this product or service? How do they research a product or service before they buy it? How often do they buy this product or service? Do they shop online or shop in-store? What keeps them from buying? Do they have any hesitations about the price or uncertainty and fears about buying?
Step 2: Research Your Target Audience
Now that you know what you want to find out, it’s time to do some research on your target audience. You will want to create more than one buyer persona based on the information you collect. But, before you can decide how many buyer personas to create, you need to gather up the data.
Start by gathering insight from analytics
By reviewing all of your analytics from Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, LinkedIn Analytics, etc, you can gain a lot of information on who you are currently attracting with your marketing strategy. You might discover that your current marketing strategy is not attracting your ideal buyer at all. This is very important information that can help guide you as you develop your buyer personas.
Add a customer feedback survey to your website
Surveys are a great way to collect customer information. Keep the survey simple. Ask one or two questions. For example, how did you hear about us? Or what product or service are you most interested in?
Run the survey for a week to two weeks and then collect data on different questions. You see this method is used in retail stores a lot. They might ask questions like: How clean was the store today? What products did you shop for today? How would you rate your experience today?
Survey your existing customers
Email your existing clients with a survey. Your existing customers are more likely to fill out your survey and provide useful information. Again, keep the survey short and sweet. Ask 4-5 open-ended questions like:
- How did you find out about us?
- What made you decide to buy from us?
- How many times did you visit our website before you made a purchase?
- Was there anything that made you hesitant about buying?
- Have you told any friends about our product/service?
Interview existing clients
To get the most comprehensive information for your buyer personas, conduct interviews with real customers. You can interview them by phone or email, and ask similar open-ended questions like those from your survey. However, a personal interview is more effective because customers are more likely to share details they wouldn’t on a survey. You can offer an incentive to customers who agree to be interviewed, such as a free product or discount coupon.
Step 3: Organize your research
The next step is to organize your findings. Whether you use Google Docs, Excel, or PowerPoint, organize all your data in one place. Once your data is organized and sorted, it’s time to analyze the patterns. Ideally, you will want to create 3-5 buyer personas based on the details you collect.
It’s important to understand, you can’t create a buyer persona based on one or two customer interviews. You need to collect enough data to really know which customer profiles you should create.
Step 4: Create Your buyer personas
Once you have your data, you can create your first buyer persona. There are many free buyer persona templates you can download, or you can create your own using Canva. When you create a buyer persona the goal is to make it visual. You want to create a card with all the information about each persona.
Below are a few examples to give you an idea of what a buyer persona might look like.
Buyer persona examples
Below is an example of a buyer interested in web design and marketing services. She has created her own brand and is looking for help creating an online store and marketing her products.
Here is a second buyer persona example. Lori is a life coach. She has an established business but is selling an online course. She gets most of her business from referrals and wants to get more traffic from search engines.
These are just a couple of examples to give you an idea of what a buyer persona might look like. As each industry is different, your buyer persona may look completely different.
Patty Malowney is an SEO consultant and owner of Badass Web Goddess, a digital marketing agency in Albuquerque. She writes an internet marketing blog where she provides SEO and digital marketing advice for female entrepreneurs.