What are buyer personas?
Buyer personas are detailed descriptions of semi-fictional characters who represent your business’s target audience. These characters help businesses understand and empathize with their customers so they can do a better job of acquiring and serving them. Buyer personas are often given names, jobs, goals, behavior patterns, and many other demographic characteristics. In general, companies use similar categories for buyer personas. But because each business is unique, there is no universally accepted list of buyer personas to choose from. Each persona should be tailored to the specific business, product, and/or service it is used for.
The idea is to think about buyer personas as real people. Businesses sometimes add stock photos, character icons, or even cardboard cutouts to their buyer personas to give them a realistic presence. A detailed buyer persona will help you determine where to focus your time_ it will guide product development, sales tactics, marketing strategies, brand voice, and will help you determine the social channels you use.
If your brand offers services and products to a wide customer base, it may be beneficial to incorporate multiple buyer personas. While it’s impossible to get to know every customer individually, incorporating multiple buyer personas casts a wider net within your audience and reminds potential customers that you’re paying attention to their ever-changing needs.
Why buyer personas are important
Buyer personas are crucial for:
- Understanding the needs, wants, and pain points of your customers.
- Understanding customers’ purchasing decisions.
- Understanding customers’ daily lifestyle habits (e.g. time spent on the internet vs in the car).
By developing buyer personas and using them to guide your business, you will be able to present customers with information they value in a way that they want to consume it. Since you know what they like, dislike, and where/when/how to communicate with them, you can target your content towards those values and ensure its relevance to them.
Being able to satisfy clients’ ever-changing needs and wants helps you to build a stronger relationship with them.
Steps to consider when creating a buyer persona
Unfortunately for those of you who like simple solutions, there is no universal method for creating a buyer persona. But, they are usually created through research, surveys, and interviews with your target audience. This can be done by:
- Carrying out interviews with customers and prospects to discover what they like (and don’t like) about your product or service.
- Looking through your contact databases to uncover trends about how customers find and consume your content.
- Setting up forms to capture persona information on your website.
- Recording feedback from your sales team regarding the leads they’re interacting with most.
Throughout this research, it’s important to gather customer information such as:
- Spending power and patterns
- Stage of life
Once you have analyzed the findings and created a buyer persona, you need to communicate the findings with all employees. However, buyer personas should NOT be static documents. They need to evolve with your customers.
The final step is to modify your content and channels to appeal to your target audience, and capture their attention via targeted marketing campaigns.
Creating buyer personas helps you to understand your target customers on a deeper level and ensures that everyone on your team knows the best ways to support and work with them. Being able to empathize with the needs of customers is critical to doing a better job of acquiring and serving them.
There is no single type of buyer persona, and there are many ways to create and use them. But creating/implementing a good buyer persona is a LOT of work. They should incorporate a combination of internal and external research (e.g. customer surveys and interviews) and be referenced in every major marketing and business decision.