This article will completely clear up any and all questions regarding what a buyer persona is (also referred to as customer persona), why you need one, how to create a proper buyer persona, and finally, how to effectively use your buyer personas to achieve astronomical marketing success. Read on to learn everything you need to know about creating buyer personas successfully.
What is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona, also referred to as customer profile or customer persona, is a detailed and highly targeted profile of ideal potential customers based on data, research and experience. Businesses create multiple niche personas to focus marketing resources on their most lucrative customers.
A good buyer persona goes beyond demographics like age and interests, identifying the social media/websites they visit, their motivations, pain-points and priorities.
Reasons you Need a Buyer Persona
First and foremost, buyer personas are going to be used and referred to when making nearly all business decisions. Creating buyer personas allows a deep insight into your target customers. Talking directly to your target audience is essential for growing brand awareness and loyalty for organic growth and long term company success.
Customer focused businesses will always have an advantage over their counterparts who lack this priority.
Developing fictional personas to concentrate on will help provide clear direction that will result in happy, repeat customers. These buyers are your most profitable and become brand champions, referring new customers and purchasing (out of trust) future products/services offered.
Buyer personas unveil a lot of useful information such as customer pain-points, the problems they are looking to solve and where they look for the solutions.
Essentially, your business needs a buyer persona to understand the most efficient ways to reach your most valuable target audience.
The recipe for marketing success involves solving a customer’s problem(s) and offering your product or service (solution) to them, at the ideal place and at the ideal time.
The guide below includes every step you need to take to create an in-depth example of a buyer persona that provides immense business value. Let’s see how creating buyer personas should be done.
Step-by-Step Guide: How to Create a Highly Effective Buyer Persona
1. Set Goals and Objectives
An important first step in creating buyer personas is to clearly define your personas specific goals. The customers you are looking to help you improve sales of one product may be completely different than the customers who will join your newsletter or read your blog posts.
Start by creating:
- Goals your target buyer has for your product/service/business
- Goals for your business from the ideal customer persona
Moving forward, our example buyer persona will be Tim and our example company is an eco-friendly surf accessory and apparel brand.
- Have high quality environmentally friendly surf equipment and marine apparel from a company that supports his values of marine conservation.
- Provide valuable content to Tim, that he is proud to share with his peers, while growing his trust in us so he ultimately buys our apparel and surf accessories offered that solve his problems.
- We want to be so trusted and valued by Tim that when he is prepared to buy a new surfboard (our most profitable product) from us.
- By having him proud to represent our brand it will boost apparel and accessory sales, plus raise our brand awareness.
2. Interview Existing Customers
A big benefit of having existing buyers is you have easy opportunities to receive valid feedback, which is a big help in creating buyer personas. Most companies don’t ask for feedback very well and miss out on discovering what would make their customers most happy. New features and content ideas become plentiful with good communication, so having a sales team provides even more value often left untapped. Ask the people who are talking directly to your existing customers what they often get asked for and what problems customers are having.
If you don’t have existing customers:
There are research tools that you can use to ask surveys and target specific demographics. One popular market research tool is SurveyMonkey. An important thing to remember when asking customers is to be as specific and scientific as you can.
Asking a sample size of 1000 people about their experience purchasing a product on your website, or asking them about their experience navigating your blog, are both great examples of questions for your questionnaires.
Don’t ask them about their experience on your website in general. Those two aspects of your site overall offer completely different user experiences. The data you may gain from running both of those surveys separately could uncover reasons people choose to not buy from you or why they don’t click through your blog pages.
Talking to your customers also offers opportunities for praise where you can realize what people want more of and what is working.
3. Conduct Demographic & Psychographic Research (with example buyer persona template)
The amount of research you include when creating your buyer persona will determine its success. Many buyer personas are shallow, focusing on only demographics and neglect to ask many questions about your customers emotions, thoughts and feelings. Tapping into this data leads to some of the most successful content and advertisements. Surprisingly, many brands overlook this step, making decisions without the necessary information to best serve ideal customers.
A detailed buyer persona will answer the following questions:
Age – What is the age of your customer?
Gender – What is the gender of your customer?
Location – Where does your customer live? Where will/can your customer never live?
Income Level – What is your customers income? Is your customer the decision maker of their final purchases?
Relationship Status – Is your customer married? Does your customer live alone or with a large family?
Education Level – What is your customers education?
Qualities – Is your customer a leader, outgoing or hardworking? What kind of person is your customer?
Attitude – What is your customers attitude towards your industry, product or solution? Is your customer happy to receive content from you or do they come to you when they are anxious or angry?
Social networks – What social media sites do your customers use? (Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, etc…)
Websites – What websites do your customers frequent most?
Information/News – Where do your customers look for information and answers to their problems? How do they search for it?
Industry/Job Title – Where does your customer work? What industry? What position? Why do they do the job they do? Does your customer have previous industry experience or are they new to the workforce from college?
Goals or objectives – What are your customers career goals? What are their family goals?
Interests/Hobbies – What is your customers hobbies and interests? What do they do online, on weekends or after work?
Familiar Brands – What companies in or around your industry are your customers interested in? What brands do your customers trust and use?
Motivation – Why will the customer purchase the product/service? Why do they need it? What are your customers main pain-points?
Touchpoint – When does the customer first learn about our product? How do they feel? Is your customer relieved to find your content or excited when the product arrives?
Threats – How could your customer be persuaded to leave to a competitors product?
Previous Product – Who did your customer go to for their product or service before buying from you? How much money did they previously spend on your solution?
Love – What is the one thing your customer loves about you? What do they wish they could change about you?
The three most important questions you need to answer about your customers are:
- How are they spending their money/where would they prefer to spend it
- Why would they want more time/how would they spend it
- What’s causing them stress (pain-points)
A successful landing page or advertisement will answer one of these clearly to the ideal target customer. Everyone wants to either save money and/or time while supporting brands and products that reflect themselves, their values, or their image.
Gathering detailed insights for each buyer persona allows you to speak directly to their wants and needs ultimately increasing your conversion rates with customer satisfaction. It’s also beneficial for building brand awareness, trust and loyalty to have personal moments at every possible touchpoint.
4. Research Mediums & Channels (Online Groups, Forums and Social Media Sites)
When creating buyer personas, for each persona, research the specific websites they visit along with social media accounts, subreddits and forums. You want to find the online communities where your target customer is active in.
For the example of Tim being an active Reddit user, he is present in the subreddits for surf, SurfFishing and surfing. The total members in those three related groups is over 80 thousand individuals. Content posted in here that would be of interest to Tim and his friends could be valuable to grow awareness and drive an audience to your videos, articles or website. Our surfing companies Instagram posts could be reposted here for free to reach an even more engaged audience.
Facebook communities can often be much larger and come with the perks of Facebooks advertising platforms. Quora is a great place for people looking for facts, answers and help and is a great place to look for customer questions that you can directly link your content to. If you don’t have the solution for them at the time, what you will have is a new content idea to provide value to your audience.
Google search is the most used tool for solving problems. By visiting the sites and communities where your target audience hangs out is the best way to understand what/how they use Google search.
5. Customer Pain-Points
Really dial in on the problems that your customer persona has. For Tim, if his surfboard is broken and needs to be replaced, he is going to be looking for a surfboard immediately. We can create content to alert him of our products before his surfboard breaks to make sure he thinks about our product.
The fact that he buys new surf wax from us means we could create content for our blog on topics like:
- how to apply surf wax
- how to store your wax for longer lasting use
- the benefits of organic surf wax over other leading brands.
Maybe we will offer tutorial videos of tips and tricks while surfing with the riders wearing company brand.
This kind of brand awareness strategy helps build and create a trust that makes immediate sales while funneling buyers towards your bigger and more lucrative products.
6. Reasons to Return
Why will customers return? What is their long term value? When is the next opportunity to sell to the happy customers who are eager to do business with you?
Identifying what will encourage your buyer to return helps you provide the necessary value to ensure a satisfied long-term customer.
7. Customer Buyer Journey
By mapping the customer journey you identify each touchpoint that a customer has with you brand and their motivations along with the pain-points, questions and concerns they are facing. You can learn from this the areas where your customers need information to help move them along your sales funnel and where the most opportune places to reach them with your marketing messages are. This helps in creating buyer personas by further defining the characteristics of the ideal target customer.
8. Analyze and Evaluate Personas
Go through each finding for your personas and list benefits, opportunities, pros and cons for each. Using our example buyer persona, Tim, we could find list things like Tim loves living near the ocean, enjoys outdoor activities, is highly interested in casual water sports, is dedicated enough to put in the hours to learn surfing. Tim is already near the water often to swim, tan, and visit local restaurants. He works on boats and has lots of friends, colleagues and peers with a passion for being near the water.
His interests in reducing plastic and supporting marine wildlife through charities is beneficial to our plastic free surfboards and locally made alternative products too like such as plastic free snorkel masks and organic bamboo t-shirts and wetsuits.
The perfect customer is starting to come together and there is currently so much potential data for the marketing team. To get these products in front of Tim, you could explore groups where you could advertise in to get Tims attention or the local beaches nearby he would visit often. Not to mention the common goal of locally sourced products and reducing plastic where there is an opportunity for a positive brand connection.
For all of the personas you develop, identify which are of highest priority and what personas carry the highest customer value. If you find your best and most lucrative 1-3 personas that align with your brand goals you can target, your sales and marketing resources will be spent most efficiently.
For our example eco friendly surf company, we may decide to target Tim, a mid twenties male interested in casual surfing who loves water sports and the marine environment. We might also think highly of a buyer persona that is a female avid surf enthusiast or someone exclusively interested in company apparel.
9. Competitive Analysis
Spend some time evaluating your competition. Their social media pages, website, blog content and even advertisements. Brainstorm who it appears they are designing products for and writing blog posts too and create personas.
Consider using your buyer persona with your competitors. When researching the competition, ask:
- What are the similarities and differences between who you are targeting and who they are? Are you targeting the same people as them?
- Will your ideal customer be persuaded to buy from them or do you offer the best solutions to their pain-points?
- How are they reaching their customers?
- What types of content are they creating? Does your competition have a blog? What are they writing about?
- What is your competitors unique selling position?
- What social media accounts to the other companies in the industry use? How do they use them?
This is also a good time to find out where their customers are coming from. Search for your competitors most popular blog posts and website pages, as well as social media posts shares and likes.
10. Keyword Research
An important step in creating buyer personas is keyword research. Jot down some keywords that represent your customer persona. Go down the list in your finished persona and sum up each category in one word.
Tim: Male, 27, California, hardworking, passionate, marine sports, boats, surfing, fishing, environmentally friendly, Facebook, Reddit, etc. It would also be wise to form a more detailed list of familiar brands and products that your target buyer uses.
Buyer Persona Template
Here is our buyer persona template for Tim, the ideal target customer of our surf accessory and apparel brand.
|Buyer persona template for TIM||Tim is the perfect customer for our line of eco friendly surfing products for the casual surfer and marine enthusiast. He is a customer of our apparel and organic surf wax. Tim decided that when he gets his next surfboard it will be one of our environmentally friendly boards made from recycled materials. In the meantime he follows us on social media and buys occasional clothing products from our website. He’s proud to represent our brand and through apparel and social media displays our logo and company details to his friends, family and peers.|
|Location||San Francisco, California. Will never live farther than a short drive away from an ocean surf spot.|
|Relationship Status||In a relationship, lives alone and controls 100% of his personal finances.|
|Education Level||College graduate studying marine mechanics from local California university.|
|Industry/Job||Marina in San Francisco, works as a marine mechanic because he loves boats and being on the ocean. Gaining early industry experience, room for a number promotions with financial increases and career growth.|
|Interests/Hobbies||Loves to be out on the water, interested in all water sports like wakeboarding, surfing, water skiing and fishing. Loves nature. Tinkers with boats on spare time but also enjoys relaxing on the beach. Big fan of seafood.|
|Income Level||$55,000 and spends a good portion of both his apparel and leisure/entertainment budget in our industry.|
|Qualities||Hardworking and highly dedicated. Passionate about the industry making the odds of achieving company and career goals more likely.|
|AttitudePassionate about marine sports and activities, interested to see new products. Feels strongly about preserving the local environment and is proud of our commitment to it.|
|Familiar Brands||Tim is familiar with popular companies that sell competing clothing products of similar styles. Also familiar with boat companies, wakeboarding brands and snorkeling gear. Also familiar with the charity that we work with.|
|Social Networks||Uses Facebook and Reddit and follows marine related groups posting content and videos like racing speed boats and deep sea fishing highlights. Follows marine focused charities and supports a lifestyle of reducing consumption and single-use plastics.|
|Websites/apps||Follows the local coast guard and a website for water safety for watercraft on the ocean. Frequents weather app daily for in-depth information to choose daily surf attire, decide if he will go outside that day off, and the daily UV index. Loves the Reddit and Facebook app for content like cool upgraded boats, wakeboarding tricks and daily catches from local fisherman. Follows surf brands and surfing influencers on Instagram. Shops online using Amazon, but visits local stores for high quality work related products like steel toed boots or gloves.|
|Information/News||Gets trending topics and news from Facebook and through Google searches. Working in related industry offers plenty word of mouth opportunities about both new and old brands, trends and topics.|
|Goals or objectives||Has career goals to have his own surf shop on the water, along with a home near the water for his future family and kids to have easy access to the ocean.|
|Motivations/Pain-points||When Tim needs new surfing gear or when the time comes to replace his surfboard, he searches for our products online and checks out brands he’s seen posting on Instagram or tagged by admired influencers.|
|Touchpoint||First learned about our brand from local surf community (word-of-mouth). Happy and relieved to find a brand that supports his values and provided his surf/apparel needs.|
|ThreatsTim could leave our brand if we stopped holding true to our values of marine conservation while offering the highest quality of products we can.|
|Previous Product||Being familiar with the industry, Tim searched reviews through google before picking up his surf products at a local brick-and-mortar surf shop. He also knows both local and large brands.|
|Love||Tim loves our commitment to providing quality environmentally friendly products they use when surfing in addition to affordable apparel that fits their preferred style.|
Having a buyer persona for your ideal customer will assist you in making decisions throughout all aspects of your business that satisfy your customers. Creating 1 to 3 separate personas helps focus your marketing efforts on your most lucrative customers.
Using this guide to create detailed buyer personas will ensure that you never lose sight of what matters to your customers. Fulfilling their needs and goals ultimately leads to your business goals being fulfilled.