What are buyer personas?
Buyer personas are thorough descriptions of your target customer demographic. Usually, buyer personas are written as if they’re reports of real people, listing descriptors like their age and marital status in addition to information about likes, dislikes and hobbies. Many businesses create several buyer personas to fully establish their customers’ varied identities. Most buyer personas use both market research and direct information from current customers to establish accurate customer representations.
Related: How to Grow Your Business
Why are buyer personas important in business?
Buyer personas are a vital part of a company’s overall success. Establishing effective buyer personas helps companies create the best possible product or service to offer their customers and establish highly effective marketing campaigns that will entice their target audience. The more information you have about your customers and the more specific that information is, the better prepared you’ll be to serve your customers effectively.
How to create buyer personas
Creating your own specific customer personas is the best way to learn about your buyers and tailor your work to them. Follow these steps to build one or more buyer personas:
1. Identify basic information
Start by gathering information for your customer persona. You’ll want basic information and specific characteristics. Use market research and internal company data to help you establish your list of qualities. If you have a limited target demographic or want to start small, use all the information you gather for a single persona. If you notice some disparate characteristics, consider grouping your basic customer information into what will become separate personas.
2. Determine their motivations and pain points
Knowing what challenges your customers and what drives them to make purchases will help you create the best possible product and market it effectively. Identify your buyer persona’s primary pain point, or issue they face in the marketplace. Ideally, your product or service is the antidote to that problem. Use the information you gather to help improve your product or service to better serve your customers.
Establish clear motivations for your buyer persona. The better you can understand what drives your customers to actually make a purchase, the better you’ll be able to capitalize on that motivation through marketing and advertising campaigns.
3. Gather feedback
Include feedback from your actual customers in your buyer persona. Survey customers about their background to help accurately structure your customer persona. Additionally, ask questions about their experience with any of your marketing campaigns, your products and any customer service experiences they’ve had. Use this information to help fully develop your persona.
4. Create a template
Take the information you’ve gathered and structure an easy-to-read template. Give your persona a name that describes their personality, like “Henry Homemaker” or “Theresa Traveler.” Separate the buyer persona’s personality characteristics into different sections:
- Basic information
- Hobbies and interests
- Pain points
Fill in the template with the information you have. If you can, keep the persona to one page so it’s easy to scan. You might also include a stock image of a person who represents the persona to better think of them as a real person.
5. Refine messaging
Take your buyer personas and share them with your sales and marketing teams. Use the information included in the personas to help them refine their messaging and increase the efficacy of their campaigns.
Information to include in buyer personas
You should include specific, identifying information in your buyer persona in addition to background information to help the persona feel like an actual customer. Include these facts in your customer persona:
- Gender: Identify the persona’s gender.
- Age: You can identify a specific age or use a range.
- Income level: Describe the persona’s individual income level or household income level.
- Household: Include whether the persona is married, and describe anyone else who lives with them.
- Location: Identify whether the persona lives in an urban, suburban or rural setting.
- Education: Provide the persona’s highest level of education.
- Career: Offer information about the persona’s job and industry.
- Schedule: Describe what the persona does on a normal day.
- Role models: Include any role models the persona looks up to.
- Entertainment: List the persona’s favorite books, movies, television shows, music and other forms of entertainment.
- Activities: Explain what the persona likes to do in their free time, like reading, hiking, spending time with friends or other endeavors.
- Work challenges: Describe the persona’s biggest issues at work.
- Success: Define the persona’s personal and professional successes.
- Goals: List the persona’s personal and professional goals.
- Pain points: Describe the persona’s pain points or challenges.
- Objections: Identify what keeps your persona from making a purchase.
- Motivations: Explain what drives your persona to make a purchase.
- Solutions: List the ways your product or service solves your persona’s problems.
- Tech awareness: Provide information on the tech savvy of your persona.
- Social media: List your persona’s preferred social media networks and frequency of use.
- Communication: Identify your persona’s favorite ways to communicate, like phone, text or in person.
You can include other information if it will add to the thoroughness of your persona or exclude categories that don’t enhance your personas.
Frequently asked questions about buyer personas
How do you use buyer personas?
Once your buyer personas are fully developed, you can use them in multiple ways:
- Categorize customers. Share your personas with your sales team. When they interact with customers, ask the salespeople to identify which persona the customer best matches. Knowing which persona they’re working with can help your sales team naturally introduce sales strategies and motivators that are likely to lead to a purchase.
- Track leads. Much like interacting with face-to-face customers, salespeople who manage leads and track customers through a longer term sales funnel can use the information from the buyer persona to craft a personalized sales pitch that appeals to the potential customer’s pain points and interests.
- Create marketing campaigns. Your marketing team can use the information from the buyer personas to create customized, research-backed marketing campaigns. With the information from the customer persona, the marketing team will be able to target the ideal demographic on their preferred social media accounts, in physical locations and with information that appeals to their personalities.
Why are customer personas important?
Customer personas provide a number of benefits to those companies who choose to use them. Three of the primary advantages of using buyer personas include:
- Understanding your customers: With a thorough and effective customer persona, you can ensure your product is ideally designed for your target market.
- Segmenting your marketing: Multiple customer personas can help you create clear marketing segments designed to attract the attention of all your different ideal customers. An effective buyer persona makes it easy to quickly establish multiple marketing strategies.
- Improving product development: Understanding your customer’s needs and desires can not just help you establish effective marketing practices, but it can also encourage effective product development. When you fully understand what your customers want, you can create new products and services that cater specifically to their desires.
What are the three stages of the buyer’s journey?
You can use your buyer personas to help guide your customers efficiently through the three stages of the buyer’s journey:
- Awareness: The first stage of the buyer’s journey begins when the customer realizes they have a problem and need a solution. Customers in this stage often search online for potential products or services, solicit advice or input from friends or visit stores in person to browse options.
- Consideration: In the consideration stage, the customer has determined they need a solution soon, and they’re actively assessing potential products or services. They may create a list of potential products they like, search for reviews of specific services online or go to look at a specific item in the store.
- Decision: Finally, in the decision stage, the customer is ready to make a purchase. They may add products to their online cart or go to a store in person to make a purchase. They can still be swayed from their intent, so effective marketing and customer understanding is vital until the customer actually makes their purchase.