How to Create Buyer Personas for Your Business

A Step By Step Guide To Creating Buyer Personas

As marketers, our job is to find and attract the customers to a business through content, ads and other strategies to get the right message to the right customer at the right time.

The challenge today is that it’s progressively becoming harder and more expensive to get the right message in front of the right people at the right time.

That’s where buyer personas come in to provide actionable audience insights used to create a clear picture of exactly who you are trying to attract when to best contact them and how for better conversions.

In this article, I am going to show how to create buyer personas for your business and to improve your marketing ROI.

Here’s a quick overview of what I’ll cover here.

Table of Contents

· Definition of Buyer Personas

· Example of Humanlytics Buyer Persona

· Why are Buyer Personas important

· Negative personas

· How to create Buyer Personas

· How to use Buyer Personas to increase sales

· Conclusion


What are Buyer Personas?

Buyer Persona

Tony Zambito’s defined Buyer personas as research-based archetypal (modeled) representations of who buyers are, what they are trying to accomplish, what goals drive their behavior, how they think, how they buy, and why they make buying decisions.

A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal “customer.” Each persona presents the background, needs, concerns, motivations, and goals of a specific segment of the population you want to attract to your business.

Buyer Persona Example

Here is one of Humanlytics buyer personas:

Humanlytics Buyer Persona

Why are Buyer Personas important?

According to a study by Mark W. Schaefer, three to four buyer personas usually account for over 90% of a company’s sales.

Identifying these buyer personas can be the key to improving your marketing ROI since you can tailor your content, ads and website copy to focus on converting those specific personas.

Buyer personas help you understand your customers (and prospective customers) better and make it easier for you to tailor your content, messaging, product development, and services to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different customer groups.

Developing personas allows you to create content and messaging that appeals to your target audience.

Buyer Personas

It also enables you to personalize your marketing for different segments of your audience.

For example, instead of sending the same lead nurturing emails to everyone in your database, you can segment by buyer persona and tailor your messaging according to what you know about those different personas and their appropriate stage of the sales cycle.

No matter the size of your company, buyer personas will help you focus your efforts on people who matter to your business’ bottom line.

It’s easier to think that only big companies with multitudes of customers from different cities and states would need buyer personas but even small business like simple website also need to know their buyer personas.

Let’s take an example of Javier, a freelancing chef and a sole proprietor of a cooking website where he shares tips, recipes and cooking lessons of healthy meals with his subscribers.

With a buyer persona research, Javier finds out that the majority of his customers and website visitors are new mothers in their 30’s.

Presuming that this is a market Javier would like to continue serving, he can now adjust your website and blog content to target this specific target audience.

This will make it easier to design his website and to select content that will resonate best with his target audience thereby improving his customer experience, conversions and revenue.

On the flip side, you don’t need a buyer persona just for the sake of having one.

What you need is a framework to provide you with actionable insights about your audience, to inform you of your current customer’s profile including their preferences, where to find them, what they want to achieve and the problems they face.

Buyer personas provide that framework but are often perceived as just other marketing resources that are needed for a company’s growth. What most marketers do is create these amazing graphics for buyer personas.

These graphics make companies think they have succeeded in building well-researched buyer personas. But if your buyer personas consist only of some vague adjectives and nice photos, they’re only good for decoration.

If your Buyer personas don’t have any actionable data that can be used to inform your marketing strategy, they not different from bumper stickers.

A buyer persona is not merely a description of your buyer but data insights from your target customers used to narrow down your marketing efforts to focus on a smaller group of people who will most like become your customers.

A strategy that targets everyone, targets no one.

So learn more about your customers and find cost-effective ways of targeting and attracting more of them to your business while keeping out the Negative Personas.

Negative Personas

Negative personas represent buyers who waste your time and resources with no intention to buy, or a low possibility of buying.

It’s crucial to identify these personas because they not only reduce your company’s profitability through spending without revenue generation but also use up resources and time that would have spent on serving and converting your ideal customers.

This could include professionals who are too advanced for your product or service, students who are only engaging with your content for research/knowledge, or potential customers who are just too expensive to acquire.

For e-commerce, they include, buyers, who keep your customer care personnel busy with questions about how things fit, your return policy, and in the end, leave without making a purchase. Or users, who will buy and return your products right before the return period is up. For SaaS, they are buyers who register for free trials and cancel their subscription right before the trial period is over.

How to Create a Buyer Persona

Buyer Personas

Every inbound marketing resource recommends that you develop buyer personas for your target audience and here is how you can do that for your business.

There are mainly three areas of focus when creating buyers personas:

1. Research

Building a persona starts with research to gather relevant information about your buyers.

Researching your audience will help you create a realistic persona, and possibly find interesting details about your buyers that you didn’t know before.

The strongest buyer personas are based on market research as well as insights you gather from your actual customer base (through analytics platforms, surveys, and interviews).

To create your own buyer personas, you’ll want to try and paint a complete picture of who they are, taking into account such things as:

  • Demographics — age, gender, job title, income level, education
  • Psychographics — attitudes, beliefs, personality
  • Why they bought your product?
  • Where they bought your product?
  • How your product is used? — what functions are most important to them?
  • How does it enhance their life or challenges does it solve?
  • How often they buy it?
  • Why would they consider not buying it?
  • Communication preferences, do they prefer email or phone?
Ardath Albee recommends that “every piece of information you put in a persona informs something that you can use.”

Don’t collect data that is not relevant or you won’t be able to use in your strategy.

To gather this information, you can use a number of tools you probably already have like Google analytics audience report and Facebook insights if you have a Facebook page.

These tools can only go so far, to get a deeper understanding of your personas psychographics, your best bet is to talk to your existing customers.

The most effective way to do this research is by surveying your existing customers with a tool like Survey Monkey or Quaralloo.

2. Create Buyer Personas

Now that you’ve narrowed down the most common details about your customers and organize those details into separate personas.

To do this, identify people in your audience with the same challenges and goals and group them into their own category. These different categories will represent different personas.

For example, if you’re a fitness company with a gym, a website and a number of weight loss products, you may have clients who want to increase muscle and gain weight and others who want to lose weight.

Since they have very different goals, you should create two separate personas for these clients.

If you find that you need to gather more information about a certain persona, go back and do more research to until you have a clear image of who your customer is and how to best reach them.

Depending on your business, you could have as few as one or two personas, or as many as 10 or 20.

But if you’re new to personas, start small! You can always develop more personas later if needed.

3. Additional Insights

Now let’s add more context and insights to the identified buyer personas.

This information will provide you with great insights not only for your marketing but also how you can improve all aspects of your product for a better user experience and generate more sales.

Priority.

This is research that helps you understand the personal or organizational circumstances that cause your buyers to allocate their time and resources to resolve the pain your product/service aims to solve.

For example, with Humanlytics we identified a marketing manager buyer persona with a pain in the area of marketing data analytics and a with priority insight, we are able to be more targeted in identifying which marketing executives are most/least receptive to our analytics solution and why.

Success.

Describe the results your buyer persona expect to achieve by purchasing your product/service. These are the perceived benefits and values your buyer expect to get after purchasing your product.

For example, research insights might indicate one of your buyer personas regards a reduction of marketing cost as a success for purchasing your product while other personas regard increased revenue as a success indicator.

Now to most people a “reduction in cost” and an “increase in revenue” is exactly the same thing but to smart marketers, it means different content topics, different ad targets, and copy, different landing page copy and design.

Barriers

What causes your buyer to believe that your solution or company is not their best option?

This research provides insights into product specific barriers and as you conduct this research, you will discover that some barriers are factual like personal or business obstacles, for example, the need for business process change, gaining acceptance from end users, or cost of the product.

While others are more of beliefs probably from negative experiences with similar solutions, online interactions, or direct feedback from peers.

This is more often the cases for most online service providers like PR and SEO agencies.

Buyer’s Journey

This research reveals details about who and what impacts your buyer as they move down the sales funnel from getting to know about a company or product to evaluate their options and finally selecting one to purchase.

The insights to generate here will identify what helps your buyers to move down the funnel and finally purchase your product that could be anything including messaging and content, success factors, perceived barriers, ease of product use, product features or pricing.

Different personas may have different triggers or need different resource and information to help them make a buying decision.

Your job here is to identify what will help a specific persona move down the funnel to finally make a purchase and then incorporate your findings in your marketing strategy.


How to use buyer personas for increased sales

sales online

In this Era, all aspects of a successful marketing campaign are based on the target audience

After you have created your buyer personas who define your target audience, the next step is to direct your content and prospect nurturing strategies towards these personas.

Through your earlier research, you’ve uncovered what topics interest them, the language they use to talk about it, and what sites they’re already reading. Use all of this information to create blog topics and headlines they’ll be compelled to read.

You can create more personalized experiences by tailoring your messaging, your content and landing page for each buyer persona in which the copy specifically addresses that persona’s needs and preferences.

You can also use your buyer personas to deliver relevant ads for different types of prospects. What attracts a certain type of buyer may not necessarily be so appealing to another buyer.

Don’t underestimate the power of personalization on people’s purchase decisions,

Accenture reports that 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from retailers that recognize them by name, know their purchase history, and provide purchase recommendations accordingly.

You shouldn’t dive into paid advertising or content marketing without knowing exactly who your buyers are. Knowing and understanding who buys, or will buy your products is imperative to help you maximize your advertising return-on-investment and content effectiveness.

Conclusion.

Don’t neglect your personas. Refine them on an on-going basis to make sure they remain accurate.

As new issues and interests arise within your audience groups, you want to address and incorporate them into your buyer persona definition to keep your content fresh and relevant.

As Gary Vaynerchuk advises, you must market in the year that you’re living in.

As time and technology change, so do customer buying habits and challenges.

Every day, new businesses attempt to replace you in the marketplace.

Maintain your competitive edge by understanding your customers or clients better.

I would love to hear about your buyer persona stories, approaches, questions or even tips on how we can improve. Share in comments.

This article was produced by Humanlytics. Looking for more content just like this? Check us out on Twitter and Medium, and join our Analytics for Humans Facebook community to discuss more ideas and topics like this!