How to create a buyer persona in 5 steps – and why it matters
Want to nail the right voice on social media and emails? Turn more leads into sales? Start by knowing your buyer personas. It will help streamline your marketing activities and create content that best targets your ideal customer. When you know your buyer persona, you will know:
Which marketing channels to use: if you know who exactly you’re talking to, you’ll know where they like to hang out on social media.
What content they’ll be interested in and engage with.
How you should talk to them on social media (your tone of voice).
What is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is a fictional character that represents your target audience. Let’s say it’s a woman, then she will have characteristics of your best/ideal customers, all rolled into one. When creating a buyer persona, you want to bring it to life as much as possible, meaning she will have a name, interests and demographics (things like age, marital status, education, employment).
You’ll drill down into what her life goals are, what pain points you are solving and how she typically shops or makes buying decisions. You can even use a stock photography image so you have a picture in your mind of what she looks like. Lastly, you can absolutely have more than one persona – even for different parts of your business. For example, if you sell to customers directly you’ll create Busy Mom Brenda, and if you sell wholesale, you’ll create Operations Manager Olga.
Why is a buyer persona important?
Because you can’t be all things to all people. Often, when we ask a client who their target market is, they’ll say “oh it could be anybody from age 20 to 80. Men and women. Anyone, really”. And that’s great for your bottom line, but not for your marketing. A buyer persona is the person who will earn you the most revenue, with the least amount of work on your part, over the longest period of time.
A buyer persona gives you focus, objectivity and shapes your strategy.
Focus: If you know what makes your customer tick, it will be easy to create content that appeals to him or her.
Objectivity: Don’t make the mistake of thinking you are the customer. Creating lots of different personas forces you to walk in the shoes of different types of people who might not think the way you do.
Strategy: Even if you have a super tight marketing strategy, there is always room for improvement. By exploring these personas and the problems you are solving for them, you can craft your inbound marketing techniques so much more.
Inbound marketing + buyer persona = match made in heaven
Inbound marketing is the process whereby you capture new sales leads and convert them into customers. Since most people hang out online these days, online content creation is naturally a great way to attract eyeballs and get them to click on your product or service. This could be done through many different types of content, such as:
Social media posts
Search Engine Optimized (SEO) website text
Online advertising (social media campaigns)
Web-based seminars (webinars)
Imagine doing these types of content without really understanding your customers. It’s basically a shot in the dark, with no clear idea if you’ll be successful or not. Rather spend the time to create personas that focus your mind and increase your return on investment (ROI).
You’ll need to do a bit of homework on your target markets by working through these steps. Use our free buyer persona template to note down all your information.
1. Analyse your audience
Take a closer look at your existing customers and social media following by using tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights, or segmenting your database. Pay attention to things like average age, typical spending, interests, location and who actually makes the purchasing decision (e.g. mom might buy the trainers but her teenager picks them out).
2. What do you solve for people?
Speak to your salespeople or customer service team for a list of commonly asked questions, complaints and compliments. See if you can get some real people quotes/testimonials to truly understand the needs of your customers.
3. What are your customers’ goals?
Think beyond your product or service where you fit into what will make your customer happy. What motivates them? What are they working towards? As the old saying goes, people don’t buy a drill, they want to buy a hole. More than that, in the hole goes the nail that will hang the picture the child drew which will make the whole family proud. It’s that ultimate end goal that you’re after.
4. What are your product/service benefits?
Now that you know your customer’s pain points and goals, you should try to match those with what you offer. Be careful not to think of product features. How can you be the benefit that a customer is looking for? At this point, you should try to view your brand from a buyer’s perspective, and consider all the different stages of the buying process he/she might be at.
5. Start putting together your buyer personas
Go through all your research and look for patterns and common characteristics. For example, you might see that many buyers will be single moms living in rural areas struggling to access affordable healthy food. Then you start by giving the persona a name, job title, interests, etc. Aim for something like a profile on a dating website – the more real this person seems, the better!
Over time, you will find yourself thinking of Single Mom Sam or Health Nut Harry in so many scenarios, from creating new products to customer service and, of course, your marketing strategy.
Speaking of which, if you feel like all these steps are too much for you to handle, we’ll be all too happy to help. Pretty Social offers a full social media strategy service, which includes creating buyer personas.