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The Importance of Buyer Personas and How to Define Yours

by Katie Kromer

Buyer Personas Are Important and Here’s Why

If you’ve been involved in the marketing world within the past few years, you’ve probably heard of the term “buyer persona”. Maybe you know what a buyer persona is, or maybe you have no idea. Either way, we’re here to explain what buyer personas are, why they’re important and how to define yours in order to enhance your marketing efforts.

What’s So Great About Buyer Personas?

Buyer personas–often referred to as marketing personas–are research-based profiles that depict your targeted customers (or audiences). These personas describe who your ideal customers are, what they do, and what challenges they face when making decisions.  

The thing about consumers is that, as humans, each of them have specific needs and motives. In other words, you can know who your customers are and what they want, but if you don’t understand their struggles and what motivates them, knowing what they want does nothing for your marketing efforts.

At their core, buyer personas allow you to create messages specifically tailored to all different segments of your audience. For example, if you sell mattresses you probably aren’t going to market those mattresses the same way to a 23-year-old woman that you would 68-year-old man. Just some food for thought. An effective marketing strategy is all about personal appeal. Personas can help you map out the content for each segment of your target audience to create more highly targeted content.

Preparing to create your personas

In order to boost brand awareness, drive sales and increase your audience, buyer personas are a must. When done correctly, buyer personas can ultimately lower your cost of acquisition for new customers.  Below is a step-by-step guide to creating your very own buyer personas.

Do Your Research

When creating a buyer persona, you’re essentially creating a personality that exemplifies a key segment of your audience. In order to build these personas, you first need to conduct some research into your market. This can be done by conducting surveys or polls or even by simply asking customers for feedback on your services. Understanding what your existing customers value is an integral part of building effective buyer personas.

In addition to speaking with your current customers, it’s also a good idea to take look behind the scenes. Take a look at your site analytics to get a better idea of who your customers are and who you can target. Google Analytics is a great way to look at all aspects of your website including the demographics of people coming to your site, how they’re getting to your site, and much more.

Collaborate

In addition to doing your own research on your customers, consider talking with your sales or account services teams about your customers. Sales and account teams work closely with customers every day, discussing their concerns and wishes for the service or product you’re providing. By collaborating with these teams–or any other customer-facing teams in your company–you can gather some awesome insight that you probably never would have gotten before.

Create Multiple

An important best practice for creating buyer personas is to create more than one. As a general rule of thumb, you should consider creating three or four primary buyer personas as well as a few secondary personas. Your primary personas are your main audience, or the type of people you’re most likely going to be marketing or selling to. Secondary personas are the customers who you’re a little less likely to be targeting, but still

Create negative personas too

It’s great to know who your customers are but it’s also important to know who are not. Negative personas, also known as “exclusionary” personas, are the customers you know you won’t be targeting. In other words, these are the personas who you know you don’t want to spend your marketing budget on.

Creating negative buyer personas allows you to describe and understand the people who are definitely not likely to buy your product or service. This can be a good template of comparison to your primary personas and will also act as a demonstration of the customers you don’t want to acquire.

Creating your personas

Give them a name

Marketing Manager Megan. Finance Franny, Business Owner Bob–you get the idea. Personas are quite literally fictional, generalized representations of real people. Making your buyer personas feel as real as possible can really help you get into the mind of your audience. And why not make some alliterations while you’re at it? To provide an example, let’s look into Bob the business owner.

Example: Business Owner Bob

Demographics

The most important part of developing buyer personas starts with the basics. Make sure to identify each of your personas’ age, gender, and salary to get a better idea of exactly who they are.

Example:

Age: 30 years old

Gender: Male

Salary: ~$100,000

Description

Next, you’ll want to get into the nitty gritty of your persona. List what they do as a career, what their priorities are, and what their focus is.

Example:

Bob is the business owner of a local bike shop. His main priority is overseeing daily operations of the business and finding a way to raise revenue for him and his employees. He’s focused on increasing customer retention and maintaining business. 

Challenges

Everyone faces challenges. Have you ever stopped to think what challenges your customers are facing?

Example:

Bob is having a hard time driving new business to his company and is actively looking for a marketing agency to help drive new customers to his company.  

Change Drivers

Because your buyer personas are essentially the people making decisions on whether or not to purchase your product or service, it’s important that you know what drives them to make a change.

Example:

  • Not meeting the his sales goals
  • Losing customer retention
  • Not gaining new business

What can we do?

It may seem like a lot at first, but analyzing every detail and aspect of your audiences will help you better understand them. At the end of the day, your marketing strategies and goals should be focused around your customers and their needs. By putting in the time to learn about your customers not only will you boost your marketing strategies, but you’ll also be able to add more value to your customers. Moreover, building a strong set of marketing personas is good for not only you but your customers too.

Once you’ve got buyer personas down, the rest of the marketing process is a breeze! Becoming an expert on each of your target audiences allows you strategize your marketing plans more efficiently and effectively. Download our Marketing 101 Checklist to learn step-by-step what it takes to build the perfect marketing strategy.