A well-crafted buyer persona can provide tremendous structure and opportunity for your company.
What’s a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on your company’s market research and data on existing customers. They help align your marketing and sales departments by setting a clear picture of who exactly your firm should be targeting and serving.
In order to be effective, buyer personas need to be based on real-world information and not assumptions. The more specific you can be, the better.
Here is a five-step process to follow when creating a buyer persona for your company.
1. Research your audience
Let’s pretend you’re back in school for a second…
You’re taking an exam that you didn’t study for. We’ve all been there.
You miss classes, you don’t turn in the homework, and just show up on test day. It probably didn’t work out too well.
Similarly to creating your buyer personas, you have to do your homework. Just like you can’t expect to do well on a test without understanding the concepts, you can’t possibly create an effective buyer persona without knowing your audience.
Study the market. Ask yourself, “Who is already buying from me?” This includes demographics, behavioral patterns, goals, and buyer trends.
Another way to learn about your audience is by using social analytics. These buyers may not be customers at the moment, but the point is if they are searching and interacting with your brand or industry online, there is certainly data to be collected.
2. Identify customer pain points
Find out what problems your customers are facing. What’s holding them back from reaching their goals?
A great way to find this information is by simply asking your customer service team what questions they get the most. Figuring out these pain points customers are experiencing allows you to generate content tailored to resolving those issues.
And don’t forget, not every firm has the same company size and goals. So a strategy that may seem fitting for a company with 50-100 employees, can certainly be different for a firm with ten.
3. Identify customer goals
When creating personas, you need to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. What motivates your customers? What are they actually trying to reach?
These goals don’t necessarily have to align with a solution that your firm can provide, so don’t sweat it.
This step is about better understanding your customers and looking for similar goals to what other firms may have.
What’s the purpose?
Data. Remember, the more information you can find about your customers, the stronger buyer persona you can create.
4. Why you?
Now that you understand who your customers are, potential challenges they face, as well as goals they may seek, ask yourself, “Why would a customer choose me?”
Because you’re the best!?
Well, maybe so, but customers want to experience and generate those thoughts on their own — another reason buyer personas are so important.
Buying personas help flip your thinking and consider your products and services from a buyer’s point of view. A tactic most marketers don’t even think about doing. If you truly want customers thinking you’re the best, you must know what they like and need.
Once you understand why buyers would choose you, crafting personas tailored to your market becomes much easier!
5. Creating the persona
Now that you did your research, it’s time to start organizing your buyers. Look for characteristics and similarities as you begin creating your first buyer persona!
Keep in mind, your persona is not just some folder on your computer containing all of your customer data. But rather a single, semi-fictional person that you can actually speak to and identify with!
Make sure to give your persona a name, age, and job title. From there, you’ll start filling in more job-specific data such as the number of employees, responsibilities, challenges, goals and any other data you collected from your prior research!
Here’s an example of a buyer persona created from HubSpot’s “Make My Persona” tool.
As you can see, Marketing Mary appears as a real person and not just a group of people. She is a business worker with very similar qualities and challanges other marketers may face on a daily basis.