Buyer personas are the picture you paint of your ideal customer.
They go beyond basic demographics to include the intangible psychographics that make a person tick. Personas help you define what problems you're solving and the best messages and tactics to use in your sales process. They're essential tools in marketing, and these three steps will help get you started.
How to develop a buyer persona
1. Start with a bang!
Like most successful projects, buyer personas start with a kick-off meeting. Bring together the sales and marketing teams, key leaders and anyone else that interacts with your customer. Grab some grub and beverages, head to a conference room or meeting spot, and get down to business.
Look at what factors influence a prospect’s decision to make a purchase, the questions they commonly ask, and unique selling propositions that are significant to your target customer.
Look at your data from previous marketing and advertising initiatives including what pages of your website get the most views, the keywords and phrases your audience uses to find your products and services, and the CTAs (calls to action) that generate the best responses. Combining all of this collective knowledge is the best starting point.
2. Chat with your customers.
Validate your assumptions and analytics by interviewing your real life consumers. Make sure to ask questions that will help you understand their behaviors and the challenges they face in daily life. Try using open-ended questions that get more than a one-word response. For example, ask what factors would affect them making or not making a purchase, what they value in a brand, and what a typical day looks like for them. You won’t know what they want – or don’t want – unless you ask.
If you don’t have time to conduct face-to-face interviews, try an online survey with an added incentive.
3. Create the profiles.
After you have gathered all of your info, you’re ready for the fun part: creating your buyer persona profiles. For each buyer persona you have, make sure to include the following:
Name: Use a name that describes the persona's core attribute such as Marketing Mary, Thrifty Tom or Practical Pete.
Description: This should include both demographic information as well as a narrative of their behavior. Add factors that influence how your sales and marketing teams will connect with this type of consumer.
Indicators: Provide a list of traits that will help easily identify each different persona.
Buyer personas are dynamic and should be updated regularly especially if your products or services change. Once you have a completed persona profile, use that one as a template for all buyer personas moving forward to ensure you’ve captured all the essential information.
No matter how large or small your business, persona development plays a huge part in the success of your marketing. Without this research and firm understanding of who and what your target consumer is, you will not fully know what attracts new leads and what drives them to make a purchase resulting in lost profits.
Need a hand getting started? Download our FREE Buyer Persona Worksheet to help you dig into your audience and develop the solid personas that form the foundation of your marketing strategy.