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Back To Basics: Creating Buyer Personas

As digital marketers we are attempting to create effective communications with our audience that is engaging and fosters a connection that encourages them to at some point to purchase from us.

To make the most of these efforts it is essential that we understand who we are talking so the message is relevant and specific to the needs of its recipient.  

This is where buyer personas can help.  In this post we will cover some starting steps for creating buyer personas with future posts to expand on each stage.

 

What Is A Buyer Persona?

By creating a buyer persona we are seeking to create a representation of your target customers as an example of who you are talking to.

"A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers." - Hupspot

 

What Is A Buyer Persona Good For?

As mentioned a buyer persona is designed to define the unique characteristics of different segments of your customer base.  Within any audience individual customers will have different needs, motivations and lifestyles as well as being at various stages of their lifecycle.

Steps To Creating Buyer Personas

 

1. Establish Distinct Buyers Within Your Customer Base

Within any target audience there are customers with unique characteristics that mean serving them in the same way is not the optimal experience for them.  Think of a bank with its variety of customers from students to first home buyers or immigrants versus retirees.  Each of these types of customers are going to require different interactions for an ideal outcome.  

When establishing your buyer personas keep an open mind to the way that your customers could be grouped.  From there you can drill down deeper to help inform a richer idea of your distinct buyer personas.

2. Research Demographics Of Buyer Personas

Once you have established a broad sense of your key customer types, research is required to develop a detailed view of who this customer is.

In our bank example this would start with Sarah the 1st year university student.  The types of questions to answer should include (but not be limited to) the following:

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Occupation

  • Location

  • Household Income

  • Education speciality

Digging deeper to source what is known as psychographics that can help to understand people's attitudes, interests and overall lifestyle.  Questions to answer here could include:

  • Hobbies, Interests.

  • What are their problems or issues?

  • What motivates them to buy?

  • Opinions or beliefs.

Other areas where you can gather information about your customers could be:

  • Facebook Insights

  • Google Analytics Demographics

  • Your customer facing staff.

Understandably different businesses have different levels of resources at their disposal to perform this research.  However any efforts small or large is going to add to your understanding of the customers you want to connect with.

3. Flesh Out Personas

Now with your detailed demographic data you can begin to form a view of what each persona looks like.  There are several useful tools out there to help you structure this information in a way that can be easily referred to for a reminder of who your audience is.

Our pick of the tools is Hubspot's Buyer Persona Template

Using the information you have gathered you can begin to construct a persona that looks something like the following.

October , Back To Basics - Creating Buyer Personas 1

4. Practical Uses For Buyer Personas

Now that you have created your personas it is important to keep them front and centre when activating your marketing programs.  Here are some ways you can use your buyer personas to focus your efforts.

  • Help you tailor your message to different types of customers.

  • Inform possible ways to develop or improve your product or service.

  • Segment your customers based on their relevant buyer persona.

  • Allocate specialist staff to a relevant customer segment.

  • Optimise your website content with personas in mind.

Understanding who your customers are is incredibly important to ensure that your efforts are focused on providing an experience that is tailored to their needs and wants.  

Keep an eye out for future posts that will dig deeper into the process of creating buyer personas.