It’s important that you know yourself. But when marketing, something trumps that—knowing your customer. And here the trump card is the buyer persona.
The importance of a buyer persona cannot be understated. It’s your window into understanding your customer.
Think of the buyer persona as a key to unlock your marketing potential, drive sales, referrals and leads for your business.
But first. What is a Buyer Persona?
What is a Buyer Persona?
Think of a buyer persona as a fictional character you create to portray a person who is anideal representation of the customers of your business.
A target audience signifies a large group of people. A buyer persona revolves around a single persona’s character, values, problems and demographics.
Some personas have a fictional name and picture to breathe life into the persona. With a buyer persona, you are targeting your campaign to specific individuals and thus you are in a position to generate a better ROI on your investments. People like personalized marketing and that means you have to get to know them.
A template to create such a character gives you strategy to create content. You can create content by having a laser-sharp focus on the persona.
When you reach out to target customers this laser sharp focus can help you build a real connection through content. Content with a single buyer persona in mind is targeted and much more effective. It resonates with target customers and creates the results you want.
You can map a much higher understanding of customers with a buyer persona. Ask around at any big organization. They all have personas. The detailed description paints a picture in your mind and the marketing team knows who they are targeting. They know customer problems, perspectives and create customized and personalized content.
Generate More Qualified Leads
Targeted content is helpful to find the right audience. As and when your content speaks to people you want to reach you can remove audiences who aren’t a match and usher in quliaifed leads.
The Components of a Buyer Persona Template:
Here’s the barebones structure of a buyer persona template:
The buyer persona template begins with the demographics of your target customer. I get it, finding demographics information may not be right for all. For instance for a company like Uber almost everyone on the road waiting for a taxi is part of their core demographic. But a B2C company that sells girls’ apparel has a very narrow demographic to focus on. They may live in a certain geography, have a particular income and so on.
With this information you can create an image for your target customer:
- Their age
- Whether they are a single mother
- Whether they live as a family
- Level of Education
- Annual income
Once you add this information about personal details, understand what role they fill professionally. What role do they don at their company. B2B and B2C organizations can benefit from this information.
- The industry they’re in
- Their job title
- The size of the company
Understand Persona Psychography
Here you are going to find more details on ideal customer’s personality to have an idea regarding customer psychographics. Add details that will inform you of their attutide and point of view.
To understand psychography here are the questions to lead with:
- The kind of beliefs they hold on to. For instance, a millennial always believes that a house should come later in their life. For baby boomers a house was often their first investment
- What are the key characteristics of their persoanlty? For instance if you’re selling night lamps, a key part of the characteristic should be about getting up at night
- What are their professional goals? Say becoming the CEO someday or leading a startup
- What are their personal goals- spending time with the family
Understand the Pain Points
Ideally, go around forums and other places where people air these problems and find out what’s troubling them.
- What are the pain points? Is it in not finding an accounting software that simplifies taxes for them
- What are their challenges? For instance not being able to come with an introduction to their articles or ad copies
- What keeps them up at night? Poor finances, lack of stability in job.
Understand what Influences their Buying Decisions
Consider how the customer understand information that helps him solve his problems. List sources that influences his understanding of the world. This information will save you a lot of trouble later as you’d know precisely where they spend time online and create the kind of content that helps them in purchasing products
Chiefly here’s what to look for
- Blogs and websites he likes
- Favorite magazines
- Books he reads
- People they follow on LinkedIn and social media
This part is last but one of the most important things to consider. The answer to this will help you understand the thought cycle he or she goes thorugh before purchase. This will help you create the right sales funnels.
For example, someone purchasing a headless CMS wants a tool that helps propagate changes to the websites available locally in real time without having to alter the code or content of each site.
Headless CMSes are expensive but the time it will save is something to consider. An ideal prospect for this purchase decision is the Chief Marketing Officer who understands the nuances of the purchase and the role that the new technology will play in furthering their presence.
So here’s what to determine
- How does the person you target influence purchase
- Where do they buy from
- What are the chief obstacles that come up say high price, lack of features or the product being too complex
How to Populate a Buyer Persona Template
Now that you know which pointers to lead your buyer persona template with, the next thing to know is finding relevant information to fill inside the buyer persona template.
You may want to do some guesswork and fill in details that you feel are correct, it’s better to gather actual real information that will build a good representation of the ideal customer.
Start Conducting Interviews
The ideal way to get the right answers is by asking the right questions. Conduct interviews with people who can offer insights into the questions from the buyer persona template. And by interviews we don’t mean sending in a survey with a coupon if the prospect completes it.
I mean getting on a pre-scheduled phone call with a customer to understand his problems, objections, frustrations, wants and desires.
You can interview any of these groups: current customers, new prospects, former customers and more
Start Getting Insights from the Sales team
The sales team has enough material to offer insights regarding the ideal customers. Talk to them to gather details about questions they are hearing from prospects and create examples that you can add more details to create comprehensive personas.
Ask your Customer Support Team
The customer support is in the trenches with your would-be customers and current customers and will have the greatest insights to offer on differences and character traits. Never ignore the customer support team.
Do an Analysis of the data from your CRM
Your CRMs and analytics software you use has a ton of data that you’re not using.
Depending on the business you’re running you may have a trove of useful information. CRM tools, POS systems, analytics can all offer insights into customer habits, preferences and desires.
For instance data captured from POS systems help you understand what kind of products are flying off shelves and where customers are spending time and money on. You get insights into popular products, purchase patterns and frequency of purchase— all of which can be used to create better improved products and sell more. Using the data, you get a full and comprehensive picture.
Make use of social listening
I’ve often felt that companies rarely use social listening to understand customers.
Understanding what customers talk about by tracking and monitoring conversations on social media by keeping an eye on target phrases around your industry is important. Social listening done in this way helps you target the right prospects when they’re aksing the right questions. Tools like SocialPilot and Buffer can help with this.
Run Competitor Sites through Analytics Tools
Competitor websites can offer a good amount of insight on target audiences. Even tools like UberSuggest can help you with an audience overlap tool showing you the keywords that you and them are targeting.
You can research the audience and find the information they are looking for.
Here I am going to show how you can do this on SimilarWeb.
Enter the site url and you’re going to get list of your competitors along with the traffic they generate.
Simply go to Similarweb.com and enter your site url:
You get this:
The tool discovers a bunch of similar sites, creating a fresh map of sites that share the same audience with you. The tool lets you which sites the target audience visits.
Use the report to learn more aobut the interests of those people visiting these sites. By clicking on site segnents and focusing on similarities you can find sites that have the potential of visiting your site too.
With his audience overlap tool you find topics and core ideas your audience is interested in.
Next you need Ahrefs or UberSuggest. Enter the competitor site into UberSuggest.
You see the entire list of keywords that are driving traffic to the site. These keywords can give you potential topic ideas that you can use to attract visitors to your site and sell products and services.
Choose sites you want more information on. Run a site comparison report to understand demographic data around ech site.
Create Fresh Content With Buyer Personas on Your Mind
A persona or two is enough for you to get started outlining the journey of this fictional character. With the persona you can define what’s next in their buyer’s journey.
Such a representation is useful for creating content marketing ideas and topics. You can outline everything you need for your purchase funnel. The only thing you need to do is imagine yourself in the persona’s shoes answering questions about their needs. Match their situation with the content that’s bast fit to address their needs.
Once you are ready with topic ideas based on the prospect’s needs there’s more you can do. Research specific keywords the persona is using to search for answers and solutions to the phrases in the content.
There are a number of free and paid keyword research tools like UberSuggest, Ahrefs and SEMrush that help you identify buyer keywords. This helps you attract the right target audience. You can separate out keywords by each stage of the buyer’s funnel.
Stage 1: Problem Aware
In the awareness phase, people are just waking up to the problem they have. Let’s say they only realize after marrying someone that they have a snoring problem. At this stage, target potential customers with information keywords. Working on the same example, information on snoring, differences between snoring and having sleep apnea and how snoring can destroy lives are all useful keywords.
These are keywords people are using to searching for problems or find answers around their basic questions.
Enter a term around the industry or products and services and find a ton of related relevant keywords you can use. You can see the number of searches, their keyword difficult score and more.
Stage 2: Consideration
With the next phase of research, the target customer has already discovered potential solutions to problems and also found answers to questions. They are now in the moddle of the funnel and at this stage looking at navigational searches.
At this stage, your site has to be optimized to highlight your brand and its products.
You can audit your site for keywords and identify gaps in your seo strategy.
Stage 3: Conversion
In the final leg of the buyer’s journey, the persona searches for transactional keywords. They have identified what they need and they’re looking at reviews, coupons or discounts. You want to include buyer keywords in your pages to help them discover these pages. Building on the example I began with let’s say you have a headband that stops snoring. You give 10% discount on the product.
Also, you can simply enter a competitor site on Ahrefs to find out the best transactional intent keywords they are ranking for. For instance X vs Y product for snoring. 10 Best Prordcts for Snoring and more
You can enter the product or service page and see what those sites rank for. And you can connect with people are ready with their credit cards.
A Buyer Persona Template Frees Your Focus
When you fill in the details of a persona template and are conducing keyword research depending on how the persona snakes his way through the funnel many things are immediately evident. You see their purchase, you see the path and you see the content that held their attention.
A detailed buyer person campaign will help you come up with a targeted and well thought out content strategy.
In the next section, we are going to look at the different buyer persona examples available. You can be inspired from these examples to create some of your own.
How to Create Your Own Buyer Persona
There are multiple ways for you to start creating a buyer persona from scratch. Align pieces with marketing goals and create a fully fleshed out profile for your customer.
Once you have the buyer persona, targeting and marketing to the right person becomes as easy as eating pie.
From that point on you can understand the audience, better, create better content geared towards every stage of the buying cycle and compile better marketing strategies for you to use.
B2C and B2B Buyer Persona Examples
We are going to look at a few Business to Customer persona examples.
It’s imperative to assign a job role to a b2c persona but the role is not as pivotal as you may see for b2b personas.
Focus on their day-to-day life and activities and how they go about making a purchase decision.
With this buyer persona example from Propertyconnect.me you know who Rachel is. You can learn of her background and challenges she’s facing. You can understand how busy she is and that she’s on a shoestring budget.
Here’s another persona that of a Game Girl. This is from the company Indie Game Girl Her name’s Brandi. And the details help you understand help you visualize the process she goes through when buying shoes. The persona also offers something extra to help you fully understand the frustrations of their target customer; they include quotes from actual customers.
To create these buyer personas, the company started by interviewing customers and prospects. Then they added real quotes to make the buyer personas lifelike. They’re not non-existent entities. They’re living breathing embodiments of actual customers and their problems.
As you add character to the buyer persona, you want to add details that belong from your actual research to give credibility to those descriptions.
In Brandi Tyler’s case her biggest frustration that stems from real customers is finding shoes that fit her narrow feet. She’s not choosy and would love to get something fit her tiny feet, but no.
She shops for several pairs when she goes shoe shopping.
Another important way to create personas is from this example from Juny Lee on LinkedIn.
The persona has a first-person line from the character Hang-sung. This is a great alternative to bullet points and you get to tell the story of your persona in a way that brings it life.
In the next example from Inalign you see how the persona can be crafted around specific product offers. Hang-sung buys a product only after careful consideration of all pros and cons, despite the expense. A careful analysis piece or review work is what motivates his purchases.
The description sketches details of the traits and unique characteristics of Kyle while giving a deeper insight into his life that tell you about his needs as someone driving a family vehicle. This is from the company InAlign. As you flesh out a persona, think of the stories and minute details you’re going to share specific to products, services or solutions.
Here’s another example from Iron Springs Design that offers a good job of sharing customer details through the persona Sarah.
The description tells you how and why brands matter to Sarah. The persona template paints a picture of her personality and shines light into her psychography by showing you a glimpse of her daily life. We get to see that she wants a place to de-compress after a long day and find a quiet place to study where she is not limited by distractions. Her brand affinities like Starbacks and H&M speak to that need.
If you struggle understanding your personas, try imagining one day of their lives.
B2B Buyer Persona Examples
For the next section we’re going to look at buyer personas from the B2B league.
Like B2C, the B2B buyer personas revolve around individual customers. But the examples hash out more specific details on the individual customer.
Especially their professional lives and the weight of the decisions they take.
All little details need to be included.
Here the Clearvoice persona comes with short description with information essential for B2B personas. There are details on the job position and ability to make decisions in the organization.
The persona can be either short or long as long as there’s enough information.
One buyer persona example is from Referral SaaSquatch shows how you can add more information about purchase decisions.
The persona is the decision maker and also someone who influences purchase choices at his company. The persona is a CIO with advanced degrees and his leadership abilities, knowledge and ability to innovate keep him above the rest.
With the internal influences, the brand lists important people who can be considered influencers within an organization/ This is something to add to persona.
The next business persona shows you can describe the personality with the help of a scale.
The Marketing Insight example shows something like that with a scale on, income , interests and other aspects.
Another option is to display the information highlighting it with colros. There’s a story about the persona. No scales or buillet boints.
Another option for displaying information is highlighted in this example by .
A story can be extremely beneficial in helping you flesh out your persona. But the approach works with a business and teams that like long-form content. If your sales and marketing teams don’t have much time and prefer bullet points and short blurbs you should choose that.
Buyer Persona Institute fleshes out its buyer person in great detail. The persona has over six tabs of information for you and it comes from the Buyer Persona Institute.
It’s lot of information where the persona’s details are broken down into sections, into bullet points and the text is easy to scan because of that. There’s plenty of detail.
The persona below highlights products the company produces through the story the persona template says.
This is a way for you to add popular products in the persona guide. This is a way for you to add secondary information.
If someone only purchases Apple products, you get to make plenty of assumptions.
The brands people like tell you a lot about them. Neftlix, games and someone who searches on Bing is someone with different needs.
Use a customer journey map template to help create each persona. If you have problems creating personas, use a customer journey map. With this you will understand the journey better and get better insights.
You can learn more about your personas by understanding how they use the products you make.
Use icons to emphasize information in your persona guides. Icons and illustrations help you immediately add context to lot of data.
People love icons so the learning curve is fairly non-existent. With a persona guide it is simple to illustrate a rather complex subject.
The plug icons in the knowledge secion here and the entertainment icons in the interest sefcon orgnaize the guide.
Find a common metric to track across your different personas. Analzying different buyer personas requires they share one similar metric. Without this single thread that connects them, it’s difficult to compare them based on details of their bio, keywords or other metric.
Keep layouts consistent between persona guides. Among these examples of unique buyer personas, this one from Shopify really stands out. They are known for e-commerce, entrepreneurship and inventory management.
The designers keep a consistent design with each card.
Consistency is key with a good persona because it allows for comparisons without making people searching through things aimlessly.
When you’re conducting actual research on personas, it’s important to understand the motivations and painpoints that are their north-star metric.
Both motivations and pain points are crucial. Few only look at pain points.
One of the personas above had her chief pain point in not being able to find anything for her narrow feet.
You can create a product that works as a solution for her.
So what do you think about our post on finding buyer personas for your brand?
A buyer persona is your shot to understanding customer personalitites and preferences helping you develop an edge over competitors and market to your audience in the voice they prefer.
Do you think it’s helpful. Please let us know in the comments below.