How to Create a Buyer Persona Step-By-Step?
Imaginary friends are a milestone in everyone’s childhood. And while it may not be such a popular concept among grown-ups, marketing teams and companies generally have one great advantage: they can still have imaginary friends. Furthermore, they should do so.
Although, in this case, their imaginary friends are called slightly different and have a whole other purpose, they are extremely helpful for ensuring a business’s success.
In marketing, this concept is called buyer persona, and it proved to be so helpful that 82% of the companies using it have come up with an improved value proposition.
Thus, what exactly is marketers’ imaginary friend? Moreover, how to create a buyer persona?
What Is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a detailed representation of someone who suits a company’s target audience. And even though a buyer persona is fictional, it is created based on thorough research on multiple concepts. Thus, it might be fair to say that buyer personas are rather semi-fictional.
Customer personas highly contribute to multiple processes, such as product development, sales, content creation, and many more. Usually, a buyer persona comes in handy wherever the process implies customers. And that is because a buyer persona helps you understand how to shape what you offer, as it closely describes for whom you are designing your products, design, copy, and other elements either visible to or valuable to consumers.
When carefully creating one or more buyer personas, you get valuable insights into your customers’ purchase behavior, thus having a better understanding of how you should act and sell your products or services.
Why Are Buyer Personas Important?
Buyer personas are crucial when it comes to streamlining conversion funnels, and here are some of the reasons for this:
- They help you understand customers’ buying habits – understanding how your customers make buying decisions will help you find the best ways of communicating with them;
- You get a better view of what your customers need – when learning more about customers’ needs, pain points, and goals, you get better insights about what products you should sell them and how to do that;
- You can target customers more effectively – creating buyer personas can help you find the best channels to promote your products or services. For instance, if your audience uses Facebook to find the latest trends and offers, it would be best to advertise your products first or more instead of using Google as your primary advertising channel.
What to Mind when Creating Buyer Personas
First, it is vital to note that buyer personas should never include only demographic data. They imply much more, including consumers’ purchasing behavior, their goals, why they choose a company over others, their basic needs, and which channels they prefer.
With such data, a business can create a customer persona that will be as authentic as possible, thus having an even better view of what customers are looking for and how the company should provide those things.
Afterward, remember that creating a buyer persona should not require only the marketing team. While doing your research, for instance, you may find it extremely helpful to talk with those who have direct contact with your customers. Nobody would know your customers better than those employees who constantly have contact with them.
This way, you can learn more about what your customers need, which products they prefer and why they do so, and some of the challenges they face when interacting with your products or your company.
Another essential thing to remember is that it is almost impossible for a business to base its activity on one buyer persona only. And this applies to almost every company, regardless of the industry it is in. Even though you manufacture only one product, you may have various customers that buy it for different reasons.
For instance, if you have a business that manufactures agendas, you may have customers that buy them for their company, while others need one for organizing their daily tasks at home. In this case, you may need to promote your product differently for each buyer persona, as well as build two distinct buyer personas. And although it may seem like more work to do in the beginning, it will prove to be more time and cost-effective over time.
Creating multiple customer personas can help you decide what and where to advertise, thus using your advertising budget in the most efficient way. This way, you will be able to target multiple segments of your audience.
There is no rule regarding how many customer personas you should create. Each business builds as many as it needs, depending on its goals, products, and budget. And even though a buyer persona would bring you some customers, imagine how things would change when targeting based on multiple personas. The number of new customers would increase substantially.
Creating a Buyer Persona Step-by-Step
1. Outline the Demographics
Demographics are the basic data that every customer persona should have. They include:
- Age – This is a pretty important step, as it can determine or influence your copy or design. Even though it may be easier to use the marketing demographic age brackets (18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, and 65 and older), it is highly possible that you will need more details regarding the age of your buyer persona. Using age brackets may be more suitable for defining a target audience. However, you may find it more helpful to specify the exact age of your ideal customer. And you should now worry that you will focus on only one age. Keep in mind that you can work with multiple personas at the same time. Thus, even if you are describing Marketing Mary at the moment, you can still promote your products to Accountant John, your previously built customer persona;
- Gender – There’s no accounting for taste, indeed. However, you will find men passionate about pick-hammers more often than women. Specifying the gender of your buyer persona may be the step that guides you through building everything your company implies, from the products, all the way to how you promote them and how you address your potential customers;
- Location – You can specify if your persona is living in an urban or rural area (even in the suburbs) or name the city or country they live in;
- Education – When it comes to the level of education, you can specify if your persona has degrees such as Bachelor, graduate, or associate, if they have attended college but have no degree, they have a high school degree or equivalent (General Education Development), or if they have attended high school, but have no degree;
- Income – When mentioning the level of income, you can estimate how much your ideal customer earns over a year;
- Family status – This kind of data can determine the needs your ideal customer has. The family status of the persona can vary, but some of the options are married, divorced, widowed, separated, single, newly married, newly divorced, and newly engaged.
2. Find the Psychographics
Even though customer personas are semi-fictional representations, they should still have beliefs, values, and goals.
Psychographic data can help a company get a better view of what their customers need and value so that they can shape their products or services in the best way possible.
- Goals – Does your persona have one or more goals they want to achieve in the years to come? Depending on the products you offer (or if you are focusing on B2B or B2C), your buyer persona can have either personal or professional goals.
For example, while some may have goals like achieving a certain annual salary or being promoted, others can set goals like getting a dog or moving into a new home.
- Values – It is essential to know what your customers value in order to deliver what they would like to be offered. For instance, if your customer persona values direct communication, it would be best to make sure your sales team is aware of that and ready to offer any information they might need.
Also, if your ideal customer’s values include family time, it is highly possible that they will not spend as much time on social media as others do. Thus, it would be better to use your advertising budget on other channels.
- Hobbies and interests – Is your ideal customer practicing any sport? Are they interested in wildlife photography or alternative rock music? Such insights can help you shape your design and copy so that you can easily acquire the users you aim to.
3. Determine the Professional Status
Although determining the interests of your buyer persona may be helpful, professional status takes everything one step further. Besides, mentioning the industry your ideal customer works in will give you an even better view of how you should shape your content and products.
At this step, you can ask yourself (or others) what other details about your ideal customer’s job are there. However, things are slightly different when it comes to B2B and B2C businesses.
If you are a B2B company, you may want to learn more about the decision-making process of the customer:
- Who is making the decisions?
- Are there more employees contributing to the process?
- What job title does the customer you are talking to have? Are they turning to someone else to make a buying decision for the company?
Such questions will help you realize how you should adapt your sales approach in order to turn a certain conversation into a conversion.
In B2C companies’ case, your customer persona’s professional status might help you in other ways. For instance, it can tell you how much free time your customers have. Furthermore, the level of stress they experience at work can determine how much time they spend on social media platforms, thus, how likely it is for them to see and interact with one of your ads.
4. Identify the Challenges
The obstacles your ideal customers meet in their daily activities may bring some more clues regarding the products that you can develop for them. Also called pain points, the challenges consumers have can turn into a need, and only by learning such information will you be able to maintain your relevancy in what concerns the products you are working on.
Try to find out what are some of the most popular challenges among your customers and not only. The sales team may also help you at this step, as they are those who have direct contact with your customers and can give you some details regarding the conversations they have with customers.
5. Describe the Buying Behavior
Each consumer thinks differently when shopping. However, there are some patterns that you can think of when talking about customers’ buying behavior. For instance, while some of them may go grocery shopping with a detailed list and never buy products other than those written on the list, others make their shopping cart on the spot while letting the shelves inspire them and the sales uncover in front of them.
Consumers’ buying behavior can tell so many things that it is impossible not to include it in the buyer persona. Here are some of the things it can help you with:
- Realizing where it should be better to advertise your products;
- How to shape designs and CTAs (Call to Action) that will trigger their attention and put them in a buying state of mind;
- In brick & mortar stores’ case, for example, it may help you manage your in-store product placement, as you would know where it would be better to place a certain product in order for your buyer persona to see it and pay attention to it.
- Determine the life cycle of specific products based on how often you notice your customers are rebuying them;
- Realize if there are any obstacles that keep or stop consumers from completing a purchase.
6. Pinpoint the Preferred Channels
When it comes to the channels your consumers prefer, including them in the buyer persona may help you organize your advertising budget in the most efficient way.
For example, if Accountant John uses LinkedIn and Twitter to find out about the latest news in his industry and not only, it may be better to channel your budget on those platforms than using it to advertise on Facebook. Even though you may get a good reach and some impressions or link clicks on Facebook, the conversion funnel, in that case, may take longer and require additional investments.
However, if you can advertise and even post relevant content on the platforms your customer persona prefers, it is highly possible that it will be easier to acquire them and make them convert.
How to Collect Data for Buyer Personas?
When building a buyer persona, it is important to make them as detailed as possible and use as much data as you can find. Thus, here are some ways to collect data for creating buyer personas.
In what concerns your company, nobody will know your customers better than those directly communicating with them. Thus, it would be a great start to have some meetings with your colleagues and talk about what, when, why, and how often users are buying. This way, you can gather essential information for starting your buyer persona.
Furthermore, it would be best to include as many teams as possible in this process. And if you are wondering why keep in mind that you have the same goal: to make the company successful by selling its products or services.
Thus, even if we are talking about marketing or customer service, web developers or sales representatives, they might be able to offer valuable information about your customers, their needs, challenges, or beliefs.
Some of the questions you could ask are:
- What types of customers do you usually communicate with?
- Why are customers choosing us over other similar companies?
- What are the most common complaints you hear?
- Why do different types of customers buy the same products?
Talk with Customers
After talking with your team, it is time to talk with your current (if not even past) customers. You can conduct some interviews or encourage them to fill out a survey. During such activities, you can ask them more about their demographics, why they decided to buy from you, what stopped them from buying, what industry they are working in and what their job title is, and many more.
When conducting interviews with customers, it is vital to perform thorough research before so that you can ask the most useful questions but not stress them out with too many (and maybe some not so useful) questions.
Furthermore, keep in mind that open-ended questions may help you more than closed-ended ones. For instance, while it may not help you that much to find out whether consumers would buy from you, asking them why they would do that will provide more detailed information for your buyer persona.
Collect Data from Online Platforms
Talking with all your teams and interviewing customers is a big part of the whole process of collecting data for the buyer persona. However, when it comes to quantitative data, you may find it extremely helpful to check some online tracking tools, such as Facebook Audience Insights or Google Analytics.
Such tools can give you information about what consumers are searching for online, how much time you spend on various pages of your website, where users are accessing your website from, and many more. This way, you can add valuable information to your buyer persona and make it even more detailed.
Buyer Persona Example
To have an even better understanding of how to create a buyer persona, let’s look at an example.
The buyer persona we will talk about describes a newly engaged man struggling to find a wedding venue suitable for all he and his fiancée have planned for their wedding day.
- Gender: Male;
- Age: 33 years old;
- Location: New York, state of New York;
- Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science at Columbia University;
- Annual income: $131,490;
- Family status: engaged.
- Goals: wants to become a team manager in a maximum of 3 years;
- Values: time management, honesty, home time;
- Hobbies and interests: going hiking in close areas with his fiancée, playing board games with his high-school friends, and watching war documentaries.
- Dave is a computer scientist at an IT company based in New York City. He directly communicates with his team manager, attends weekly progress meetings, and works mainly from home.
- Finding a wedding venue around New York that can accommodate 200 guests, have a pool, and allow for outdoor receptions and fireworks;
- Dave’s biggest fear is that he will not be able to find a suitable wedding venue in time, thus being required to postpone the wedding or increase his budget.
- Dave performs thorough research before making a buying decision. He usually checks multiple reviews and videos so that he can make an informed decision. Dave is usually purchasing online.
- When spending time online outside his working hours, Dave prefers to use Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube to find the latest news and educational content.
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of a company’s ideal customer. Usually, they can help a business learn more about consumers’ buying habits, their needs, and how marketers should advertise specific products to engage with as many consumers as possible.
When you want to create a buyer persona, it is important to remember that you should include much more besides demographic data. Furthermore, try to communicate with other teams from your company to find out more about your customers, and keep in mind that you should probably build multiple customer personas over time.
The main steps for creating a buyer persona should talk about demographics, psychographics, professional status, the main challenges a consumer faces, customers’ buying behavior, and their preferred channels for gathering information.