As we discussed in part one of our series — What is a Buyer Persona — buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. Personas help small businesses internalize the ideal customer they’re trying to attract and relate to our customers as real humans. Having a deep understanding of your buyer is critical to driving content creation, product development, sales follow up, and anything else that relates to customer acquisition and retention.
The real question now is: how to create a buyer persona? The good news is, they aren’t difficult to create. Below, we will outline practical suggestions for gathering the information you need and outlining useful personas.
1. Gather Your Information
Buyer persona data can be gleaned through many avenues including research, surveys, and interviews. This should include a mix of customers, prospects, and others outside your contacts who might align with your target audience in order to best suit your ideal persona.
- Look through your contacts and client files to uncover trends about how certain leads or customers find and consume your content. Do you notice that older individuals express greater interest in reading your articles? Are women more likely to respond to call-to-actions on social media? What patterns emerge? Take note of elements like:
- Type of Business
- Reason for Consumption
- Business Size
- Who’s consuming the content
- If they bought anything/if it took them a few times to respond.
- When creating forms to use on your website, use fields that capture important demographic information. For example, if all your personas vary based on company region, ask each lead for information about company location on your forms.
- Take into consideration your sales team’s feedback on the leads they’re interacting with most. What generalizations can they make about the different types of customers you serve? What kind of behaviors are considered common when they speak to these leads?
- If your website has Google Analytics, look at what the data might be trying to tell you. Focus on the audience factors like location and common links being clicked.
- Interview customers and prospects, either in person or over the phone, to discover what they like/don’t like about your product or service. What are they usually looking for when they select a vendor?
What is a Buyer Persona?
If you missed our first blog in this series, find out why you need buyer personas and how they can help make your small business successful.
2. Identify Problems and Solutions
After you’ve spent some time researching and speaking with your audience, the next step in how to create a buyer persona is listing out pain points, goals, and solutions.
- List Audience Pain Points: Have your team look over their notes from client feedback and discussion and answer the following questions:
- What problems are their businesses trying to solve?
- What holds them back from success?
- What barriers are they facing on a regular basis?
- What are the service/product issues they’ve discovered?
- List Audience Goals: While pain points identify issues that need to be solved, goals are positive milestones for your clients. They give them something to work towards, not against. While their goals might not directly relate to services/products your company has to offer, it will give you information on how to position any future content.
- Outline Possible Solutions: After your team has identified the group’s pain points and goals, it’s time to marry them with the benefits you can provide. Ask the question, “How can we help?” It’s important to keep your focus on the benefits you provide and not just the features your service/product offers. List out common pain points and goals on one half of a whiteboard and then list out the benefits your company provides on the other side.
3. Build Your Persona
Your last and biggest step should now be building out your different buyer personas. Break out a small chart, one per buyer persona. This chart will be used to drive messaging and understand buyer motivations. It will also position your product or service in a way that resonates with your segments and drives personalized content. Remember that these personas are fictional and should represent patterns you’ve identified for each persona that stood out.
- Start first by listing out the more tangible demographic information:
- Persona Title – Should accurately describe the type of person this is along with a memorable title.
- Gender – Are they male or female?
- Marital Status – Are they married? Single? Dating?
- Age – It doesn’t have to be down to a specific age, but an age range. Don’t make it so wide that it’s anyone who falls between a child and a senior citizen.
- Education – How far did they make it school? Do they hold their GED or their PhD?
- Profession – What field or industry does this person work in? What is their title? Where do they fall within an org chart? Do they have direct reports?
- Location – Where do they live? What type of house do they own/rent?
- Then outline elements that impact buying decision:
- Hobbies/Likes – What do they enjoy? What might they look forward to in their spare time?
- Identifiers – What is their typical demeanor? What are their communication preferences?
- Goals – Should list common goals this type of buyer strives for.
- Pain Points – What are the primary challenges they often face?
- How can we help? What is our proposed service/product?
- Possible Objections – Why wouldn’t they purchase from you? What might be their reasoning?
Buyer personas are more than just a foundation for higher ROI and target marketing. They help you understand your customers and, more importantly, how your product or service best suits them. At the end of the day, the goal of creating buyer personas is to be able to humanize your message and bring life to your interactions.
Now that you’ve created your buyer personas, be sure to integrate them with your sales process, and allow everyone to not only to help track the buyer persona data but make the most out of them.