When you write emails and articles, post to social media, and formulate sales pitches, who are you addressing? Being intimately familiar with your brand’s audience allows you to use the language and information that is most relevant to the people you want to reach.
What is a buyer persona?
According to HubSpot, “a buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer”, built based on market insights and information from your current customers. Essentially, a buyer persona is a character that you develop to represent the people you want to sell your product or services to.
Every company will have different buyer personas based on their services. Even companies in the same industry will have variations of similar personas because of their unique selling proposition. Not only do buyer personas explore who buys from you, they also explore why.
Depending on your company’s lines of business or the services that you offer, you may have as few as two or three buyer personas, or as many as ten or more. As you begin to brainstorm your ideal customers, don’t limit yourself based on trying to squeeze multiple audience segments into one buyer persona. You should break up each audience segment into a different buyer persona, creating separate, unique characters.
For example, at Bit-Wizards, we have two lines of business, which means that we have multiple buyer personas for each line. The clients of our Managed IT Services represent an entirely different lineup of personas than our Software Engineering personas.
Why are buyer personas important?
A buyer persona allows your brand to specifically target the exact segment of the population you want to reach with your marketing messages. As a business owner or marketer, if you target a broad audience with no in-depth knowledge about who they are or what they’re looking for, you might be spending your marketing budget on the wrong activities. Creating buyer personas allows you to build targeted messaging to explain the services you offer in words that each potential customer will understand.
For example, a cloth diaper company would create different blog posts for expecting parents than they would for parents with multiple kids. In this case, each set of parents has different concerns, and the experienced parents will require less explanation of some of the intricacies of parenting.
Develop your buyer personas
To begin creating your buyer personas, you will need to layout the data you have on your current and previous clients and the market in which you are selling. You should also look at the followers you have on social media, and the people in your email list who are potential leads (but not customers).
When creating buyer personas, Hootsuite recommends considering details such as:
- Location (including time zones)
- Company type/size
Once you have created a list of demographic details that can be objectively determined based on your existing data, it’s time to dig a little deeper. You need to ask some questions that you may be able to answer on your own, or they may require client interviews or paid-for market research. Dig into where your clients are getting their information, where they spend their time online and offline, and why they chose to buy from your business.
These questions include:
- What social platforms do they use most frequently?
- What brands do they follow and like?
- How did they learn about your business/service?
- Why did they choose your business/service over competitors?
Ask yourself and your team the following questions:
- What problem do you solve for customers?
- What are your competitors doing differently from you?
- What is your unique selling point?
- How long is the buyer journey for clients?
Buyer persona examples
To demonstrate the complete process, we have created an example buyer persona. In this scenario, the company is a local surf brand with a store on the main strip of town. The surf brand will have multiple personas to reflect each of their different kinds of products.
Additionally, the surf shop will have specialty buyer personas for experts in surfing and those looking for more specific accessories. For the surf shop’s daily rental line of business, this would be their buyer persona:
Download the example buyer persona card
Buyer persona tools
There are some helpful, free tools and templates that can help your business build out buyer personas. These include HubSpot’s Make My Persona Tool and this Xtensio template from Neil Patel.Businesses and marketers can create buyer personas to reach their target audience and bring in ideal customers.