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How to Create Buyer Personas for Your Business

How to Create Buyer Personas for Your Business

Key Takeaways

  • Buyer personas tell a fictional narrative of your ideal customer – their life circumstances, motivations, and pain points.
  • Effective buyer personas are supported by lots of data – so don’t neglect the preliminary research stage.
  • Distil your buyer persona into 3 key points: Roles, Goals, and Challenges.

What are Buyer Personas?

Annie is a 38-year-old small-busi­ness own­er. She has two young chil­dren and earns £45,000 per year. She’s inter­est­ed in sus­tain­able prod­ucts, sup­port­ing small busi­ness­es, and is will­ing to pay a high­er price for high-qual­i­ty products.

Above is an exam­ple buy­er per­sona for an inde­pen­dent com­pa­ny sell­ing up-mar­ket sus­tain­able chil­dren’s toys. Annie is their ide­al cus­tomer because she has the dis­pos­able income, moti­va­tion, and need to buy their product.

These are the fun­da­men­tal aspects you should include in a buy­er per­sona. So, what are buy­er per­sonas and cus­tomer personas?

Buy­er per­sonas are fic­tion­al nar­ra­tives of your ide­al cus­tomers. They tell the sto­ry of their per­son­al cir­cum­stances, describ­ing the rea­sons why they’re like­ly to love and shop with your brand.

The process of cre­at­ing buy­er per­sonas requires you to answer the fol­low­ing questions:

  • What kind of per­son has the moti­va­tion, need, and abil­i­ty to pay for our prod­ucts or services?
  • Where does this per­son live?
  • How old are they?
  • What are their liv­ing circumstances?

Buy­er per­sonas are cre­at­ed by char­ac­ter­is­ing your most valu­able cus­tomers from the data you’ve col­lect­ed about them. They’re not real cus­tomers, just a dis­tilled ver­sion of lots of customers.

Why are Buyer Personas So Valuable?

Buy­er per­sonas can be incred­i­bly valu­able for numer­ous aspects of your busi­ness. For instance, your mar­ket­ing efforts (and, there­fore, your con­tent, ads, and mes­sag­ing) can be com­plete­ly tai­lored to your buy­er per­sona, result­ing in a 5x increase in click-through rates in email campaigns.

The val­ue of buy­er per­sonas lies in their abil­i­ty to under­stand cus­tomers as indi­vid­u­als with needs, wants, pref­er­ences, inter­ests, back­grounds, lifestyles, and habits. Despite pro­vid­ing all this per­son­al­i­sa­tion and detail, buy­er per­sonas also sim­pli­fy your mar­ket­ing efforts.

Using buy­er per­sonas has been found to reduce mar­ket­ing costs by 10–20% due to their sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of com­pa­ny efforts and high lev­els of efficacy.

As well as help­ing your sales and mar­ket­ing teams, buy­er per­sonas may also help refine your web design to appeal to your tar­get mar­ket, as well as the social media chan­nels you use to find leads (e.g., Tik­Tok for a younger buy­er persona).

As you can tell, the val­ue of buy­er per­sonas can infil­trate every part of your busi­ness – big or small. But how can you go about cre­at­ing one?

Creating your Buyer Personas

Haven’t done this before? Don’t wor­ry. Here’s how to cre­ate buy­er personas:

1. Data collection

First, you’ll need to col­late basic demo­graph­ic data such as age, loca­tion, gen­der, income, job, and rela­tion­ship status.

You might already have a large data set to exam­ine if your busi­ness has been around for a long time, but if not, you’ll have to make use of email sign-up forms, sur­veys, order his­to­ry, web-track­ing, and social media to gath­er information.

If yours is a B2B com­pa­ny, your research might look a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. The above demo­graph­ic data might be use­ful, but you’ll also need to gath­er infor­ma­tion such as:

  • role or sta­tus at work
  • deci­sion-mak­ing status
  • whether they answer to a boss or manager
  • who at com­pa­nies is reach­ing out to you

2. Organise your data

Once you have all your data, you’ll need to begin organ­is­ing it. You might like to view your data as graphs or pie charts to make con­nec­tions more easily.

At this point, you need to be look­ing for sim­i­lar­i­ties across your dataset so that you can iden­ti­fy a sol­id per­sona. Ask the fol­low­ing questions:

  • What do the most fre­quent cus­tomers have in common?
  • What do the cus­tomers with the high­est aver­age order val­ue have in common?
  • What demo­graph­ic vari­ables are most common?

You might notice two or more dis­tinct per­sonas with­in your research. In this case, it’s a good idea to cre­ate mul­ti­ple personas.

3. Create the narrative

Next up is nam­ing your buy­er per­sona and cre­at­ing a sto­ry for them.

Begin by not­ing down the key points of your per­sona, as these will act as the back­bone sketch of their nar­ra­tives. Next, give your per­sona a name and iden­ti­fy the details for three main points:

1. Roles: the per­son­’s iden­ti­ty in life

2. Goals: their desires

3. Chal­lenges: their pain points

All three of these aspects tell us cru­cial infor­ma­tion about the cus­tomer prob­lems you can aim to resolve, how to present your brand to them, and how best to mar­ket your prod­ucts or ser­vices. Com­ing back to these three points can shape how you use your buy­er per­sonas to ben­e­fit your company.

4. Making use of your buyer personas

Once you’ve cre­at­ed your buy­er per­sona, send it to the sales, adver­tis­ing, and mar­ket­ing teams with­in your busi­ness. From there, your teams can cre­ate cam­paigns that cor­re­spond to what you have learned about your ide­al customers.

The con­tent, adverts, and mar­ket­ing mate­ri­als should speak to your per­sonas’ goals, pain points, moti­va­tions, and roles, as well as their oth­er defin­ing features.

You may want to review your pre-exist­ing email cam­paigns if they’re ongo­ing and revamp your web­site land­ing pages to tar­get your new per­sonas more accurately.

Buyer Personas Examples:

To put these ideas into con­text for you, here are a cou­ple of buy­er per­sona examples:

1. “Dustin” for a boun­cy-cas­tle com­pa­ny (B2C)

Name: Dustin
Gen­der: Male
Age: 34
Loca­tion: Som­er­set
Job / Salary: Land­scap­er / £25,000
Rela­tion­ship / Fam­i­ly status: Mar­ried with one young child
Com­mu­ni­ca­tion method: Face­book
Role: Father, provider, homemaker
Goals: Make his child happy
Chal­lenges: Has­n’t got a huge bud­get to reach goals but wants child to socialise more since covid lock­downs ended

This boun­cy-cas­tle com­pa­ny would use its buy­er per­sona to reach cus­tomers like Dustin via Face­book Ads and focus its mar­ket­ing mate­ri­als on hap­py chil­dren’s par­ties. It would also dis­play its rea­son­ably-priced costs to encour­age peo­ple with low­er bud­gets to explore more.

2. “Anto­nia” for an SEO Con­tent Agency (B2B)

Name: Anto­nia
Gen­der: Female
Age: 39
Loca­tion: Lon­don
Job posi­tion: Mar­ket­ing director
Reports to: CEO
Com­mu­ni­ca­tion method: LinkedIn, Email
Role: Has a busy, high-pres­sure job
Goals: Improve com­pa­ny mar­ket­ing results
Chal­lenges: Does­n’t ful­ly under­stand SEO and does­n’t have the in-house resources to car­ry out an SEO campaign

This SEO Con­tent Agency would use this char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion to focus all their out­reach tac­tics on LinkedIn and empha­sise their vast team and resources in all mar­ket­ing mate­ri­als. They’d use Linked­In’s Sales Nav­i­ga­tor fea­tures to iden­ti­fy leads in Anto­ni­a’s role, as mar­ket­ing direc­tors are best able to make hir­ing decisions.

Buyer Persona FAQs

Q: Do I need to update my buyer personas?

A: Yes, it’s a good idea to update your buy­er per­sonas about once a year to keep up with chang­ing trends. For instance, the rise of envi­ron­men­tal­ism in recent years has meant that more peo­ple are inter­est­ed in buy­ing sus­tain­able and longer-last­ing prod­ucts, broad­en­ing the pos­si­ble buy­er per­sonas for this industry.

Q: What are negative buyer personas?

A: Neg­a­tive buy­er per­sonas describe your least like­ly cus­tomers. For instance, if your com­pa­ny hires out boun­cy cas­tles for chil­dren’s par­ties, it’s unlike­ly you’ll be mar­ket­ing to teenagers. So, a teenag­er would be your neg­a­tive buy­er persona.

Neg­a­tive buy­er per­sonas help your sales and mar­ket­ing efforts by iden­ti­fy­ing red flags. If you know what leads to avoid, your efforts can be bet­ter focused on the best qual­i­ty leads and con­serve com­pa­ny resources.

Q: Why might I need multiple buyer personas?

A: While hav­ing too many buy­er per­sonas could mud­dle your brand mes­sag­ing, it might be nec­es­sary. If your research isn’t show­ing you two or more dis­tinct types of peo­ple inter­est­ed in your prod­uct, it’s not worth mak­ing more than one buy­er persona.

Q: What are buying styles?

A: In your research about buy­er per­sonas, you might have come across the term “buy­ing styles”. Though these terms relate to dif­fer­ent things, they con­nect for brands that are sell­ing either face-to-face or over the phone.

Under­stand­ing dif­fer­ent buy­ing styles is high­ly applic­a­ble in instances where sales rep­re­sen­ta­tives are com­mu­ni­cat­ing one-on-one with cus­tomers or clients, as they’re able to glean more about the per­son­al­i­ty of the buy­er and use this to encour­age a sale.

For instance, the SEO Con­tent Agency we dis­cussed in the exam­ple above would ben­e­fit from know­ing the buy­ing style for “Anto­nia” as it would change the sale rep’s approach.

As well as out­lin­ing the buy­er per­sona of “Anto­nia” the agency would ben­e­fit equal­ly (if not more so) from under­stand­ing her buy­ing style.

We can whit­tle buy­ing styles down to six cru­cial types. These are:

1. Rela­tion­ship Robert

Robert loves to socialise and work in a team. It might help, when sell­ing to this type, to avoid the small tech­ni­cal details and focus on the big­ger pic­ture and pos­i­tive results. You’ll prob­a­bly have to engage in a bit of chit-chat with this type, so put your chat­ti­est sales rep forward.

2. Col­lab­o­ra­tive Charlotte

Char­lotte is diplo­mat­ic and adapt­able. When it comes to mak­ing deci­sions, Char­lotte likes to take her time, con­sid­er all angles, and take in every­one’s opin­ion. When mar­ket­ing to this type, you’ll need to slow­ly coax the final sale and wait for her to dis­cuss it with her team.

3. Deci­sive Daniel

Daniel is assertive and an active prob­lem solver. If you want to sell to this type, your mar­ket­ing approach will need to be assertive, too – so don’t wor­ry about com­ing across as too strong.

4. Ana­lyt­i­cal Annie

Annie is a fan of proven results, rules, and pro­ce­dures. You’ll need to back your claims up with evi­dence when sell­ing to this type. Even so, the Ana­lyt­i­cal type prefers to take things slow – so don’t rush this one.

5. Inno­v­a­tive Ian

Ian is a cre­ative type who likes to brain­storm – so you’ll need to get cre­ative too. Sell­ing to this type is all about charis­ma and infor­mal­i­ty. Rather than lec­tur­ing Ian about your amaz­ing ser­vices, work with him to dis­cov­er how your ser­vices will ben­e­fit him.

6. Scep­ti­cal Sophie

Sophie is a crit­i­cal thinker who won’t trust you right away. This type might pre­fer to com­mu­ni­cate over email rather than over the phone, as they won’t agree to some­thing on the spot. When sell­ing to this type, you’ll need to take it slow and present very real rea­sons as to why they should get on board.

Buy­er per­sonas and buy­ing styles can go hand-in-hand to max­imise the effi­ca­cy of mar­ket­ing and sales tac­tics, but should not be con­fused for each other.

Q: Is a buyer persona the same as an “Avatar”?

A: A buy­er per­sona is the same as an avatar. Com­pa­nies will use dif­fer­ent terms to refer to the same thing, e.g., user per­sona or cus­tomer profile.

Final thoughts

Most busi­ness­es prob­a­bly have an idea of their ide­al cus­tomer under the label of “tar­get mar­ket.” How­ev­er, this isn’t detailed enough. A cus­tomer or buy­er per­sona pro­vides much-need­ed focus to all aspects of the busi­ness, helps per­son­al­i­sa­tion efforts when inputting vari­ables into lead-tar­get­ing or paid adver­tis­ing tools, and saves money.

If you’re not using a buy­er per­sona to focus your lead gen­er­a­tion and nur­tur­ing efforts, you’re not max­imis­ing the pow­er of per­son­al­i­sa­tion – which is key to mod­ern marketing.

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