How to Create Buyer Personas for Your Business
- 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)
|Job / Salary:||Landscaper / £25,000|
|Relationship / Family status:||Married with one young child|
|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)
|Job position:||Marketing director|
|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.
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.