What is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representative of an ideal customer, informed by marketing research and real data about your existing audience. Identifying the personas you're targeting will transform your ability to attract, engage and delight your customers. Essentially, putting yourself in their shoes will make your interactions more effective. Check out 10 Steps for Creating Buyer Personas on more details surrounding your target audience and getting to know them better!
Now you've got that down-pat, let's look at some key questions you should be asking to paint a clearer picture. In doing so, you'll be able to design personal experiences for each of your prospects - working in each and every way towards the inbound methodology!
So, let’s get started!
1. Learn about your customer
Personalisation begins with getting personal, so start by defining the basic demographic information that gives you a summary of your customer. While hearing about how much they love their cat 'Daisy' is (somewhat) interesting, this kind of stuff is not what we're looking for. The trick to all of this, is to identify what is relevant to your product or service, and use this to improve how and what you communicate. For example, for a company/product which revolves heavily around technology, finding out the frequency someone uses their phone may be more relevant!
To get the ball rolling, here are some ideas:
- Household income
- Disposable income
- Whether the buyer lives in an urban, suburban or rural environment
- Individuals Hobbies
- Level of education
- Company/ type of work
Moreover, figuring out someone's why will provide the greatest in-tell on them in terms of creating a buyer persona. So the following points will be the most critical in better understanding your customers:
- Biggest challenges
- Career goals
- Fears/pain points
Generally, who you ask and the exact question will vary depending on the product or service you provide. It's super important that you gather a fair number of sources and viewpoints to ensure you make a more accurate persona. Hence, helping you gain the resources to build a more personalised relationship between yourself and your audience. Neat right? Essentially, you want to identify the demographic, social and geographical stats which makes your customer individual.
But how are you going to get these answers?
Well to start off, you could:
- Survey existing customers
- Invest in one-on-one interviews
- Check your analytics
- Talk to your employees
2. Determine How to Segment Your Customers
So now that you’ve got all of this information and have collected the answers from your buyers, it’s time to put it to use.
If you don’t know where to begin, don’t stress. It is not unusual for the information to pull you multiple directions. Just remember that you will be creating multiple personas for the different types of people you target. With any business, you will be interacting with an array of different people, so while these categories will identify the segments, they are definitely not overly specific or alienating.
To better explain, let’s imagine that we run a website design service to businesses. While reaching out to prospective customers, we would tend to encounter two different types, tech-savvy and not tech-savvy.
these typically involve entrepreneurs and small business owners who are keen to understand new technology, less focused on the bottom line but rather staying ahead of the trends.
Usually includes older management, these are the individuals who are less ready for change or innovative ideas. These individuals prefer to focus on delivering excellent service to improve their bottom line rather than marketing.
Having identified these groups, you must be wondering how this will help your relationship with your consumers? Well, segmenting these two groups means you can better understand how to communicate with each individual. Bringing the information they care about to the forefront of your interactions.
Following on the previous example, a pitch which points out how modern-looking websites attract and retain new clients will hold the older management’s attention. While content which revolves around new and upcoming technology will appeal to the tech-savvy customer. This isn’t to say you need to start listening to 4KQ or religiously following the latest 15 second craze among the millennials. Rather, you should use this information to generate a detailed description from sample customer, aka, your buyer personas. So you can make sure you're saying what they want to hear!
Through segmenting the qualities, rather than combining them into one hot mess, your future marketing efforts will be better tailored to the needs of each segment. Referring to too many technological terms might alienate the older manager, while talking too much about the bottom line may frustrate or bore younger business owners.
3. Time to create your own buyer persona
Well would you look at that, you’ve got your questions and the information to help you perfectly divide your audience into the types of customers you have. It’s time to start putting it all together.
Continuing with the website design example, having gone through the first two steps, combining insight with the information gained from interviewing customers and collect survey data, we’ve come up with the following buyer persona as an example.
Overview: Supervises a team of 10 at a recruiting firm. Completed his undergraduate degree in management in 2005.
Demographics: Male. Age 38. Annual Income $74,000. Lives in Sydney with his dog Ollie, 2 kids and white picket fence.
Challenges or Pain points: Keeping Staff. Currently struggling to stand out amongst the competition.
Biggest Fear: Let go as the firm was no longer profitable. Losing competent customers and advisors to a competitor.
Goals and Motivations: Work for one of the best recruitment firms in the Australia. Finding top-quality candidates for his clients. Achieve a salary of over 100,000.
Hobbies: Outdoor activities such as hiking or cycling. Taking vacations with his wife and spending time with his children whenever he can.
As I'm sure you can see, the following format filters the key personality traits of this individual, painting a better picture on what this individual wants. However, the information that you place into the profile must relate to the product or service you're providing. Here at Neighbourhood, we utilise buyer personas to ensure we provide the best service to our clients. Here's one we've constructed or check out our blog on Buyer Persona Development to find out how Neighbourhood can help you develop your own.
And there you have it! The first steps to building your buyer persona - you're now well on your way to better understanding the challenges your customers face, how they make decisions, and importantly, how you can overcome them by changing the way you communicate forever!