How To Create Buyer Personas—What You Need To Know

Sticky notes on a customer journey plan board

Struggling to create content that actually resonates with your target audience? Not having any luck with your carefully crafted marketing strategies? The issue might lie with your perception of who your audience is.

To build up a relationship with your audience, and convert them to customers, you need to know exactly who they are. The best way to do this is by taking the time to create buyer personas.

We’re going to explore what buyer personas are, how you can use them to improve your entire business model and much more!

What are buyer personas?

Buyer personas are profiles, or representations, of your ideal customers. They’re based on quantitative and qualitative research that you’ve carried out, based on your target audience and previous/current customers.

These personas hone in on:

  • Who your customers are
  • What challenges them
  • What they’re interested in
  • Their goals
  • Their buying patterns

Though you’ll certainly find common traits, patterns and trends with your customers, they won’t all fit into the same box—which is why you’ll likely need to create multiple buyer personas.

Why are they important?

Noticed a lack of interest in your website or product/service? It’s likely because you’ve focused too much on what you do, as opposed to what your potential customers are actually looking for.

If you want to create content that sells, and convert your target audience to actual customers, you need to know your customers inside and out. This means pinpointing their pain points, concerns and desires—only then will you be able to fully align your content and marketing strategies with your audience.

Once you’ve managed to create your buyer personas, you’ll be able to develop your content to attract high-value customers, refine your sales funnel and increase the likelihood of customer retention.

How are buyer personas used?

Hands moving sticky notes for customer journeyImage source: UX Indonesia (via Unsplash)

To understand your customers

The more you know about your potential and existing customers, the better you’ll be at understanding and empathising with them. This will help you become more adept at acquiring and retaining them.

To create content that sells

When crafting your content strategy, you’ll need buyer personas so that you can hone in on the right keywords, topics, content types and even social media platforms. If you do it right, you could end up with an increase in site traffic, email open rates, revenue and more.

To improve products and services

If you know exactly what your customers want, you’ll be able to tweak what you’re offering so that it better serves them. You’ll also be able to improve the customer journey.

To align your departments

If all of your departments have access to buyer personas, they’ll know exactly who the ideal customer is, what motivates them and how they can help them—whether it’s in marketing, sales or customer support.

To establish trust

If your sales team knows what your customers’ pain points and concerns are, they’ll be able to counter them with specific solutions that your product/service offers. They’ll also be far more adept at building up a rapport and trust.

In short: if you don’t have buyer personas, now is the time to start creating!

How do I create buyer personas?

Man holding hands up behind a laptop on deskImage source: Headway (via Unsplash)

Gather your information

Don’t worry if it all sounds too intimidating! Though you might not realise it, you’ve likely already got heaps of information at your fingertips which will help you to craft detailed buyer personas. If you don’t, it’s easy enough to come by.

Quantitative data

The first step in creating your buyer personas is looking at the quantitative data that you’ve got at your disposal. In other words, you’re looking at all of the metrics that your business has accumulated since its inception.

You can find this type of data using Google Analytics, social media analytics, your website/blog analytics, your current customer base and even your email subscriber list(s). Sift through this demographic data and you’ll get:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location
  • Education
  • Business sector
  • General interests
  • Preferred social media platforms

Qualitative data

Next up on your agenda is the gathering of qualitative data. It’s not enough to know what the average age bracket of your audience is, or what their general education level might be. You need to know what it is that makes them tick. There are a few different ways in which you can get this information…

Ask your sales team

Your sales team has to deal with your customers on a daily basis, so it stands to reason that they’ll likely know them better than anyone else. So, ask them to give you an idea of what types of people they interact with most:

  • What questions do they ask?
  • Do they have any particular pain points?
  • What makes them likely/unlikely to purchase?
  • What seems to be important to them when considering a purchase?

Essentially, you’re asking them to make generalisations about your customers. If you can, try to involve other departments as well. Your customer service team, for example, might have insights about what concerns customers the most and what gripes seem to arise on a regular basis.

Send out a questionnaire

Try creating a questionnaire to send out to your existing customers. This will help you figure out what it is that they liked about their experience with you and your product/service, along with any concerns they might have had. If you don’t get much feedback, try offering an incentive, e.g., a coupon or a free sample.

Start asking the right questions

There are plenty of insights that you can discover simply by asking yourself the right questions…

  • What does your product or service bring to the table?
  • Who benefits the most from your product or service?
  • What are your customers’ main characteristics?
  • What life stage are they at?
  • Do they have a specific budget?
  • What makes your product or service better than your competitors’?
  • What pain points are you targeting?

Hone in on patterns

Now that you’ve got a mountain of quantitative and qualitative data at your fingertips, it’s time to sift through it all to find those diamonds in the rough so that you can create your buyer personas.

As you look through your data, keep an eye out for patterns and trends that keep emerging. Do your customers mostly land in a specific age bracket or life stage? Do they share the same education background, goals or motivations? Are there specific pain points that keep cropping up?

To make it easier for yourself, you might want to create a spreadsheet so that you can have all of your data in one place. Once you’ve sorted your data into columns, you’ll be able to identify patterns much more easily, as you can see:

Screenshot of a spreadsheet questionnaire

Though it will undoubtedly be a time consuming process, especially if you’ve managed to accumulate a lot of data during your research, it’s well worth it in the long run.

Create your buyer personas

Before we share our buyer persona template with you, we’re first going to walk you through the key elements that you’ll want to focus on…

1. Demographics

The first section you need to focus on is your buyer’s demographic and biographic information. This helps paint a clear picture of who exactly you’re focusing your attention on when you’re creating content and selling your product/service.

  • Age
  • Location
  • Education level
  • Occupation
  • Preferred social media platform(s)

And don’t forget to give them a name!

2. Goals and motivations

If you know exactly what it is that motivates your customers, and what they’re hoping to achieve personally or professionally, you’ll be better able to showcase how your product/service can help them.

  • Making money
  • Career advancement
  • Increased brand awareness
  • Revenue growth

3. Challenges and pain points

What exact issues are your potential customers dealing with that you could solve? If you can answer this, you can adjust your content so that it presents your product/service as the ultimate solution. Additionally, it can lead to greater successes by your sales team when interacting with potential customers over the phone.

  • Standing out from competitors
  • Employee retention
  • Working with a small budget
  • No time to focus on marketing

4. Benefits from your product/service

What will your customer gain by using your product/service? Remember, it’s not about what you think is so great about what you’re offering. It’s about what your product/service can do to address your customers’ pain points. Be as specific as you can here—your sales team can use these exact points on calls.

  • Product X is user friendly and intuitive
  • We can help you collaborate in real-time
  • Our approach has helped X% of clients increase revenue
  • Our service is budget-friendly

5. Typical issues

What kind of concerns do your buyers have when they deliberate over making a purchase? If you can answer this, you can help your sales team counter any objections with specific solutions.

  • Issues with the cost
  • Assuming a competitor has the better product/service
  • An unwillingness to use new software/technology
  • Thinking they can do what you do in-house

You can get a better idea of how this all comes together in our example buyer persona below…

Mr supersede buyer persona

Get started on your own buyer personas today by downloading our buyer persona template!

Remember, these personas are not set in stone. As your business grows and evolves, so too will your potential customer base. This means that you need to keep refining your buyer personas—keep sending out questionnaires and collating your data. This will help you gain and retain customers, not to mention maintain your edge against competitors.

Struggling to identify your target market? Not having any luck with your marketing strategies? Get in touch with Supersede Media today!