How to Create a Buyer Persona: Step-by-Step Guide

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Do you ever come across a brand’s messaging on social media and think to yourself, “this was written for me.” or “they get me!”? Well, it’s because the brand in question has made an effort to understand who you are exactly and what would make you inclined towards engaging with their content.

The term “buyer persona” was coined in the ’90s and has been a crucial part of most business strategies since then. Yet, you’ll be surprised by how many people still don’t get it right. In this article, I’ll walk you through how you can create an effective buyer persona that can bring significant ROI into your marketing and sales operations.

What is a Buyer Persona & Why does it Matter?

A buyer persona is a detailed sketch of your company’s ideal customer. Companies create a fictional personality that depicts their target audience based on factors like demographics, age, interests, profession, gender, and more. Companies also deep dive into their ideal buyer’s pain points, needs, buying behaviour, and goals.

A quick Google search will tell you that crafting a buyer persona is the very first step your business needs to take before kickstarting any inbound marketing campaigns. Above all, your marketing efforts need to be aligned towards targeting an audience that has higher chances of converting into your customers.

Moreover, having a proper buyer persona in place will guide all business activities that aim to achieve customer acquisition and retention goals. For example, to communicate effectively with a client, a sales rep must know exactly who they’re talking to. Similarly, your content creation team needs to understand their target audience before creating valuable content for them. Stats suggest that targeted content marketing initiatives increase website traffic by 210%.

It’s not possible to know each of your existing and prospective customers personally, but you can still create detailed personas that quite accurately mirror your target audience.  Let’s see how…

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Create Buyer Personas 

1. Conduct thorough Audience Research 

If you have existing customers, it’s best to start with researching them first since people who are already buying from you are your ideal customers. You can request them to fill a survey wherein you can ask them to share their personal details, why they’re buying from you, what problems they’re facing, etc. Your CRM team can also find useful insights through one-on-one conversations with your customers.

You can also look into your website visitors using Google Analytics and find out their age group, gender, location, etc. Sign-up forms are a great way of capturing valuable visitor information. You can find out about a person’s profession, company size, job title, etc. Your sales team probably talks to prospective customers regularly, so you can ask them for traits/details/interests they observe in most people they interact with.

Another great option is to look into the audience that your competitors are targeting using tools like Buzzsumo, Hootsuite, SEMrush, etc. You can also assess your competition’s marketing efforts to determine who they’re targeting.

Here’s an outline of how you can conduct thorough research:

1.1. Accumulating Demographic Details:

Begin by gathering basic demographic details about your target customers such as age, gender, location, income level, education level and occupation. This data gives a good picture of their identity.

1.2. Understanding Psychographic Details

Gain more insight into your target audience’s psychographic details by investigating their interests, values, hobbies, lifestyle choices and personality characteristics. Knowing this helps create more detailed and targeted personas.

1.3. Utilizing Market Research Tools:

Utilize various market research tools and techniques to gather information about your target audience, such as online surveys, focus groups, interviews, social media analytics or customer feedback forms. Each of these provides unique insight into consumer behavior and preferences.

1.4. Analysis of Competitor Audiences:

Take a close look at your competitor customer base for insights into the demographics and preferences of their customer base, which can provide key indicators into any gaps or opportunities in the market that you could capitalize on through differentiation strategies.

1.5. Monitor Online Behavior:

To keep an eye on how your audience engages with your brand online, analyze website traffic, social media interactions, and search engine queries using tools like Google Analytics and social media analytics platforms such as Social Bakers or SimilarWeb can provide invaluable data.

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1.6. Engaging Directly with Customers:

Conduct surveys, interviews or focus groups with your existing customers in order to gain firsthand insights into their preferences, challenges and motivations. Engaging directly allows you to ask specific questions that would otherwise go unanswered from other sources and obtain qualitative data that might otherwise not be readily available.

1.7. Analyzing Customer Feedback

Pay close attention to any feedback collected via channels like online reviews, social media comments and customer support interactions. Analyze trends or patterns within customer responses in order to identify common pain points or potential areas for improvement.

1.8. Segment Your Audience

Once you have collected enough data, segment your audience into distinct groups based on shared characteristics or behaviors. This enables you to develop more targeted personas tailored specifically for each segment.

Through meticulous research of your target audience, you can gain invaluable insights that inform the creation of accurate and useful buyer personas – which serve as invaluable guides for marketing strategies and ensure that messaging resonates with those it should reach.

Step 2: Identifying Pain Points and Needs

By carefully considering and understanding the needs and preferences of your target audience, you can more accurately and effectively create buyer personas. These personas serve as invaluable guides in creating marketing strategies and messaging that speak directly to them and cater to their challenges and desires.

Below is the outline of the steps of how you can do it:

2.1. Conducting Surveys and Interviews:

Engage directly with your target audience by conducting surveys, interviews, or focus groups in order to uncover their pain points and needs. Ask open-ended questions that encourage respondents to share their experiences, challenges, and goals related to your product or service.

2.2. Analyzing Customer Feedback:

Examine feedback from multiple sources such as online reviews, social media comments and customer support interactions. In particular, look for any recurring themes or common issues raised by customers as these may indicate significant pain points or unmet needs.

2.3. Conduct Behavior Pattern Analysis:

Pay attention to how your audience engages with and reacts to your brand both online and off. Look out for patterns or trends that indicate areas in which they may be experiencing difficulty or dissatisfaction – such as high bounce rates on certain website pages or frequent returns of certain products which could indicate potential pain points.

2.4. Locating Friction Points:

Locate any obstacles preventing your audience from reaching its desired outcomes, such as usability issues on your website, unclear product messaging or barriers to making purchases. Tackling these problems head-on will help relieve pain points and enhance the overall customer experience.

2.5. Investigating Competitor Offerings:

Consider your competitors’ products or services carefully in order to understand how well they meet the needs and alleviate pain points in your shared target audience. Identify areas in which competitors might be falling short or where there may be opportunities for differentiation through providing unique solutions to common problems.

2.6. Mapping the Customer Journey:

Map out your customer journey from initial awareness through post-purchase experience in order to identify touchpoints where customers may experience pain points or have unfulfilled needs. By understanding this journey, you can uncover opportunities to address pain points and deliver value at each step of the purchasing process.

2.7. Seeking Feedback from Internal Teams:

Collaborate with internal teams such as sales, customer support and product development to gain insights into customer pain points and needs. As these groups interact directly with customers daily, they can offer invaluable firsthand knowledge about common hurdles as well as potential solutions.

2.8. Utilizing Data Analytics:

Utilize data analytics tools to monitor customer behavior and detect patterns or trends that could indicate pain points or needs that could impact their experience with you. Metrics like website traffic, conversion rates, customer engagement etc can provide invaluable insight into areas where customers might be encountering difficulties or experiencing discontentment with the service provided to them.

Step 3. Fill in Buyer Persona Details

Once you’ve compiled all the required details, it’s time to create customer personalities. In order to draft accurate sketches, keep in mind that your ideal persona is someone who will find considerable value in purchasing products from you.

Make sure that your buyer persona includes:

  • Age
  • Language
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Profession
  • Company Size (if you’re a B2B company)
  • Interests
  • Financial situation
  • Goals
  • Pain points
  • Challenges or roadblocks

Detailing personas involves creating fictional characters that represent different segments of your target audience. Based on real data and research, personas should reflect demographic information, behavioral patterns, motivations, and goals of real individuals in your target market. Here’s more information about creating detailed personas:

3.1. Segment Your Audience:

Foremost in understanding the needs and preferences of each audience group is segmenting them accordingly. By doing this, personas tailored specifically for each of these subsets can be created.


3.2. Gathering Data:

Collect information through surveys, interviews, market research studies and customer feedback mechanisms such as focus groups. Gather both quantitative data (such as demographics or purchase history) as well as qualitative insights ( such as preferences or pain points) in order to build personas.

3.3. Developing Characters

Give each character a name, background story and relevant details that help bring them to life. Consider factors like age, gender, occupation, family status, hobbies, interests and values when creating personas that feel realistic and relatable. Our goal should be to develop personas with character traits that resonate.

3.4. Incorporating Personality Traits

Consider their personality traits and characteristics – such as introversion or extraversion, adventurousness or caution, tech savvyness or traditionality – before making decisions about purchasing decisions for each persona.

3.5. Identifying Motivations and Goals

Understanding their motivations, goals, and aspirations of each persona is key in providing tailor-made messaging and services tailored specifically for them. Through understanding their underlying motivations you can tailor messaging and offerings specifically to their needs and tailor messaging around pain points or challenges they are experiencing.

3.6. Understanding Challenges and Obstacles

Determine the challenges, obstacles and frustrations each persona is encountering on their journey. What frustrates them? Which barriers prevent them from reaching their goals? By understanding these points of contention you can provide solutions which add real value to their lives.

3.7. Validate Personas With Data:

Test your personas against real data and customer feedback to ensure accuracy and relevance. Validate assumptions by comparing them against actual customer behavior and preferences, and adjust personas based on insights gained during validation.

3.8. Foster Diversity and Inclusion:

Make sure that your personas reflect a diverse range of backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. Consider factors like ethnicity, culture, socioeconomic status and disability when developing these character sketches to ensure inclusivity and avoid stereotypes.

3.9. Documenting and Sharing Personas:

Documenting each persona includes their demographic information, psychographic traits, motivations, goals, pain points and key attributes in detail. Share these personas with relevant stakeholders across your organization to ensure alignment and understanding.
By creating detailed personas of your target audience, you can better understand their needs, preferences and behaviors – providing invaluable guidance for marketing strategies, product development efforts and customer engagement initiatives.

Apart from these essential pointers, it is also beneficial to find out where your customers spend their time online so you know how to reach out to them. Find out their preferred social media platforms or any specific communities they actively engage in.

If you come up with multiple buyer personas, you can segment them based on industry, profession, company size, etc.

Step 4. Give more Details to your Persona

The previous step is essentially about organizing the information you’ve gathered so far. For a more nuanced sketch of your ideal customer, you’ll need insight into their psychology. For example, you need to discern the barriers, challenges, and hassles your customers face regularly.

Say, for example, that you’re an app development service provider. When it comes to the services you offer, what are the procurement issues your customers encounter? What knowledge or awareness do they lack? Do they face any financial roadblocks?

More importantly, what are their goals or objectives in getting app development outsourced from a third-party vendor?
Finding answers to the above questions will bring you to the most important query: how can you help your customers?  Answer this question in a clear and precise manner, and you should have a perfect buyer persona in your hands!

Are there any Types of Buyer Personas?


The fact that creating buyer personas is an intricate process is concerning for many businesses, especially if you’re a beginner. At times, you might also feel that there’s no need to get into such elaborate details about your customers. This is why it’s natural for you to search for a quick fix when creating personas.

Many marketers look for ready-made persona types online that they can somehow adjust to their business. Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut to finding out who your ideal customer is. Every business is unique, and most small to medium-sized companies these days try to target very specific customer types in their industry to bump up their conversion rates.
However, I can give you multiple buyer persona examples to help you better understand what your final sketch can look like.

Employing personas as part of your marketing strategies involves using insights gleaned from detailed persona development to tailor messaging, content, and campaigns specifically to particular audience segments. Here’s how personas can assist your efforts:

Customizing Content to Individual Personas:

Develop content that speaks directly to the needs, interests and pain points of each persona. Tailor messaging, tone and imagery specifically tailored for each audience segment; for instance if your personas represent both budget-conscious shoppers and luxury buyers create separate pieces tailored for each group’s preferences.

Personalizing Email Campaigns:

Segment your email list according to persona attributes and customize campaigns specifically tailored for each group’s preferences. Use personalized subject lines, content and offers in order to engage recipients and increase open and click-through rates; for instance send product recommendations based on past purchases or interests indicated by each persona.

Crafting Targeted Ads:

Create advertisements tailored specifically to the needs and desires of each of your personas, using demographic and psychographic targeting options to reach the right target audience with your ads. Tailor ad copy, visuals, and calls-to-action for each persona according to their motivations and goals – for instance, if one persona prioritizes sustainability features within ads.

Customize Landing Pages and Website Content:

Customize landing pages and website content to reflect the preferences and interests of each persona. Create landing pages tailored specifically to specific audience segments, with products or services tailored specifically to their needs. Leverage language and imagery that resonates with them for an immersive user experience.

Dividing Social Media Campaigns: Segmenting

By segmenting your social media campaigns based on persona attributes and interests, create targeted content for each audience segment that shares relevant updates, promotions, resources etc. Use social media analytics to measure engagement with each persona segment so you can adjust your strategy based on performance data.

Analyzing and Optimizing Performance:

Engage in ongoing analysis of your marketing efforts across different persona segments, monitoring metrics such as engagement, conversion rates and ROI to identify areas for improvement. Employ A/B testing as a means of testing different messages and strategies while optimising campaigns for maximum effectiveness.

Establishing and Editing Personas:

Utilize feedback from your marketing campaigns to iterate and enhance your personas over time. Pay close attention to how each persona responds to your messaging, then adjust attributes or preferences as necessary. By being attentive to changes in consumer behavior and market trends, you can ensure that your personas remain accurate and relevant.

By effectively using personas in your marketing strategies, you can provide more targeted and tailored experiences for your audience, leading to improved engagement rates, conversion rates and retention rates.

Companies that have Nailed their Buyer Personas (Examples)

1. Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club delivers razors and personal grooming products to their customers on a subscription basis. Back in 2012, it was an eCommerce startup trying to carve its place in a market where Proctor & Gamble had a 71% market share. Through their persona research, they found out two pain points of their target customers:

  • Having to go out to buy razors
  • The high cost

Capitalizing on these realizations, Dollar Shave Club released an ad video on YouTube that quickly became viral and got them 12,000 orders in 48 hours. Because they nailed their buyer personas, they were able to build a cult following, and in 2016, Unilever bought their company for $1 billion.

2. Starbucks 

Starbucks

Have you ever wondered why Starbucks has an unflinchingly loyal customer base? Because they also know precisely who they want to sell their premium coffee drinks. Here’s what their typical buyer persona looks like:

  • High-income earners prefer to spend their spare money on coffee drinks.
  • Urban people lead busy lives and need on-the-go coffee drinks while commuting.
  • Socially conscious customers who’ll prefer a brand like Starbucks that commits to sustainable coffee production.

3. Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola has a deep understanding of their buyer persona, which includes teenagers and young adults who are looking for a refreshing drink that will give them an energy boost. Their marketing campaigns are designed to tap into the emotions and desires of their target audience, with slogans like “Taste the Feeling” and “Open Happiness” that evoke a sense of joy and nostalgia.

4. Nike

Nike has done an excellent job of targeting their buyer persona, which includes athletes and fitness enthusiasts. They have a deep understanding of the needs and desires of their target audience, which includes a desire for high-performance gear, a commitment to fitness, and a love of competition. Their marketing campaigns are designed to tap into these desires, with slogans like “Just Do It” that inspire action and a sense of determination.

5. Airbnb

Airbnb has a deep understanding of its buyer persona, which includes travellers who are looking for unique and authentic experiences. They have created a platform that caters to this audience, with listings that range from cosy apartments to luxurious villas, and a review system that allows guests to get an idea of what to expect. Their marketing campaigns emphasize the idea of “belonging anywhere,” which appeals to travellers who are looking for a more personal and local experience.

Difference between B2C and B2B buyer personas

B2C (Business-to-Consumer) and B2B (Business-to-Business) buyer personas are two distinct types of customer profiles that are used by companies to understand and target their customers. The main differences between B2C and B2B buyer personas are:

Customer Goals:

B2C customers are typically driven by personal goals, desires, and emotions. They may make purchases based on factors such as price, quality, convenience, or brand loyalty. In contrast, B2B customers are typically driven by business goals, such as improving efficiency, reducing costs, increasing revenue, or achieving strategic objectives.

Decision-Making Process:

B2C customers often make quick, impulsive buying decisions based on emotions and personal preferences. In contrast, B2B customers often have a more complex decision-making process that involves multiple stakeholders, extensive research, and evaluation of various options.

Relationship Building:

B2C customers often have a transactional relationship with a company and may not have a long-term commitment. In contrast, B2B customers typically have a more long-term, strategic relationship with a company that involves ongoing communication, collaboration, and relationship building.

Personalization:

B2C customers may respond well to personalized marketing and tailored messaging that speaks to their individual needs and preferences. In contrast, B2B customers may respond better to data-driven insights and targeted solutions that address their business needs.

Purchasing Power:

B2B customers often have a higher purchasing power and may make larger purchases than B2C customers. B2B purchases may involve negotiation, contracts, and ongoing customer support, while B2C purchases are typically more straightforward and transactional.

A Hypothetical Buyer Persona Example

Let’s take our earlier example of a company that provides app development services. Say their ideal customer belongs to the 27-40 age group, and is a small business owner, with minimal to basic knowledge about technology. So their buyer persona will be “Ambitious Entrepreneur Michael.”

  • He is 30 years old
  • He lives in California and has founded a small business
  • He is a workaholic who spends most of his time building his small business
  • He owns an Apple MacBook
  • He doesn’t have the knowledge or resources to get an in-house app development team.
  • He wants quality app development solutions at a relatively lower price
  • He has a fast-growing customer base

The above example gives a detailed insight into who your buyer is. It’s almost as if you know your ideal customer personally. Having a tangible idea of the audience you want to target is critical for business success because you don’t want to waste your marketing or sales efforts on an audience that is not interested in your product.

Maintaining & Updating Buyer Personas

Maintaining and updating personas over time is crucial to keeping them accurate and relevant in an ever-evolving market. Here is how you can effectively manage this process:

Keep abreast of industry trends, market shifts, and consumer behavior changes that could impact your personas. Keep abreast of new technologies, cultural movements and competitive developments which might influence how target audiences interact with your brand.

Collecting Ongoing Feedback:

Constantly seek feedback from customers, stakeholders, and internal teams in order to validate and refine your personas. Use tools like surveys, interviews, focus groups, social listening tools etc. in order to gather this feedback from various sources – particularly any shifts in customer preferences, pain points or behaviors that could require updates in your personas.

Monitoring Performance Metrics:

Review performance metrics from your marketing campaigns to identify trends and patterns among different persona segments. Consider key indicators like engagement rates, conversion rates, customer lifetime value to measure how effective personas have been at leading marketing strategies.

Utilizing Insights: Iterating Based on Insights

Use insights gained from feedback and performance metrics to iterate and refine your personas as needed. Adjust attributes, preferences or pain points as necessary so they reflect current needs and behaviors of your target audience more closely. Be open to updating personas as more information becomes available or market dynamics change.


Testing and Validation:

Validate changes or updates to your personas against real-world data and feedback to ensure accuracy and effectiveness. Conduct A/B tests or pilot programs to assess how these updates impact marketing campaign performance; validate hypotheses through thorough examination.

Discover new data sources and research methodologies to deepen your understanding of your target audience. Integrate data from emerging channels like social media, IoT devices or third-party data providers into your research plan in order to gain deeper insight into customer behavior and preferences.

Collaborating Across Teams:

Foster collaboration between various teams within your organization to ensure alignment on persona updates. Share insights, findings, and updates with stakeholders from marketing, sales, product development, customer support departments as well as cross-functional expertise to inform and validate revisions to persona revisions.

Documenting Changes:

Maintain a detailed record of persona updates, outlining their rationale and supporting sources. Create and store personas in an easily accessible repository or database so all key stakeholders have access to them. Finally, be sure that everyone involved with marketing and sales activities knows about the latest profiles as they relate to strategy and execution.

Conclusion

At its core, buyer personas are essential components of effective marketing strategies. By understanding the needs, preferences, and behaviors of your target audience members, buyer personas enable marketers to tailor messaging, content, and campaigns more specifically targeted toward specific segments within your customer base.

Through extensive research, including gathering demographic and psychographic data, identifying pain points and needs, and creating comprehensive personas, businesses can gain valuable insights into their audience’s motivations and goals – this serves as the basis for creating customized marketing initiatives tailored specifically to these customer segments.

Get in touch with us at EMB to know more.

What elements must businesses consider when creating buyer personas?

Businesses creating buyer personas should take several factors into consideration, including demographics (age, gender and location), psychographics (interests, values and lifestyle), purchasing behavior as well as pain points, goals and challenges when creating them. Gathering comprehensive data will help craft complete personas.

How can businesses ensure that their buyer personas are accurate?

Businesses can ensure the accuracy of their buyer personas by validating them with real data and feedback from customers. This may involve conducting surveys, interviews or focus groups; analyzing customer behavior metrics; as well as seeking input from internal stakeholders.

Are there certain personas whom businesses should prioritize over others?

Prioritizing personas helps businesses focus their resources more efficiently, targeting marketing initiatives where they’re most likely to produce results and allocating resources more wisely.

Can businesses utilize buyer personas for purposes other than marketing?

Buyer personas are an effective tool that can benefit many departments outside of marketing, including sales, product development, customer service and content creation. By offering insights into customer needs, preferences and pain points they provide valuable data that inform decision-making across an organization and increase overall customer satisfaction.

How often should businesses update their buyer personas?

Continuous monitoring and updates to personas over time are critical to ensure their accuracy and relevance in an ever-evolving marketplace. By remaining responsive to emerging trends, gathering feedback regularly and iterating based on performance metrics insights, businesses can ensure their personas reflect the ever-evolving needs and behaviors of their audience.

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Team EMB
We are Team EMB the voice behind this insightful blog.

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