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.
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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.
2. 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:
- Company Size (if you’re a B2B company)
- Financial situation
- Pain points
- Challenges or roadblocks
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.
3. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.