A buyer persona, aka a marketing persona, is one of the most valuable pieces of data for any company in any industry. If you have never created one, it’s likely that you have quite a few questions. And we have answered all of them for you.
- What is a buyer persona?
- Why do I need a buyer persona?
- What information do I need to create a buyer persona?
- How do I define my buyer persona?
- Can I have multiple buyer personas?
- Should I run separate tests?
- Should I change my buyer persona?
- How do I understand my buyer persona better?
- How do I keep my buyer persona in mind?
- Is it too late to create a buyer persona if I already have an established business?
- Can I use a buyer persona template or just borrow one from my competitors?
What is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer based on market research, data about your existing customers, or just your hypothesis. This data-based representation helps you make the right decisions regarding your products, as well as your business in general.
In short, the perfect buyer persona must represent:
- the people you create your product or service for;
- the people you sell to;
- the people who convert the best, stay the longest and bring you your main profit.
Ideally, you should have your perfect buyer persona established before launching your product/service, before changing it, and before scaling it, because it will let you avoid impulsive decisions and stay focused on one direction.
And while a buyer persona is just an array of data, most seasoned marketers advise to treat it as a real person by giving it a name, a backstory, frustrations, preferences, and even a picture. There are multiple tools that can help you create a visual representation of your persona.
Why do I need a buyer persona?
A perfect buyer persona defines the best direction for your business and helps identify your own ideal customers. By finding and analyzing your buyer persona you can:
- optimize almost any aspect of your product or service: knowing your buyer persona allows you to deliver products, features, and services your customers are willing to buy; improve and optimize your product-market fit to create the perfect product for the perfect buyer persona;
- optimize your marketing channels: by defining who your buyer persona is, you can build smart marketing funnels by getting leads from best-converting sources, nurturing them with the right content, and offering them the deals they cannot resist;
- optimize your sales: focusing on the pains and desires of your buyer persona, you will be able to offer exactly what your best customers need when they need it. Feeling understood, they’ll be more eager to cooperate and purchase something;
- save resources: knowing your perfect buyer persona’s world, you can develop only the most-desired products, services and features saving money, time, and human resources; basically, knowing your buyer persona allows you to do less and get more;
- scale your business: knowing your perfect buyer persona lets you define the exact direction to grow in, answers the questions of how to convert better, how to improve your product, how to sell more, etc.
What information do I need to create a buyer persona?
The parameters for the perfect buyer persona will vary from industry to industry and will be very specific to your business. In general, you can add as many parameters as you wish – the more parameters your buyer persona has, the more comprehensive your further analysis will be. But the most basic buyer persona should contain the following data:
- Geographical location. Even if you sell worldwide, leads and potential customers from some countries are easier to convert and they earn you more than others.
- Demographics. You may notice most of your clients are men or women. Or maybe their gender doesn’t matter, but their age really does. This also includes income, education, religion, etc.
- Business type. If you are working in a B2B niche, you know which types of businesses need your product or service more, and convert better. Use this information.
- Business size or income level. Business’ size defines the business’ needs and, of course, its budget. For B2C, the buyer’s income level plays the same role.
- Title or profession. It’s the people who make the decisions, even if they are representing a company. Pay attention to which professions or titles are the best-converting decision makers.
- Buying motivation. This parameter defines what makes people want to buy your products or services. Every buyer persona has a different buying motivation, and you need to be sure about at least one because it will allow you to adapt your products and services to convert better.
- Buying concerns. Knowing your perfect buyer’s buying concerns will allow you to disperse them before they affect your conversions. Being able to prevent what scares your potential customer away will skyrocket your sales.
If you feel like it’s impossible to define your perfect buyer within a single persona, create a few. The more universal your solution is, the more buyer personas you can create, based on location, age, buying motivation, etc.
A basic perfect buyer persona profile should look something like this.
How do I define my buyer persona?
You know which data you need, now you just need to get it. Here’s how you can do it:
By exploring your existing customers
Use your existing customers to make statistically correct conclusions. By analyzing what your customers have in common, you can understand who you should focus on in terms of marketing and sales. By analyzing your most loyal clients (who they are, what products and features they use the most, etc.), you can define the strong and weak points of your service or product and work on them. You may have also noticed that some of your customers were easier to find and easier to convert from a hot lead to a paying customer.
By testing audiences with ads
Use ads to find and define your perfect buyer persona. Create and run ads to different audience groups with Google Ads or Facebook Ads. Make a list of possible buyer personas according to your competitors, prior research, or personal opinion, etc. You will see which persona is more likely to convert or converts better than others. It requires quite a budget, but it’s worth it – you will spend less once you learn who converts better.
By running surveys
Good old surveys can still be used to define the perfect buyer persona. You can do it by yourself at no cost or hire a company that will find the participants and run the surveys for you. Surveys will help established businesses just as much as new companies.
Before running a survey it’s important to create a thought-through list of questions to fill in the buyer persona parameters. Don’t ask questions that don’t enrich your buyer persona profile or don’t make much sense from the business perspective. For example, ask “Name 3 problems you want to solve with such a product” instead of “Would you be happy to own such a product”.
By having product-market fit interviews
This method is similar to surveys, but it’s a smarter and more personal process. Product-market fit interviews work great when you plan to launch new products or want to expand to other markets. A product-market fit interview is a “live” survey, usually in person or via a live online session. During such interviews, you can show your prototypes, ask people to show how they use or will use your products, what they like or don’t like about them, etc.
Product-market fit interviews are great for understanding your buyer persona and how to adapt your products for them, as well as understanding which aspects to focus on during your marketing and sales campaigns.
Once you’ve collected all the necessary data, you need to analyze it to create the final buyer persona profile(s). There are numerous options, depending on which indicators you are looking to improve. There are three most popular ones:
Analyze who converts better
Analyze which groups convert from leads to paying customers the best. This method allows you to improve and scale your marketing and sales campaigns. To later benefit from such customers, you need to find out how to make them stay with you longer and purchase more.
Analyze who stays with your company longer
The idea behind this method is finding the common characteristics of your most loyal customers. By analyzing these characteristics and including them into your buyer persona profile you will learn how to reach maximum customer satisfaction, how to upsell more, and who can become your brand ambassadors and promote your business for you. Loyal customers mean a lot to any business, but to scale you need to find a way to convert more of them.
Analyze who generates the most LTV
Analyzing the characteristics of customers who earn you the most lifetime value allows you to understand which customers can help you grow your business, and therefore earn more. You will see who is ready for upsells the most and what makes your customer spend money easily.
Can I have multiple buyer personas?
Yes! It’s better to have a few of them, and not just in case you have multiple products or services to offer. By using multiple buyer personas you can cover more ground. Just make sure your products and services fit all of your buyer personas and the buyer personas are relevant to your goals.
Should I run separate tests?
Test your buyer personas together, but test buyer persona characteristics separately. Apply basic A/B testing rules.
Should I change my buyer persona?
Changing buyer personas is a good idea in a couple of cases – when you have changed your product or market, or when you plan to scale and need to find a newer and better buyer persona.
How do I understand my buyer persona better?
Communicate with them through various channels – hold webinars, run surveys, invite them to personal interviews, meet them at trade shows and conferences. The more you communicate, the better. Use technologies to get more data on your existing or tested buyer personas – run ads with different messaging, approach them with different offers, different writing styles, etc.
How do I keep my buyer persona in mind?
That’s a great question! The more your product, marketing, and sales teams are focused on the buyer persona, the better results they will deliver. To help them stay focused don’t forget to personalize your buyer personas by giving them a name and a backstory. By humanizing your buyer personas you make them easier to remember, and mentioning them during meetings and discussions won’t seem as awkward. Don’t be afraid to hang up a poster with your buyer personas to always have them nearby as a reference.
Is it too late to create a buyer persona if I already have an established business?
No! It’s never too late. By creating and analyzing your buyer personas you will be able to grow your established business, save resources and optimize almost any department. It’s never too late.
Can I use a buyer persona template or just borrow one from my competitors?
Yes, you can, but please keep in mind that buyer personas are very specific to a company’s goals, products, and client base. If you are sure that your buyer persona could be the same as your competitor’s – check, double-check and still do your own research. It’s not a bad idea to analyze your competitor’s buyer personas, just don’t forget to customize it to fit your company. It should represent your ideal customer, not anyone else’s.
A perfect buyer persona is integral to the success and further growth of your company. Don’t get frustrated if you can’t create your perfect buyer persona from scratch, use your instincts, test, and experiment.