How to Create Effective Buyer Personas

Can you describe your ideal customer in a nutshell? If not, it’s time to create some buyer personas. Buyer personas, also known as marketing personas, are models that help you tailor your branding and marketing to the people who need your product or service.

If you’ve never made buyer personas before, gathering and compiling the necessary information can seem intimidating. Luckily, the process is actually fairly straightforward. This article will walk you through the process of creating buyer personas, whether you’re doing it for the first time or just need a quick refresher.

 

What kind of information should a buyer persona include?

A useful buyer persona is multi-dimensional. It should include demographic information as well as more personal details, like what kind of challenges your ideal customer faces and what their goals for the future are. Some good information to include in your buyer personas includes: \

  • Basic demographic information. How old is your ideal customer? Are they male or female? Where do they live? Do they have a spouse or family?
  • Information about education and job status. Does your ideal customer have a high school diploma, or are they currently in college? How much do they earn? Are they happy with their job?
  • Information about what a typical day is like for your ideal customer. Do they work long hours? What are their habits like? What do they enjoy doing in their spare time?
  • Information about your ideal customer’s problems and goals. What do they want to achieve most? What’s holding them back?

 

The type of information that’s most useful to you will depend on what kind of business you have. For instance, if you’re running a tech startup, you might be particularly interested in your customers’ internet habits. Decide which of the categories above are most relevant to your situation, and focus on gathering that information.

You’ll probably want to create more than one buyer persona, since most businesses serve more than just a single demographic. Three to five personas is usually enough to capture the most important facets of your target market.

 

How to gather information

Once you know what kind of information you’re after, you can start collecting it from your current customers and leads. There are a number of ways you can approach this task.

1. Use data from your website. Google Analytics can give you a breakdown of your visitors’ age, gender, and location, along with information about which search terms people are using to find you. If you have contact forms on your website, you can get extra information from them by including fields for things like the person’s job title or the main thing they’re looking for.

2. Leverage social media. Use channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to interact with customers. When people like your content or leave comments, make note of who they are, where they’re from, and any other relevant info in their profile.

3. Get your whole team involved. Talk to customer service, sales, and other employees who interact with customers on a regular basis. Ask them for their insights on who your customers are, what they want, and what influences them to buy (or not to buy) your product or service.

4. Conduct surveys. Use online tools like Survey Monkey to ask your visitors and customers questions about themselves. You’ll get information about your customer base straight from the source, and your customers will appreciate feeling heard. Providing some kind of incentive, like a discount, may help you get more replies.

5. Conduct interviews. Reach out to customers and leads and ask them if they’d be willing to be interviewed. Focus on gleaning information from them that would be hard to collect from analytics alone, such as what they need most right now, what stresses them out, and where they hope to be in five years.

 

Putting it All Together

As you gather data about your customers, you’ll probably start noticing some patterns. Use those patterns to start putting your buyer personas together. Sift through the information you’ve collected and flesh each persona out with realistic personal details.

Go the extra mile to make your personas seem like actual people. Give each of them a name, like “Manager Michael,” and find a stock image that reflects the gender, age, and occupation of the persona. Imagining your personas as people you might really interact with will help you market to the customers they represent most effectively.