Buyer personas are fictional characters, or archetypes, that represent different types of consumers who may use your product, service, website or brand. We, digital marketers use personas to put a face to abstract data in order to help us consider the goals and limitations of each consumer type. We also use the profiles to decide on a target buyer persona—the type of consumer who is most likely to respond in a desired manner—and to build campaigns and a marketing strategy around them.
By creating buyer personas, you’ll determine the goals, needs, behavior patterns, attitudes, skill and environment of your best prospects and be able to build digital marketing campaigns that deliver the greatest ROI.
- Create persona profiles. To faces to your buyer personas—your ideal customers—you have to know more about them. We recommend that you gather information for your top three to five personas, such as:
- Marital status
- Educational background
- Parental status
- Main concerns
- Vocation and job title
- Work ethic
- Motivations and goals, as well as obstacles and barriers
- Their position as a decision-maker and their decision-making process
- Socioeconomic status
- Buying habits
- Their role as an influencer, researcher or purchaser
- Geographic location
- What their pain points are
- How your business helps alleviate their pains
- Why they don’t buy from you
- Why they would buy from you
- Leverage current customers or hire a focus group. Learn more about each persona by interviewing or gathering data about your current customers. If you’re a startup, consider using focus groups that resemble your target consumers to learn more about their needs, the solutions they seek and the ways they prefer to receive information. In addition, use the group to learn about who influences your target prospects, how they obtain trusted information (e.g., word of mouth, advertisements or social media) and products or services of interest.
- Find out why personas may not choose your company, product or service. When you talk to your customers or members of a focus group, learn why they may choose the competition over what you offer. The individuals will reveal information that you may expect (e.g., the cost is too expensive), as well as issues that you didn’t realize. Examples of such issues can include difficulty of use, customer service problems, missing capabilities and geographic location.
- Determine how the target buyer personas may discover your company. Ask your customers about how they learned about your business, product or service. If you’re a startup, ask the members of a focus group about how they learn about new things that they feel compelled to try and share. If you have an online presence, list the keywords that drive the most customers to your website to gain insight about their problems and concerns. By being aware of your consumers’ needs and creating a marketing strategy that centers around them, your content is more likely to position you as a trusted expert in your industry or as a thought leader
- Make sure your target persona is realistic, not self-serving. A dream customer is one who purchases all your products and services and does so regularly. This image, however, isn’t realistic. According to USAbility.gov basing buyer personas off this type of consumer, may not help you target the type of consumer that you need to reach the most. In addition to customers and focus groups, it’s a great idea to talk to people who aren’t your customers or those who are the most critical and distrusting of your company. Doing so will help you learn about and relate to their needs, identify common themes and discover barriers to potential opportunities.
Creating buyer personas takes time. The effort, however, will help you and your team members have a consistent understanding regarding your best prospects so you can prioritize your solutions and better meet the customers’ needs.
Biznet can help you weather the storm. Founded in 1994, Biznet is a Michigan-based digital marketing agency whose mission is to help companies use internet technologies to maximize their digital ROI. We provide consultation and implementation services across a range of digital initiatives, including marketing automation, lead generation, search marketing, content and social marketing, and e-commerce. Contact us at 248.560.9000.