Marketing Manager Mary. Fitness Trainer Fiona. Landscaper Lucas. These aren’t names of bad cartoon characters; they’re buyer personas. And if you don’t know what a buyer persona is, then this article is going to completely change the game for you.
In a nutshell, a buyer persona (also referred to as a marketing persona) is a fictionalized profile that represents your ideal customer. They are, in the basic sense, characters that embody exactly who you want to sell your product to. Think the crazy cat lady, the pretentious millennial artist, or the overcompensating jock.
Personas allow you to customize your marketing efforts and better connect with your target audience. By doing so, you are able to find the best way to approach them with your solution to their problem.
But how do you actually go about creating such a character, and how can you make sure it’s an accurate portrayal?
Step 1. Check Site Analytics
As a marketer, you probably love analytics. They’re probably your best friend.
Site analytics tell you exactly what you want to know about the people who visit your site; where do they come from, how long do they stay there, and what exactly did they type into Google’s search bar to get to you?
When creating a buyer persona, this kind of information is gold. It lets you know what search terms are being linked to your pages and what channels people are using to find you (i.e. were you recommended to them on their Facebook feed? Did their friends tell them about you? Did your five-second ad on YouTube actually work?) This kind of knowledge then tells you a little more about your ideal customer’s situation.
Step 2. Give Your Persona a Name
Cheesy as it may sound, your buyer persona needs a name. Remember the three monstrosities we opened this article with? That’s just the tip of the iceberg, sweetheart. It’s not uncommon for the marketing team of big brands to have a kooky-sounding name for their persona; think Adam the Accountant, Businesswoman Brenda, or even Ivan the IT Guy.
Why do they bother? Because it contributes to the realness of that persona. This is why your parents always warn you against naming the kitten you found on the street or the egg you’re taking care of for biology; once you name something, you get attached to it. Once your persona has a name, you’re going to be able to truly envision what this person—your ideal consumer—looks like.
Step 3. Conduct Market Research
Creating buyer personas means getting a rough gauge of who your customers are, what they are searching for, and what they want to achieve. This means some intensive market research is in order. This kind of information requires setting up things like online polls and customer surveys. You can also use your social media channels to conduct interviews or chat with current customers online
Additionally, you have the option to check out your competitors’ online interactions with their own customers; know thy enemy, after all. This gives you a better understanding of the treatment your audience is used to getting.
Step 4. Create a Well-Defined Template
Once you have a broad definition (or, should we say, a rough picture) of your buyer persona, you can now work on a more detailed template. Here are some of the things you should include:
- Persona’s Name. Humanizing your marketing efforts is essential when trying to reach a specific group of people. See previous point.
- Profession. This includes vital information about their company, along with details of their job description. Are they a teacher? An IT expert? A fitness guru? Be as specific as possible.
- Demographics. This section refers to the customer’s age, gender, average annual income, residence, family size, educational attainment, and the like.
- Goals & Challenges. Indicate the customer’s main goal, their secondary goal, and how your business can help them achieve both. Also, take note of the problems they need to resolve.
- Fears & Values. Find out the customer’s main values as a person.
As you expound on each section, you’re going to learn new things. As you learn new things, your buyer persona will most likely change. You may even discover an entirely new buyer persona once your business expands. So as you gain this extra knowledge, don’t forget to go back and redefine your personas to make sure you are still targeting potential customers effectively.
Remember, detailed personas allow you to engage directly with your customers and target your ads a little better. Taking the time to create buyer personas can consequently lead to greater ROI and increased interest from new and old consumers alike.