A buyer persona is a semi-fictitious avatar you create of your target audience. It is a vital step for any business to determine a customer persona, and it helps you understand your customer, their interests, likes, dislikes, habits, and pain points.
Let us understand everything about buyer persona and how you can create an accurate one for your business.
What is a buyer persona, and how is it important?
A buyer persona is a real living picture of an actual person you want to sell your products to. A buyer persona is a more detailed version of your target audience.
When you create a client persona, have one person in mind. Ask yourself questions like who is your customer? Are they male or female? Where do they live? How much do they earn? What does their day look like? What are their challenges?
Answering these questions will take you closer to your audience. If you are starting a business, defining a buyer persona is paramount from the beginning.
Creating a buyer persona is essential to improve your user experience, inbound marketing program, product development, tailoring of content, fine-tuning your messaging, and increasing sales, thereby improving conversion ratings. The more characteristics you integrate into your buyer persona, the closer you get to your audience.
What are the types of buyer personas?
Just like each business is different, every business persona will be different too. You shouldn’t create your buyer personas based on other businesses. What works for them may not work for you and vice-versa.
Having said that, you can determine the category that your target persona will fall into. A B2B customer persona will be starkly different from a B2C buyer persona.
- B2C Buyer Persona: If your product/service is directly dealing with the customer, your business falls under this category. In this case, the customer is the decision-maker and takes personal choices into consideration.
- B2B Buyer Persona: A B2B buyer persona is more complex as they are not the sole decision-maker. They are answerable to the other individuals involved in the business and are conditioned by how their company works.
If you want to narrow down the types of buyer personas within the B2B and B2C segments, here are 4 common types based on different types of customers:
- Analytical Buyer: These buyers make decisions based on facts, not emotions. They want to be sure of what they’re buying, which may take longer, and are driven by facts, data, and proof of your product’s use cases.
- Amiable Buyer: They value harmony and peace over everything else. Before buying any product/service, they want to be sure they’re making the right decision. They will discuss and take feedback from friends and family, and if they get good reviews, they will buy your product.
- Expressive Buyer: This type of buyer is brand-conscious and wants to buy aspirational products to elevate their status. They like everything expensive and will buy your product if you convince them it is a luxurious product/service.
- Driver Buyer: They are the decision maker who will buy a product when convinced of its benefits. They are not interested in knowing the history of your company. If they see your product is solving their pain point, they will buy it.
As a content strategist, you don't need to have only one buyer persona. However, if you’re just starting out, start small. Create one buyer persona, and along the way, you can keep modifying it or add more.
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Buyer persona example
A good buyer persona is one that covers a comprehensive list of characteristics related to the potential client. To create one, keep in mind the following parameters. You can always add/modify a few to align with your business needs:
- Demographics: This category is a group of basic questions that you must answer to start creating a customer persona. The buyer’s age, gender, level of education, marital status, job position, where they live, where they work and how much they earn, etc., must be determined.
- Motivation: Once acquainted with the basic demographics, move on to extracting more personalized aspects of your potential buyer. Find out about their dreams, aims, and what motivates them. Is it positive motivation driven by aspirations that pushes them forward, or is it negative motivation driven by fear that spurs them into action?
- Online Habits: This section will help establish more about their interests and preferences for consuming content and making purchases. What kind of ads do they like, are they active on social media, what do they Google, what kind of brands they browse, etc., must be analyzed.
- Challenges: This category helps define how a brand will fit perfectly in the buyer’s life and address customer needs. What are their pain points, the hindrances the buyer is facing, and what do they desire? Finding answers to these will help you extract ways to reach them efficiently.
Below, we have shared a concrete example of a buyer persona for you to understand better. Here, we have created a buyer persona for a real estate firm.
Jane is a 42-year-old working professional looking to buy a new house. Currently, she resides in a 2BHK apartment flat with her husband and daughter and wants to invest in a countryside home. She wants a spacious modern house not very far off from her office.
She loves gardening and would prefer a backyard. As her everyday life revolves around juggling work responsibilities and family commitments, she isn’t able to find time to go on a house hunt. Finding a house that fulfills all the criteria isn’t an easy task either. Moreover, the ongoing recession is making her rethink her decision to buy a home.
Looking at Jane’s example, we understand her desires, needs, and pain points. Her expectations are driven by trust and convenience and involve the decisions of her family too. These frustrations can be solved by the real estate firm in a well-planned way. They can reach out to her for a home visit to fit in her schedule, work with influencers, and opt for word-of-mouth references.
For more examples, read this detailed blog that covers different buyer persona examples.
Is the target audience different from the buyer persona?
Target audience is a broader terminology for defining your audience, while buyer persona is more detailed. The audience doesn’t refer to someone specific, but the buyer persona is the ideal customer you want to target.
Determining your target audience based on market research doesn’t tell you about the audience’s habits and lifestyle. In contrast, the buyer persona helps create a fictional character with real problems. Thus, a buyer persona helps you understand your audience and approach them more systematically.
What are the benefits of creating buyer personas?
The benefits of creating a marketing persona for your business are infinite. Similar to how you define your company motto, aim, and objectives, you should also determine your buyer persona from the beginning.
Here are a few primary benefits of developing buyer personas:
1. More efficient marketing strategies
When you know your ideal customer well, you can devise better strategies as you get to know all about their likes, interests, and pain points. A refined strategy can work wonders for the brand as you can communicate better with the audience and identify the right medium to reach them.
Increase in ROI
Apart from increased sales, there will be a higher return on investment as you can allocate your time, efforts, and resources to drafting communication for your specific audience.
For example, if your audience isn’t active on Twitter and Instagram, you can avoid reaching out to them through these platforms. Instead, you can focus on the channels that work for your audience.
Feel closer to your customer
Full-scale documentation of the buyer persona allows you to understand your customer better. You feel you know them personally, and there is a sense of empathy that you start building, which is projected in your communication too.
A buyer persona helps you know everything about your potential buyer. This way, you can decide the tone of the brand, colors, imagery, etc., for the brand. This will help you reach out to them in a more personalized and targeted way.
This practice will minimize spillage of your communication and will attract your specific audience only.
What are the key traits to consider while creating buyer personas?
For a startup that doesn’t have actual data and sales analysis to help create an accurate audience persona, demographics and psychographics are good starting points. While we’ve already talked about demographic information in the article, let us now focus on the latter.
Psychographics help create an actionable buyer persona as they determine customers’ purchasing patterns. Through this qualitative approach, you define why someone would buy your product/service.
The personality of an individual helps determine their journey of buying a product. A psychological portrait will make you understand whether the buyer has a conscientious or extroverted personality and if they are friendly, neurotic, or open to experience. These hints can guide you on how to target your communication towards them.
Motivations and interests
It is important to know what motivates your customers to buy a particular product. You can place motivations and interests under 4 categories:
- Extrinsic - A person who gets influenced to buy something because of others
- Intrinsic - A person who invests in something because of internal thoughts
- Identified - A person who knows specifically what they want to buy
- Introjected - A person who internalizes the idea of buying something based on the authority and recurring ideas of others.
Lifestyle habits guide you in understanding how often the target customer will use your product. Where does your product fit into their day-to-day routine? Determining this will allow you to communicate accordingly.
Opinions, attitudes, and beliefs
Customers’ opinions, attitudes, and beliefs are a great driving force behind their decision-making abilities. If you can adapt to that, you automatically understand them better. Brand colors, tone, imagery, font, and language are some attributes to keep in mind.
Striking the right chord aligned with customers’ values is a great way to form a connection with them. If your messaging resonates with their personal choices and values, you will likely be their top choice.
How to find interviewees for buyer persona research?
This is the most important step to building your buyer personas. As your persona cannot be based on assumptions, you need real-time data and analysis of who your buyers are. Here are a few ways to do this:
Connect with existing customers
Talking to existing customers will help you understand the driving factor behind them purchasing your product. No one is better than your current customers in telling you what is actually working for your brand.
Talk to prospective customers
Talking to a segment of real people who can be your customers can be fruitful as you will know about their pain points and challenges to be fulfilled.
Use your referrals
Talking to people you know, like friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, etc., can give you great insights into evaluating your ideal buyer persona.
Use the power of surveys
Circulate surveys on social media or newsletters to as many people as possible to get data from a large segment.
What to do when you are a startup and don’t have any customers?
If you are a startup without any customers at the moment, start with defining your target audience for a broader understanding and narrow it down with the help of buyer persona tools and templates available online.
After you answer a few questions, the AI creates personas that are customizable and shareable. They can be a starting point giving you an idea of what your potential customer could look like. You can also refer to Google Analytics online to extract data-backed information for your content creation.
20 questions to ask in buyer persona interviews/surveys
The following are some of the more important questions you can include in your interviews/surveys to create your buyer personas:
- What is your age?
- Are you married?
- What is your job title?
- Where do you work?
- Where do you live?
- What tools and software do you use?
- What are your responsibilities?
- Are you a decision-maker?
- What are your challenges?
- What do you read online?
- Are you active on social media?
- Which social media app do you use?
- What are your goals?
- What convinces you to buy a product?
- What makes you not buy a product?
- Do you make purchases online or offline?
- How do you learn new skills?
- What are your hobbies?
- What is your daily routine?
- Do you like going out?
You can download the list of buyer persona survey questions for your easy reference here.
Mistakes to avoid while creating buyers persona
To draft an effective consumer persona, avoid making the following mistakes:
- Don’t assume your buyer’s persona; evaluate it.
- Don’t focus on just demographics. You need to dig deep.
- Don’t interview anyone outside of your target audience.
- Don’t have too many personas in the beginning; stick to one and modify it regularly.
- Don’t choose stereotypes. Instead, stick to the parameters that the results project.
Tools you can use to create buyers personas
There are tools and templates available online that can assist you in creating buyer personas. Many are easy to use, free of cost, and come with customization options.
Once you enter the details, the AI generates a persona apt for your business. That way, you get a clear picture of your buyer persona. You can also download and share the buyer persona with your marketing team for a unified approach.
To know more about the tools and pick one that works best for you, read this blog on 8 tools you can use to create buyers personas.