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A step-by-step guide to building your own buyer personas

A step-by-step guide to building your own buyer personas

The great thing about buyer personas is, they aren't something only a handful of businesses benefit from; they can work for every industry. You can build them using your data and by interviewing past and current customers. 

Understanding what your customers want, when they want it and how they go about finding it, are the ultimate answers every business wants to know. Buyer personas can go quite some way to helping you confidently answer those questions; starting you off onto a path where you can begin to truly connect with your customers; helping them overcome their barriers to purchase with the perfect solution, perfectly packaged. 

building your buyer personas from scratch

Firstly, what is a buyer persona?

We all have that picture of the ideal customer in our heads for our businesses, but it's not enough to just known who you want as a customer in your mind.

Data and surveys may dictate your picture of your ideal customer is actually someone who will never realistically buy your products or services. Understanding your audience is paramount to achieving relevant leads and conversions, giving you the stepping stones toward achieving the ultimate end goal of an increase in revenue.

Why does your company need buyer personas?

I've already lightly touched on the overarching reason your business need to build specific buyer personas, and that's because building them will help you understand your audience, and equip you with the knowledge necessary to increase the relevancy of your leads and conversions.

But, aside from this benefit, building buyer personas will mould your idealistic view of your customer into a persona as close as you can possibly get to your real customers. This is important for your brand; if you continue creating your strategy with a rose-tinted view of your customers, you'll simply waste your budget and resources targeting the wrong people!

The process of creating a buyer persona can help you, as a marketer, build a more realistic and more achievable understanding of those people seeking your products or services.

3 tips before you begin to build your buyer personas

1. Focus on the area of customers that provides the biggest revenue for your business. For example, if you sell clothes for men, women and children, your children's clothing might bring in the largest revenue over the other two departments. You can build your other personas out at a later date - it's important you don't take on too many personas at once!

2. Use the data at your disposal. This might be anything you've collected over the past few years from customer feedback forms and survey responses. Look through your past website data, even just using Google Analytics, in order to find patterns or trends by analysing how your customers are currently viewing and consuming your site content. Which pages are they leaving straight away and which pages are they spending time on?

3. Get in touch with your current customer base and discover which aspects of your products or services they found the most useful, and encourage them to be brutally honest with the not-so-useful aspects. What answers were they looking for when they first began their research? Answers to questions like these will provide you with valuable insight, helping you understand the paint points in the buyer's journey. 

Below are the questions you need to answer in order to build up that semi-fictional representation of your customer. They're split up into four sections; who, what, why and how.

Who?

Give your persona a name - alliteration works really well (e.g. Shopaholic Sally), you remember it easily and don't forget to pick a stock photo to represent them, now you'll start ti think of them as a person.

Answer the below questions:

  • Do they have a family? 3 kids and a dog?
  • What's their job title? Have they worked in this position long, or are they just starting their career?
  • What's their average income?
  • Where do they live, location-wise?
  • How old are they?
  • Are they male or female?

What?

The 'what' section is for your business to dig a little deeper into your persona's goals and challenges. Outlining these can help you figure out how your products or services can fix these problems.

Answer the below questions:

  • What are their goals? If your business provides a legal advice service, for example, the persona's goals might be to learn more about the legal process for their particular injury.
  • What are their challenges? Perhaps they've found it difficult to find a law firm who has worked with a similar case previously, or perhaps they find the legal professionals untrustworthy.
  • Now you need to ask yourself, how can your business help them achieve the goals and challenges you've outlined above?

Why? 

This is the section where you need to think why should this persona come to your business for their product or service over your competitor?

This section should directly connect with the previous 'what' section. Depending on the persona's challenges, mirror this in your why section. This is where collecting customer reviews will help your business flourish. Reviews bring with them a sense of trust and credibility to your business - you can never collect too many!

You also need to outline any common reservations your persona could have about your business. Sometimes being able to criticise your own business can be tough; asking current and past customers this question could help surface some issues your business could address for future customers.

How?

The 'how' section is where everything needs to begin to tie together into a marketing message.

How are you going to attract this persona? If you had 60 seconds to sell your business to this particular persona, how would you go about it?

You need to understand the key pieces of information these customers will find most useful. This will enable them to think about approaching your business for your products or services - so make your marketing message entirely relevant when marketing to this persona!

Conclusion

After you've filled in all four of these sections, you need to summarise it into a few short paragraphs, almost like a story. This 'story' is something you can easily hand around to all employees so they too can understand your audience that little bit better.

After all, marketing should be a philosophy, not just a function in your business. With everyone on board and focusing tactics in the same direction, your marketing will become more targeted and will deliver results that are much more meaningful to your business.

Get in touch to discuss how we can help your business generate conversions and leads through targeted marketing.

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