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What is a Buyer Persona and Why Do You Need One?
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]All successful business are obsessed with their customers and finding out what makes them tick.
They want to know everything about them – from education, skills and profession, to their hobbies, favourite books and movies. The reason is simply, the more they know them, the better they can tailor their services to serving them.
Every aspect of your business strategy should have your customers at the centre of it.
From products and services you offer to marketing and sales strategy. A business that doesn’t pay attention to its target customers won’t last all that long.
This is why it’s so crucial to develop a buyer persona. This is essentially a fictional distilling of your ideal customer. Bringing it to life like this helps you to refer to the character you’ve created whenever you plan any kind of business activity – from developing a new product, to posting on social media.
What is a Buyer Persona?
Simply explained, a buyer persona is a fictional character – who you have created based on research – that has the key characteristics, needs and demographics of your ideal customers. A buyer persona embodies the audience your business is targeting.
A buyer persona is a fictional character – who you have created based on research – that has the key characteristics, needs and demographics of your ideal customers.
- Buyer personas are also known as customer avatars, ideal customer profiles, customers personas – they are referring to the same thing.
How to create your buyer persona
To make plans and define strategy for your business, you really do need to have a profile of your buyer persona right in front of you.
So gather around your colleagues block out a few hours, and get started creating a buyer persona for your business.
Make a list of everything you need
Write down everything you need to know about your customers, which will help you to target them. In most cases, this list will be made of things like background, demographics, hobbies and interests. Think about what makes them happy and sad. What are their goals, values, pain points? How can you help these people.
You can go into as much detail as you want to, but don’t overdo it and waste time.
It’s best to do this as a team, because it’s easy to miss elements if you’re doing it alone. A quick google will also lead you to plenty of templates that you can download to help you. Use these as a starting point, but tweak them to suit your specific needs.
Start gathering information
There are many places you can “dig out” all the information you need to put together your buyer persona profile.
First is your website. If you have set up Google Analytics, then you will be able to access the demographic data you need right there.
It’s helpful to have a broad idea of who your ideal customer is, so you can compare it to real analytics data. For example, if you decide you are aiming at young people in their 20s, but your website visitors are people 60+, it’s a clear sign that something is off and your persona probably needs adjusting.
The next place to look around is on social media. Even if you’re not active on social media, you can find your audience using hashtags and keywords. This research will help you to discover their more personal side – the questions they are asking, challenges they are facing, their lifestyle, interests, hobbies, and so on.
If you’ve started building your email list, you can ask your subscribers to help you out by sending them a short survey to fill out.
To increase participation, offer a discount code for your products or services, so it’s a win-win situation.
Put together your buyer persona profile
When you’ve finished the research phase, and have a good amount of information to work with, you can start shaping your buyer persona.
Again, if you have a team, don’t forget to include them in this step – everyone needs to be on the same page about who your target customer is.
Start by giving your buyer persona a name. This might sound a bit silly, but it really helps to think of your persona as a real person. It will also help if you can find a suitable headshot photo on a stock website. This just helps bring the persona to life by giving them a physical appearance so you can visualise them more easily.
Then decide on demographics for your audience. Of course not all members of your audience will share exactly the same details. Your persona is essentially the average of your audience base. There will of course be outliers and differences in everyone.
It’s up to you how you formulate the final persona. A simple document or a nice graphic like the example below can be helpful.
buyer persona example by Taylor Carroll, source
Things to keep in mind:
1. Use the buyer persona profiles you create
This sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many businesses complete this exercise only to completely forget about their buyer personas and, as a result, drift away from their initial focus on serving the right audience.
Refer to your buyer personas constantly – even when you are doing small tasks like creating a post for social media. Imagine you are writing directly for the challenges your persona is facing. Don’t waste your time and efforts on creating something that won’t attract your target audience.
2. Create more than one buyer persona if you need to
Some businesses have very specific niches, and will probably need only one buyer persona profile to cover their target audience. Others have a wider aim and therefore, need more than one profile.
So instead of cramming everything into one profile, create as many as you need to cover the majority of your target audience. For example, if you are targeting both men and women, you will have at least two buyer personas that will represent each gender.
Fewer personas is generally better but not essential.
3. Share it with your team
Once you have created buyer personas, share them with everyone who works for your business in any way – whether they are full, part-time or freelancers.
All business activities should be directed towards this target audience, and everyone needs to have a clear idea of who the audience is. Your persona will allow internal and external parties to quickly hit the right mark.
4. Update your personas regularly
Lastly, the personas you create now won’t be the same in the years to come – people change, and your persona will change too. You might not quite get it right at first attempt, or may realise you’re aiming at the wrong people anyway. So make sure you keep these fluid and keep the profile up to date as time passes.
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