In simple terms, the goal of any business is to make money. Buyer personas help achieve that goal. But what are buyer personas and how can you create better personas that make your business more money?
Let’s find out.
Buyer Persona Definition
Buyer personas are detailed representations of your ideal customers. Personas explore the who, what, where, when, and why of your target customers. That includes demographic information, career history, motivations, buying patterns, and much more, depending on your business.
However, not all buyer personas are created equal. Strong, actionable ones have information that supports the day-to-day operations of all departments within your company. They provide guidance on how to design and develop products. They also shed light on how to market and sell those products, plus a little bit of help for every step in between.
Of course, valuable personas begin with the right buyers.
Buyer personas are detailed representations of your ideal customers. Personas explore the who, what, where, when, and why of your target customers.
How to Choose Your Buyer Personas
To create an excellent persona, you have to start by identifying your ideal buyer. Ask yourself who buys your products or services right now, who are your best buyers—using criteria relevant to your business model—and who you want to become your top buyers in the future.
There are a couple of ways you can go at this planning stage. You can trust your gut and choose your personas that way, or you can trust data and use your historical sales to decide. Naturally, we vote for the data approach.
Start with an analysis of all your sales in the past calendar year. If you’re a B2B business, you’ll have access to customer information such as job title, company size, and average deal size. If you’re B2C, you should look at demographics, average basket size, and products sold as starting points.
Either way, the goal is simple: find out who creates the most revenue. These should be your basic buyer personas. You want to target the people who are buying the most from you right now. This will also help you decide how many personas to create. Some business models have dozens of personas, while others may have one. Look at revenue data to see if your business is selling to many different types of buyers or not, then go from there.
Create Actionable Personas
Locking down your core buyer personas is an important starting point, but it doesn’t mean you’ll immediately have great, actionable personas to work off of.
You’ll need to shift your attention to the meat of the personas. In a best-case scenario, you’ll have factual data on your top potential customers to work with here. If not, you can make educated guesses based on your business experience.
Either way, create a list of the following details for each of your core personas:
- Persona Name—This can be their job title, job function, or something catchy, like “Marketing Manager Matt.”
- Brief Bio—Write a one-paragraph summary of their job role, as you’d find on a resume, or their role within their family or social circle if B2C.
- Demographic Information—Jot down this ideal buyer’s age, gender, family, geographic location, and estimated income.
- Your Products or Services—Make a note of which of your products or services this person buys.
- Your Solutions—Expand on those products by providing more detail about the problems you solve for this buyer.
- Their Company or Industry—Include a few example companies that this buyer would work for if B2B.
- Their KPIs—How do they measure success in their daily job or life? How can your business support those KPIs?
- Their Goals—Write down what this person wants to accomplish, what they value, and what are their pains, among other objectives they may have.
This list may seem like a lot, but it’ll give great insight into who are your current customers and who you want to target with buyer personas.
There are multiple ways you can leverage personas to drive value for your business.
What to Do With Personas
Great, let’s say you’ve got your personas created. What should you actually do with them? This is where the real fun begins. There are multiple ways you can leverage personas to drive value for your business.
For starters, personas should be shared internally. Every department within your organization should know who your personas are and what makes these top customers tick. Importantly, you’ll have a strong understanding of their pain points and how your products directly solve those problems. This knowledge can positively influence the development of new products, the interactions employees have with customers, and how you market and sell to your audience.
Second, you should use buyer personas as marketing and sales tools. Personas can work great for inbound marketing on a website. Develop buyer persona landing pages so website visitors can self-select which audience they fall under. The copy on those pages will address their pain points and your solutions, ideally converting at a higher rate than more general landing pages.
You can also have outbound sales teams use personas to craft messaging. They’ll have a better sense of who they’re talking with, either via email, phone, or in person. They can then guide the conversation to your products that directly solve the relevant buyer’s pains—because you’ll know what those pains are.
You can also have marketers use this information across any digital channel, such as social media, to create more tailored messaging. Or your pricing team can use personas to set prices that align with these customer profiles.
Don’t Be Afraid to Iterate and Evolve
In conclusion, buyer personas are an important part of any business. They will help guide you in your daily decision-making and affect all stages, from product development to sales and customer support.
Importantly, the customer profiles you create aren’t static. They should grow and evolve over time, just like your real-life target audience. Therefore, you should always use high-quality data and analytics to keep your personas up-to-date and effective for your company.