What Is a Buyer Persona: The Incredibly Simple Trick to Boost Sales

by Teddy Mitova

You want to attract more customers but don’t know how? Maybe you’re just going after the wrong audience.

You’re probably sick of seeing the same dumb or irrelevant ads, and you’re not alone. To put it bluntly – that’s how the people you’re marketing to feel when they’re not interested in your offer.

But if you’re the one selling, how should you approach buyers? It’s simple – you need to get personal.

The key to a focused, targeted marketing effort is to create a buyer persona. What is a buyer persona? Bear with me and you’ll find out soon.

It is important to develop such personas because it will help you deeply understand what your customers want and need, and how to communicate on a personal level. It’s a win-win situation – you get more clients, while they get better service.

Fun fact: More than 90% of companies who exceed their revenue goals admit to separating their customer database by personas.

But What Is a Buyer Persona, you ask?

A buyer persona is a generalized description of your target audience. This includes demographic information, career history, family size, and even hobbies. You write everything down as if it were a real person – and, of course, you give the persona a name. Developing buyer personas will help you get inside the head of your current and potential customers and refine your marketing messages. That way, you take the guesswork out of your marketing process and you can influence your audience more strongly.

Other words you can find for the same term are customer persona, target persona, and marketing persona.

The buyer persona definition sounds simple, but you have to put in some work to get the most out of this approach. Don’t worry though; it will be worth it, I promise!

So How Do You Create a Buyer Persona?

Research and careful analysis are crucial in this marketing strategy. Ideally, you should have about 3-5 different buyer personas. Have too few and you’re missing out on key characteristics of part of your audience. Have too many, and you will dilute your attention and efforts. (Which defeats the whole purpose of simplifying your marketing.)

Tip: The Buyer Persona Institute offers online courses and help with research.

So this is how to mold a buyer persona:

  1. First, you need to see how many general target customers you have.
  2. Then, you gather information about them so that you can create an authentic buyer persona.
  3. Finally, you put everything together.

Here are the steps explained:

The Research

How should you go about data collection and marketing research online?

Let’s take a look at some proven tips on how to do buyer persona research:

Begin by imagining your perfect customer and answer these questions:

  • What gender is the person?
  • What is their age?
  • Are they married; do they have children?
  • Where do they live?
  • What do they do and what type of company or industry do they work in?

Now dig deeper:

  • What are their goals?
  • What are the biggest challenges and difficulties this person faces in everyday life and at work?
  • Is this person the one making the decisions or does he/she have a manager or a boss?

Then it is necessary to learn how your persona accesses and consumes content:

  • A mobile device or desktop computer?
  • During working hours or at home?
  • How much content do they consume and do they want more?
  • Do they use social networks (highly likely) and if yes, which ones?
  • Who does this person consider an authority? (If you want to find influencers.)
  • What does the person care about enough to trigger a purchase?

Bonus tip: If you know someone similar to your targeted persona, it will be useful to stalk them on social media and see their behavior patterns, likes, and dislikes.

Moreover, it’s a great idea to create questionnaires. It’s important to make them short enough so people won’t mind going through them. About 10 minutes sounds reasonable.

You can use SurveyMonkey or similar platforms to create your questionnaire.

Another option is to have mini phone interviews with your current customers. In any case, it is crucial to begin by letting them know you are doing this FOR THEM – to improve your products and provide the best service.

However, coming up with the buyer persona questions might be tough. One rule of thumb is to keep them as short and clear as possible.

For example, you can begin with the demographics questions, including their educational background.

Then you can ask what the person likes to do in their free time. Everyone loves talking about this. It’s easy to think this is a pointless question, when in fact, you can learn a lot of useful details.

Then you can proceed to find out about the person’s job, goals, and challenges. It is important to learn who is in charge of purchasing decisions and what objections and doubts they have about your product. That way, you can dispel them preemptively in your marketing. Your audience will think you’re a mindreader!

And of course, don’t forget to ask them about where they get their information. That way you’ll know how best to reach them with your marketing messages.

You can read many suggestions of what your buyer persona questions should look like. Still, your primary goal is to tailor them to what works best for you and your business.

You actually have plenty of ways to get that information. Your website is just one of those. Social media analytics and customer feedback are two more that are easy to think of. Finally, even just talking to your employees and friends might give you fresh ideas and a new perspective.

Now, moving on to

Stitching Up the Persona

You’re almost there! Now you just need to construct the persona based on the collected data. There are many carefully designed templates to help you.

It’s best to follow a simple template that is easy to read and summarizes the main points. Otherwise, you risk having too much text and getting lost. This Buyer Persona Canvas strikes a good balance between effectiveness and simplicity. (Some might even argue these two are one and the same!)

Now is the time to give that persona a name. Call them something natural and easy to remember. Just check their estimated age and google the most popular baby names from their birth year. Then you can name the persona something like Sporty Sally or Manager Mike, based on their profile – so you can immediately recognize their most important features.

A picture of “them” can help you personify and visualize the person better. Just make sure to pick someone of the right age and with a relevant appearance.

It’s great fun so far, right? Don’t tell me your favorite part of The Sims wasn’t creating the characters! You’re doing something similar here.

Of course, you can leave the picture and the name last. Do whatever works best for you.

Ok, now just put a short description of about 1 sentence that sums up this person.

Fill in the demographic info – age, education level, job position, income, location, etc. Easy peasy!

Then list their top 3-5 goals and values, starting with the most important.

Now do the same with their top 3-5 challenges/worries/fears.

Mention their online behaviors and where they go for information regularly.

Finally, the bio or lifestyle. There you can write in more detail what a typical day in that person’s life looks like and how you can improve it. Use short sentences when describing their story and stick to the main points.

Here’s the deal:

It’s important to put yourself in your client’s shoes to anticipate their needs.

There are numerous persona templates to help you organize this info. Just find out what works best for you.

Tip: Here you can see some buyer persona examples.

Specifically for retail buyer personas one example is the discount chaser – from their name you can immediately see that this person is all about those sweet “Get 2 for 1” or “50% Off” deals. This instantly tells you what strategy to use to get them hooked.

The best thing is, you can create personas for all kinds of industries. Check out this cool car buyer personas infographic for more inspiration.

Good. All that’s left now is to create different approaches based on the persona types you have assembled.

Behold

The Buyers’ Journeys

This is where the rubber meets the road. By now you’ve assembled all the info and spent time and effort creating the different personas. Now you send different pitches to the different personas. Strategic planning is crucial.

You wouldn’t want to see an ad for a product you simply can’t afford, or an ad for tampons when you’re a man (and no, it’s not a good present for your girlfriend).

But more importantly, you want to see ads that actually resonate with you, and you feel they get you. Humanized sales content and marketing messages work miracles.

So you have 3-5 target personas templates. Now all that’s left is to take advantage of them and create suitable buyers’ journeys for each.

A buyer’s journey is the process your potential customer goes through before deciding whether to purchase from you… or not (gasp!). It is important to guide them through it and make it as convenient and pleasant as possible. No taking the Ring to Mordor or anything like that!

Naturally, it looks like that: Someone realizes they have a problem and need something; they define it and research how to solve it; finally, they choose a solution and buy it.

In more detail, the buyer’s journey has several stages:

  • Awareness
  • Interest
  • Consideration
  • Decision
  • Purchase
  • Post-purchase
  • Re-purchase

For best results, you need to use marketing strategies that include all stages. That way you’re creating the best possible journey for your client. (And you’re maximizing the number of clients you’ll get.)

Those stages are not all created equal, though. The 3 main ones are Awareness, Consideration, and Decision.

Here’s how you tackle each one:

First, you have to make the buyers aware of your company, product or service. That way, they know what you do and how you can help them. Focus on their needs and show them you “get” them.

Then, it seems, more than 70% of buyers turn to Google to do some research. They usually look for customer reviews, so make sure to resolve any issues and encourage clients to leave reviews that are visible on your website.

Further into their research, buyers will come to understand their own priorities and which criteria meet their needs.

That’s how the great elimination begins. Only several competing products/services will remain.

Then, the Consideration stage.

After they have narrowed it down to a few companies, buyers will return to more detailed research – for example comparing all suitable offers. They can also reach out to sales reps with inquiries.

Now is the time to remember all the collected information. That way you can pick the right approach with each individual prospect and respond to their specific needs.

Getting closer to making a decision, prospects will focus on their budget and which product is the best match for them. Positive customer testimonials and case studies will help convince them to choose you. Make sure to validate their decision and always provide an easy contract process.

Finally, after the purchase, make sure to continue caring about your buyers. That way, they’ll remain valuable and loyal customers. Check in with them often by email, offer loyalty points and discounts, etc. In other words – make them feel appreciated and valued.

Look for chances to upgrade and offer new products to renew their interest. Staying in touch will pay off.

Keep asking yourself what more you can do for your clients and how to improve your products and services. Always refer to your buyer personas in every step of the buyer’s journey. Feel free to change your buyer personas or add new ones as your market changes as well.

Let’s recap with the FAQ so that you don’t forget something important!

FAQ

Why is it considered important to focus on the buyer persona?

It helps you understand your current and potential clients better. That way you can provide more personalized marketing content and excellent service, which will attract more buyers.

How do you define buyer persona?

The buyer persona marketing definition is this: a generalized description of your target customer, including everything from demographic information and career history to family size to hobbies.

How many buyer personas should you create?

3-5 is optimal. Less than that and you will be ignoring important traits of your audience, while more than that might be too many and too similar to each other.

What is a customer persona? / What is a marketing persona?

These are different terms for a buyer persona. It is a profile of your dream customer.

How do you develop customer persona?

There are many guides and templates out there to help you with that. The process includes a lot of careful research and gathering of information that you put together. Collective brainstorming also helps. You have to answer several questions to develop a customer persona, for ex. about their age and living situation, goals, problems, etc.

What is the purpose of persona?

The purpose of creating a persona is to humanize your buyers and get to know them better. That way you can make more attractive sales messages and provide customers with the best possible experience. It will also help you design products and services they actually want to buy.

It all comes down to having an understanding of people’s needs and worries. Then sales will skyrocket, and everyone will be happy. This is why knowing what a buyer persona is and putting that knowledge to good use is in your best interest.

Well, that’s all, folks! Now you know the secret to gaining buyers’ trust and granting them their heart’s desire. Remember, it’s all about getting to know them and making them feel special!

Good luck with your exciting buyer personas and journeys, and until next time!

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