Buyer Persona: How to Make One that Actually Helps
Strange question: Do you know the brand of toothpaste your customers use at night?
To know your customer, you don’t need to know what toothpaste they use or what toilet paper is next to their toilet. However, what you do need to know is who they are, what they think, and why they buy. To do this, you need to create a buyer persona for your business.
What is a Buyer Persona?
In simple terms, a buyer persona is a profile of your paying customer(s). These are the people that are actively buying your product to solve a need. In some cases your buyer persona can be completely different than who you originally intended to sell to.
For example, you have an accessory product that you created for female athletes. After some marketing campaigns you notice that your buyers are actually moms between the ages of 24-44 buying it for themselves. With this data, you can start to reshape your marketing.
Why Are Buyer Personas Useful?
In today’s connected world, we consume an incredible amount of content and see an endless stream of ads. To break through the noise, you need to stand out in a way that makes people want to see what you have to say. I’m not talking about using flashy images or bright colors. What I am talking about is creating content/ads specifically tailored to the people that you know are likely to buy your products or services.
A really useful tool in the marketer’s toolkit is a buyer persona. You can use the information about your buyers to mold your strategy. You can learn the 5 Ws and then some:
- Who are they
- What do they want or need
- Where can you reach them
- Why do they need your product
- When do they buy from you
- How to talk to them
You don’t need to know what brand of toothpaste they’re using, but if you can begin to understand them, then you can communicate with them more effectively.
When I say communicating with them effectively I mean tailoring your approach, ad copy, creative, and landing pages to speak to people directly. Mention the pain points that your product solves for them specifically. Highlight the benefits it will bring to their lives. Show that other people like them use your product and love it.
Take the example of the accessory product. If you create content based solely on female athletes, then you lose out on the moms that see your content. They will look at it and think “this doesn’t apply to me.” That’s someone with money telling you no.
Now if you create content that speaks directly to those moms, then they are more likely to buy your product because they see that it is for them. You can still create content for the athletes and promote to them, but don’t miss out on the opportunity to sell to moms.
Use a project management software, like ProjectManager.com, to create a content calendar. By using simple tools like task lists and calendars, you can ensure that you’re crafting targeted content for your buyer personas, which can boost visibility for your brand, as well as trust for your target market.
Buyer Personas Help Every Department
Tailored content applies to more than just marketing. Sales agents that know their buyer personas will have an easier job understanding their customers’ wants and needs, and thus will be able to sell to them more effectively.
Game/app makers can use this to keep people engaged in their app and maybe even pay for more money for extra content.
How to Create A Buyer Persona
Creating a buyer profile can be pretty simple or it can also be incredibly complex. In most cases you can start with something basic and continue to build upon it as you learn more about the people that fit the persona.
When creating a profile, you want to get a good understanding of who these people are. How can you communicate with them to get them to care about what you have to say, and ultimately buy from you?
Start by answering questions that relate to the persona and to your product. Here are some examples:
- How old are they?
- Male or female?
- Introvert vs extrovert?
- Kids or no kids?
- Single or married?
- Political affiliation?
- What keeps them up at night?
- What makes them happy?
- Sports or Hobbies?
- Pain points that your problem solves for them?
- Features that they will see as useful?
- Benefits that will add value to their lives?
The list can go on. Not every question is important to all businesses. It is up to you to determine the information you need in order to understand your customers.
Do not just stop with your own assumptions. If you already have some data about your customers, analyze the heck out of it.
If you followed our tips in creating your online presence, then you should have Google Analytics on your site. With Google Analytics, you can learn a lot about your existing users and buyers. This Google support article breaks down some of the information you can find.
Do some market research and see if there is any third party data out there about your persona that you can use. The US government has some data that it shares freely. Here a few more sources that can help at little or no cost:
- Online communities (Facebook groups, Forums, Reddit)
- Check meetup.com to find local meetups
- Buy magazines that your target market would buy. Read the content, see how they speak
- Follow advertisers that target your persona. What pain points do they address?
- Research direct competitors. What benefits do they highlight?
- Lookup niche specific blogs
- Watch niche specific television shows / documentaries
There are a ton of different ways to learn about your customers. If you can understand how they speak, what makes them tick, and why they do the things they do, then you will be better equipped to sell your products to them.
A Buyer Persona Example
I personally like examples when I research something so I can go from just reading about a concept/theory to seeing it in practice. For this article, we are going to explore and build some personas for a hypothetical glove company — BrownGlove Outdoor.
When I started BrownGlove Outdoor, I created a glove for gardeners. Below are some initial assumptions I would make about gardeners that would want my glove. Over time, I would revisit and update this list as I learned more about them through my campaigns.
- Age Range: 30+
- Mostly female
- Skin is prone to cuts
- Appreciates alone time
- Owns a home
- Most likely married or has been married
- Has a caring soul
- Needs to be able to feel objects through the glove
- Has kids
- Creative type of person
- Lives in a warmer climate
- Shops at nursery stores
- Subscribes to 2+ gardening magazines
With this information, I have a good idea how to target my ideal customer, and I can start to build my ads and landing page for them. I may not use everything I gathered from my research. The process of trying to understand them, however, gave me a better respect for who they may be. Which will make selling to them a lot easier.
After running ads on Facebook for a few days, I will look at my data and scan through the comments on my ads. Some of my initial assumptions could have been correct and some could have been completely off.
If I am lucky, there will be a few comments that mention other uses for the glove. It could be great for mechanics, military personnel, and even hikers. So now I would begin creating a persona for each of these and then build a strategy tailored to them.
Assumptions I would make about mechanics that need my glove:
- Most likely men
- Age Range: 18-50
- Gets paid every other Friday
- Has a family
- Watches Fast N’ Loud television show
- Watches football on the weekends
- Needs protection from electricity, chemicals, and heavy objects
- Needs something that can grip all types of surfaces
- Has rough hands
- Went to trade school
- Shops at AutoZone, Pep Boys, or other car part store
- Fixes things around their home themselves
- Has a project car or two
- Probably has a brand of glove they already trust
This is a continuous process where you regularly learn about new buyers, existing personas, and maybe even different uses of your product that works for an entirely different market. Always keep an eye out for what people are saying about your product or service.
It’s also important to note that not all personas will work out, even if you create perfect content for them. After testing you will learn who is worth spending more money on and who isn’t worth attention.
Understand a Product’s Uses and Limitations
You can’t be everything for everyone. Your product probably doesn’t cure cancer and it can’t help a baseball player throw a 100 MPH fastball. Although, if you go through the process of creating a buyer persona, you can find who needs your product and why.
Hopefully this article helped you understand what a buyer persona is and why you can benefit from one. The examples I created are a basic textual setup because I don’t use fancy graphics. However, there are some great templates and tools out there that you can use to help visualize your buyer personas.
Creating a buyer persona means collecting a lot of data. ProjectManager.com is a cloud-based project management software that allows you to control that information. Our real-time dashboard can take all the numbers you’ve gathered and filtered them to display just what you want to see in colorful graphs and charts—all with a keystroke. Marketers can benefit from ProjectManager.com. To see how it can help you, take this free 30-day trial.
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