What is Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a fictionalized characterization of your best customer(s) based on information about them and how they use your product or service. These descriptions mirror your various market segments, with names to match the type of buyer.
You might have Stylish Sally and Practical Polly and Discount Daphne as personas in your clothing business, for example, all representing different categories of buyers with similar backgrounds and habits. In this case, Sally might be primarily concerned with looking snazzy at any cost, while Polly is focused on finding more functional, long-lasting outfits and Daphne really only buys when you have a great sale, but is great for clearing out last season’s merchandise.
But personas are more than just clever names, they provide a description that helps you attract more buyers just like them, by personalizing your marketing message to attract them.
Most businesses have multiple buyer personas that they sell to, but don’t go overboard in developing dozens. Start small and expand as you start to differentiate between your various customer types – 1-5 personas should be plenty to begin with.
Personas help you better understand what your customers are:
- Concerned about
Based on that information you can then customize different marketing campaigns to speak directly to the different segments of your market, or your personas.
Just as you want to identify buyer personas you hope to attract and do business with, you may also come across customer types you do not want to do business with. These negative personas are buyers who waste your time and resources with no intention to buy, or a low possibility of buying. These personas might include, for example, Questioning Quinn, who peppers you with question after question about how things fit, your return policy, and whether you can hold something for her, when, in the end, she doesn’t buy anyway. Or Returning Rachel, who will buy lots of outfits and return them right before the return period is up; you suspect she wears the pieces, too, making them harder for you to resell.
Negative personas reduce your company’s profitability and interfere with your ability to serve your ideal customers. So you’ll want to keep them in mind as you craft your marketing message, to try and discourage them from doing business with you.
Researching Your Personas
To prepare a list of your buyer personas, you’ll want to pull together as much information as you can find on them, to better understand them and why they buy from you. These sources of information might include:
- Industry articles about today’s consumer
- Your customers, whom you ask to take an online survey, or that you interview personally in-depth
- Your website, to determine how your customers find you and what websites they arrive from
- Keyword research, to discover how your buyers articulate what they are looking for – what words do they use, which you might want to use in your marketing
- Sales reps, who interact with your customers, or your distribution outlets
- Non-competing colleagues in other parts of the country, who may be willing to share their company’s buyer personas
Building a Buyer Persona
To create your own buyer personas, you’ll want to try and paint a complete picture of who they are, taking into account such things as:
- Demographics – age, gender, income level, education
- Psychographics – attitudes, beliefs, personality
- Why they bought your product – what primary purpose
- Where they bought your product – in a retail store, online, at a discounter
- How your product is used – what functions are most important to them
- What solutions it provides – how does it enhance their life or challenges does it solve
- How often they buy it
- Objections – why would they consider not buying it
- Communication preferences – is text the only way they communicate or do they prefer email or phone
Together, these descriptions and characteristics help you picture your ideal customers, so that you can talk directly to them about their wants and needs, and help them to see why your product is the perfect choice for them.