What Are Buyer Personas & How To Create Them

Tips for Digital Marketers: Identify Your Ideal Customers with Buyer Personas

What are Buyer Personas?

Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers—people who happily purchase your goods or services and become loyal advocates of your brand. What are their values, interests, goals, behaviors, and demographics? You can pinpoint these commonalities through market research and real data from your list of existing customers.

Why are Buyer Personas Crucial to Your Digital Marketing Strategy?

Understanding your current (and prospective) customers is central to a successful marketing strategy. By compiling the characteristics of your ideal customers into buyer personas, you’ll boost your marketing efforts in at least three ways: 

  • You can create content and develop products that appeal to your target audience and address their unique needs, behaviors, and concerns.
  • You can more effectively coordinate and align all of the work across your entire organization, from marketing to sales to customer service.

Creating buyer personas reveals valuable insights that enable you as a digital marketer to attract high-quality site traffic, acquire qualified leads, and retain high-value customers.

How to Create Accurate Buyer Personas

If you’re new to buyer personas, no worries. They aren’t difficult to create. Start small and simple, perhaps creating just one primary persona to begin with. You can always develop more personas later and continue to refine the one you’ve created as you discover new insights. 

While companies in the same industry or niche markets may have similar categories for their buyer personas, standardized or generic buyer personas won’t cut it. The personas you create need to be geared toward your specific target audience. What you consider to be ideal customers for your business is likely different from what your competitors’ define as their ideal customers. Tailoring your personas to your company’s unique clientele will also guarantee a more focused and effective digital marketing strategy.

Research your existing and potential customers.

The simplest, most direct way to better understand your customers is to directly ask them about themselves. Find out information about your target audience’s careers, demographics, online behavior, goals, challenges, and customer experience with your brand. Start by reaching out to existing customers who have already converted and engaged with your brand. Send them links to customer surveys via email or text message, for instance. You can also interview prospective customers who have engaged with your brand but never completed a purchase as well as consumers outside of your contact database who might align with your target audience.

Identify patterns in the answers to your survey or interview questions. You should also get feedback from your sales team on their interactions with recent leads. How would they describe the different types of customers that your business serves best?

Identify the buyer’s journey stage.

Keep in mind that a buyer persona doesn’t have to represent consumers who are ready and willing to make a purchase. You may want to create a buyer persona for each of the three stages of the buyer’s journey, from the top to the bottom of the sales funnel. 

  • AWARENESS: These consumers acknowledge that they have a need, problem, or question and are seeking educational content that will lead them to a solution. Content directed toward buyer personas at the awareness stage should focus less on sales jargon and more on providing helpful information that caters to the consumers’ pain points. This content could be in the form of blog posts, social media posts, ebooks, or webinars.
  • CONSIDERATION: These consumers have defined their goal or challenge and are heavily researching and evaluating available products and services from different businesses (including yours). Content directed toward buyer personas at the consideration stage should aim to help consumers determine whether or not your products or services are a good fit for them. This content could be in the form of comparison guides, case studies, or free samples. 
  • ACTION: These consumers have decided upon a solution and are ready to choose a vendor, tool, product, or service. Content directed toward buyer personas at the action stage should clearly identify the steps they must take to become a customer and include appropriate calls to action to prompt a registration, form submission, purchase, or other desired action. This content could be in the form of free trials, live demos, free consultations or quotes, or coupons and discounts.

Segmenting your personas by buyer’s journey stage will help you to identify specific consumer goals and challenges. Then you can produce the right kind of content that will motivate consumers at each stage to become customers and promoters of your brand.

List your persona’s demographics.

Demographic data is the background information that helps you refine your segmented market audience into subcategories. Some demographics applicable to your ideal customers may include:

  • Gender
  • Age range
  • Marital status
  • Parental status
  • Parental stage
  • Level of education
  • Household income
  • Homeownership status
  • Location
  • Ethnicity
  • Employment status
  • Job role, title, and industry

For example, an online company that manufactures and sells baby products for mothers with newborns in the United States would want to narrow their demographics by gender, age range, parental status, parental stage, marital status, and perhaps household income. The company may also want to target certain geographic areas within the U.S. that have higher birth rates. How you broaden or narrow the demographic data of your buyer personas will differ based on your industry and the types of products and services you offer.

Identify patterns in your persona’s online consumer behavior based on real data.

Determining the behavioral patterns of your ideal customers so you can incorporate them into your buyer personas requires that you examine your Google Analytics data. Identify what conversion paths your ideal customers follow, from the awareness stage all the way through to the action stage. Find the answers to the following questions:

  • How and where do they interact with your marketing content?
  • What social networks do they use?
  • How much information do they need before committing to a purchase?
  • How do they prefer to contact vendors (email, phone call, online chat, or in person)?
  • How long is their customer lifecycle compared to one-time buyers or “casual” customers?

Guessing how people behave can be catastrophic, since you can easily make inaccurate assumptions about how consumers engage with your brand and what motivates (or hinders) them from converting. Basing your persona’s online behavior on real data from Google Analytics and other trusted measurement tools will ensure that your digital marketing efforts appeal to the right audience at the right time.

Why Create Negative Buyer Personas?

A negative buyer persona represents the profiles of consumers who are, for the most part, polar opposites of your ideal customers. Pinpoint the demographics that don’t apply to your business and exclude those consumers from your advertising and marketing campaigns. Consider three examples:

  • A residential landscaping company would want to exclude renters from their marketing efforts since their primary customers are homeowners.
  • An upscale furniture store may want to exclude consumers under a certain household income level, since their products are more expensive and generally not affordable for lower income households.
  • An insurance agency focusing on small business insurance would want to exclude companies that exceed a specific number of employees.

Other reasons to create negative buyer personas could be that certain consumers are only engaging with your content for research purposes rather than to make a purchase, or they have a higher churn rate and are less likely to purchase again from your company. It’s a loyal group of high-value, repeat customers that will fuel your business in the long-term, not curious knowledge-seekers or one-time buyers. Segmenting out the “bad apples” from your digital marketing campaigns will make the best use of your marketing budget and help you achieve a lower cost-per-acquisition and cost-per-conversion and higher sales productivity.

A word of caution, however: Don’t be too exclusive when creating your negative buyer personas. Doing so could overly narrow your customer base and inadvertently exclude individuals who have real potential of becoming ideal customers in the future. So try to focus on qualities and specific demographics that definitely exclude them from your business interests.

How Alt Media Studios Can Help Digital Marketers

Identifying your ideal customers is crucial to the success of your digital marketing strategy. Our expert team at Alt Media Studios can help you leverage the appropriate tools from Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other channels so you can base your buyer personas on real, accurate data and target the best audiences for your business. Contact us today to learn how we can take your business to new heights!

Improving Your Digital Presence is an Adventure. Let us guide you through it.

Contact us using the form below and one of our team members will reach out as soon as possible

Name
Email Address
Phone Number
Comments or Questions