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The beginner’s guide to buyer personas (and how to create them for your business)

Posted by Kerrie Brooks in General on May 11th, 2017

How well do you know your businesses’ target audience?

Okay, so you might know their basic demographics, but what else do you know? Could you describe their average day, their typical spending patterns or what inspires them at work and in life?

If the answer is no, now’s the time to start finding out. Why? Because the more you know about your ideal customers the better placed you’ll be to make sound marketing decisions – the key to getting sales and growing your business and profits.

And what’s the best way to get to know them better? By creating buyer personas.

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What are buyer personas?

Buyer personas (sometimes referred to as marketing personas) are marketing’s solution to achieving an in-depth understanding of your target customers and what makes them tick.

Basically they are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer which present a complete picture of who they are both as a person and as a customer which includes their goals, behaviour patterns, pain points and motivations.

Why your business needs buyer personas

The reason buyer personas are so effective is that they take you beyond surface demographics and into the mindset of your ideal customer.

And, the deeper you can get inside their head, the better equipped you’ll be when it comes to attracting, convincing and keeping them – which makes them the perfect tool for inbound marketers. Whether you’re developing your website, creating content or trying to connect on social media, you can use personas to better tailor your messages to align with their wants and needs.

Creating buyer personas also offers advantages for other areas of your business such as giving you insights for product or service development, helping guide you sales team to the warmest leads and aligning your staff so they all have the same vision and customer understanding.

How to create your buyer personas

So, while the benefits of buyer personas are clear, the question you might be asking is: “how I you go about creating them for my business?”

Importantly, buyer personas should not be based on speculation or educated guesses. The best ones are produced through a combination of market research and insights gathered from your existing customers, prospects and wider potential audience.

Here are the basic steps you need to follow:

1. Create your question checklist

Your first task is figuring out what information you need to know, and what questions you’ll need to ask to get it. While the specifics will need tailoring to your industry and business, for example B2B versus B2C, here are the general categories of insights you should be seeking to create your buyer personas:

  • Personal background – gender, age, education, occupation and role, marital status
  • Finances – income, spending habits, preferred payment methods
  • A day in the life – at work and/or home, pressures, hobbies, interests
  • Hopes, dream, motivations – personal and professional goals
  • Concerns and fears – general as well as related to your product/services
  • Technology – how they use it, how often, platforms used e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn
  • Influencers – where they look for info, who they ask for advice, decision-making partners
  • Brand affinities – who else they shop with or do business with

2. Collect your data

Once you’ve refined this list for your business, it’s now time to seek and gather the information. Here are some of the techniques you can use to carry out your research, which include a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods:

  • Look at your existing data to u