How to Create a Buyer Persona Even If You Don’t Know Your Customers
How well do you know your customers or your website visitors? Do you know who they are, why they come to you to buy your products or services? Why do they come to your blog or website? Knowing your market is an important step for your content marketing and for your overall business success. In this post, I will explain how to create a buyer persona for your business, even if you don’t know who your customers are in the first place.
What is a Buyer Persona?
To learn how to create a buyer persona, we first need to understand what one is. The simple definition is that a buyer or marketing persona is a sketch of your ideal customer based on real data about your actual customers and your market. This is a a semi-fictional character that you can use to represent your entire audience. I say semi-fictional here since you don’t entirely pull buyer personas out of your hat but, like I said already, base them in real data and market research.
Basically, a buyer persona is your ideal customer, someone who you want to attract to buy or use your products and services or read your blog. This is why you need to get to know your customers closely through these buyer personas. Who they are, what job they have, how they live and so on.
How many buyer personas you might need? It all depends on your business, its size and a myriad of other things, but its usually a safe bet to go for three to five personas. One persona will simply not be enough to represent your entire audience and more is just an overkill. Though, keep in mind that in some larger industries, you may need to develop ten or as many as 20 personas to represent your ideal customers.
A Buyer Persona Template
Your buyer persona template will look more or less different from this, but here is a general representation of what we are talking about here.
I.E. Tech Gary or Nurse Jane. This is just to give you an idea of who that person is at a quick glance. You don’t want to name your buyer personas “buyer persona 1” and “buyer persona 2”.
How old are they? What gender are they? Do they have a family, kids? Where they live? What is their formal education? Which schools and colleges did they attend?
Where do they work? What is their role/position there? How did they get there (their career path)? What is their salary? How big is the company they work for? Who do they answer and who answers to them? What industry they work in?
What are their personal values? What are their business values?
What are their goals? What do they do to achieve these goals? How can you help them achieve their goals? What does success mean to them?
- Challenges and obstacles
What are their challenges? What stops them from achieving their goals? How can you help them remove these obstacles?
- Decision making process
How do they get new information? Do they read any blogs and which blogs? How do they make their purchasing? Offline or online?
- Marketing message
Based on all of this, what would be our elevator pitch to this buyer persona?
If you need more details, check out this guide on creating B2B buyer personas.
How to Research Your Buyer Personas?
Now, where do you find all this information and shape your buyer personas? These six places to find relevant information about your ideal customers and audience representatives. After all who can know your customers better than they themselves?
- Interview your customers
An interview can be a bit tricky to set, so keep in mind that your interviewee might not be available when it fits you, so let them determine the time for it. When interviewing your customers, try to find out why they bought from you or used your services in the first place. When looking for willing interviewees, pay special attention to:
- Your customer
- Your prospects
- Your referrals
- Conduct surveys
Another way to gather information about your market is to conduct a survey. Just be careful to ask the right questions. I know, for instance, what computer or mobile phone I’m using, but don’t ask me how many hours per day I’m working (it’s really hard to tell when you’re a freelancer).
- Use forms on your website
Most websites gather information from their visitors via one kind of form or another. The most basic ones ask for a name, email and a website, but you can gather more information by adding additional fields for things like their company size, their job, role in the company and such.
- Do some research on social media
Try to keep your ear on the ground and monitor online conversations on social media. You can use some pretty useful social media monitoring tools such as BuzzSumo, of which I talked about many times before, or Geofeedia, with which you can search social media by location in real time.
- Ask your team
Who interacts with customers and clients in your company? Bring them all into one room and have a group discussion with your marketing, sales, customer service and anyone else that deals with customers in some capacity. For example, what does your sales team have to say about their leads?
- Look in Google Analytics
Check your Google Analytics (or whatever analytics tool you are using for your website) to see where your visitors are coming from (direct, organic, referral or social), how did they find you (what keywords are they using), how long they spend on your site, what pages and posts they are looking at and more.
Why are Buyer Personas Important?
Okay, this is a lot to take in and certainly requires a good deal of work, so you might be asking by now, what’s the point? Why should I know how to create a buyer persona?
There are a number of reasons why you should create a buyer persona, not the least of which is to better understand your own existing and potential customers. By knowing who they are, where they come from, their goals, values, fears and so on, you will be able to send send a marketing message that is tailored just for them.
Furthermore, a buyer persona will also help you speak to different audience segments and not just focus on one (even if that one is where you get the majority of your customers from). For example, this way, you will be able to present a different landing page or send a different email for your leads based on how and where they fit into your buyer persona(s).
Finally, developing marketing personas will help you better develop your content strategy.
Customers want to come to you to solve their problems. By learning how to create a buyer persona, you will be able to better understand them and help them with their problems. This way, both you and your audience wins. Also, if you need a little help starting out, you can download different buyer personas templates from HubSpot.
Do you create buyer personas for your business? What are some of the questions you are asking that help you find your ideal customer? Let me know in the comments below about your experience with buyer personas.