If you have been keeping up with trends in the content marketing space in the past few years, you must have heard of the term “buyer persona” and its significance to brand building and revenue generation.
A buyer persona gives business leaders, marketers, and salespeople insight into their ideal customers, their characteristics, and deduced pain points.
We know for a fact that the ultimate goal of every business is to provide solutions to the needs or problems of their customers. That explains why we are continuously seeing a rise in the number of startups emerging in different parts of the world regardless of the existing companies with similar solutions.
Interestingly, this will likely not change in years to come. Why, if you ask? That’s because people have different needs in the world, and to satisfy these needs, businesses have to continuously build new products or upgrade existing ones to satisfy the needs of their customers – which is where a buyer persona comes in.
A buyer persona is a key brand development document that gives business developers and marketers an idea of their prospective customers. It helps you imagine what you think your customer would be like, their problems, and pain points and clearly shows how your product or service can solve the problem.
In essence, a buyer persona is a business development guide that helps marketers, sales reps, and business developers deduce how their new product or service will solve their ideal customers’ problems.
If you are a marketer, sales rep, business developer, or an entrepreneur looking to build a new product, upgrade your existing products or improve your customer satisfaction rate, follow this guide to get a better understanding of a buyer personas and how you can effectively create one to achieve your business goals.
Table of Content
- What is a buyer persona?
- Why do you need a buyer persona?
- Elements of a Buyer Persona?
- How to use a buyer persona?
- The Step by Step Guide to Creating buyer personas.
- Tips on how to research your Buyer Personas
- Important Questions to ask during Buyer Persona Interviews.
- Examples of Buyer personas.
What is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona as defined by HubSpot is the semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers based on data and research. It presents information on your ideal customer persona, their struggles, and how your business solution can best solve their needs.
Buyer personas are a crucial part of the product research, development, and marketing phase. It is a well-researched profile of prospective customers, their characteristics, and pain points used to help the product team understand what their customers need and how their products can successfully satisfy their needs.
As some of the product feedback forms you must have filled out after using a product to share your opinion about the products, buyer personas are more detailed feedback forms that are mostly sent to participants at the early stage of product development.
To create buyer personas, business developers need to develop a narrative for their ideal customer, detailing the realities of their customers, their struggles with other products in the same industry, and how their product can create a better experience for their customers.
What are other names for buyer personas?
Buyer personas are interdisciplinary and used in product development, product management, UI/UX, and marketing teams which is why they also go by different names. Aside from the general term “buyer persona,” buyer personas are also called;
- Audience persona
- Customer persona
- User persona
- Buyer avatar
- Customer avatar
- Ideal audience avatar
- Buyer profile
Why do you need a buyer persona?
Buyer personas help businesses understand their customers better and create products that would fit the needs of these customers.
Since businesses exist to serve the customers, their failure to satisfy their customer’s needs will automatically kill the business.
As many would classify buyer personas as a mere description of prospective customers, the idea of buyer personas goes beyond this because buyer personas are eye-openers to business opportunities and lapses that a business can tap into or solve to improve customer satisfaction.
Here are six benefits of buyer personas to you;
1. Grow business Revenue:
A case study by MarketingSherpa, reports that a targeted persona strategy increased sales leads by 124%. This report supports the rules in present sales and marketing fields that customer profiling and targeting are crucial for closing sales deals.
It is not surprising how buyer personas contribute to revenue growth judging by how they detail potential clients’ characteristics and pain points to help businesses build products that customers need and would buy.
For marketing teams, buyer personas are also instrumental in creating high-quality targeted content for the right audience.
2. Helps to make informed business decisions.
With the right information, business leaders, product developers, and marketers can make data-driven decisions to help the business grow, develop useful products and support the marketing team’s content creation strategy.
A detailed and well-researched buyer persona will help businesses make data-driven decisions that would contribute to their customers and organizational growth.
3. Understand customers’ product needs and pain points.
Customers’ pain points are problems or needs that current and potential customers are experiencing. A company’s understanding of its customer’s pain points will help it improve current products or develop new solutions that can solve the pain points.
A buyer persona presents a prospective customer’s struggles with other products, their need for better products, and how a company creates products that will help solve these needs.
A company can only solve a problem they know about, and a buyer persona presents insights into these issues.
4. Helps to speak to your audience’s needs.
Buyer personas give product managers and marketing teams a good understanding of the type of customers their product or content will be for, the problems they have, and how their products can speak directly to these needs.
With this, product managers can create useful products while marketing teams can also create relevant content that is capable of influencing customers’ purchasing decisions.
5. Stay Consistent.
Consistency is the key to successful content marketing. A buyer persona will help marketing teams develop campaigns that will support product awareness and sales generation.
6. Help businesses to be customer-focused.
A buyer persona helps businesses understand the needs of their prospective and existing customers to develop customer-focused strategies that can help them achieve their business goals and generate revenue.
Elements of a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a detailed description of a customer’s demographics, personality, and pain points to answer a business’s specific questions about their existing customers and prospects. To ensure your buyer persona helps you answer the right question about your customers, it must contain the following elements;
Demographics are statistical characteristics of your ideal customers like age, gender, employment status, educational qualifications, and cultural background.
Your buyer personas must contain the following demographics;
- Marital status.
- Educational qualifications
- Employment status
- Dependents (family)
- Annual income
2. Psychographics and Behaviour.
Aside from your potential customers’ demographics, you must also include information about their behaviors, personality, values, and spending patterns to understand your ideal clients better.
Psychographic and behavioral segmentation of customers is developed using the VALS (Values, Attitude, and Lifestyles) research framework. With this research methodology, you can segment your customers into the following;
These customers are high-income earners with high self-esteem, personal taste, and plenty of resources. They value high-quality products and services and are willing to spend on those.
These customers are idealistic and rational decision-makers. Even though they have earned high incomes and resources, they are practical buyers who will mostly invest in new ideas and social change.
These customers are considered conservative, idealistic, and predictable. They are moderate earners with a high tendency of becoming loyal customers. Believers value familiar and well-known American Brands.
These customers are motivated by achievements. They are successful work-oriented people and get their satisfaction from jobs and families. Achievers are very active consumers who desire established, prestigious products and services that can demonstrate their success. They also value products that can save time and effort.
These customers are low-income earners and lack the resources to meet all their devices but are motivated by achievements. Strivers are trendy, fun-loving, and concerned with the opinions and approval of others. They see shopping as a social activity and an opportunity to showcase their purchasing power up to the limits imposed by their financial situations.
These customers are the youngest on the list, with energy for social activities and physical exercises. They spend heavily on food, clothing, music, and other trendy products. Experiencers lack brand loyalty and are willing to spend on new products and services.
These customers are mostly self-sufficient and value practical and functional products. Markers are usually unimpressed by material possessions, new ideas, or big business. They live traditional lives and prefer to buy basic items.
These customers are the oldest and lowest income earners with few resources. They tend to be loyal to a brand due to their limited resources.
Customer influencers are the external or internal forces that can influence a buyer’s purchasing decisions. They include;
- Cultural factors.
- Customer demographics.
- Social status
- Marketing content.
- Customers motives
- Their Emotions,
- Their Personality,
- Their Perception
- Their level of learning/Information processing rate.
To understand a customer better, it is crucial for product teams, marketing, and sales teams to discover how these external and internal factors affect a customer’s purchasing decisions.
4. Customer’s goals, challenges, and pain points.
For sales and marketing teams to create a buyer persona that would help them target customers, they need to identify the customer’s goals – what they plan to achieve, their challenges with current products – what needs to be changed, and their pain points – their problems.
With this information, marketing teams can develop the right marketing strategy to target the right customers, and sales teams can improve their sales process and channel their sales effort and messages to the right target audience. Check out the sales guides, sales pipeline stages, sales funnel template, sales prospecting and tips to increase sales productivity.
How to use a buyer persona?
For businesses to grow and stay relevant in the face of changing cultures, they must continuously research their customers to identify their needs and problems and detect changes in the market that they can explore. Buyer personas are the documents that would provide an organization with all this information.
The departments that actively use buyer persona are;
1. The Product Development/Management Department.
The product development and management team is mainly responsible for developing products and conducting customer research to identify buyer personas and pain points to create better experiences for new and existing products.
Through a detailed buyer persona, product development teams can build product roadmaps that would guide their product creation process. This information would also help them develop and manage relevant products that are updated regularly.
2. The Marketing Department.
The key function of the marketing team is to create content and marketing messages that accurately reflect the company’s offers and goals to the target audience to make sales. To achieve these objectives, marketing teams must develop their own buyer personas to help them understand how to pass the marketing message across to the audience in the best way possible.
The marketing team must create multiple buyer personas to develop a customer-oriented marketing strategy to support their marketing efforts.
3. The Sales Department.
The sales team is responsible for closing sales deals and bringing more money to the company. Buyer personas will help sales teams to build more cordial relationships with clients. The information generated from buyer personas will also help sales reps understand the type of clients they would be dealing with and help them plan accordingly.
A sales team must develop multiple personas to improve their sales process and generate more income.
4. The Customer Support/Service Department.
The customer support or customer service team manages customers to ensure that the customer is satisfied with the product and services and the company as a whole. Buyer personas will help the customer support team develop customer satisfaction and retention strategy to solve all the future problems that customers will likely have.
Buyer personas also help customer support/service reps to be more understanding and empathetic towards customers when the need arises.
The Step by Step Guide to Creating buyer personas.
Buyer personas are researched-driven profiles of your potential customers. It helps you answer important questions about the products your customers are interested in, how the product can help them achieve their goals, and what they are willing to do to get the products.
Considering how important buyer personas are to various teams in an organization, buyer personas must be created the right way and contain crucial information that would help your company grow.
As a result, the following paragraphs will provide a five-step guide to creating buyer personas;
Step 1: Research your Customers.
The research phase is the first step to creating a buyer persona. Buyer personas are profiles of current and prospective customers, their goals, challenges, and how your new or existing products can solve these problems.
To create detailed research about your customers, look into their demographics, psychographics and behavioral traits, internal and external influencers and goals, challenges, and pain points.
Also, consider finding all the information about your existing customers and the factors that influence them to buy from you before researching your future or prospective customers. Doing this will help you understand the factors that influenced your current customers, their previous pain points and how you solved them, new developments around them, and their current goals.
Support this information with data from your social media accounts, website activity reports, email campaign reports, and google analytics.
Step 2: Organize your data and segment your buyers.
After you have researched all the important factors and elements of your current and prospective customers, the next course of action is to organize and segment your buyer based on some factors. Consider the following tactics to help you organize and categorize your data better;
Find similarities in the responses you got.
One of the easiest means of organizing your customers is to look for similarities in some of the data you got. You can look at similarities in their demographics, behavioral traits, buying patterns, goals, and pain points. By doing this, It becomes easier for you to group some of the customers based on these similarities.
Decide on how many buyer personas you need.
If we are going to be very honest with you at this point, the information you get from research can be very overwhelming. If you are not careful, you will be tempted to cover all customers which can really mess up your hard work. To handle this, we advise you to create only three (3) to four (4) buyer personas for the target market you are currently focusing on or that generates the highest revenue. Doing this makes it easier for you to focus on specific customers that need your product or service the most.
Segment your customer by their Industry
It’s the best practice to segment your buyers by their industry when your product and service serve customers in different industries to help you identify and solve all their problems. For example, if your software product is used by companies in the automobile, food, and IT industry, you should create a buyer persona for every company in the automobile, food, and IT industry to help you focus on all their challenges and goals.
Segment by Job titles
Segmenting by job titles is advisable when you have many customers with similar job titles. With the possibility of customers with similar employment status and rank facing the same problem and needing the same solutions, it would be best to categorize your buyers based on their job role and employment status.
Step 3: Create a name and Story for your buyer persona.
After you have organized and categorized your customers based on the above-listed factors, the next step is for you to give names to the buyer persona and start creating the buyer story. Your buyer story contains the specific information you wish to include and focus on about a client to support your sales and marketing efforts.
Your buyer persona should include the following questions;
- How old is the customer?
- What job title might they hold?
- Where do they live?
- Are they single or married or with kids?
- What are their hobbies?
- What extracurricular activities do they do?
- What are their career goals (short and long term)
- What problems are they currently facing?
Once you have filled in these questions in the buyer persona template, start answering them and write out all you can about the persona profile. Ensure that when you write about their goals and challenges, you elaborate on them to cover all areas where your product or service might be relevant.
Step 4: Write about their roles, goals, and pain points.
The next step in this guide is to write about personas’ roles, goals, and pain points, focusing on how your product or service can be of help.
For their roles, consider important information about their job title and the role they play at work, at home, and in other important areas of their life. Are they decision-makers or followers? Are they very informed of their needs and desires? And other aspects of their life that can tell you more about them.
For their goals, identify all their objectives and desires. Understanding what your customers want is key to creating solutions that would solve those needs. This information is also important to help you tailor your existing product and services to fit the needs of these customers.
With regards to their pain points, consider listing the challenges that customers face to understand how best your new and existing products can solve their product needs and challenges.
Step 5: Develop Customer-focused Sales and Marketing Strategies with the buyer personas
After completing the first four steps of buyer personas, the next and final step is to use the information and profile generated from the buyer personas to create customer-oriented sales and marketing strategies that will target their customer’s needs.
As emphasized in the introductory parts of this guide, a buyer persona will help marketing teams to create marketing campaigns that will ensure relevant customer-based content is developed for the right target audience.
The information on buyer personas will also help sales teams to craft the best selling strategy for the customers and prospects that will most likely buy from them.
Tips on how to research your Buyer Personas.
Although you might have to guess or imagine some of the scenarios on the buyer personas, this won’t give you all the important information about your customers and specific problems. As a result of this, we have outlined some helpful tips on how you can research your buyer personas below;
Tip 1: Customer surveys.
Your best bet in finding factual and truthful information about your customers, their goals, and their objective is to get the information from the horse’s mouth. With tools like Google Forms and SurveyMonkey, you can send your customers and product consumers a set of structured questions that will help you answer all the key questions in your buyer personas.
Tip 2: Interview customers that are related to the project.
If you have customers that are key to your new product development, you should consider requesting an interview with them to answer questions that will help you create the buyer persona. During the interview, you can ask them important questions about the factors that influenced them to buy from you, their pain points, and how you solved them as well as their new goals.
Tip 3: Review your existing data.
Another means of researching your audience is to review your customer database to find previous information and buyer persona templates that would provide valuable information on your buyer personas. By doing this, you can find important information about previous clients’ pain points, your sales and marketing strategies, and customer demographics.
Tip 4: Interview your customer-facing employees.
Consider talking to some of your employees in the marketing, sales, product development, and customer service teams to get information about the type of customers your company serves, what their goals are like, how complicated are they and how best you can tailor your products and contents to solve these problems.
Tip 5: Analyze data.
Data analytics is your best shot at generating current and old data on customers and finding some crucial information about them. Consider analyzing your social media site’s activity and performance report and your website visits and activity/performance report with Google Analytics to help you generate crucial data necessary for creating your buyer personas.
Tip 6: Focus on social listening.
Social listening is a digital marketing technique that allows companies to track what their buyers and the general public are saying about them in reviews, forums, and on the web. Social listening tools like Google Trends can help you check what people are searching for about your company and what they want to see. Consider other social listening tools that will let you keep up with what people are saying about your company to use this when creating your buyer personas.
Important Questions to ask during Buyer Persona Interviews.
In the previous sections of this guide, we identified some of the steps to create a buyer persona and some tips to research your buyer persona.
In this section, we will be providing you with some of the important questions you must ask your interviewees during your buyer persona interview.
Consider the following buyer persona research questions developed by HubSpot;
- Role Related questions – their job role, job title, reporting line, and skills required for the job.
- Company-related questions – their company’s size and industry
- Goals Questions – their goals, the definition of success at work, and responsibilities.
- Questions about their challenges – about their biggest challenges
- Questions about Hobbies or extracurricular interests – about their preferred learning platforms, blogs, and social media platforms.
- Personal Background Questions – their demographics, educational background, and career journey.
- Shopping Preference Questions – their preferred mode of communication with vendors, recent purchase experience, and how they learn about new products.
- The “Why?” Question – their reasons for using your products, the factors that influence their purchasing decisions, and their biggest challenge with the product. Remember to ask them all the relevant questions that would help you understand their goals better and how your product and service can solve their problems.
Buyer Personas Examples
Following all the important information we have provided in earlier sections, this guide would be incomplete without providing you with some examples of buyer personas.
As a result, we have compiled some examples and templates of buyer personas.
Examples of Buyer Persona
The B2B Buyer Persona:
HubSpot developed this B2B buyer persona for an HR professional. This persona shows the struggles of the target customers and includes how the business (an HR recruiting tool) can meet those needs and make HR duties easier. Also, find the guides, B2B sales, SaaS sales and tech sales.
The B2C Buyer Persona:
This B2C buyer persona by HubSpot is for a music streaming service. The persona clearly illustrates how the streaming service can improve its service with a list of the new updates that would satisfy customers better.
Buyer Persona Templates
Buyer personas are research-based profiles that portray your target audience and can help you develop customer-focused sales, support, and marketing strategies to generate more revenue and satisfy customers’ problems. To achieve the best results from your buyer persona, ensure you include all the crucial elements, and ask all the relevant questions to help you understand your customers better.
Buyer personas are significant for product development and management, sales, marketing, and customer support teams to develop cordial business relationships with the customers.