Buyer personas, avatars, customer profiles, you’ve probably heard these interchangeable terms thrown around, but what actually are they?
A buyer persona is a profile of your ideal customer, based on research and proper understanding of who your ideal customer/s are, from their likes, dislikes, hobbies, income, and interests to the kind of challenges they face. Effectively, buyer personas help you to really visualise and empathise with your ideal customer.
It’s also common to have a few different buyer personas for one business; if this is the case, your marketing plan should include different strategies for speaking and connecting with each buyer persona.
So, why are buyer personas important?
Buyer personas help your business ensure that you’re keeping your ideal customer at the heart of everything you do. They allow you to tailor all marketing, activity, comms and even user journeys to your targeted customer’s needs.
It sounds simple, but it’s not always that straightforward. Many companies communicate with their customers by talking about themselves and what they offer instead of addressing what the customer needs.
Think about the last time you tried a new product or service, you naturally gravitate towards business that you know, trust, or like, right? Your customers are no different. The best way to build trust with your customers is to truly show how your product or service will benefit your customers.
In order to build up that trust, it requires you as a business to use your marketing and communications to demonstrate how you solve issues created by their pain points. And for this, you need well-researched buyer personas that create the cornerstones of your marketing strategy and continually use these as guides for your business, keeping you entirely focused on the needs of your customers.
How to create your own buyer personas
In order to create a persona or avatar, you need to ask yourself some in-depth and detailed questions about your ideal customers.
Here at Suki Marketing, we love to get together as a team, and on a flipchart sheet of paper, we draw a stick person and we name them, you know, to really turn them into a *real* person. From here, we do a complete brain dump. Using post-it notes, we scribble down everything we know about this ideal person, their hobbies, where they live, their interests, what they do in their free time. And then we go back, research some more, and come back to our sheet, adding more and more until we have a complete vision of these personas.
As well as pain points, your buyer personas should have pleasure points (and pain points) – what appeals to them, what lights them up, what makes them happy, what do they care about, what do they like.
From here, we’ll do some surveys and market research, really diving into who these ideal customers are. And remember, people change, their circumstances change, they have families, they’re affected by worldwide influences like a pandemic, they grow up – and your buyer personas should do the same; they’re not static. So, check in with your buyer personas frequently.
How many buyer personas should you create?
Now, when it comes to creating your target customer in the form of a buyer persona, it’s totally up to you as to how many buyer personas you create. It could be as few as one or two buyer personas, or as many as 10 (or even more!). It’s important to not get too carried away when doing buyer persona research, as the more you create, it could start to confuse your marketing messages.
Think about it. You don’t want your business to appeal to everyone or you’re targeting no one, as this makes for a rather confusing (and broad) marketing message. The best way to speak directly to your ideal customer is to really narrow them down via buyer personas. Not only will this benefit your marketing strategy, but your sales team will have a clear picture of who you’re trying to speak to.
So, is multiple buyer personas a no no?
Not exactly. There are benefits to having multiple buyer personas, especially when creating content. This will allow your marketing efforts to cover greater ground. But, the chances are, your target audience (in the form of several buyer personas) will have something in common that you’re trying to solve.
How can your business use buyer personas?
Crafting your ideal buyer personas is such an exciting process, and obviously, it gives you so much customer insight and helps you imagine the real person you’re selling to.
However, there are so many different ways that your business can utilise your buyer personas, for example:
- Your product development team can use your buyer personas to build roadmaps or plan updates or changes to new products. Using your buyer personas as a guide will help them identify and prioritise which parts of your services to focus on, based on what your customers need/want most.
- As well as in communicating with your customers through your content, your marketing team can use buyer personas to create more personalised strategies. Even down to the details, like where to focus their keyword research and the tone of voice to use in copy.
- Your sales and customer services teams can draw on their knowledge of buyer personas when building a rapport with customers and potential customers by understanding their needs and wants better.
- More than anything, utilising buyer personas allows your teams to see your customers as real people and connect with them on a human level, using empathy and compassion because they understand your customer’s perspective and where they’re coming from.
Is there such thing as a buyer persona template?
Your business is unique, which means that your target audience won’t be exactly the same as someone else’s. However, there is a huge difference between borrowing/copying/stealing (tut tut) a buyer persona from another business and using a buyer persona template.
A template simply gives you a set of requirements to fill in, so you can better understand your ideal customers. A persona template should include the following sections: name, age, interests, economic position, location, personal background, family or employment position, and attitudes or desires.
Should small businesses use buyer personas?
When you’re a solopreneur or a tiny business, you might find yourself wearing lots of hats and coats to cover lots of different roles. This is just another thing to worry about, can it be that important? Do you need to bother?
Er, yes, absolutely. Whether you’re a one-man-band or a multi-national, billion-pound company, why wouldn’t you want to really nail down your communication with your customers and be able to empathise with them and their needs?
So, there you have it! Hopefully, we’ve started the wheels whirring, and you’re excited to create your buyer personas for your business. They’re crucial for understanding your target audience, and they’re here to help you set yourself up for success.
Not sure where to start with creating buyer personas or how they fit into your content strategy? Why not drop us a message? Here at Suki Marketing, we don’t believe in creating content to ‘tick the box,’ we create content that connects with your audience. So, why not contact us to see how we can help?