Buyer personas are a representation of your ideal customers based on market research. They allow you to recognize potential customers based on the demographics that describe your typical client or customer.
Companies that use buyer personas can increase their website effectiveness 2-5 times, improve personalized email click-through rates by 14%, and increase conversion rates by 10%.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how to develop buyer personas, plus suggestions for how to use buyer personas to grow your business.
How to Identify Your Audience
The first step in creating buyer personas is learning about your business’s existing audience.
To identify your audience, ask specific questions about your buyers. Gather information about your buyers’:
- Education level and field of study
- Career path and title
- Company details and size
- Goals and buying habits
In order to gather the answers to all of these questions, you can poll your current customer base directly and use public records for consumer research.
Gathering information that provides you with a clearer picture of your current customers will help you develop buyer personas that can identify new customers in the future.
Create visualizations such as bar graphs for easy reference after you've gathered data about your audience.
Creating data visualizations will help you notice patterns among your customers.
Once you compile a clearer picture of your buyers, your persona will become apparent with the common denominators among all of them.
How to Develop Buyer Personas
Once you’ve gathered data about your audience, you can begin the process of developing buyer personas.
Using your identifying information from the questions you asked your buyers, start by determining what is common among them. Ask questions to establish patterns:
- Are your customers all CEOs or presidents?
- Are they in charge of the HR department?
- Are they all in the same industry?
- What role do they play in a business's decision-making?
You may also use marketing tools such as SEO data and Google Analytics for insight into which topics your audience is interested in.
You can find data about your users by navigating your Audience reports, which provide insight into the characteristics of your users:
- Sign in to Google Analytics.
- Open Reports available in the left panel.
- Select AUDIENCE > Interests > Overview.
Your in-house team will also be able to help. Crowdsource internal data from your team, including previous and current marketing activities, sales information and growth, and insights from customer service team members.
Using these details, you can discover a clearer picture of the characteristics that define your buyer persona. This will help you and your sales and marketing team to create innovative ways to reach that persona on a regular basis.
Remember to revisit this development stage on an ongoing basis, as your buyer persona may fluctuate over time and must be revised periodically. Set internal procedures for updating your personas on an annual or semi-annual basis.
After refreshing your personas, you need to update sales and marketing techniques and train your staff on changes in the personas so they can use personas effectively in their tasks and metrics.
Understand Your Average Buyer’s Journey
You must understand your persona's challenges in order to effectively sell to them. The choice to purchase your product or service will be easy for them if you provide a solution to those challenges.
Keep in mind that your customers don’t want to be “sold” something. Instead, they are searching for information they can’t find online or in a brochure, and they need you to enlighten them to help their decision-making process.
The buyer’s journey consists of 3 stages:
- In the Awareness Stage, the buyer becomes aware they have a problem to solve.
- In the Consideration Stage, the problem is defined and research begins to find a solution.
- In the Decision Stage, the buyer chooses a solution to the problem.
It’s much easier to determine how the sales process should be catered to specific personas when your sales and marketing teams understand the buyer's journey.
Train your team to identify the buyer’s journey by asking questions such as:
- How does your audience discover the problem that you can be a solution to?
- How does your audience research their options for solutions?
- How can you provide information about your product or service?
- What factors persuade your audience to purchase?
- Are your buyers the main decision-makers for purchasing?
- What criteria do your buyers use to choose a solution?
All of these questions will help you use your buyer personas for both sales and marketing activities and enjoy higher conversions.
For example, using SEO techniques for your product ensures you will be among the top results when your personas search for information:
Searching for “products that will simplify accounting for gym business” on Google returns top products that use SEO for that search term, addressing the problem this buyer persona is trying to solve.
The buyer’s journey presents key opportunities to help your audience discover the ways your business solves their challenges.
Use Buyer Personas to Create Targeted Content
You should use buyer personas to guide your content creation.
You should develop email marketing and content on landing pages on your website as if you are writing directly to your buyer personas. Headlines, limited-time offers, and product highlights should match what your persona is searching for and what’s most important to them.
When creating new sales and marketing materials, imagine you are addressing your buyer personas. “Jimmy Gym Owner” could be a buyer persona if you sell equipment to gym owners. This persona name is easy to remember and identifiable as a new gym owner:
For example, if you were marketing to Jimmy Gym Owner, you could create a free e-book, “Beginner’s Guide to Buying Gym Equipment,” to appeal to him during the awareness stage. Once he’s aware of your products, create a gym equipment budget template to convert him during the consideration stage. Finally, create an equipment quote within his budget to finalize the sale during Jimmy’s decision stage.
Your sales and marketing team can use these exercises to prepare for the real-world buyers they will encounter.
Tracking changes in the conversions and metrics that result from marketing and sales strategies will help you to determine if your buyer personas are effective.
Buyer Personas Help Businesses Target and Convert Customers
You can create and use buyer personas to provide better solutions for current and potential customers, allowing your company to achieve a better return on investment in sales and marketing.
To craft a successful sales and marketing plan using buyer personas, start by learning about your current audience. Next, extrapolate your buyer personas and educate your sales and marketing teams on how to address buyer personas in their daily work activities and use them to improve the bottom line.
As you continue to revisit your personas and update them, the process of creating more effective marketing materials and sales processes will become a recurring, familiar task that benefits your company.
About the Author
Emily Andrews is the marketing communications specialist at RecordsFinder, an online public records search company. Communications specialist by day and community volunteer at night, she believes in compassion and defending the defenseless.