What is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a fictional yet realistic representation of your ideal customer, rooted in hard data and customer research.
The term “fictional” shouldn’t diminish the vital role of a buyer persona in your strategy.
A buyer persona encompasses a name, age, profession, background, family, hobbies, goals, challenges – mirroring a real person’s attributes.
Creating buyer personas enables content creators to empathize with their audience, crafting content that addresses their needs and resolves their issues.
The number of buyer personas you have should reflect the diversity of your audience and their decision-making processes.
It’s beneficial to have a buyer persona for each customer type involved in purchasing your product or service, not just for variety’s sake, but to ensure your content addresses each group’s specific pain points.
However, it’s not necessary to have a multitude of buyer personas. Start with one or two, and expand as needed.
Why is it Important to Create a Buyer Persona?
Consider that only 1 out of 10 in your target audience might need your solution, leaving 9 who are not prospects.
Without a clear buyer persona, you risk wasting 90% of your time and resources.
Understanding who you are selling to is crucial.
Discover what your customers need, their timing, their location, and how you can assist.
Crafting content with your buyer persona in mind keeps content marketing costs lower, as you’re targeting your ideal customer rather than a broad, less interested audience.
This targeted approach also applies to paid marketing, where knowing your ideal customer reduces advertising costs.
Content relevance is another key reason for creating a buyer persona.
Knowing your customers allows you to speak their language and produce content that resonates deeply with them.
Think of it this way:
Understanding your audience enables you to use their language, relate to their experiences, and forge a stronger connection.
Additionally, a well-crafted buyer persona can identify potential obstacles and objections your customers might have regarding your product or service.
For instance, you might think pricing is a barrier when, in reality, customers might prefer a competitor for a specific feature you lack.
Thorough research and information gathering eliminate guesswork, ensuring a more effective marketing strategy.
How Do You Create a Buyer Persona?
To create a helpful buyer persona, you must understand your real customers.
Talk to them and discover their problems and objections.
Crafting a buyer persona involves asking questions and allowing their answers to shape the persona.
Delve deeply into the core issues.
Embrace curiosity and ask “why” frequently.
During this process, aim to learn everything about your customers.
Key areas to focus on include:
- Professional Information – job title, experience level, tools used
- Workplace Information – industry, company size, revenue
- Challenges – major problems and pain points
- Goals – short-term and long-term objectives
- Learning Resources – platforms, websites, and publications used
- Personal Information – age, gender, family, education, hobbies, interests
- Objections – reasons against using your product or service
Refer to this article with 200 buyer persona questions for inspiration.
Decide on your questions, then determine how and in what format to reach your customers.
Incentivizing participation with gifts or cards can enhance cooperation.
Methods to gather answers include:
- One-on-one Interviews
- Surveys and Quizzes
- Online Research
Interviews are crucial for understanding others.
Base your buyer persona on known facts, not assumptions.
While some guesswork is inevitable, relying solely on it can lead to inaccuracies.
Diversify your interview subjects – happy customers, less satisfied ones, and potential customers.
The goal is to identify trends or patterns.
Predictable responses indicate sufficient data for a buyer persona.
Surveys and Quizzes
Surveys and quizzes are effective for collecting information.
Implement them on your website or via email outreach.
Offering incentives can encourage participation, despite usual reluctance.
Surveys and quizzes not only gather info but also engage your audience, benefiting your SEO efforts.
Information for buyer personas can also be gleaned from social media research.
Customers often share personal details on these platforms.
Though time-consuming and not scalable, this method can be a useful last resort.
Engaging casually with customers on social media can strengthen relationships and is often an underutilized strategy by businesses.
Most Important Information to Capture When Creating a Buyer Persona
The goal is to publish content that deepens connections with your audience, and that requires knowing them well.
Thus, no information is irrelevant.
If I had to pinpoint the most crucial information, it would be that which relates to the problems your customers face in relation to your products or services.
Addressing these problems in your content demonstrates your expertise and directly solves your customers’ issues.
Solving these problems positions you as an expert in your field.
People trust experts and trust leads to purchases.
Why Is It Important to Include Personal Information in Your Buyer Persona?
Small personal details can be pivotal in connecting with someone.
For instance, discovering many customers enjoy hiking and incorporating this into your content can resonate deeply.
Purchasing is emotional first, rational second.
Building trust through content that reflects customers’ real-life interests is highly effective.
Another example is capitalizing on current trends, like referencing a popular show like Tiger King.
While not directly related to your business, it can positively influence customer perception.
Beyond providing excellent products, building relationships through lighthearted, personal content is a valuable strategy.
Remember, humanizing your business with this approach is an essential tool in your arsenal.
How Many Buyer Personas Should You Create?
The common advice is to start small and target your most ideal customers first.
This approach is beneficial for several reasons.
Firstly, these are the customers you interact with most and understand deeply.
Having ample information allows you to comprehensively develop a buyer persona.
Secondly, working with your ideal customer is easier and more fulfilling, making targeting them a logical choice.
The principle here is that selling to your ideal customer requires less effort and provides maximum value, fostering a mutually beneficial relationship with minimal friction.
When you’ve maximized content ideas for your initial buyer persona, it’s appropriate to expand to more personas.
This is especially true if you have multiple customer types making decisions about your product or service.
Aim to cover all decision-makers related to your offers, creating content that addresses their queries and concerns.
However, avoid creating too many personas. An excess leads to scattered content.
Remember, while content is king, relevant and targeted content is the God-Emperor.
B2B vs B2C Buyer Personas
Fundamentally, the difference between B2B and B2C buyer personas is minimal.
Whether selling to a business or individual, the focus is on appealing to people, not entities.
Research indicates that in B2B settings, purchasing decisions can involve 1 to 6 individuals.
For B2B marketers, this means extensive research and prioritization is crucial.
Although covering everyone involved is ideal, it’s often not feasible to do so immediately.
Including personalized details like hobbies and interests is still valuable, as the core principles remain consistent.
For instance, a Star Wars reference could clinch a deal with a CTO who loves ‘The Mandalorian.’
Knowing their interests allows for targeted content that appeals to them, potentially leading them to your product or service.
Remember, effective content isn’t always long-form. Even a well-crafted Tweet can be a powerful tool if it contains the right elements.
Should Small Local Businesses Bother Creating a Buyer Persona?
Even if your business caters to a specific customer type, it’s crucial to gather as much real-life information about your customers as possible.
The principles discussed earlier in this article remain relevant.
Understanding your customers helps in crafting content that resonates personally with them.
This is particularly crucial for new local businesses or those struggling with branding and community integration.
For instance, knowing that many customers are fans of the local college basketball team can lead to engaging references that enhance conversions and close deals.
How Do You Create a Buyer Persona If You Don’t Have Any Customers Yet?
For new businesses lacking customer interaction, a viable method is to observe your direct competition’s customers.
This approach provides insights into the types of customers you aim to attract.
However, once possible, interview your own customers to refine your buyer persona, capturing unique nuances.
How Do You Use a Buyer Persona in Your Content Marketing Strategy?
Using buyer personas in content marketing might seem odd, but the goal is to make them happy.
Address their problems, answer questions, alleviate doubts, and be as helpful as possible.
Treat them as if they’re right in front of you, seeking assistance.
Engage with your buyer personas actively. Play devil’s advocate to encourage challenging inquiries and reach mutually beneficial solutions.
For example, if your persona questions why they shouldn’t choose a cheaper competitor with better support, this prompts a content piece comparing your solution to others. Here, highlight your strengths honestly without disparagement.
Envisioning specific questions your business might face is easier with a well-developed buyer persona.
Buyer persona templates
A buyer persona template doesn’t have to be super-complicated.
From here, simply populate the sections with the relevant information you’ve gathered.
If you don’t want to build your own template from scratch, Hubspot offers a free buyer persona building tool here.
The tool allows you to add and populate as many sections as you need.
The blank version looks like this:
It’s a great tool that allows you to skip the graphics design stage and jump straight into populating a nice looking template and breathing life into your buyer persona.
If you’re looking for more options, feel free to check out my article on the best buyer persona generators.
Let’s now take a look at a fully fleshed out buyer persona so you can see how one looks like when it’s done.
This buyer persona was shared by Coforge:
As you can see, a fully fleshed out buyer persona looks and feels like a real human being.
After completing the exercise of creating your buyer persona, you can start putting it to good use and start creating helpful content around it.
If you’re interested in seeing how other companies utilized buyer personas, check out my case studies article on that topic.