Buyer personas are a powerful tool in any marketing arsenal, yet many businesses launch without a solid understanding of their target customer. 

Worse still, some start-ups think they’ve created customer personas when they’ve only built fictional profiles based on assumptions and generalisations — not data. 

If you want to win in today’s fiercely competitive entrepreneurial landscape, you must understand your customers. More importantly, you must know how to solve their problems and move them further from pain and closer to pleasure. 

Buyer personas are a potent way to do precisely that. Plus, they keep your entire team and strategy in alignment for streamlined results. 

As Seth Godin says, “As long as you want to please everyone, you won’t please anyone.

So, let’s stop trying to appeal to the masses and instead dial in on how to create buyer personas that work.

What is a buyer persona?

First, let’s take a closer look at the question: “What is a buyer persona?”

A buyer persona (also called a marketing persona or customer persona) is a research-based profile of your target customer. 

While your buyer persona is not a real person, it should be based on real data. So, I like to think of it as a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. 

The best buyer personas don’t just list demographics or characteristics, but also describe the customer: their challenges, their goals, their motivations, and how they make decisions. 

I recommend creating a buyer persona for each of your customer segments. Don’t go overboard here (too many customer personas can convolute your messaging and strategy) but do create a profile to represent each of your industries or verticals.

Do buyer personas work?

The data speaks for itself: 93% of companies who exceed lead and revenue goals use buyer personas. 

And it makes sense. Imagine for a sec you want to set a friend up on a blind date. You wouldn’t match them with your cousin unless you first had a solid grasp of their interests, goals, and attractions — specific information to ensure a good match. 

Just as dating profiles exist for a reason, so too do buyer personas. So avoid that awkward first date and instead get right to wooing your ideal customers with well-researched customer profiles.

The benefits of buyer personas for your company

When you take the time to create well-researched buyer personas, you set your entire team up for success. Your marketing and sales become more targeted, more clear, and more persuasive — and your product development focuses on exactly what your customers want and need. 

Here are a few more reasons to make buyer personas in your business a non-negotiable:

  • Align your sales, marketing, and product development teams for clarity, precision, and consistency across each channel
  • Create a customer-centric culture across the company
  • Use buyer personas to inform product/market fit
  • Attract qualified prospects that fit your target audience
  • Set a solid foundation for a raving fan base — customers who feel heard and understood

How to create intelligent buyer personas

Ready to create buyer personas for each of your customer segments? Good. Now, use this guide to market personas to start building profitable profiles:

Audience Research

Intelligent buyer personas start with research. You want to replace your ideas and assumptions with data — information you gain directly from customers or prospects within your target audience. 

Here’s some important information to include in any market persona:

Demographic Questions

  • What is the buyer’s age?
  • What is your buyer’s gender?
  • What is the buyer’s income?
  • What is the buyer’s occupation?
  • Is your buyer married? Do they have children?
  • Where does the buyer live? Who lives with them?
  • What does your buyer’s typical day look like?

Psychographic Questions

  • What are the buyer’s interests and hobbies?
  • What other brands does the buyer follow or purchase from?
  • What are the biggest pain points your buyer has? How do these change across the Buyer’s Journey?
  • What are your buyer’s goals and aspirations?
  • How can your product help your buyer solve their problems?
  • What objections does your buyer have before purchasing?
  • Where does your buyer spend time online? Which social media platforms do they use?

These questions are merely a jumping-off point. Get your team together to brainstorm other data points that will help you better market to the wants and needs of your target audience. 

Just remember emotions drive purchases; the most successful buyer personas include detailed descriptions of what motivates the customer.

How to research customer personas

You’ve got your list of questions — now how do you gather real data to inform your buyer personas?

For basic demographic information, you can start with a deep-dive in your Google Analytics and Facebook Audience Insights. You’ll find a wealth of information on who is already engaging with your content, including: age, gender, location, devices used and interests. 

Of course, nothing beats first-hand information. Customer surveys and interviews will provide you with ample insights, as will social media polls and chatting with prospects. 

Finally, competition research pays big rewards. Identify who your competition is serving, then do some research on their audience using the above tips. 

Create and share your buyer persona templates

With your research completed, it’s time to compile your data into an easy-to-use template. Label each persona with a name and photo; you want your sales and marketing teams to feel like they’re speaking directly to this person, not a vague concept or made-up figure. 

Now, here’s where most businesses go wrong: 

After creating their buyer personas, many start-ups send them off to marketing and call it a day. If you want your customer personas to work, it’s crucial to share them with your entire team — from sales to product development to customer support. 

When your entire company understands your Buyer Personas, your customers will feel heard and understood at each touchpoint — and that means more sales and revenue for your business. 

Need support creating buyer personas that actually shift the needle? Get in touch today.