How to Build Effective Buyer Personas
Increasingly, and especially with the events of the first half of 2020, we are seeing a definitive shift to a more customer-centric culture.
It is no longer about the value inherent in a company’s product or service, but more essentially, what benefits that product/service brings to the consumer.
It needs to address their pain points, facilitate some aspect of their life, authentically help them. This more outward focus on the customer isn’t necessarily new, but it is newly emphasized given a climate in which every purchase is carefully weighed in light of economic impact and overall necessity.
That said, it becomes the responsibility of marketers to more effectively gauge what it is the buying public wants and needs. What strategies can they use to accomplish this? One way is, to begin with, a buyer persona. A buyer persona is basically a placeholder for that actual-ideal costumer. Let’s call it a fictional alter ego of sorts.
Companies have a target demographic, that demographic consists of those individuals toward whom products are geared. Now, the question is, what does this individual look like, generally speaking? What are their interests? Buying behaviors? Income level? Family status? The list can be extensive. The more you know, the better positioned you will be to persuade that person to take a look at your brand and its offerings.
Your buyer persona (or as the case may be personas—as many companies have more than one type of person they target) will serve as your guide. When considering product development, you definitely want to think about what that persona is looking for. When developing a marketing campaign, think about what might appeal most to them. Even as far as your website, develop it with an eye on what will keep that buyer persona on the page.
So how do you create this fictitious persona which (somewhat ironically) will give you a better connection to the real humans you deal with daily? Below are 5 things you need to keep in mind as you sit down at the drawing board to build out your buying personas.
1. Research, Research, Research
Yes, in case you were wondering, there is something to be said for rolling up your sleeves and engaging in some good old fashioned research. The good thing here is that you have data at your fingertips. With Google Analytics and Facebook Insights doing much of the heavy lifting for you, it’s usually a matter of reviewing the information and extrapolating from there. You can easily figure out what interests your persona, what their online patterns tend to be, where they live. Using this information when crafting your persona is key.
Additionally, in doing your research due diligence, you can also spend some time on social media and thereby see where that ideal customer likes to hang out. And of course, there is the tried and true method of simply talking to current customers. Interviewing those who are actively working with you offers incredible insights into what your buyer persona is all about. It will take some legwork on your part here, but again you want as much data as you can possibly gather.
2. Figure Out Their Most Pressing Pain Points
You ultimately sell goods/services because your customers have a problem or a pain point. It could be that they are lacking something in their life. It could also be that they waste time and thus want to find a way to be more productive. Whatever the pain points, these are things they are seeking to address.
Once you have a firm handle on what those pain points are in terms of your target audience, you apply this to your persona. This is who you need to be focused on and the problems about which they are concerned should be a central component of the campaign(s) you launch.
3. What Promise Can You Offer
Hand in hand with defining those pain points is understanding where you come in. That is to say, how can you help alleviate their problems. All any of us want really is to make it through the day and do so with the most amount of happiness possible. You being able to say, here is one thing I can clear up for you, or I can help make that particular problem disappear, is huge.
You also here want to address the potential purchasing barriers your persona might have. People often have to be persuaded to buy; they may want to, but something is holding them back from pulling that trigger. Be it cost or risk, get to the heart of that barrier.
4. Determine Their Goals
Whatever group you are targeting, they have goals in mind. They have dreams they are chasing, ambitions they are pursuing. Goals do in fact influence buying behavior. It could be a personal goal, professional, relationship goals even. The aspirations you identify in crafting your ideal persona don’t necessarily have to tie into your company. This again is just additional insight into what type of customer you are likely dealing with.
For many of us, our dreams and goals are what make us tick. We are driven in most aspects of your lives by this vision of what is to come. So yes, your buyer persona needs to have specific goals in mind. To figure out what these maybe, you could always again talk to current customers. Social media is another great way to gain information on your audience as far as their dreams and ambitions are concerned.
5. Make Your Buyer Persona as Real as Possible
Once you’ve put in the time, energy, and research to figure out the “nuts and bolts” of your fictional customer, you want to set about defictionalizing that persona. In other words, try and build a buyer that is as real-seeming as possible. While this may seem somewhat strange at first, it goes a long way toward enabling you to relate to them and thereby design/develop/write for them and ultimately, if you’ve done your job, sell to them.
Go so far as to give them a name, job, family, location. What do they do in their spare time? What places have they traveled to? Put all of the pieces together and from this jigsaw watch, that buyer starts to take actual shape. And then, of course, it is all about keeping that buyer persona in mind as you make key decisions on everything from marketing to overall brand development.