Knowing your customers is the key for any successful business venture. Insights on customers helps business owners make important decisions. Different areas in a business, like product development, pricing, branding, sales, marketing and more benefit from customer insights. Without understanding customers businesses will not know how to cater to them.
Sometimes understanding the individual needs of your target customers can be challenging. Buyer personas make this process easier. With the help of buyer personas, you can know who exactly you cater to. It also shows you who are not your customers. Creating buyer persona gets you better acquainted with the interest, needs and problems of your target customer. In addition, you can create personalized marketing strategies that are aimed at a specific audience. In this article, we will discuss what are buyer personas, why you need them and how you can create one.
Let’s understand buyer personas a little better.
What is a buyer persona?
HubSpot defines buyer personas as “semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on data and research.” It is a detailed description of your customer that covers demographics, psychographics, buying behavior, interests, preferences and more. A persona can be given a name or a face to illustrate it better. It depends on how you wish to present them to your team. These buyer personas guide various departments or teams in your company so that everyone understands the ideal customer. Many companies have different groups of people they target based on their products or services. In this case they might need to create more than one persona.
Having a buyer persona makes it easy for a business to focus time and resources on the right prospects. Moreover, they also help in making important business decisions. In any marketing or advertising endeavours you will need to know your target audience to create content and messaging that resonates with them. Buyer personas are needed in different areas of a business.
Why is the buyer persona important?
Buyer personas helps you understand your target customers and use that information to cater to them in different ways. A detailed buyer persona requires research and data that can be gained through surveys, interviews, feedback etc. Companies can use buyer personas to create content and other marketing strategies that are relevant to their audience. Offering content that is useful to your target customers is a great way to influence their buying decisions.
Marketers often create content that sometimes may not resonate with their target audience. With the help of buyer personas, they can know the individuals who read their content. This makes marketers more aware about a customer’s needs. Moreover, these personas can also help in creating online ads that are targeted to the right customer base. Advertisers can use this information to segment their audience and create highly targeted ads.
Getting to know the problems and pain points of these personas can enable companies to come with products or services that provide solutions. Buyer personas also help sales teams form a connection with potential customers. By understanding prospects sales teams can come up with strategies on how to influence them and to solve their problems. Customer service teams can also benefit from these personas. They can determine what the major concerns are for these target customers and be prepared to guide them.
Whether a business is small or big, buyer personas are essential to help businesses clearly define their target audience.
How to create a buyer persona?
The first step to creating your buyer persona is to research your target audience. You can start looking into your own contacts data to analyze patterns, buying behaviors and customer engagement. This can help you determine what your target customers expect from you and how they engage with your content.
Use forms on your website that can help you collect key demographic information. Leads will fill these forms in exchange for downloadable content you offer. Your sales teams can also provide useful information on customers as they communicate and interact with them frequently. Through this you can find out what common problems your customers face and what they are expecting from you to help them solve it.
Another method to collect insights is by interviewing customers or preparing surveys. You can interview your current customers as they have already engaged with your brand. These customers can provide feedback on their experience with you. It is good to know what things you did right that really helped them, but you should also be open to constructive criticism so that you can know which expectations you could not meet. Along with customers you also need to interview people who have not interacted with your company before. You can get some contact referred by your current customers, coworkers, friends or even through social media.
Social listening is also a great way to understand your customer’s interests, preferences, dislikes, problems etc. Use social media insights to know more about your followers. Take a look at what they like, comment and the type of content they engage with. Other tools like Google Analytics can provide insights on your website traffic. It can show you where your traffic is coming from, their key demographics and how they engage with your content.
Determine customer Goals
Get to know the main goals of your ideal customers. These goals may be related to their professional or personal life. If you are a B2B company then get to know the goals your target customers have for their business. Understanding customer goals is key as this can enable you to show them how your products or services can help them achieve these goals. Based on this you can create your sales pitch, content, messaging and other marketing activities that will influence your customer’s decisions. If customers know that you can help them achieve their goals, then they are more likely to invest in your brand.
Identify customer pain points
Along with goals, understand what problems customers face. These problems may be hindering them from achieving their goals. The problem could also be their lack of knowledge in a particular area which they might need help with. Or they may just be looking for solutions that can make their everyday tasks easier in their personal or professional lives. Get to know their pain points related to the area which you can help them in. For example, a company providing accounting software and solutions to other businesses will explore the pain points related to accounting needs. One case would be where their customer owns a small business and does not have the budget to hire a full-time accountant. This customer can invest in this software which can make it easy and efficient for them to handle their account.
Understanding customer pain points enables you to identify opportunities where you can help your potential customers.
Create your buyer personas
Once you have all the information you need, you can start putting together your buyer personas. First, sort out all the information and identify individuals with similar characteristics. This will create a group of people who share the same interests, problems and preferences. Based on the products or services you offer; you may have one or more than one persona. There is not one way to do this. Every business will have different looking buyer personas. Include the information that paints a clear picture of what your target customer looks like. Give this persona a name and a face to make them more realistic. Here is an example of a buyer persona Alice which includes the following information:
- She is 35 years old
- Lives in Toronto
- Works a web developer
- Very tech-savvy
- Present on all social media platforms
- Hobbies include reading and photography
- Likes to travel
A buyer persona should be based on facts and data you collect. It represents the characteristics of an individual who is part of your target customer group.
To make this description even more extensive you can also add a user story. User story includes a summary of an individual’s goals or problems. It focuses on what this individual specifically needs to solve their problems. It also talks about how these individuals are researching solutions that can help them through different touchpoints. This information can illustrate to your team the customer’s buying patterns and how they look for information.
If you have a problem initially to put this information together or you don’t want to spend too much time on it, there are many templates online you can download. This can make it easy for you to create your buyer personas.
Buyer personas can definitely make your life easier. This information can help you get started on creating buyer personas for your business. These insights can help you successfully strategize your marketing efforts that help you connect with your customers.
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