Every business and marketing book on the shelf tries to convince you to create a buyer persona. They promise it will drive your success.
Without a doubt, a buyer persona is extremely important. When you understand who your customer is, you can tailor your offers to improve sales. With every transaction, you can gain a satisfied and loyal customer eager to recommend you. Your sales will continue to grow, and your business will have more opportunities to develop.
You may already understand the concept. You may already regularly gather information about your clients, leads, competitors, just like we recommended in our previous article about the importance of creating a buyer persona. However, you may not yet know WHO your customer is.
Well, owning information doesn’t guarantee you’ll use it effectively. But don’t worry. In this article, we will teach you how to build a buyer persona and give you a few tried and tested tips to use in practice!
How to build a buyer persona?
By now, you should have scanned your CRM and sales data, Google Analytics, and social media statistics to extract important information about your customers, website visitors, app users, subscribers and anyone else more or less familiar with your business. Now, you need to analyze and process this data.
To start creating a buyer persona, you have to identify your customer groups.
If your business is a marketplace, for example, you will need to think of at least two personas that represent two groups of customers: product/service providers and consumers.
Take, for example, Airbnb. Let’s start by dividing all the service’s users into two major groups:
- Service providers
People who are ready to welcome guests into their apartments.
Travelers searching for appropriate accommodations.
But when we dig deeper into this example, we realize there are different types of customers within each group.
Among service providers there are:
- People who rent their property while they travel themselves.
- People who rent a room in their apartment and are looking for new acquaintances.
- People who rent a room to make some extra income.
- People who rent out multiple apartments and have made a business out of it.
The consumer group also varies:
- People on business trips with higher expectations.
- Budget travelers looking for cheap accommodations.
- Travelers looking for luxurious, exclusive apartments.
As you can see, there may require multiple buyer personas. The ones above are all distinct and should be treated differently. Prepare to build a buyer persona for every group you identify. The more differentiated your buyer personas, the more efficiency you can expect.
Extract important information
Now that you’ve imagined who your customers are, create their portraits using the information you’ve gathered from CRM, social media, Google Analytics, and other sources. For each persona, try to answer these questions:
Location? (where the person lives)
Excluding location? (where this person doesn’t live)
Depending on your case, you may need to add or remove some of the questions above. We also recommend you prepare specific questions that fit your product:
Does the person own a car? Which brand?
Is the person allergic? To what?
Does the person have a Netflix subscription? Since when?
Does the person play sports? What sport? How often?
What does the person usually have for lunch? How much does it cost and how much time does it take?
Some of the questions mentioned above may seem odd but gathering all relevant information about your existing or potential customers can make a huge difference.
Use specialized tools
There are several online tools that can help you structure data pertaining to your average customer and build a buyer persona profile. They can give you ideas about the information you have to include. In the end, you’ll have developed a portrait of your ideal customer you can share with your colleagues.
MakeMyPersona is a tool created by Hubspot that enables you to fill in data about your ideal customer online. You also receive an editable document via email, where you can add, change or remove information. This tool is very simple to use, so try it now!
Xtensio is a more advanced tool for those who are ready to dig deeper into their customer base (and we hope you are). It also includes fillable fields, but unlike Hubspot’s service, it doesn’t only focus on demographic data. Xtensio will ask you about your client’s goals and frustrations, motivations and preferred channels for information consumption. They’ll even compile preferred brands and influencers. After filling out your ideal customer’s profile, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this tool’s sophisticated layout.
Both tools are free to use. So, you have one excuse less to start working on your buyer persona portrait right now!
How do you use a buyer persona?
Now that you’ve created a buyer persona profile, you can print it out and pin it to the wall next to your monitor! This is what people usually do with their buyer personas. But this action isn’t guaranteed to improve your conversion or traffic. Here are few more reliable tips to help you use your buyer persona to actually improve your business:
- Adjust your products and offers to fit the needs and wants of your target audience
Say your business is an online service for Italian language learners. The research has shown that your buyer persona has never been to Italy. You decide to offer an additional online course on Italian life. As a bonus, you promise every participant a free lecture on Italian cuisine. Believe me, going through this course will motivate your clients to learn harder so they can visit Italy and be able to communicate with locals. And they are definitely more likely to invite friends to join a great service that they know is broadening their horizons.
- Reach the customers through the channels they use most
Say you are a business selling handmade iPhone cases. You pay a lot of attention to advertising in newspapers and TV, but research shows that your buyer persona is an active social media user who only sees a newspaper when she visits her grandparents. Cut your budget on offline advertising and invest in social media marketing. You will be surprised how effective this step can be.
- Narrow your ad targeting to reach only the people you actually need
Say your Facebook advertising campaign targets all the users in your town. This strategy might work for a bakery, but your business is a recruitment agency, and you are constantly paying for the screen time of people who don’t fit your advertised vacancy description. But Facebook allows you to target every post so it will only be seen by a limited number of the right people. Age, education level, previous experience, languages, etc. By defining this information, you can significantly cut a wasted ad budget!
- Initiate (or give up) website redesign to be closer to your real customers
We have described an edifying case of GAP redesign in one of our earlier articles. This is a wise story about how redesign without buyer persona in mind can cost millions of dollars.
A buyer persona is a cheap but extremely powerful tool to improve conversion. By using data from your CRM and analytics tool process, you can build a portrait of your ideal customer and adjust your sales, marketing and production according to the information you receive. As a result, your offers will be better tailored to the needs of your real clients, and the efficiency of your marketing campaigns will increase along with your conversions.
There are tens of ways to use a buyer persona profile to improve your business and bring it to a completely new level. Just please don’t let it hang from the wall next to your computer!