A buyer persona is a description or representation of your ideal customer based on market research and the data you’ve gleaned from your findings. It is a detailed summary of a fictional customer that represents a segment of your target market.
The first step to creating buyer personas is to do in-depth market research and analysis. This is where you research your industry, existing customers, and competitors to determine who your audience is. The personas are the representation of all of that research in a digestible and actionable format that you can use to guide you as you build your brand and marketing strategies.
Each persona is given a name, job, or other background details, personality traits and interests, and will represent a potential customer that will help you understand your customers’ preferences, goals, pain points, and buying patterns.
Using these personas, you can craft specific messaging through your marketing channels that will speak to them directly and help you build a trusted relationship between your brand and your customers.
How to create buyer personas
The first step is to go through all of your research and start identifying common characteristics and traits. You’ll have a good understanding of your audience at this point, so the exercise of creating these personas should just feel like putting a name to the face of your customers.
Give this person a:
- City and neighborhood in that city
- Type of home (house, apartment, etc.)
- Any other defining characteristics that are relevant to the persona (hobbies, interests, etc.)
The goal is to imagine a real person with a dynamic personality of likes and dislikes. A good general guideline is to include the kind of information you might find on a dating app or what you might learn from having a short conversation with someone you met at a mutual friend’s party — essentially a basic understanding of who they are and what they’re interested in.
For example, if your market research shows a key demographic as women in their mid to late 20s who live in big cities, like photography, and follow a vegan lifestyle, you can use that information to craft a persona.
That persona could look like:
*Ari is a female in her mid tolate 20s. She lives in Brooklyn in New York City, and spends her weekends exploring the city taking photographs and discovering new vegan restaurants to try out with her big group of friends. She has a job at a tech company, is very active on social media, and has a long-haired dachshund named Chip. *
With this profile in mind, you can imagine a specific customer and what would resonate with them, helping you focus and prioritize your marketing efforts.
How to use buyer personas
You likely have more than one target demographic, so you’ll need to create a persona to represent each of the demographics you are trying to reach. While you can’t get to know every single person who interacts with your business on a personal level, creating personas will help you understand your customers on a deeper level and help them feel represented in your marketing materials.
They are also a helpful lens to see through when building your brand and creating your overall marketing strategy. Buyer personas can help you with:
Crafting your tone and messaging
It’s easy to fall into using generalized industry talk or buzzwords— that’s how you likely speak with your employees and business partners— but that won’t resonate with your customers. When you’re writing anything, from your website content to social posts, imagine it from the perspective of the personas you’re trying to reach.
Personas can also be helpful when you’re building out marketing strategies and campaigns. When planning, assess if you’re meeting the needs of at least one of your personas to help guide your priorities and help keep you focused on meeting the needs of your customers, instead of yourself.
When you speak directly to your customers in a way that resonates with them, you build trust and loyalty. Customer acquisition can cost your business 5x more in marketing dollars than customer retention, so focus on creating a brand that your customers love and want to stay loyal to.
Creating content that resonates with your audience
Once you’ve created buyer personas, you can create content that will catch their attention, increasing the likelihood that they will interact with you on social channels and become an engaged member of your audience. This is another avenue to build brand awareness and trust with your customers.
You can also explore creating content through other mediums, like a blog, to create content that is helpful and relevant to your customers. Your personas will help steer you to understand what type of content would resonate the most with your customers.
Targeting for paid social media marketing
If you want to explore targeted paid ads on social media, those channels also offer a wide variety of detailed targeting options for paid advertising on their platforms. With these targeting tools, you can specify your target audience’s age, interests, location, behaviors, and previous shopping behavior. With your personas in hand, you can get really granular with your targeting to make sure you’re getting the most out of your budget.
Inform brand partnerships or philanthropic endeavors
If you’re looking to partner with another brand for a product or service, a brand persona will guide you as you seek the right partners to broaden your reach and excite your audience. Additionally, if you’re looking to partner with a charity or social initiative, understanding what matters the most to your customers and aligns with your mission will help you select organizations to partner with that both you and your customers will feel good about.
A persona is more than just a list of characteristics, it’s an imagined person that would be a loyal customer to your business. By humanizing the traits and commonalities you’ve gleaned from your market research, you’ll have a much easier time crafting messaging and prioritizing your marketing efforts, and a much happier customer base.