If you want to make a sale, then you need to know your customer better than they know themselves.
Pushing a product onto someone rarely works. We exist in a time when consumers feel bombarded by hundreds of solicitations a week about a new good or service. They're likely to avoid you because, more importantly, you don't know them.
To increase your returns, your brand needs to know the customer down to the individual. This is what we call a buyer persona.
In this article, we're going to clearly define buyer persona, the benefits of creating one, and how to research yours effectively.
What is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a profile based on all of the attributes that would make the ideal customer for your business.
The buyer persona contains all of the demographic data that distinguishes one social group from another. It should include details such as age, gender, occupation, location, and income.
In addition to personal or career attributes, buyer personas also highlight customer needs, wants, and pain points. In short, your brand should be able to imagine a somewhat-real idea of what this customer experiences on a daily basis. With this knowledge, you can posture your marketing and sales efforts to have a greater impact.
Buyer Persona Examples
Finding the right buyer persona for your brand is critical for creating successful sales. Everyone has a unique profile, but your brand needs to be able to meet their needs and pain points effectively. Let's take a look at a few examples of imagined buyer personas for a digital marketing agency targeting automotive companies.
Buyer Persona Example 1
Buyer Persona Example 2
Buyer Persona Example 3
Buyer Persona Example Analysis
Based on these three example profiles, we can already uncover commonalities that will be vital in guiding our marketing and sales processes.
First, we see that our target customers at these automotive brands are not gender or race-specific. There isn't enough data to suggest that leaders in these automotive brands favor one gender over another. Therefore, our attention rightly focuses more on their occupation within the company and their ability to implement our services.
Second, the age group appears to have a pattern of including individuals anywhere from 30-40. Because leadership positions tend to trend toward older individuals, we may want to continue research to either extend our range or make it more precise.
The responsibilities of these personas differ within their companies. However, there is a common thread in that these leads play a role in helping the company close sales with the right customers. Employing effective marketing tactics and managing leads effectively is the challenge they face regularly.
Finally, we benefit from knowing how these individuals spend their time online at work and at home. Some seem to be more social-savvy than others, but there is a throughline in using Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter in both scenarios.
With this data, our buyer persona starts to look like this:
While our example individuals had their differences, there are enough shared attributes for us to begin realizing a more effective pitch for our agency's services. We know who to target, where to reach them online, and what problems they face.
Now, we use this data to position our services as the solution to those pain points.
Benefits of Targeting Buyer Personas
Targeting carefully-crafted buyer personas is key to improving your marketing efforts.
Customers now demand a personalized experience when shopping or receiving advertisements. A survey study by Segment featuring 1,006 respondents concluded that an overwhelming 71% feel frustrated by impersonal experiences with brands.
When you deploy personalized content to audiences, you're doing what is now expected of companies to remain competitive in the industry. Buyer personas are your ticket to achieving this.
Here is a list of everything you can benefit from by targeting buyer personas with your marketing campaigns and content creation efforts.
1. Improved Targeting
It helps to know who you're talking to before you initiate the conversation.
Without understanding your buyer persona, you find yourself talking to everyone, and, therefore, no one at the same time. Compare this to blindly approaching every customer that comes by on the sales floor. Not everyone has the same needs, and you'll never know who will be receptive based on a blind guess.
When you begin compiling important qualifiers regarding your customers, you become more efficient in your sales approach. You spend less time and money going after those with zero interest and focusing your efforts on those that matter more to your company.
2. Improved Content Creation
If you know who you're targeting, you immediately gain a better understanding of how to approach the conversation.
This applies to not only in-person or phone conversations but should influence your website copy, blogs, paid ads, landing pages, and more. Instead of casting a wide net and hoping for the best, you're now prepared to tailor your offers and messaging to those who are most likely to engage with you.
Furthermore, improving your buyer personas and creating new ones offers compounding benefits. When you're creating the right kinds of content for your audience, the performance data becomes even more meaningful. You'll know what works, what doesn't, and what you can do to get consistent results moving forward.
3. Improved ROI
The positive benefits continue to snowball into what matters most - your bottom line.
When you create buyer personas, you know who to speak with and how to speak with them. Now, you can start pushing toward closing more successful deals and boosting your ROI.
Businesses and marketers alike don't want nonqualified customers entering their doors. It costs time and money for a person's attention, and attracting the wrong leads is a poor investment. Instead, you'll now focus heavily on the audiences with the strongest interest and purchase intent, even if it means less traffic overall.
You'll spend less time chasing vanity metrics like overall clicks or daily traffic to make your agency look better. Your brand will benefit more from closing more deals with qualified leads that align with your buyer persona.
4. Better Consumer Feedback
Finally, interacting with your buyer persona gives way to more actionable feedback. In our always-online world, everyone has an opinion. But, which opinions about your brand really make a difference?
Opinions and feedback from engaged and paying customers are critical for growth and success. They've already committed to interacting with your brand, but now you can discover how to make your offerings even better.
You can get better feedback and improve your shopping experience by doing your research ahead of time. Let's dive into how to do buyer persona research so that you can start finding better leads today.
How to Do Buyer Persona Research?
If you're a currently operating business, you likely already have data on hand that's valuable for building buyer personas. However, more information will only further improve your efforts.
Your marketing efforts might prove rough at first. But, by employing these tactics, you can use your buyer persona research to create better customer profiles.
1. Evaluate Your Brand
This should be the first step in creating any type of business. It's the reason why companies typically state their mission, vision, or goal by existing.
A successful business does not exist simply to sell a product or service but to provide actionable solutions to customer pain points. In the process of defining these goals, you should naturally begin to consider who will benefit from your offerings.
As a white label digital marketing agency, we know that our mission is to serve other agencies and entrepreneurs. We strive to complement their business efforts and provide fulfillment services to cover any gaps in their own business offerings. For these reasons, we know we want to focus on B2B buyer personas that work in the digital marketing field.
You should apply the same thought process when establishing your buyer persona. Understand who you want to reach, but leave an open mind for the various audience segments that make up that broad spectrum of potential clients.
2. Survey Your Existing Customers
Unless you're a brand-new agency with no clients, you already have research options available.
Brands of any size will benefit from interviewing their customers directly. Your audience interaction shouldn't always be entirely focused on a sale. Building rapport with your existing customers and maintaining their satisfaction is crucial for growth and scaling.
Check-in on your customers and ask how your product or service is treating them. This not only shows that you care but invites them to speak honestly about your strengths and weaknesses. You might discover concerns about price, quality, or customer service, all of which speak to customer needs and pain points.
You can also obtain information by sending our customer surveys. Take the opportunity to curate a series of questions for your newsletter subscribers or your previous customer list. If you're an e-commerce brand, invite them to leave reviews on any products they purchase shortly after they complete their transaction.
Brand questionnaires need not only apply to the actual transaction and experience with the service. Ask your customers what type of content they like to see, where they spend their time browsing, and how you can improve their browsing experience. Any feedback you receive simultaneously builds out your buyer persona and helps you improve your marketing efforts.
3. Collect Information from Your Prospects
Many marketers, particularly in PPC areas, leverage their content to collect lead data.
These initial campaigns are known as discovery campaigns and exist to help with lead segmentation. While boosting sales should always be a focus, taking the time to learn more about your audience is beneficial for long-term results.
Your ads and landing pages for these types of campaigns should reflect this. However, this is still a transaction and your average web user is not going to relinquish their data for free. You can offer incentives, otherwise known as lead magnets, to encourage users to provide some personal data.
Lead collection forms on your landing page can give you the attributes you need to qualify who's reading your content. You can ask for as many qualifiers as you want. Just be mindful that many users are hesitant to give out anything too personal, nor do they wish to spend too much of their free time helping you out.
Finally, the paid platform you're using likely offers a tracking pixel to assist with collecting some of this data automatically. You can install a Facebook or TikTok Pixel on your site to track users that click on your ads on those platforms. Then, you have information about who they are, how they found your content, and how they spend their time on social before they reach your form.
4. Create a Negative Buyer Persona
If your buyer persona is your ideal customer, then the negative buyer persona is the individual that you do not wish to attract.
While scaling and growing your sales is the goal, some people will never be the right for your product or services. You can give yourself an edge in crafting your buyer persona by defining criteria that would rule out a potential lead.
For example, a business that sells garage door repair services is interested in home or business owners. Individuals that do not fit those categories, like apartment renters or those that live at home, are not ideal for their company. They do not have a garage door and cannot benefit from their service in any way.
Other negative criteria might not be so clear without research. Price is often a tricky factor to consider as you need to balance the cost of business, build quality, and accessibility to customers. Once you decide on a firm price point, you'll want to rule out customers outside of a certain income level as they likely cannot afford your premium product.
Knowing what to avoid is just as essential as knowing whom you wish to target. Take the time to evaluate your brand, consider your customer base, and define the attributes that make up your negative buyer persona.
How to Create a Buyer Persona?
Armed with a library of research, we can now begin the process of creating a buyer persona.
Let's start by reviewing our research.
1. Analyze and Segment Your Data
In our earlier example, we created three basic customer profiles. After performing your research, you likely have information from dozens, if not hundreds, of customers that you need to consider.
We recommend compiling your audience data in spreadsheet software like Excel. You can also utilize form builder and tracking software like DashClicks to quickly organize your information. Then, you can download all of your collected data in a CSV sheet to use in other applications.
Segment your data for easier browsing. Some categories you may want to implement include:
- Income Level
- Social media profiles
Your criteria will differ based on your brand’s unique needs and requirements.
Then, start to highlight the most consistent attributes shared across all of your surveyed leads and customers. Add each of these qualifiers to your buyer persona profile until you start to form a clear picture of your average ideal customer.
Do not necessarily rule out any qualifiers that aren't ranked at number one. There may be a significant enough number of customers that can benefit from your brand to consider making additional buyer personas.
2. Rule Out Any Negative Buyer Persona Qualifiers
Our earlier process of creating a negative buyer persona will help us in eliminating unuseful information. Some of your surveyed leads might have tangential interest in your brand, but do not make for worthwhile prospects based on your previously established reasoning.
You'll now have a list of buyer persona attributes shared among your viable audience. You've eliminated any unworthwhile prospects and can now move forward in building and sharing your buyer persona with your team.
Note that ruling out certain leads now does not necessarily mean you should forget them for good. Some of your most interested leads might only have one or two factors going against them right now. Oftentimes, you can use this data to consider proposing new goals that can help you extend your offerings to new audiences when it comes time to scale.
3. Start Implementing Changes to Your Strategy
With your initial buyer persona(s) created, it's time to start utilizing them in your marketing efforts.
Buyer persona-focused content should not apply only to new efforts. You should communicate with your SEO, content, and social media teams to revisit existing plans and previous content. Revisit your work and consider how effective it is in addressing your new ideal buyer persona.
This process should prove educational. Take the opportunity to tweak content as necessary to begin addressing your ideal customer. Write notes and provide feedback to your team as you come up with new ideas for better content moving forward.
Your entire team must be on the same page in understanding your buyer persona. Consistency in your message is key to building trust. With persistence, you can begin to establish your brand as a household name with your new target audience.
Buyer Personas Lead to Better Marketing
Creating a buyer persona is essential for improving business efficiency.
Your company needs to be aware of its audience and important customer pain points. Simultaneously, those prospects are demanding personalized content from brands that want their business.
The buyer persona helps aid both in meaningful content creation and accurate campaign targeting. Your team focuses on how to deliver the right message while ensuring that those words reach the most ideal ears.
Finally, it will provide you with meaningful, actionable feedback. You'll interact with genuine customers and learn how you can improve your experience from discovery to the final sale.