How to Create your Targeted Buyer Persona for your Business.

Target Buyer Personas for your business

Written by Kalleigh O'Togher

Kalleigh is the founder and CEO of Zealous Social.  Her expertise in marketing comes from 15 years of serving mid-size businesses in the trades, services and retail industries.

July 27, 2020

In order to target the right customer for your business you need to determine what your ideal buyer’s persona or characteristics are. Personas help you understand your customers and targeted audience (potential customers) better so you can focus all your marketing messages towards their specific needs, behaviours and concerns.

Let’s put it this way. If you don’t know who exactly you are selling to, how can you tell them how your product or service will help them? You can’t because you don’t know what they need or what they want.

In a NetProspex case study, they reported that by determining their buyer personas and shifting their customers’ needs to the forefront of their marketing efforts they noticed these results:

  • 900% increase in visit duration
  • 100% increase in the number of pages visited
  • 111% increase in email open rates
  • 171% increase in marketing-generated revenue
  • 46% increase in conversions

So how do you figure out what your buyer persona is?

While determining your buyer persona might seem overwhelming at first, it can actually be pretty straightforward, though it can involve a lot of heavy lifting. 

It’s based on market research as well as insights you gather from your actual customer base. If you’re just starting out, don’t worry. You can still figure this out. Do surveys, interviews, ask questions in social groups, and utilize as much data that is available to you from Social Media and other 3rd party platforms. 

Depending on your business you could have between one to 20 buyer personas. Starting out, develop one at a time and add more later as you get better at creating these. It’s better to do one right than 10 wrong.

What’s the wrong buyer persona?

Since your buyer persona is your ideal customer, the wrong persona is your negative or worst customer persona. What do we mean by this? The wrong persona is the representation of who you don’t want as a customer.

For example, a butcher shop doesn’t want to market to vegans or vegetarians. These groups would be a butcher shop’s wrong buyer persona.

Another example is potential customers that are too expensive to acquire. An example is you wouldn’t market a Ford Focus to a buyer persona that buys BMW’s or Mercedes vehicles. You also wouldn’t market to buyer personas that buy Dodge Ram or Ford F Series Pickup trucks. You get the idea.

How do you use buyer personas?

Personas allow you to personalize or specifically target your marketing for different segments of your audience (ideal customers). You don’t want to send the same lead sequence emails to everyone on your email list. Using your buyer personas, you can send targeted, personalized messages to them based on what you know about them and also where they are in your sales funnel (awareness, research, consideration, purchase, and post-purchase).

Once you’ve segmented your lists into the different buyer personas, you’ll be able to achieve lower cost-per-clicks and higher conversions from your sales efforts because you’ll be getting the right message in front of the right audience.

How do you create buyer personas?

Buyer personas are created through interviews, surveys, forms, and research. That includes your existing customers, past customers, and prospects. The point of buyer personas is to really narrow down and target your ideal customer characteristics. In order to do that you need as much information as possible to give you a clearer picture.

Go through your existing database of contacts and see if you kept track of the following:

  1. How did they find you?
  2. Did they subscribe to your blog or lead magnet – which one(s)?
  3. What products/services did they purchase?
  4. Were they a one time or repeat customer?

Try to find a trend in their buying behavior.

Create buyer personas through phone interviews with prospects, current and previous customers.

For existing and past customers try to interview them in person, by phone or video conferencing and ask them what they liked and disliked about your product or service. If you can’t reach them personally, another option is to send them an email survey asking them these questions.

If you’re a new company and don’t have any previous or existing clients yet, don’t worry. Try to use logical thinking to determine what the answers would be for this buyer. You can update it later once you start getting customers and have more data.

On your website, you can also add fields to your contact forms asking your leads questions that will give you information on what type of buyer persona they are. If you need information on what social accounts your leads use, ask them that. If you need to know if they are a startup or existing company, ask them how old their business is or how many employees they have.

Keep up to date on who your sales team is speaking to and what information they are collecting from them. Review the sales cycle you have in place to ensure that the information is being collected, organized properly, and saved so you have access to this information in the future.

The best way to do that is to use a good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program that will keep all this information in one database that you and your sales team can access. There are multiple ones on the market for all types of businesses and all types of budgets.

Use a form to write down your buyer persona information.

The best way to track personas is to make up a form for each type of persona. Remember you can have from one to 20 buyer personas for your business. There isn’t only “one” for each business.

On your form, break up the key areas you want to identify. Hubspot has an online persona generating site that’s pretty cool to use but you need data to input for it to work.

Here’s a basic buyer persona form to give you an idea of the data you need:

Persona QuestionsMake Up a Fictitious Name
What’s their background? (Job Title, Years at Co., Family 
Demographics (Gender, Age, Income, Location) 
Location (City, State/Prov., Country) 
Communication Preferences 
What are they trying to solve? (What’s their pain point) 
What solutions have they tried? 
What’s their goal? 
What part of the buyer cycle are they in when they contact us? 
How do they buy? What’s their buying process? 
What product/service do we have that will help them? 
Why? What are the main product/service benefits that relate to them and their need? 
Common Objectives (What stops them from buying?) 
How do we counteract their objections? What’s our message? 
Does our sales team & marketing material address these objections? 
What’s our closing pitch? 

When you’ve filled this out for each of your buyer personas, check out your competition. We all have them and they’ve most likely already done this if they’ve been in business for any length of time. What do their marketing materials (website and content) say? From their messaging, what pain points for their personas are they trying to answer? This will help you stay on the right path for developing your own.

Use social media platforms like facebook and twitter to research the right buyer persona for your business.

Another way to gather information is to be in social media groups like LinkedIn, Reddit, Twitter or Facebook. You’ll find thousands of your potential ideal customers online and these platforms have analytics tools to help you dig further into the data. 

Look to see what questions are they asking? Is this topic popular? This will help you determine if there is a demand for this topic/problem and your product/service. Make a note of it under that specific buyer persona.

When you are in these groups, start your own thread asking open-ended questions or use a survey to start conversations. This will help you build your persona by getting the answers you need. 

Keep updating your personas. The more data you can gather the better your personas will be. But don’t stop doing your personas at the beginning/planning stages of your business. You need to use these personas in all aspects of your marketing efforts and sales copy.

The key parts to the Content Marketing Cycle are research, goals, content, distribution and engagement.

Put it into action

As Gary Vanyerchuck advises, you must market in the year that you’re living in.

Every day new businesses will try to replace you in the marketplace. You’re trying to do it now to your competitors, so it’s essential that you don’t waste your marketing efforts chasing the wrong customers.

Let us know how your efforts went. We love hearing success stories.

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