Create buyer personas and make friends with them

Buyer personas relate to every single aspect of your entire digital marketing effort and improve success rates across the board. This is why we have this part of the guide right up near the top. This is a truly foundational aspect and the time and effort you put into this will amplify everything else you do.

Every product or service out there has its most likely customer.
The chances are you already have a good idea of what kind of people buy your products and services. It is essential information for any business owner. After all, if you don't know your own demographic, how are you going to reach them?

So while knowing your kind of demographic is a good thing and kind of something everybody knows anyway, creating a buyer persona is the act of purposefully really digging deep and creating a template of your kind of buyer.

And this gives you all sorts of great advantages.

A buyer persona helps you create the right kind of content. It then helps you place that content in the right places at the right times. It also gives you a great idea of how you should be talking to your demographic.

Think about it. You don't speak to your bank manager in the same tone you speak to your Mum. And you probably don't speak to either of those in any manner you would speak to your leisurely friends. The same is true of business. A sales rep for a debt insolvency company isn't going to talk/pitch anything like a sales rep for hot tubs.

Creating a buyer persona is surprisingly simple. You're already halfway there knowing your own products and services.

You can create buyer personas for your entire brand or for each individual product or service within your brand. How deep you go into buyer personas and how much you customise your content accordingly will have a direct effect on the success of your marketing campaigns.

So how do we create a buyer persona?

As already mentioned, creating buyer personas is a fairly simple process. Here we'll outline a few techniques you can use to really dig down into your buyer personas.

Side note: We create our buyer personas on a sheet of paper with a pen. Some things just feel better that way. Before you go through the following steps feel free to download the following "Buyer Persona Template" we've created and print it off.

1. Identify your target market first.

To identify our target market we first need to create ourselves a list of demographics that our target market sits within. Demographics are groups of people with a common denominator such as sex, religion, height, age and so on.

When identifying your target market via a list of demographics we suggest the following list as a bare minimum. This list will give us a good basis to then move on to creating our excellent buyer personas.

If you have printed off a copy of our buyer persona template (get it here), have a look at the demographics section. You will see the same list as below without the "XX"'s. Just fill out the blanks and come back and crack on with step 2. 👍

  • Age = XX
  • Gender = XX
  • Location = XX
  • Job Title = XX
  • Annual Income = XX
  • Marital Status = XX
  • Number Of Children = XX
  • Education Level = XX
  • Favourite Colour = XX
  • Defining Character Trait = XX
  • Dress Style = XX
  • Musical Influence = XX

2. Write down the pain-points that your products or services alleviate.

Pain-points are exactly what they say on the tin. They are pain points that people have that require them to need your products and services - even if they don't know it yet.

Common advice in this area is to talk to your customers and simply ask them what problems your product or service helps them with. In reality, this isn't always viable, especially if you're just starting out. And it isn't always accurate. It's not uncommon to ask 20 people the same question and get 20 separate answers. That's just more confusion.

That said, if you do already have a large, actionable (newsletter) customer database, it is a great place to start. An email-based questionnaire can generate some really good results.

It also has a side-effect of showing your customers that you care. A good questionnaire asking them about their own personal needs can be quite endearing and certainly puts you in your customer's minds in a positive light.

If you don't yet have a customer database then YOU are the next best bet for research. If there are common problems that your product or service solves, you probably already know about that more than anyone else? You are the product or service provider after all.

From our experience, business owners know their own products fairly well. They know what they do and what they solve.

A great little tip!
Pain points are most useful when you look at them as if a question from the customer.

The reason it is good to look at pain points as if questions from your customers is simply because your job is to answer the questions and solve the problems. If you don't have the questions in the first place it's much harder to answer them. Crazy huh!

Heres a few examples of generic pain points in the form of customer questions.

1. Financial Pain Points.

How do I afford xxxxxxxx?
Can xxxxxxx be purchased on finance?
Is there a cheaper solution to get xxxxxxxx done?
How do I turn xxxxxxx into an asset?

2. Productivity Pain Points.

Can xxxxxxxx be done more efficiently?
Can xxxxxxxx be produced faster?
Can we outsource xxxxxxxx?
How can we make our staff more comfortable?

Of course, each product and service will have it's own non-generic pain points. With a bit of thought and effort, you should be able to get your list of pain points together and turn them into a list of actionable questions.

Those can now be added to your PDF!

3. Create a basic human profile for your persona.

Again the PDF is your friend here. We've added a great section for creating the human profile of your buyer persona.

Keeping your demographics in mind start to fill out the human profile. Start with your personas name. You have to use a bit of life experience and common sense here.

As an example, if your list of demographics points to females with an age group of 50 to 60 and a job title of "Nurse" you're probably best calling your persona something like "Diane" rather than something like "Winter". On the other hand, if your demographics point to teenagers who like black and listen to Sisters Of Mercy, "Winter" might be a more suitable name.

The idea is simply to create a human profile based upon the demographics. We're painting a picture of our ideal customer. The most likely person to need our products and services.

Spend some time over this.
Really consider your demographics list AND your list of pain point questions before you add any of the fields to the human profile section.

The more consideration you put into this the better your human profile will be. The more it will be able to guide you through everything that follows in this guide.

4. Make friends with your buyer persona.

Now you should have your buyer persona sheet complete you can get to know it.

Sound a little weird?

I've heard stories of highly motivated offices that have actors employed to embody their buyer personas. They just walk around all day. I've read other stories of companies that get life-size cardboard cutouts of their buyer personas and plonk them around the office.

For us, we just stick our A4 buyer persona sheet to a wall where it is constantly in plain sight. Works a treat.

5. So now what?

So we've just gone through this whole page and now it's about to end. So what did we create the buyer persona for?

The simple answer is "everything that follows".

We mentioned at the beginning of this page that buyer personas are a foundational aspect of your entire digital marketing efforts. When you know who you are speaking to, you better understand know how to speak to them.

This will reflect in your sales copy. The actual text-based content that you create to sell your products and services. It will reflect in your branding and design styles. It will reflect in your social media marketing. AdWords. Blogs. FAQ's.

Your buyer personas work through your entire digital marketing efforts.

As we work through the various areas of this guide your buyer personas will crop up again and again. If you plan on using the guide we strongly recommend creating at least one well-considered buyer persona. You may find the need to create two or three. That's fine. The world is your oyster.

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This guide is a constant work in progress and we welcome any suggestions or tips of your own.