A buyer persona helps your business connect with customers in many ways, including understanding audiences, telling stronger stories for more conversions, avoiding buyers you don’t want, and getting teams on the same page.
So, your business wants to find the perfect customer and reach them in the best way possible. Instead of casting a wide net and wasting time and resources, turn to a buyer persona to narrow your target to the customers who truly want and need what you’re selling.
What Is A Buyer Persona?
First, let’s define a buyer persona. Also called a customer persona or marketing persona, it is how you represent your ideal buyer based on real information (data on who bought your product or service before) and educated guesses (why they might buy again). Building a buyer persona requires research—like scanning your contact database or interviewing existing customers—and extrapolation from trends you see.
A buyer persona should include demographic details about the fictional customer, such as age, gender, salary, education, and family, plus occupation, personal goals, and values.
A buyer persona should include demographic details about the fictional customer, such as age, gender, salary, education, and family, plus occupation, personal goals, and values. You also can include the customer’s stage in the buyer’s journey so you can better tailor your marketing efforts. A buyer persona may look different for B2B and B2C clients, but both should concentrate on the attitudes, decision criteria, potential barriers and buying behaviors that cause your prospective customers to pick one business over another. Knowing that, you can position your brand as the solution to their problems.
Now that you know what a buyer persona is, how would you use one—and why? Read on for 4 ways using buyer personas can help your business reach your target customers the right way.
1. Form A Deeper Audience Understanding
The thought behind buyer personas is that you need to understand who your audience is to be able to meet their needs. If you didn’t understand their desires and problems, how could you solve them?
The buyer persona we develop may include products or services the person would like, buying triggers, and challenges or pain points. We want to note if the buyer persona would be a decision maker or an end-user, since the marketing approach could differ. Sometimes we even create a quote that sums up the persona’s personality.
As we explain to clients, buyer personas provide insight into what makes your customers tick by:
- Identifying and understanding your customers’ unique needs and challenges
- Informing and aligning marketing and sales strategies
- Driving targeted content and messaging
- Addressing situations your customers are facing
- Recognizing, anticipating, and innovating to meet new customer needs
A buyer persona is based on customer insights, but it goes beyond just data. Tuna Traffic can help you build personas during a Discovery Workshop. Our cross-functional team of Tunas guides your business through a series of activities and break-out sessions to understand your business goals and identify key customer behaviors. Then, we drill down to examples of buyer personas you want to reach.
2. Tell A Stronger Story For More Conversions
If you know the audience better, it’s more likely that the people you reach will be interested in what you have to offer—whether you are selling a service or a physical product.
Having a more detailed picture of the person on the other side of a screen can also help your business when thinking about how to reach that buyer. For a local hardware store on the B2C side, that might mean creating a persona for Toolbox Tina, a 42-year-old teacher and mom of 2 who enjoys do-it-yourself projects but needs to get her supplies quickly. This gives the business a much more vibrant picture of their target buyer than trying to imagine an employed woman ages 35-44.
|B2C: Toolbox Tina|
|JOB SECTOR||Professional industry, like marketing or finance|
|DEMOGRAPHICS||Married, Female, age 42|
|BACKGROUND||She wants to balance fun projects and improving her house. She is busy as a working mother and fits in DIY on the weekends.|
|PRODUCTS||Tool sets, online order and in-store pickup|
Low supply of materials.
Read a blog about paint trends.
Heard about a shelf style from a show or celebrity.
Watches HGTV, DIY Network, Netflix renovation shows.
|CHALLENGES AND/OR PAIN POINTS||
Wants to be able to find materials quickly.
Mainly self-taught but doesn’t want to be condescended to.
|QUOTE||“I want to spend my time on actual projects, not wandering the aisles.”|
Alternately, for a B2B client, a persona might be General Manager Joe, a 60-year-old vice president of human resources at a professional services firm. He needs to find outside help to screen job candidates as the business grows and wants to hire the best people.
There is no right number of buyer personas to create, and having more than one can be helpful. Instead of sending the same lead nurturing emails to everyone in your database, you can segment by buyer persona and tailor your messaging to each persona’s likes and needs. For example, a buyer who enjoys home renovation projects would get different messaging than a buyer who restores cars, or you could target retirees differently than families with young children.
Your personas are a critical tool for creating marketing strategies and content that will resonate with target buyers. Refer to them often when deciding where to advertise, optimizing your online content, brainstorming ideas for blog posts and eBooks, and choosing which content to send prospects during the buying process.
3. Avoid Buyers You Don’t Want
Sometimes the best way to narrow down what you want is by knowing what (or whom) you don’t want. This is a technique called a negative persona, exclusionary persona or anti-buyer persona. It tells you who would not be a customer by identifying the kind of person the brand doesn’t want to target. By identifying who isn’t a good fit, the business can avoid wasting resources or budget.
What kind of buyer might turn into a negative persona? For B2C, it might be someone who is unrealistic or overly negative in their product or service expectations, or someone who typically abandons purchases. In B2B, it might be a business that is outside the geographic location for your services or that has a too-small budget. If you recognize the types of buyers you don’t want or can’t serve early on, your marketing team can better hone messages and instead target the most worthwhile leads.
Instead of sending the same lead nurturing emails to everyone in your database, you can segment by buyer persona and tailor your messaging to each persona’s likes and needs.
4. Get Multiple Teams On The Same Page
Once you do start using buyer personas, you want to make sure your whole business is aware of this tool. Returning to the example above, you wouldn’t want your marketing team writing a campaign for Toolbox Tina while the sales team targets calls to prospects who resemble a ruled out, negative persona.
Buyer personas also increase cross-departmental alignment by guiding different areas in their work:
- Product development uses personas to build product roadmaps and can prioritize changes based on what customers need the most.
- Marketing turns to personas to build effective content marketing strategies and promotional activities.
- Sales teams rely on personas to build rapport with potential customers.
- Customer support teams learn about the problems customers are trying to solve, which helps them show more empathy.
For these four reasons and many more, buyer personas are a valuable tool to shape your go-to-market strategy: “A detailed buyer persona will help you determine where to focus your time, guide product development, and allow for alignment across the organization. As a result, you will be able to attract the most valuable visitors, leads, and customers to your business.” (HubSpot) Now that you know buyer personas’ importance, it’s time to put them to work connecting with your customers.