Marketing can be a costly exercise for small businesses – especially if your messages aren’t reaching the right people. One way to ensure you get the greatest return on investment from your campaigns is to create buyer personas. These handy profiles help you to identify who your customer is, what they want, and how you can market to them to drive sales.
To help you identify your ideal customers and streamline your marketing efforts, we’ve prepared a simple guide that will show you how to draw up your own buyer personas.
What Is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona – also known as an audience persona, marketing persona, or customer persona – is a semi-fictional representation of an ideal customer in your business’s existing or intended target audience.
To create these personas, marketers gather data from platforms like Google Analytics or native analytics tools on the various social media platforms. They’ll usually also perform competitor and market research.
With these insights on hand, marketers are able to aggregate demographic details (think age, gender, and location) and psychographic information (like a customer’s interests, challenges, and motivations) to draw a portrait of existing and potential customers.
The persona is usually given a fictional name (e.g. Gamer Gertrude) and face to personify them and make it easier to remember their attributes. These details, as well as their demographic, psychographic, and behavioral traits are then brought together in a single document for ease of reference. This is the buyer persona.
Businesses will usually have more than one buyer persona to represent their customer base. This is because different types of customers may have different reasons for buying your goods or services.
Why Are Buyer Personas Important?
Buyer personas are a foundational building block for any marketing strategy. They allow you to target your marketing efforts for each of your ideal customers, increasing the chances that they’ll notice your business and purchase your goods or services.
Here are a few of the key reasons why buyer personas are important:
- Better understand your target audience: Knowing who your target audience is, what they want, and how they behave will not only help you to tailor your marketing strategy to suit your buyers, but also help develop products or services that they want to purchase.
- Improve the customer experience: An excellent experience is one of the best ways to increase customer retention. Understanding what customers like yours like and dislike will help you to create products and services, campaigns, and support structures that add to this experience and keep customers coming back.
- Prioritize the most effective marketing channels: Creating audience personas can help you to uncover where your audience spends their time online, which means that you can target the platforms that will generate the greatest return on investment for your business.
- Target ads more effectively: Digital advertising platforms allow you to design campaigns based on a variety of demographic and psychographic traits. Having a clearly defined picture of the attributes your customers possess will ensure that you get the most out of your ad dollars.
- Create a consistent brand persona: Knowing the type of buyers you’re targeting can help you to develop a brand voice that resonates with your audience. Plus, it can guide your decisions around design choices. This all contributes towards keeping the direction of your marketing efforts consistent.
Let’s take a look at a practical example of how understanding your audience can be useful. Imagine you’re buying gifts for your friends Sally and Ben. Sally lives in a sunny city and likes to spend her free time playing watersports and making crochet animals. Ben stays in a chilly countryside town and enjoys gardening and playing golf.
You decide that a dry bag would be perfect for Sally as it would allow her to carry her crocheting supplies with her wherever she goes – and keep them dry when she’s around water. Ben, on the other hand, would prefer a portable green that allows him to practice his putting and keep the grass in his garden in great condition.
By understanding who you’re buying for, you’re able to tailor your purchasing decisions to help you choose gifts that match your friends’ wants, needs, and interests.
The same goes for marketing your business. Having defined brand personas will ensure that your business is able to tailor your goods or services, and create relevant, engaging content that helps you to attract and retain the customers you want.
How to Build a Buyer Persona in 6 Steps
1. Collect Data
Every great buyer persona starts with research. If you’ve been in business for a while, you’ll likely already have a good idea of who buys your products and services. However, if you’re just starting out or are looking to expand, you’ll also want to pinpoint customers who you’d like to attract in the future.
The easiest place to start when researching your audience is by gathering information from the various digital platforms you use to market and run your business.
Google Analytics collects detailed demographic and behavioral data when users visit your website, plus it can provide insights into your audience’s interests. Social media analytics are slightly less detailed, but the major platforms all capture demographic information like age, gender, and location.
Pay.com has powerful analytics that can help you better understand your customer. When you sign up with Pay.com, you can use the Pay Dashboard to track where your customers live, shop, what they shop, and which payment method they prefer. This information comes in handy for creating buyer personas.
2. Talk to Your Customers
Creating a survey is one of the simplest ways to gain more in-depth insights into who your customer is. Use a platform like Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, or Typeform to draw up a short questionnaire that will help you to better understand your audience’s needs, wants and pain points.
The questions you include will vary depending on the type of business you run, but it’s generally a good idea to inquire about what your customers do for a living, their relationship status, whether they have children, and the income bracket they fall into.
Be sure to add demographic questions, too. This will ensure that you’re able to amalgamate the information you gather from your survey with the hard data you obtained during the first stage of your investigation.
When your survey is ready, you can share it on your social media channels and via email. Offer a prize – like a discount on their next purchase – to encourage your audience to participate so that you get a good sample of your existing audience.
3. Organize Your Findings
You’ve collected reams of information in the hopes that it will help you to make better business decisions. However, a spreadsheet filled with endless rows and columns of data isn’t much use to anyone. So, it’s time to get organized.
It’s a good idea to start out by simply playing around with the facts and figures you’ve gathered. You can use tools like filters and pivot tables to help you sort and summarize your findings.
Your approach will depend on the data you have on hand as well as the questions you asked in your survey, but there are some common features that you can focus on:
- Age: The age brackets that your audience falls into.
- Location: Where your customers live.
- Stage of life: Whether they’re starting their career, having kids, or retiring.
- Income bracket: How much spending power they have.
- Interests: What they enjoy doing in their spare time.
Although the information you’ve gathered isn’t entirely useful in its raw form, be sure to keep a copy of this source data. This will ensure that you can refer to it at any stage to verify the insights that you’ve extracted during the segmentation process.
4. Identify Your Buyers and Create Personas
The first step here is to identify exactly how many personas you need to create. You can do this by analyzing the aggregated data that you created during the organization phase. Look for the segments that contain the most customers and use these to identify your primary audience personalities.
Once you know who you’re selling to – or hoping to sell to – you can get to writing your profiles. Start out with each persona’s basic demographic information, then add the psychographic details that you gathered by engaging with your customers.
Although everybody has a unique approach when it comes to writing, it’s helpful to create some structure to ensure your persona features all the necessary information. Divide your page into three columns, using one each for personal data, professional information, and psychographic details.
With all of these details in place, you can give each of your customer personas a name. For example, Finance Fred might be an outgoing man in his 40s who works in the finance industry and enjoys adrenaline sports.
5. Add Roles, Goals, and Challenges
Next, it’s time to flesh out your personas. To help you better understand what drives your customers to make a purchase, you’ll want to analyze their roles, goals, and challenges.
This part of the persona is the most useful for crafting effective marketing campaigns. These three factors provide in-depth insights that will enable you to personalize your message and have your customer feeling that your communications are speaking directly to them.
The role describes the various jobs, duties and responsibilities that a particular customer has. This can be professional (e.g. Frank is an accountant) or personal (he’s also a father who volunteers at the weekends). Knowing these details will give you more insight into what they’re good at, where they may need help, and what they value.
Understanding your customers’ goals is essential for creating a successful marketing strategy. When you know what your audience is trying to achieve, you can easily create messaging that shows your personas how you can help them reach that goal.
Challenges go hand in hand with goals. These are your customers’ pain points or the obstacles that they face as they try to achieve their goals. They drive a need for your product or service and will help you to identify how you can better serve your audience.
6. Craft Your Messaging
The first five steps in creating a buyer persona answer ‘who’ and ‘why’ questions. In other words: Who is your buyer? Why do they need your product or service?
To complete your buyer personas, you’ll create guidelines that detail the ‘how’ and ‘where’. These will outline how you speak to your customer – the reading age you’re aiming for, vocabulary you’ll use, and the features you’ll promote – as well as the platforms you’ll use to reach them.
Adding these elements to your buyer persona has two major benefits. First, they’ll ensure that you’re able to develop content that speaks to your customer’s pain points and helps them overcome challenges. Second, they’ll help you meet your customers where they are and use language that resonates with them.
Besides helping you to create new, targeted content, your buyer personas can also be used to optimize your existing marketing communications to drive more value by attracting customers.
Buyer Persona Examples
Audience personas are extremely helpful for any business looking to streamline their marketing strategy. However, creating profiles that contain all of the information that you need and placing those details in a usable format can be challenging.
With this in mind, we’ve drawn up examples to help you produce buyer personas that will be beneficial for your business.
Buyer Persona Example 1
You own Paw Pals, a dog walking business that offers pet grooming and pet sitting services for busy animal owners who need assistance with looking after their animals.
When you examine your data, you find that the majority of your clients are educated, single individuals aged 25 to 35 who have plenty of disposable income. From this, you create the Drew the Dog Owner persona:
Buyer Persona Example 2
Your bookkeeping business, Accurate Accounts, provides accounting and tax services to small businesses.
After gathering data about your existing customers and segmenting this information, you find that a large percentage of your clients work in creative industries. These individuals own their own businesses, but lack the skills and time to manage their own accounting.
The Benefits of Working With Pay.com as Your Payment Service Provider
We’ve already mentioned how demographic and psychographic information is used to create buyer profiles that will help you market and grow your business. But there’s one more factor that you can investigate to round out your personas: preferred payment methods.
Pay.com allows you to track transactions via the Pay Dashboard to help you identify your customers’ favorite ways to pay and decode their spending habits. You can also select as many options as you’d like from the wide variety of payment methods we support, from credit and debit cards to mobile wallets, ACH transfers, and more.
When you know which methods your clients prefer, you can easily add these to your personalized checkout page. Our no-code solutions will have you up and running in just a few clicks, so that you can cater to your buyer personas quickly and efficiently.
The Bottom Line: Creating Buyer Personas Is Easy and Helpful
Buyer personas are the cornerstone of every effective marketing strategy. Identifying your ideal customer takes the guesswork out of how you should go about promoting your business. Plus, it will likely increase the return on investment you see as a result of your efforts.
Once you have clearly defined buyer personas, you’ll be ready to start selling your goods and services online. That’s where Pay.com comes in. We’ll provide you with end-to-end payment infrastructure that allows you to let your customers pay with their favorite methods.
What’s more, our intuitive interface and transparent, flat-rate fee structure allow you to spend more time giving your customers what they want and less energy on business admin. Click here to get started now!