To launch a new product successfully, you need to reach your target audience with your advertising campaign. Defining your ideal customer is a good way to ensure you tailor your copy, images, and choice of media. Learn how to create a buyer persona to ensure your campaign reaches the right people and stands the best chance of delivering a return on your investment.
What Is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a fictitious character that represents your ideal or typical customer group. You normally define this person in terms of the following basic demographics:
- Current location
- Income range
- Education level
- Relationship status
You can then supplement this information with psychographic profiling that identifies the buyer’s interests, motivation for purchasing, favourite websites, and any buying concerns or problems that need solving.
If you sell a range of products or services that target different consumers, you need to develop a separate buyer persona for each. In some cases, a fictional TV character or celebrity can provide the perfect buyer persona. You might also have a separate persona for B2B use with buyers and retailers.
How to Develop a Buyer Persona – Established Business
If you have an existing customer base, you already have vital information at your fingertips to help develop your buyer persona. Your data shows you who buys from you and why. You also know who’s been unhappy with their buying experience because they have either returned items, complained, or both. Reach out to your customers by phone, in focus groups, or through online surveys using a tool like Survey Monkey. Also, talk with your sales teams to find out the kind of customer they deal with, the queries they raise, and any problems they want you to solve.
Examine your social media data for trends on how people are consuming your content and who they are. Facebook’s Insights and Twitter analytics provide a vast amount of data on your followers’ demographics and interests. They can also tell you the time of day your followers are typically online so you can time your posts for the best reach. Google Analytics provide information about who is visiting your website and what search terms they are using.
This data might yield some surprises. Take as an example a fictitious company, Boystersox, that makes fun socks for men. Based on an educated guess, they might have developed a buyer persona of a young Canadian male, Matt, aged 25 to 40 who is a college graduate working in financial services. He is single and his interests include shopping and fashion. His motivation for buying fun socks is that he’s a bit of a rebel who wants to demonstrate that he doesn’t fully conform to the corporate image at work. His buying concern is that he is price conscious and likes making savings through discounts, sales, and multi-buy offers.
Boystersox could find that while Matt represents an important consumer group, the data shows that a large number of visitors to the website are stay-at-home moms in their 50s who are buying these socks for their husbands and sons.
How to Develop a Buyer Persona – New Business
If you’re starting from scratch with a new business or a completely new service or product, borrow some ideas from your biggest competitors to develop your buyer persona. The service SimilarWeb lets you analyze your competitors’ traffic and understand consumers’ intent and journey. Also, study your competitors’ social media pages to determine the type of people who are commenting on or liking their posts, and click through to these individuals’ profiles to learn more about each person. Many Facebook users are still surprisingly unaware about privacy settings, and a quick trawl of their status updates and shares soon reveals their interests and attitudes.
If you have a certain job role or industry in mind when developing your persona, research this job title on LinkedIn to study the personal profiles of various individuals working in this role. You can soon see patterns emerging about similar behaviors and interests, and checking their Twitter accounts lets you see what excites these individuals and the kind of information they share on social media.
This research enables some educated guesses about the type of person that’s likely to buy your product or service. To help guide you through the actual process of creating a persona, use a template available online from companies such as HunSpot, Xtensio, and Twentify. Twentify’s template is a Google Drive document that you can share easily with your team.
Once you invent your ideal client, humanize them further with a suitable name and photo for their demographic. This also helps differentiate them from other persona you might use. In the Boystersox example, Matt is easy to distinguish from Jack, the gym bunny who is the target persona for the fun fitness sock range.
How to Utilize a Buyer Persona
Although it’s normally fictitious, a buyer persona acts as reminder that you’re dealing with real people. However brilliant your product, you need to get it in front of your target audience for it to succeed. Share Matt or Jack with your marketing staff and contractors so they can instantly visualize the target. They can then adjust their copy and select the best media to reach this tangible human being.
Finally, be prepared to change your buyer persona if evidence shows it’s not working. For example, you might find that the market for your fun socks is not really Matt but his dad Steve, who’s gotten a bit more daring in his middle age. Or maybe, as suggested above, it’s mom Lori who’s chief sock-buyer for the family.
A buyer persona is an essential starting point for any successful marketing campaign. It places your customer at the centre and ensures you’re targeting the right consumers to maximize purchases and see a return on your investment.