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What is a Buyer Persona and How Can I Create One?

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You can’t market something if you don’t know who you’re marketing to. 

One of the key elements of building out your brand is identifying your ideal customer, or in digital marketing speak, your buyer personas. By building out identities for your target customers, you can better understand their pain points and motivations. 

As the old saying goes, if you’re marketing to everyone, you’re marketing to no one. This article will teach you the key elements of distinguishing your target audience and how to create buyer personas that align with your business goals. 

What is a Buyer Persona?

A buyer persona is a detailed representation of your ideal customer based on discovery interviews, research and real customer data. 

Well-defined personas help marketers communicate in a way that resonates with their target audience across all messaging, from webpages to social media posts. Details of a buyer persona often include customer demographics, behavior patterns, pain points, and product considerations.

Different groups of people have different needs, challenges, pain points or uses for your product or service. By breaking out different buyer persona details, you create a standardized reference on how to speak to each segment, so they know your business is the solution to their specific problem.

What are Buyer Personas Used For?

Businesses often create buyer personas in the early stages of their development, but they often revisit them when moving forward with marketing campaigns and as their company evolves. This practice ensures that each strategy is tailored to the target market. 

There are a variety of times to consult your buyer personas. 

  • When creating your content strategy
      • Content is the soul of your site. Tailor blogs, landing pages, case studies, and core content to appeal to the various needs of your personas. Consider what will captivate their interest and increase their loyalty to your brand. 
  • When determining your audience for paid ads
      • Knowing what makes your target audience tick is the key to creating powerful ads that get results. When you only have seconds to persuade customers to click, your buyer personas are a valuable tool to ensure you’re conveying messaging that will make an impact. 
  • When writing email copy 
      • Segmenting and optimizing email campaigns requires key background insight on personas. You can modify the language you use in your segmented emails to speak to different audiences get them to click and convert. 
  • When creating social media posts
    • As you create your social media calendars, consider topics and events that matter to your target personas. If you’re an e-commerce business that creates goods from sustainable and recycled materials, you’ll want to ensure you cover holidays like Earth Day. 
    • Personas are also beneficial when identifying which social media platforms to capitalize on. For example, if your business appeals to a Gen Z audience, you might prioritize TikTok over Facebook.
  • When reviewing marketing campaigns for quality assurance
      • Whether your marketing is done in-house or with an agency, you’ll know the long process of carrying a campaign from concept to execution. Both creators and managers should consult the personas to ensure cohesive messaging and design throughout copy and visuals. 
  • When developing a new product or service
    • Buyer personas are as critical to your business strategy as they are to your marketing plan. Before rolling out a new product or service, consider if it’s something your existing audience would buy, or expand your personas to include your new target customers.
  • When rebranding your business
    • As your company evolves, it’s important to revisit the foundational elements of your business, including your mission statement and buyer personas. Whether you want to expand your audience or go in a completely new direction with your brand, your personas will also transform as you do. 
  • When hiring new talent 
    • The people who should be the most aware of your buyer personas are the people who work alongside you. Include this key part of your business in training and onboarding new talent.

How to Create Buyer Personas That Resonate With Your Brand

As with all things in marketing, always start with research and information gathering before setting your personas in stone. There’s no need to assume the needs or stories of your customers–leverage interviews and online data, and the picture will paint itself. 

If you are a business owner, take a close look at your ideal leads or customers. If they are not necessarily the people you are targeting today, consider who you’d want to attract in the future. Who are they?

Do Your Research

Buyer personas take the following into consideration:

  • Customer demographics
    • Examine key demographic information: Age, gender, income, geographic location, marital status, etc.
  • Behavior patterns
    • Inspect general behavior patterns on your site. Where is your audience clicking? Where do they linger, and where do they leave? 
  • Customer likes/dislikes
    • What is important to them when considering a product like yours? What drives their decision-making process? What may cause them to shy away from your product?
  • How they get information
    • What media do they consume? Which platforms are they most active on?
  • Customer goals and motivations
      • What does your audience value? What information do they look for when investigating your product or service for the first time?
  • Pain points and challenges
      • This is one of the most critical parts of persona building. Which challenges does your target persona face? What do they struggle with?
  • Use cases
    • Different groups of people might use your product or service differently. Make sure to use the right language that addresses this.

Craft a Story Around Your Persona

Now that you’ve done your research, you’re ready to build out your buyer personas! 

Create a profile around the average individual of each target persona. (You may have more than one, especially if you offer a diverse range of products or services.) Describe a day in the life of your potential customers. Incorporate personal or professional details as relevant. 

Then comes the most important part: identify their core problem and how your business is the solution. Describe how your product or service can help them overcome this challenge.

Buyer Persona Example

Propeller Industries is a strategic financial advisory firm empowering fast-growing, venture-stage companies to rise to the next level. Using data and deep experiential knowledge of their ambitious entrepreneur customer base, they crafted a detailed buyer persona to fuel their business goals and grow into the successful company they are today.

Persona: The Edge-Pushing Entrepreneur

Erica, the edge-pushing entrepreneur, is the captain and CEO of her healthy foods and supplements business, Erica’s Eats. She’s the face of her brand — involved in all critical decisions that affect business growth and revenue, like raising funds and capital or building relationships with partners and vendors.

She has a lot of ambitious strategic ideas for her business but doesn’t have the time or bandwidth to bring them to fruition. Under pressure and pressed for time, Erica still has to focus on managing daily operations for the business — things like reforecasting, hiring, managing inventory, and sales — just to keep the company afloat.

Spread too thin, Erica starts to lose sight of her big ideas. This causes stagnation in growth and revenue for Erica’s Eats. Erica realizes she could use some help streamlining her financial workload and would greatly benefit from expert guidance to fill knowledge gaps and help her feel more confident about the direction she’s taking.

Erica is overwhelmed and needs support through this entrepreneurial journey. Specifically, she wants to shift her financial and operational duties into more capable hands to give Erica’s Eats some TLC and fully dedicate herself to her brand and aspirations.

Closing Thoughts

Buyer personas aren’t just a marketing exercise. They are an essential ingredient in your organization’s recipe for success. When you understand the depth of your customer’s needs and challenges, you can position yourself as a trustworthy and dependable solution.

Are you ready to elevate your brand and reach your ideal customers? Connect with our branding experts at Human to craft buyer personas aligned with your business goals.  

Topics: branding