TIPS & TRICKS

Eight Tips for Creating a Great Buyer Persona

Joshua Cook, Chief Branding Navigator

17 March 2017

Meaningful Customer Communications

Every successful business requires meaningful communication with its customers, but many business owners fail at this for one reason: They don’t understand their customers. The result is marketing content that falls flat because it isn’t relevant to the customer.

Think about the last time you tried to communicate with your customer. Perhaps it was on your website, a newspaper ad, an email, or face-to-face at your store or office. What steps did you take in advance to understand your ideal customer? Do you know their approximate age? Their likely occupation? Their challenges? Their expectations?

The answers to these questions add up to become a “Buyer Persona”, which is the single most important part of any marketing campaign. Yet, business owners rarely take the time to define their customer, and the result are communications that are ignored, and the would-be customer goes finds someone who does understand them.

 

Understand the Customer’s Unique Challenges

Defining your ideal customer will ensure that every piece of content you create, from your advertising to website, is catered to the right audience. You will better understand the challenges faced by your customers, and how they expect your product or service to solve those challenges.

Once you know what your customer is looking for, you can create marketing materials that speak directly them, in their language. Customers will become aware of your product, service, or brand because they understand that you want to solve their challenge, rather than sell them something.

Some goals are more obvious, like wanting to save money, watch sports on a nicer TV, or receive shipments in less time; other goals might be less obvious, like pride of having the nicest car on the street, giving their child the best education possible, or even the basic need to be loved.

Challenges come in all forms, and it is up to you to determine what those challenges are. You must consider things like their occupation, income, and their goals – as you learn more about your ideal customer, their goals will become clear.

 

Great Buyer Personas Help Create Great Customer Communications

This can be a daunting process for many, but we’ve created a Buyer Persona template to get you started. With your template in hand, consider the following eight tips for creating a great Buyer Persona:

1. Decide if You are Describing B2B or B2C Personas
Before you create buyer personas, decide if you need B2B (Business-to-Business) or B2C (Business-to-Consumer) personas. A B2B persona will focus on professional challenges, but also may include details of their personal life for context; on the other hand, a B2C persona will focus on personal challenges, including professional details for context.

2. Be Specific
Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Think of a buyer persona as an individual person, and describe that person in detail. Don’t worry about being too specific – I’m yet to see a persona that went too far.

3. Don’t Confuse the User with the Purchaser
Consider both the person who is making the purchasing decision and the consumer of your product. Purchaser and consumer may be the same person, or perhaps you need a buyer persona for each. (e.g. a university may market to two personas: the student who attends, and the parent who pays.)

4. Do the Research
Never assume you know everything about your personas. Ask existing customers questions about their goals and challenges, and why they purchase from you; research how your competition is speaking to your ideal customers and question their tactics; and, research the customers you don’t yet have.

5. Include Your Employees in the Process
Your team is on the frontlines, and are an invaluable resource for all parts of your marketing strategy. Ask them to contribute to researching and creating your buyer personas. Leverage their relationships.

6. Don’t be Afraid to Cut a Persona
This is often overlooked. Just because you can target a group doesn’t mean that you should. Ask yourself if you are a good fit for each persona’s needs, and if they are a good fit for yours. You don’t have to turn down their money, but you don’t have to chase it either.

7. Create Negative Buyer Personas
Not only should you embrace cutting personas, you should also consider creating explicit personas for people you don’t want to target. Consider groups you are confident that you shouldn’t be targeting, and keep them in the back of your mind when creating strategies. No need to waste your efforts on people who aren’t interested in you.

8. Revisit Your Personas Regularly
Buyer personas should always be a work-in-progress. Don’t forget about them, and don’t be afraid to evolve them, overhaul them or, in time, throw them out and start over if they aren’t working. (But always remember that marketing is a marathon – not a sprint. Don’t throw them out too early!)

 

Buyer personas are the foundation of any good marketing strategy, so make sure you are spending adequate time making that foundation as sturdy as you can. You’ll gain incredible insight into your customers as a result, and your customer communications will be much more effective.

Get Your Free Buyer Persona Template!

Kick your marketing campaigns into high gear with the Creative Compass Buyer Persona Template.

About the Author

Joshua Cook
Chief Branding Navigator

Josh is a passionate marketer, founder of Creative Compass, and general caffeine addict. Building on 13 years of experience working with brands like Toyota, Samsung, and The Macallan scotch, Josh aims to provide entrepreneurs with marketing materials to help them build their own something amazing.

Looking for help with marketing fundamentals? Shoot Josh an email!

About the Author

Joshua Cook
Chief Branding Navigator

Josh is a passionate marketer, founder of Creative Compass, and general caffeine addict. Building on 13 years of experience working with brands like Toyota, Samsung, and The Macallan scotch, Josh aims to provide entrepreneurs with marketing materials to help them build their own something amazing.

Looking for help with marketing fundamentals? Shoot Josh an email!

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