Everything you need to know about buyer personas

Most commonly used in high-level marketing, buyer personas are a way to better understand your prospective buyers or customers by looking at shared traits, demographics and other key factors

Author: Euan Aitken | Published: 12/08/2022

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What are Buyer Personas?

Most commonly used in high-level marketing, buyer personas are a way to better understand your prospective buyers or customers by looking at shared traits, demographics and other key factors.

The main purpose of them in simple terms is to allow marketers to target a segmented audience with relevant content through the most appropriate marketing channels.

Depending on where you are located or who you speak with these can often be referred to as;

  • Customer Personas
  • Customer Avatars
  • Ideal Client Profiles
  • Ideal Customer Profiles

Now you may be thinking to yourself, “we don’t do much marketing”, but in this article, we’ll explain how you can use these in your business to great effect across other departments too.

Why should I create Buyer Personas?

Ask yourself this.

“Are all of your customers exactly the same?”

The likelihood is you have answered “no”. Even if you answered “yes” it’s worth reading on to understand how you could still benefit from using buyer personas in your business.

Think about this next point for a second.

There is a widely accepted principle called the Pareto Principle (often referred to as the 80/20 rule) which essentially means 80% of outcomes come from 20% of input.

Across businesses, it is common to find that 20% of your customer base contribute 80% of your revenue or gross profit.

If this is the case, surely it makes sense to really understand those top 20% customers?

By identifying the common factors within those customers, you can then better identify more customers who meet that profile. (Your Ideal Client Profiles….)

If that hasn’t got you thinking, consider the maths…

If you can double that 20% of your customer base which contributes 80% of your revenue or profit, this would mean 40% of your customer base contributes 160% of your current revenue or profit.

So….

Why should you create Buyer Personas? Could simply be answered by – “you can make more money!”

How to Build a Buyer Persona

By this point, you are probably keen to get started with creating your first Buyer Personas.

Before you start, there are a few things you should think about;

  • What are you going to use them for?
  • Who is going to use them?
  • How much detail do you need or want to include?

Uses for Buyer Personas

As we said at the beginning one of the original and main use cases for Buyer Personas has been to get marketing tailored specifically to the audience, but there are other ways you can use these across other areas of your business with great success.

Let’s say you use Buyer Personas for marketing, to bring leads to the top of your sales funnel. (Yes, Sales Funnels do still exist….).

You have tailored the message specifically to the audience to get them engaged with you, and they are giving you an opportunity to provide them with a quote or a proposal.

Is the content of this quote going to be the same for this segment of your customer base?

Is the content of your email, or the tone of voice you use going to be the same?

Wouldn’t it be better if those resonated specifically with that audience instead?

Why stop there.

Every single customer interaction from that point forward can be tailored around that Buyers Persona.

Sales, service, operations & even finance.

There is a whole other topic around this on Customer Journey Mapping which we will cover off separately to this, but consider the fact that Personas journey could be unique to them each and every time they interact with your business.

Who is going to use the Buyer Personas?

Depending on the size of your business these personas may just be for internal use, you might want to share these with external marketing or PR agencies to get a fully “joined-up” approach to everything you do.

Before beginning to create these, it’s a great idea to think about who might want to use the information within them both internally and externally.

Talk with these people, as each might have their own wish list of what to build into these personas or profiles

What details should I include in my Buyer Personas?

So, there are some common elements that you would see on nearly all Buyer Persona templates. Whether you would need all of these is very much dependent on you and your business. You may also find there are things you want to better understand about customers you would want to add.

The most commonly included elements are;

  • Demographics
    • Age
    • Location
    • Gender
    • Marital Status
  • Personality Traits
  • Hobbies and Interests
  • Pain points and challenges
  • Goals and Desires
  • How they can be reached
  • Biography
  • Fears
  • Common Objections (& how to overcome them)

Think about how you would use these across your business to give you a greater understanding of what information you might want to include.

How to create a Buyer Persona

The first thing you should do is review your existing customer base.

If you are a new business reading this, then kudos to you as you are taking a huge step towards a successful business.

As we said above, don’t just look at all of your customers, look at the ones who make you the most money, the ones you deem successful relationships for your business.

For this part of the process, get others involved. You often find front-line, customer-facing team members know much more about your customers.

Use that knowledge to your advantage to give you much greater insight.

If you find it easier in the first instance brainstorming at a whiteboard – do that, scraps of paper, whatever the method of doing it is, make sure you ask yourself the same questions each time to ensure consistent results.

The way you collate information is entirely down to personal preference but it is common to create A4 size sheets (1 per persona) to cover off all of this information.

Give each one a memorable name, add a photo of a real person to make the persona as relatable as possible.

Repeat this process for each different type of buyer you have, and don’t forget to set aside time to review these regularly.

Still, think all of your customers are the same?

Euan Aitken

Euan Aitken

Sales & Marketing Director

Having started his journey with Zigaflow as a customer who took a keen interest in what the software could become, Euan joined us to lead our Sales & Marketing. Euan loves all things Business, Sales & Tech.

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