Have you heard of PR Mary, IT Jake and Paralegal Suzie? They are all buyer personas – prototypes of a specific customer group for a specific product. Buyer personas are needed in marketing in order to have a deep understanding of the audience you are addressing, to tailor your tone of voice and messages to their preferences and, ultimately, to humanise your target audience.
Building buyer personas should be the first step your marketing team takes before coming up with slogans, sales funnels and other elements of the strategy. In truth, you should know your buyer persona from day 1 when you are open for business. However, the reality of things is that you will need to use a blend of actual information about your customers and educated guesses to create a believable buyer persona.
What Does a Buyer Persona Look Like?
Buyer personas are templates to be filled in, like a person’s data sheet. They should contain a combination of demographic data and psychological characteristics which help you understand your customer group in the most intimate way possible.
The basic buyer persona data sheet should contain the following information:
- Name – you should always think of the buyer persona as an actual person, so give them a name
- Age and sex – depending on the specific products you sell (for older people or for younger peoples, for women or for men) this information is critical
- Social status – married, with or without children, or single
- Profession – a person’s profession determines many choices in their lives, such as their house, car, clothes, hobbies, etc.
- Income – the estimated annual income for the respective profession – it helps you determine how much your buyer persona is willing to pay for various products
- Location – where they live and work determines their lifestyle and choices; it also helps you define your area of interest to target your ads
- Life goals/ Values – what do they want to achieve in life? How do they want to be seen by their peers/friends/neighbours? What motivates them in their life choices?
- Challenges/ Fears – what stands between them and their life goals? How are their values and choices challenged by the circumstances they are facing in life and at work?
- How can your business or product help? – create the perfect pitch for your marketing messages by finding the correlation between your product and the challenges and fears of your buyer persona.
Now, Where Do You Find the Data for This Profile?
It is obvious that you cannot apply guesswork to all these items. Most of them need to be based on actual information you have concerning your customers. Here are some simple and effective ways to retrieve this information:
Google Analytics for Your Website
The analytics page of your website contains detailed information about the people who visit your website. The Audience tab in the Google Analytics page contains the following items:
- Demographics: age, gender
- Interests: affinity categories, in-market segments
- Geo: language, location
The interests are displayed as percentages of the respective person’s entire activity online (searches, websites visited, etc.).
Social Media Insights
Among all the social media platforms, Facebook™ has probably the most advanced Insights panel. It shows you advanced demographic data for your followers, as well as very detailed interests.
Polls and Surveys
You can take action on your own and find out more about your customers. Polls and surveys are very helpful, especially if you offer a small reward for people’s time. Do not create one long and detailed survey (most likely no one will take the time to fill it in). Instead, break it down into three or four surveys and launch them over a period of time.
This option will cost you money in terms of leasing a location and offering refreshments and rewards to participants, but it is also the most effective way of learning more about your customers, their lifestyles, and how they relate to your brand and products.