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5 Tips to Create the Ultimate Buyer Persona for Your Small Business

Written by on November 30, 2020

If you don’t know your customers and what they need from you, it’s going to be difficult for you to create engaging content and marketing messages that appeal to them and drive conversions.

This is where buyer personas come in. Although many beginner small business owners have heard the term “buyer personas” only a small number of them understand what it means and devote enough time and energy into creating them.

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A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your company’s ideal customer that is derived from real-life customer data and market research. It tells you who you’re marketing to, how they make decisions, the challenges they’re facing, what they want, and how your business can effectively cater to their needs.

Buyer personas make it easier for you to tailor your marketing efforts, content creation, services, product development, and all activities related to customer acquisition to the specific needs of your customers.

Research shows that over 50% of consumers expect companies to market to them in a personalized way.  People are more likely to patronize and trust businesses that show genuine understanding and concern for them.

Until you nail down your buyer persona it might be challenging for your business to craft offerings or build strategies that connect with your ideal audience and encourage them to respond positively to your brand.

So how do you actually create a buyer persona? All you have to do is ask the right people the right questions, and use the information you get to develop detailed avatars of your various customers.

In this post, I’ve outlined five simple steps you can follow to build an accurate buyer persona for your small business.

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1. Carry out in-depth audience research

The very first thing you’ll want to do when creating your buyer persona is to learn as much as you can about your audience.

This means conducting extensive research to uncover details about your customers that’ll help you create a realistic persona.

There’s no room for guesswork when creating buyer personas. Making the wrong assumptions about your customers can derail your marketing campaigns and impact your bottom line. Investing in audience research will save you time and money in the long run. 

There are various ways you can gather the information you need to build your ideal buyer profile. They include:

Surveying existing customers

The people who are already buying from you can tell you a lot about your target audience. Who are your best customers and repeat buyers? Go through your customer records and collect as much information as you can.

Get on the phone with them, speak to them one-on-one, and get to know them better. You can also invite existing customers to fill out a questionnaire or survey form to gather the information that will help you serve them better.

To encourage more people to take your survey, try offering a small reward like discounts, free samples, and free subscriptions.

Your survey should be focused on collecting relevant data points such as age, gender, location, language, buying behavior, marital status, income level, family situation, educational background, interests, job role and title, and preferred communication channel on each customer.

Source: Social Media Today

Interviewing prospects

If you can find room in your budget, investing in focus groups is another great way to collect valuable data for your buyer personas. By interviewing prospects you might be able to find commonalities among your target customers that you can leverage to get them to buy from you.

Consulting your employees

Ask your employees, especially your marketing, sales, and customer service teams to tell you what they can about the customers that they deal with. You can have them answer the same questions in your customer survey. If you find a common theme running through their answers, add it to your buyer persona.

Analyzing your website and social media data

Your website and social media analytics can provide great insight into the people who are engaging and interacting with your brand online, even if they’ve yet to actually buy from you. Use social media management tools and analytic programs like Google Analytics, Buffer, and Hubspot to look deeper into your social and site data.

Spying on your competition

It’s always a good idea to monitor your competition. This can help you take notice of something you’ve neglected in your own audience research. Find out who their customers are. Are they marketing to the same groups as you? Are they selling to a group you haven’t targeted yet?

2. Determine the goals of your customers

What are your target customers trying to achieve? What are their motivations? What keeps them up at night?

These goals or motivations could be related to their professional or personal life depending on the type of products or service you’re offering. It does not matter whether your business can help customers accomplish these objectives.

The point is simply to get to know your customers and prospects better so you can create a detailed buyer persona. You can always use these goals to develop a marketing campaign even if they are directed related to the benefits or features of your product.

It’s also important to figure out what your customers are trying to achieve with your products or services. This information will help you create effective strategies to overcome buyer objections that your personas might have.

3. Identify customer pain points

Pain points are issues, problems, or challenges that your potential customers are experiencing and trying to solve. If you don’t know the obstacles that are standing in the way of your customers and preventing them from reaching their goals, how can you properly position your product or services as a solution?

Source: Hubspot

When trying to identify customer pain points for your buyer persona, the first place to start is with your customer service team. Find out what kind of challenges customers often have, which groups of people face them, and what patterns they can pinpoint in those groups.

What questions do they get frequently from customers? You can also give them an ongoing task: tell them to gather customer quotes on  these issues which you can use to add more depth to your buyer personas.

Another way to learn more about the pain points your target customers have is to pay attention to what they’re saying on social media. By searching for mentions of your products, services, and brand, you can get real-time updates on how you’re being perceived and talked about online.

You can figure out what people use your products for, why they love your services, the areas where your business is underperforming, and what changes you can implement to improve customer experience and satisfaction.

4. Figure out how your products or services can help

Once you know who your customers are and understand what their motivations and pain points are, the next thing to do is determine how your products fit into this narrative.

At this juncture, you’ll have to stop thinking about the features of your products and focus on the benefits—how it can make life better or easier for your customers.

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Consider each of the common goals and pain points that you’ve gathered for your persona, then ask yourself how your business can help solve or achieve them.

The answers you provide will inform how you talk about your products/services with your persona. Craft your marketing plan around these answers to ensure that you’re describing and positioning your offerings in a way that’ll resonate with your ideal customer.

5. Compile and present the data in a format that’s easy to understand

Now that you’ve gathered all the information you need, it’s time to put it all together and bring your buyer persona to life.

Look for people with the same challenges, goals, and other characteristics and group them together to represent a unique customer persona.

Source: Hubspot

Make sure you give each persona a descriptive name like Manager Maureen, Classy Ryan, Practical Paul, Thrifty Taylor, and Emma Entrepreneur. That’ll help you think of them as an actual person and not just a collection of data points.

Each persona you create should include demographic data and a story of the customer’s behavior. The story should describe the daily life of this persona, their pain points, aspirations, buying behavior, preferred marketing and communication channel, and any other information you were able to gather.

Provide a list of traits to help identify each persona so that you know what marketing messages would be appropriate when dealing with a customer that fits that persona.

Although it’s not necessary, you might find it helpful to include an image for each persona. This makes it easier for you to picture and identify them. You can use stock photos or photographs of real customers with their permission.

You want your persona to seem like a real person that you can easily identify and speak to. You can organize that information in a way that makes the most sense to you or download a buyer persona template, fill in the appropriate information, and share it with the rest of your company.

Boost your marketing efforts with buyer personas

The more you understand the people you’re serving, the better you will be at attracting them and meeting their needs.

Buyer personas allow you to speak to existing and potential customers in a personalized way that addresses their challenges and goals. When done right, your business can use it to forge a connection with real customers, fostering trust, and brand loyalty.

A strong buyer persona can help streamline your sales and marketing efforts, optimize your products and services, improve customer success strategies, generate qualified leads, boost social media engagement, and increase conversion rates.

Don’t just create personas and leave it at that. Make sure you integrate them with all your customer-related activities to maximize opportunities and results.

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