6 Tips for Creating and Using Buyer Personas

Having properly informed and implemented buyer personas will ensure your marketing efforts are reaching the right people and speaking their language. This step-by-step guide has everything you need to start formulating your buyer personas today.


Why You Need Buyer Personas

If your job requires you to sell something, whether that’s a product, a service, tickets to an event, or anything else, you need buyer personas. Buyer personas tell you who you’re targeting. They’re fictional characters that represent your audience.

Without buyer personas, you’re taking a stab in the dark. Having them will help you to increase your website traffic by 210%, get ahead of your competitors, and build lasting relationships with your audience.

By researching and creating buyer personas – which is a lot easier than you might think – you’ll really know who you’re directing your work to. And it’s not just marketers that benefit from this. Graphic designers, website developers, and anyone designing something to sell will benefit from buyer personas.

But where do you start? The key is in the planning. This guide provides everything you need to know to deliver well-planned and executed buyer personas.

6 Tips for Creating and Using Buyer Personas


1. Know the Difference Between Demographics and Personas

This is a common sticking point, and it’s important to understand it before you start out. Buyer personas are much more than a list of demographics (e.g., age, gender, and location).

Demographics detail statistical information about your target audience. Looking at demographics is useful, but it won’t provide everything you need for the most effective marketing.

Buyer personas are much more detailed and, as it says on the tin, they involve turning the information into a persona. A good buyer persona will include demographics, personality traits, background, social and economic details, and much more.


2. Create a Template

There are plenty of buyer persona templates that you can purchase online. But these can be costly, and the free templates may not be appropriate for your business’ specific needs.

Instead, you can quickly create a template to inform your buyer personas and customize them for your requirements. A buyer persona template for your business could include:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Interests
  • Location
  • Salary
  • Politics
  • Pain points
  • Hobbies
  • Economic position
  • Marital status
  • Children
  • Religious beliefs
  • Desires and aspirations

 

Some of these points could be irrelevant to your business, and you might need to include others, such as:

  • Pets (including specific breeds)
  • Cars
  • Music preferences
  • Eating habits
  • Most frequently used websites 
  • Health problems 
  • Exercise habits

 

Your template doesn’t have to be fancy – it could just be a simple list.

Pro Tip
You don’t need to use the same template every time. The information you gather for your buyer personas can (and often should!) differ.

3. Set Up Interviews

Once you’ve defined the information you need to form your buyer personas, start doing your research.

You can do your research in a few ways, including conducting interviews face-to-face, through video calls, or over the phone. You can also carry out surveys, look at market research, and even research your target audience online.

As for actually getting people to sign up for interviews, incentives often work, such as offering cash or gift cards. You can find people through social media, flyers, email marketing, and word of mouth, but there are also companies out there like Buyer Persona Institute that will find respondents on your behalf.

Pro Tip
Hire someone who isn’t connected to your business to conduct the interviews. A third party will be able to ask questions and record answers in an impartial way, taking as much bias as possible out of the equation.

4. Ask the Right Questions

Asking your respondents questions about their location, job, and desires will give you information. But is it the information you really need? 

Be thoughtful about the questions you ask, and make sure you tap into your respondents’ language.

For example, if you’re interviewing someone from New York who’s 20 years old, think about the language they might use and try to use it in your questions. Bonus points if you can find an interviewer of a similar age, background, or dialect!

Prepare your questions in advance, but don’t use them as a rigid structure for your interviews. If you start tapping into a useful topic that isn’t part of your planned questioning, feel free to explore it. 

Questions you might want to ask include:

  • What compels you to buy something?
  • What is your dream job right now? 
  • What keeps you up at night?
  • Where do you like to take vacations and why? 
  • What most commonly stops you from making a purchase?

 

Pro Tip
When interviewing, it’s crucial to build a rapport with the respondents in an appropriate way. There are many ways to build rapport, and most of them come from finding some kind of common ground.

5. Turn Your Personas into People

Yes, that’s right! It might seem silly on the surface, but this step is crucial. 

Once you have the information you need to inform your buyer personas, turning them into fictional characters – complete with names – can better advise your marketing.

You can use drawings, animations, or simply write a character description in a document. Here’s an example:

Peter is 31. He has a black Labrador called Noir. He is Korean American, lives in the San Fernando Valley, and works as a graphic designer. He has one child with his partner, and they live in a three-bedroom house.


Peter plays tennis on the weekends. He wants to drive a Tesla, but currently, he drives a BMW so that he doesn’t have to get an electric vehicle charger installed.


He earns $60,000 annually and has no religious beliefs. While Peter earns a good salary, he is cautious with his money, as he’s worried about the direction of the economy. He saves roughly 20% of his monthly income and is learning about cryptocurrency.

Peter in the example above doesn’t exist. He’s not an interviewee – he’s a fictional character created based on the information gathered from participants in a buyer persona interview.


6. Implement Your Work

Many businesses spend time creating buyer personas, but then they never really implement them. Or they implement them for a while but forget about them over time. Before they know it, they have buyer personas that they don’t even use.

For example, if you’re a graphic designer creating a flyer for a pop music concert, having a step in your creation process in which you take time to consider who your audience is, based on your personas, will make your work more effective. Start completing this step as a standard procedure.

Summary

Creating buyer personas is simple. But there are best practices to help you make the most of your time.

Remember, buyer personas and demographic data are different. Your buyer personas should be far more developed than the information you get from tools like Google Analytics.

Buyer personas are fictional representations of your target audience based on real-life research. They have names, hobbies, likes and dislikes, and should take the form of fleshed-out characters.

However you choose to create your buyer personas, the most important step is actually implementing them. Think about the best ways that your team can use buyer personas in their day-to-day workload.

This could be by updating your workflow processes to include the extra step of considering buyer personas, or it could involve going through each buyer persona during your weekly team meetings.

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