How to Make Buyers Personas So You Can Stop Wasting Money

Two young children plugging ears as a third child screams at them through a megaphone

In our previous blog post, Your Marketing is Failing Because You Didn’t Start Here, we spoke about the definition and importance of Buyer Personas. Now, we are going to teach you to create these Personas so that you can stop wasting your money advertising to the wrong audience.

Step 1:
Start by making a list of the different types of customers you currently have.

If you don’t have any customers yet, make a list of ideal customers you hope to attract in the future. Be sure to include your team in this process as everyone brings a different perspective to the table. You’ll want to begin with general “big-picture data” about your customer. You’ll be diving deeper and making it more personal as we go. Your customers might be very obviously divided by your service or product offering – or they might not. You may have multiple customers for the same services or products (see example below).

Chart for Customers and Services and Products

Step 2:
Select the top 3-5 customers from your list.

These customers are going to be the basis of your Personas. Outline their demographics as prompted below.

DEMOGRAPHICS:

  • Male or Female:
  • Age:
  • Income:
  • Annual Value:
  • Customer Lifetime Value:
  • Job Title:
  • Company Size (if B2B):
  • Industry (if B2B):
  • Education:
  • Associations:
  • Relationship Status:
  • Kids:

Step 3:
spend some time thinking.

After you have the general demographics completed, it’s time for a deep-dive into the interests and behaviors of your persona. Every business is different; use the following prompts as a basis for your research but do not be afraid to customize these prompts to your own needs. You are encouraged to tailor these questions with specifics about your industry, products, or services.

GOALS & RESPONSIBILITIES

  • What are this Persona’s goals in purchasing your product or service?
  • What are this Persona’s biggest challenges?
  • What products or services does this Persona purchase from you?
  • What are the biggest selling points of the products/services they purchase from you?
  • Why will the customer buy your product/services instead of your competitors?

Online

  • How often does this Persona search for your service or products?
  • What associations does this Persona belong to?
  • What social media platforms do they use?
  • What are the ways this Persona likes to communicate and interact with vendors/service professionals like yourself?
  • What does this Persona need to see on your website to buy from you?

SALES & REFERRALS

  • What common objections does this Persona have during the sales process?
  • What common questions does this Persona have during the sales process?
  • Is this Persona in a position to refer other customers to you? How valuable are their referrals?
  • Will this customer purchase other products/services from you in the future?
  • What does this Persona need to see on your website to buy from you?

DEEPER DIVE

  • What event (if any) immediately precedes the customer looking for your services?
  • What challenges will this customer encounter with your product or service?
  • Are any other decision-makers part of the process? What questions or objections will they have?
  • What does a typical day in their life like?
  • What does a successful purchase mean to them?
  • How much communication do they want to have with you? What type of communication?

Step 4:
Give each Persona a fitting photo and name.

Assigning this persona a name and a photo will help make them feel like a real person. This makes it easier to create messaging and market to them because let’s face it…real people are easier to talk to than a bulleted list of demographics.

Step 5:
Cross Check them against customers you know.

Once you have your Personas written up, try to match them with the clients you have. See if anyone falls outside of those Personas, or if most of your customers truly fit into your Persona categories.

Where can you get more information on your Persona?

If you’re just starting out or don’t have clear insight into who your customers really are, there are things you can do to help develop Personas:

  1. Interviews: Interview customers or potential customers.
  2. Ask your team: Talk to your sales or customer service team to get their insights on who your customers are.
  3. Social Media Research: Use your Twitter or Facebook insights to see what the demographics are for your current users.
  4. Site Analytics: Take a look at the current demographics of your website traffic on Google Analytics.

But everyone can be my customer. How do I write a Persona for everyone?

Nope, not everyone is your customer. Your product or service may appeal to a wide range of people, but that group does not include everyone. Start by thinking about who your ideal customer is. Who is more likely to spend the most money on your services/products? Who will refer you to others? Who will re-buy or recommend your services/products? 

If you don’t break your customers down into ideal Persona groups you will waste a lot of money advertising to the general public with little return on investment.

Next Steps

Customer Personas are never completely finished. They are something that you’ll want to evolve and revisit as you learn more about your customers and develop your business model. As you grow your customer base or spend more time with your customers, you can gather more information, adjust your Personas and even create new ones.

In our next article, we’ll show you how you can apply your new Personas to your marketing and sales initiatives.

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