As a local business owner, you might know all of your customers by name. That’s great! That will make creating buyer personas even easier. But, that might leave you wondering: If I know my customers, why do I need buyer personas? The answer is that creating buyer personas will help you streamline your marketing efforts to reach your target audience — and we assume you also want to grow your business.
Even the most versatile local business can’t be everything to everyone — and neither can your marketing efforts attract all individuals. It would be near impossible to find the perfect message or visual to appeal to each individual customer. What appeals to Mary Homemaker might not appeal to Techie Tim. Creating and using buyer personas can focus your marketing to ensure you are communicating effectively with your target customers.
Let’s get started.
1. Understanding buyer personas
Buyer personas are personality profiles that represent your ideal customers. They are fabricated from actual customer representations and market research. There is no limit on the number of buyer personas you could create, but start small and build additional profiles as your marketing plan evolves.
2. Gather customer data
Your buyer personas should be unique to your business and your customers. While you can search online for generic buyer personas for various industries, the best buyer personas are created from your customer data and insights.
What does your customer database look like? Hopefully, you have names and email addresses. Do you have gender, age, location, or professions? Start using form fields on your website to capture more important information from your prospects and customers.
You can also gather customer data from employee feedback and customer interviews.
A complete buyer persona should include more than demographic information — it should include customer goals, challenges and values. These deeper insights are gained through the anecdotal feedback from employees and customer interviews.
You can also get data from other community organizations that regularly survey the public. Most likely your city or county government or business chamber of commerce has annual information you can access. Another outlet is your community newspaper or media company that might partner with you for a readership survey.
3. Analyze customer data
Look through your customer database for trends and patterns. There are many ways to sort and organize information, here are a few starters:
- Male - female
- Kids - no kids
- Life stage: student, professional, retired
- Income level
4. Build one buyer persona
A buyer persona should have the following sections:
- Demographic: gender, age, income, location
- Background: job, career path, family
- Identifiers: demeanor, communication preference
- What your business can do to help them with goals or challenges
- Objections: why they wouldn’t buy your products/services
Start building one persona with a group of three to eight key employees or company decision makers. Start with the demographic, background, and identifier information that is more readily available. You might have to brainstorm or infer answers to the last five sections. Make your buyer persona as complete as you can — if you don’t have a definite response from customer feedback, hypothesize a response.
Once you’ve created your persona, give it a name for future reference.
Here are some examples to inspire you.
Once your buyer personas are created, you need to train your marketing team and sales people to use them. The marketing team should build a message for each persona, and identify the tactics that will be most effective in communicating with that persona.
For the sales team, practice how to quickly identify a new customer and which buyer persona they would best be identified with — create a short set of questions that could serve as markers. Consider creating some unique sales pitches for each persona and specific products or service points to mention.