We’ve already talked a lot about what buyer personas are and why they’re important for your brand. There’s no doubt that well-researched audience profiles can make all aspects of your marketing more effective and help align messaging across channels and departments. Awesome, right? Now comes the real challenge: creating effective personas! How exactly do you do that and what questions should you be asking along the way?
Developing buyer personas that really work for your brand takes time, energy, and research. There’s really no way around it. At E-Power, we like to start by asking our partners a few key questions when developing personas. That way, we have a good framework to really dive in and start figuring out what really makes our clients’ customers tick.
1. Who are your target audiences?
Alright, this is a super broad, overarching question that could probably go a million ways. That’s the point! It’s supposed to help kick start the conversation surrounding personas, whether you’re developing your personas internally or working with a marketing agency like E-Power. It gives everyone a baseline to work off of. Are you marketing primarily to consumers, other businesses, or both? What makes someone a good fit for your products or services? This is your time to brainstorm and talk broadly about your ideal clientele.
When diving into this question, ask around for various perspectives. Your sales team and leadership team are great resources to start. Those who are directly in the field and working one-on-one with customers may offer unique details and stories here as well.
2. Describe their personal demographics.
Now we’re going to start getting more specific. Obviously, basic demographic information like gender, age, and geographic location are important and a great starting point. How old is your ideal customer? Where do they live? Are they married? A 42-year-old mom of three living in Minnesota is going to have a very different lifestyle than a 21-year-old college student living in Florida, right? However, they both may be interested in your products.
Start with your demographic information from Google Analytics and go for from there. If you already have active social accounts, follower demographics on those sites can be valuable. Once you’ve answered basic demographic information, your buyer persona starts to take shape and you can start diving much deeper. Consider audience demographics versus buyer demographics to see who’s visiting your site in comparison to who’s actually converting. There’s also tons of research out there regarding the personal values, lifestyle, and habits of various generations that will come in handy.
Pro tip: Keep in mind that demographic information from Google Analytics and your social sites are just people you’re already reaching. Does that fall in line with who you actually want to reach? Oftentimes this is just a starting point and multiple buyer personas may be necessary.
3. What was their educational and career path?
Most people spend the majority of their day at school or work, so education and career aspirations can have a big impact on how, what, and when someone buys. What is their specific job title? What’s their salary range? Do they have a degree or multiple ones? Who do they report to? How big is their company?
These details are especially important if you’re B2B and targeting people in specific industries or positions. Even if you’re B2C, this type of information is helpful to give you a more well-rounded picture of who you’re talking to and the income they may have to spend. You can turn to online resources like Glassdoor and LinkedIn to really dive in here. There you can find common employment information for specific areas, job descriptions, and other details. Reading the “About Us” pages for related businesses in the area may also give you some valuable information.
4. What is a typical day like for them?
OK, now we’re getting really into the nitty-gritty details. You know where they live and what they do, so it’s time to start looking at what their lives are like and how your products and services fit into them. What really sticks out about their life at work? At home? While it’s good to get a broad overview here, this area can (and should) be tweaked with details that fit your industry and actually matter to your customers. For example, if you’re selling B2B, you’ll want to include more details focused on your persona’s workday and office life. However, if you’re B2C, what they do outside of work and their hobbies that relate to your products may be more applicable.
Again, job descriptions found on Glassdoor or LinkedIn may help you build this out. Looking at things to do around the specific area your persona lives may also help you learn more about what they like to do and add some local flare.
5. How do they like to buy?
Now that you know a little bit about what their life is like, you can start to hone in on how they buy. This is an important area to understand since it’ll help you determine how you can best reach people with your products. How do they research a product or service? Do they prefer to buy in-store or online? Are things like loyalty programs and rewards important to them? This is where you can really hone in on their buying habits and the buyer’s journey.
To answer this question, it’s a lot of digging into research and data. There are all sorts of information regarding what devices people are using and brick and mortar versus online sales that you may find useful. Again, consider the demographic information here too and how comfortable they are with various technologies.
6. What are their buying concerns?
Now that we’ve gotten some of those bigger picture questions taken care of, we can really start to dive into how they interact with your product or service. It’s time to look at some of the buying concerns that may hinder them from purchasing or go for a competitor. What are the main customer complaints that you hear about your product or service? Are there safety concerns in your industry? Are there reputation issues with your brand, product, or service that you need to overcome? The sooner you figure out what’s potentially stopping your customer from buying from you, the sooner you can address and overcome the issues through your marketing strategies.
Your customer service/sales team and product reviews may be a good place to start. Social chatter regarding your brand and the industry overall can also offer some great insights.
7. What are their buying triggers?
This kind of goes along with buying concerns but looks at the opposite end of the spectrum — what prompts them to buy? Depending on your industry, you may be looking at major life events, hobbies, and problems that need solving. What is it that would cause them to choose your company over a competitor? Is there a seasonality to your business that may cause an uptick in sales? Once you’ve honed in on what really triggers a sale, you’ll be able to reach your customers in those exact moments and guide them through the complete buying journey.
If you’ve answered the questions above and really have a good grasp on your ideal customer, these triggers should be pretty easy to develop. Again, consider turning to product reviews, social listening, and your customer sales team. If you have good customer relationships, you can always reach out directly to those customers too.
Get started crafting awesome buyer personas
The above questions should help you frame the discussion and research around your buyer personas for your brand. Hopefully, these will spur even more questions to really help you hone in on exactly who it is your talking to and how to best connect with them. If you’re ready to start crafting amazing buyer personas, check out our handy buyer persona template for even more insights.
Of course, buyer personas take time, effort, and research. If you’re struggling with the process or simply want an extra set of eyes on the personas you developed, we’re here to help. We offer free marketing consultations with our expert team to answer your questions and offer additional insights on your marketing initiatives. Interested?