Buyer Personas will transform your marketing strategy. Here’s how.
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Every business, regardless of its niche, needs to know and understand its customer base. After all, how else will you know who to talk to?
One of the best ways to understand your customer base is to create buyer personas. A buyer persona represents your ideal customer based on their demographics, lifestyle, and goals. Strong buyer personas are created using hard data and insights from customer survey responses.
You can and should create many buyer personas based on hard data that tell you who your existing customer base is. These personalities help inform your marketing efforts and fuel your success, allowing you to connect, make an impact, and persuade your ideal customer base.
Follow these four tips to create buyer personas and incorporate them into your business marketing.
Related: The science of building buyer personas
Start with data
Before you segment your audience into different categories or create fictional characters that represent your customers, you’ll need to review the data to make sure you understand your customer base. Qualitative and quantitative data matter!
Start with quantitative data. Explore transaction histories and customer demographics, including how many and how often customers purchase and interact with your business. Customer age, gender, location, career, purchasing power, and loyalty are all critical data points to collect from existing customers.
You will also want to collect qualitative data, mostly in the form of feedback, through surveys or customer reviews. Information about the goals, desires, and hobbies of your existing customers will help you define the persona you will develop later.
Sorting the data ultimately provides tons of raw data that you’ll need to organize into spreadsheets to identify patterns. Many companies offer templates that make this task easier, or you can do it yourself in a spreadsheet. Working with a third party to organize the data can help identify patterns that you might not notice at first glance.
Related: Buyer Personas: What They Are, Why They Matter, and How to Best Create One
Find models and create categories
Collecting and organizing massive amounts of raw data is often the most challenging aspect of creating buyer personas. Once you collect your data and put it together, patterns will emerge.
As you separate your data into different groups, your “draft” personas will take shape. At this point, you’re probably aware of a specific customer demographic, so start with a persona that seems most obvious from the data. Once they are removed, continue to separate potential personas into the remaining data. You are looking for mass data overlaps and similarities to group customers.
Depending on the size of your business, you are targeting different buyer personas. Try to focus on the most important customer groups to put together the outlines of the different characters, and don’t dwell too much on the small details. If specific buyer personas are a much bigger part of your business than others, make a note of that with regards to your marketing efforts.
Related: 6 Proven Business Marketing Strategies to Grow During a Recession
Build a story
Now comes the fun part of creating buyer personas: get creative! To understand the different groupings you have organized based on the data, you need to create a singular, fictional character to represent them. It also helps other members of your business (the sales team or the marketing team, for example) to get a quick idea of who the customer is.
If one of your datasets is made up of environmentally conscious millennial women, you can create a character to represent that character. Find a complete background and personality for the character based on your data (eg she’s 29, lives in San Francisco, loves yoga twice a week, has a dog, recycles, etc.) .).
Understanding this buyer as a whole human being rather than a collection of raw data will facilitate the development of marketing materials that will convince this clientele. When creating a new campaign, your marketers should ask themselves, “Will this appeal to the personality?”
Related: How Leaders Should Use Consumer Insights to Guide Decision-Making and Improve Customer Experience
Design a marketing strategy
The final step in developing successful buyer personas is to incorporate them into your marketing strategy. Introduce your sales and marketing team to the personas you’ve created so they resonate with your company’s specific audiences.
When developing new strategies, consider your buyer personas first. What social media platforms do they use? Be sure to post on the right platforms for each persona (Gen Z shoppers, for example, won’t be on Facebook). How do they prefer to ingest and interact with the content? (Are they scrolling right in front of the photos?) What kind of language do they use? (Make sure you don’t use outdated jargon in your copy). You can even create different specialized landing pages for unique buyer personas.
Don’t forget to track the changing data and note which campaigns are working as you adapt to target new buyers. Updated learnings should be incorporated into your existing buyer personas, and over time you may need to phase out or create new personas as your business evolves.