How to Create a Brilliant Buyer Persona in 25 Questions (Free Buyer Persona Template & Questionnaire)
Customers know what they want in a product or service. Before they even start to browse for solutions, they identify their problems and know how they want it fixed.
Your prospects have a crystal-clear picture of what they want, and likely have a list of criteria your product/service must meet if you want them to even consider buying from you.
But do you know what you want in a buyer?
Let's face it: just because a customer pays you doesn't mean they're a pleasure to work with. And if you want to work with as many pleasurable customers as possible, it's time to create a buyer persona.
Regardless of what kind of business you are and which industry you're in, you can benefit from creating a detailed buyer persona.
It helps you create content for and market directly to your dream buyer. A persona helps you to personalize your marketing and make a human connection with your target reader.
But creating a detailed persona can be confusing at first, and oftentimes gets overlooked by businesses. If you're wondering what a buyer persona is, how it can benefit your business, and how to use it in your marketing, read on.
What is a Buyer Persona?
In plain English, a buyer persona is your ideal buyer. Your dream buyer.
It's the type of person you want to buy your product or service, and someone you dream of working with.
According to Shopify, a buyer persona can be defined as "a fictionalized characterization of your best customer(s) based on information about them and how they use your product or service."
Ask yourself this question: when you first started your business, who did you envision your customers to be?
It can be a single person or multiple types of people.
Answering that question is the starting point for creating your buyer persona. But there's more to it than simply creating a character you want to purchase your products/services.
Buyer Personas are Built Based on Preexisting Information about Your Customers
If you've been in business for any period of time, you already have customers with real-life goals, challenges, situations, motivations and more.
What made them buy from you? Who are they? How are they interacting with and consuming your content?
All of these things are important to know when crafting a buyer persona, and you can gather this information by analyzing and/or interviewing your current or previous customers.
Regardless of whether the customers you've had are ideal or not, something about your business got them through the decision stage. They chose to purchase your product/service instead of your competitors', and it's time to figure out why.
Knowing what your customers like and dislike about your business, along with who they are, what they do, and where they come from, are key pieces of information that should be incorporated into your buyer persona creation process.
Different Buyer Personas Fit into Different Marketing Segments
Whether you've decided to create one persona or 20, each one should represent a new marketing segment.
If you have more than one ideal buyer, you'll need more than one persona. A single persona can't accurately represent multiple audiences, and if you try to make it work, the persona will become less specific (thus, becoming less beneficial).
Take Writing & Thriving, for example. We provide services for multiple audiences: solo entrepreneurs, B2B marketers, bloggers, businesses, and agencies.
It wouldn't be beneficial to use the same persona for solo entrepreneurs that we use for big agencies with a large team of employees. They're two different types of businesses, thus they need two different types of buyers.
Buyer Personas Have Names...and Purposes
Here comes the fun part: you get to name your buyer persona!
Examples of buyer persona names we use are Content Marketing Mary, Director of Marketing Mike, Blogging Blaire, and Businessman Bill. Each persona represents a specific buyer, and each has different backgrounds, goals, conflicts, and demographics.
Blogging Blaire, for example, represents a solo entrepreneur who uses content creation and social media influence to gain a loyal fan base, a large audience, sell her products (such as courses) online. And most likely, she's also an affiliate marketer.
She might have an editor or graphic designer on her team, but she does a lot of the work herself. As a result, she doesn't have as big of a budget as an agency, but her content needs are just as important. She's likely to enjoy our content about freelance writing, content marketing, and using storytelling in content writing. As far as our content services, she's more likely to purchase one of our individual orders rather than a monthly package due to her smaller budget and pro blogging skills. She also might be a stay-at-home mom or digital nomad enjoying the freedom that working solo online gives her.
The persona of Blogging Blaire is a lot different from Director of Marketing Mike, who's an employee of a company/agency with an assignment of outsourcing content strategy because the company's in-house team has no in-depth knowledge of SEO and already has a lot on their plates.
Why Do You Need a Buyer Persona? 4 Statistics that Prove a Persona is Worth Building
If you're still not convinced creating a buyer persona will have a drastic impact on your marketing (and in turn, sales), allow me to introduce 4 surprising statistics that validate the importance of these semi-fictional representations.
- Mark Schaefer found that 3-4 of his buyer personas typically account for 90% of his business's sales. (Mark Schaefer)
- By personalizing your marketing to target a buyer's specific business needs, they're 48% more likely to choose your product/service over your competitor's. (ITSMA)
- Only 44% of B2B marketers use buyer personas, giving you a chance to stand out and reach the needs of prospects more specifically than your competitors. (ITSMA)
- Using buyer personas to personalize your email campaigns improve click-through rates by 14% and overall conversion rates by 10%. (HIPB2B)
We learn two things from these statistics: creating buyer personas work and less than half of B2B marketers are doing it.
This translates as a huge opportunity for you to do what over half of your competitors aren't, thus putting you ahead of the game.
How to Use Buyer Personas in Marketing
You know why building at least one buyer persona is important for your overall content marketing strategy. But how exactly do you implement them in your marketing campaigns?
Ultimately, your goal of creating a persona is to emotionally connect with your ideal buyer. AKA, the people you dream will buy from you.
In reality, these people have specific roles, needs, goals, and personal lives—so your buyer personas should, too.
Let's take a look at a few ways to use your personas in your business's marketing efforts.
Write content for each persona in every stage of the buyer's journey.
The buyer's journey is divided into three stages...
- Awareness stage
- Consideration stage
- Decision stage
The awareness stage is when your target reader is facing a problem or challenge and takes to Google for answers. Your content provides them with the best answers on the web, so it ranks well on Google. They read it and you educate them (and possibly, turned them into a lead!).
The consideration stage is when a prospect knows what problem they're facing and why, so they're ready to compile a list of the best products or services to solve it. Your goal is to bring your reader out of the awareness stage and into the consideration stage with hopes of making it onto their list of potential problem solvers.
Finally, the decision stage is when a prospect knows which product or service they think will work best for them and they're ready to buy. If you've taken your reader from the awareness stage to the consideration stage and made an emotional connection with them, odds are their final decision will be you.
By creating content for each persona in each stage, you'll effectively turn your readers into leads and then into customers.
Here are a few examples of content created around a specific buyer's journey stage:
- Awareness stage - how-to blog posts, listicles, informational guides, ebooks, templates, infographics
- Consideration stage - questionnaires, webinars, product reviews, roundups
- Decision stage - team interviews, case studies, free trials, demo requests, free consultation calls, guides on how to make the most out of your product
Find where your buyer personas hang out and market there.
Is your target audience on Instagram? Pinterest? Facebook?
Conduct some research to figure out where your ideal buyers already are and then meet them there. Post social media content that speaks directly to them wherever they are.
News flash: you don't need paid ads to do this.
All you need is the right platform, a marketing plan, and a human connection. Like blog content, social media posts should be personalized according to each buyer persona so that you attract and connect with your dream customers.
Here are a few ways to figure out where you need to be communicating and connecting with your ideal buyers.
- Where readers share most of your content. Whether your blog posts typically get thousands of shares or less than a hundred, figure out the top platform readers are sharing it to. Odds are, the number one social platform on which your readers are sharing your content is where most of your target audience already is.
- Platforms that get the most clicks to your site. If you promote your content on social platforms (which you totally should), see which platforms are directing the most people to your site. For instance, if you promote new content on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, which platform do more people actually click the link? Although this might be because you have a bigger following on one account than the others, it's still where you've attracted more readers, which means more potential clients.
- Where your competitors already are. Compare yourself to the competition. If your competitors are heavily active on Facebook and you're more active on Instagram, it's time to start changing gears. If Facebook is obviously working for them, this is a huge sign that your target audience is on Facebook more than Instagram.
Personalize your content and user experience for each buyer persona.
According to Accenture, 75% of prospects are more likely to purchase from a business that recognizes them by name, knows their purchase history, and recommends options based on that purchase history.
What does this data mean for your business? It means you absolutely must personalize the experience for each of your buyer personas in order to attract the right prospects.
Even if your business has just one persona, creating content, products, and services that appeal specifically to that persona is key.
Using your buyer persona to guide content creation and marketing tactics allows you to create a deeper connection with readers and prospects, thus providing a higher chance of conversions.
If you're wondering how to personalize customer experiences per persona, here are a few ideas.
- Segment your email list by persona. If you have multiple personas, don't send them all the same emails. You'll bore the ones who don't care about the other and your emails will become more generalized in an attempt to please both.
- Create new landing pages for each persona. The copy on your landing pages should be tailored to a specific persona. Thus, it's important to have multiple pages for multiple personas. The landing page's copy should address the specific needs of one particular type of buyer.
- Develop ads for different personas. If you invest in paid advertisements, target each persona with their own specific ad campaigns. What one buyer persona finds appealing may be irrelevant to another, so creating specific ads for specific people is much more beneficial than throwing up generic ones.
How to Develop a Buyer Persona: 25 Questions to Ask
You know the importance of having a specific persona. You also know how to use it in content creation and marketing campaigns.
But how exactly do you create a buyer persona?
We discussed two ways to access valuable information about past buyers:
- Interview previous and/or current customers
- Analyze data about your current audience
But you need more than information about previous clients to develop an effective buyer persona for attracting new ones.
Here are 25 essential questions you need to ask yourself while creating your ideal buyer.
6 Questions to Ask About Their Career
- What's their job title?
- What's their level of education? (High school diploma, associate's, bachelor's, master's, etc.)
- What's their annual income?
- Which industry are they in?
- What's the size of the company they work for?
- Who do they report to?
9 Questions to Ask About Their Demographics
- How old are they?
- What gender are they?
- What's their relationship status?
- Do they have children? How many?
- Which social media platforms are they on most?
- What's their annual household income?
- Where do they live?
- How many social media followers do they have?
- What's their race/ethnicity?
10 Questions to Ask About Their Goals and Motivations
- What are their biggest challenges?
- What are their greatest strengths?
- Identify their weaknesses or pain points.
- Are they happy with their current job?
- Identify at least 2 of their goals (personal or career).
- What's their motivation for achieving those goals?
- Which methods have they tried already?
- What's their budget for solving their problems?
- Where do they go for answers to their questions?
- Where do they go to get solutions for their problems?
How Many Buyer Personas Should You Create?
A common question asked by marketers is how many buyer personas should I really create?
The truth is, the number doesn't really matter. You can have as many as 1 or 30 buyer personas if it's what suits your business's needs.
Contrary to popular belief, creating a narrow, specific persona doesn't limit the number of customers your business will attract. Detailed buyer personas are all about attracting the people you want to buy from you, not just the people who could buy from you.
So even if your marketing goals only require a single buyer persona, don't feel like you're cutting yourself short of potential profit.
But, how do you determine how many personas your business truly needs?
If your business identifies with any of the following statements, odds are you need more than one persona.
- Your target audience is fairly broad (i.e, accountants, lawyers, entrepreneurs).
- You have multiple segments of your email list.
- Your previous customers have come from a variety of backgrounds.
- Your content, marketing campaigns, or paid advertisements feel too general and not specific enough.
If that doesn't sound like you, most likely you can stick with a single persona (or at least, 1-2) and truly master making connections with it. Take a look and see if you can identify with any of these statements.
- You have a clearly defined target audience (i.e, family lawyers in Austin, Texas, B2B content marketers, small local business owners).
- You have a smaller following but great engagement.
- People subscribe to your email list, follow your social profiles, or read your content for a specific topic (i.e, how to grow a blog).
- Your past marketing campaigns or advertisements have always been rather specific.
Do you have an idea of how many buyer personas you should create? If you're still unsure, start with one, and somewhere along the creation process, you might find the need for an additional one.
Start Making Your Buyer Persona with Our Free Template and Questionnaire
One last thing! Have you downloaded your free buyer persona template and questionnaire?
You'll get all 25 questions in a beautifully formatted PDF that will guide you through the creation of your first (or twentieth!) buyer persona.
Whether you're in need of one or thirty, having a persona to influence and personalize your content, marketing, and overall user experience is vital if your goal is more conversions.
And with a low percentage of B2B marketers using buyer personas today, implementing them in your inbound marketing strategy is the perfect way to get ahead of the game.
So what are you waiting for?
Take the next step and create your dream buyer with just 25 questions today.
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