If you have ever taken a marketing class or spent some time around the sales and marketing gurus, you may have heard them mention a buyer persona or marketing persona. But what is it and how can it help you to build your business?
In this article, we are going to dig into why we believe that every small business should be using buyer personas as part of their marketing strategy.
What is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a fictional character or profile that you create to represent your target client. They are detailed identities, complete with giving them a name, a bit of a back story, and, in some companies, even a picture. But how can a fictional character improve your marketing efforts?
This character is made using demographic data collected about the people that are visiting your website, following your social media accounts, and buying your product or service.
It allows you to better understand what corner of the market your business is trying to reach and, with this knowledge, make smart and targeted marketing decisions. This includes where to advertise, how to advertise, what your brand message needs to convey, and how to best grab the attention of the people that you want to connect with.
What Should a Buyer Persona Include?
The more detailed your buyer persona is, the better. This is because the added information will help to paint a clearer picture to guide your marketing decisions. Of course, that means making sure that you are collecting all the relevant data that you need from tracking your Google Analytics 4 data and social media insights.
Some of the key pieces of information that you want to consider include:
- Household income
- Education completed
- Marital status
- Geographical location
- Job details including industry, company, title, and role
- Where they purchased your product/service (if they have already)
- What problems they are trying to solve
- What they searched to try to find the solution you are offering (otherwise known as the search intent)
- Their pain points
- How often they purchase your product or service
- What objections they may have when considering purchasing
- Which social media platforms they spend more time on
- Their preferred communication method (text message, email, phone, social media)
Much of this information will be available through the data that you are already collecting in your analytics, but not everything. You may wish to do a deep dive into the thought process behind your customers’ decisions to purchase by asking them to complete a short survey. This will help to expand the information further.
You may also wish to make a survey available to your online community but know that you can’t guarantee that everyone following you online will fit into your target audience.
For example, there are some companies that I currently follow on social media because I enjoy their marketing style, but I will likely never purchase their product or service because I don’t feel that it offers value to me. If I were to complete a survey offered online as a follower of their social account, I am only going to skew the data that they are collecting about their potential customers.
5 Ways to Use a Buyer Persona in Your Business
Now that you have taken the time to create a buyer persona (or multiple buyer personas), it’s time to take this valuable information and apply it to your business decisions. Keep your completed buyer persona profile nearby when working so that it can be referenced regularly. This will help you look at every element of your business through the lens of the person you are trying to connect with.
1. Create Content Your Ideal Customer Will Find Valuable
Content marketing is a great way to reach and connect with potential new customers. This includes the creation and publishing of blog posts, social media posts, eBooks, videos, and all other forms of content. The goal of content marketing is to create highly valuable content that:
a) Establishes that you are an expert in your industry
b) Appeals to target audience, encouraging them to follow you
c) Adds value to the lives of your audience
To do this, you will need to first understand who you are creating content for. A suburban mother with a large family may have different interests and needs than a teenage boy leaving for college. Understanding this will help to inspire which topics you are covering in your content as well as how to approach them effectively.
While creating content, try to view it through the eyes of your ideal buyer persona. Will it resonate with them? If not, you may want to reconsider what you are publishing.
2. Target Advertising
For those that are investing in paid advertising, your buyer persona may play a valuable role in setting up a successful campaign. When setting up your advertising campaign, you will have the option to target a specific audience based on several different demographics. This will determine who your ads are being shown to.
When setting your target audience, you want to ensure that the buyer persona that you created matches the selections that you are making including age, gender, life stage, geographic location, and more.
This allows you to invest in advertising strategically with your budget being applied specifically to reach potential customers and not wasting any of your budget on people that will likely never purchase your product or service. This will help with your return on investment (ROI).
3. Choose Brand Colors and Imagery that Appeals to Your Audience
Whether your business is brand new or going through a rebranding process, selecting your brand colors and the visual imagery that will be associated with it plays an important role in establishing your brand image. But does your brand image appeal to the people that could potentially purchase your product or service?
Your brand image is never going to appeal to everyone. There will always be someone that feels that it is too flashy, too neutral, too serious, too informal, etc. People like some colors and dislike others based on their personal preferences. That’s okay! You aren’t creating a brand that is designed to reach everyone, so why would you worry about what everyone thinks?
Instead, focus your attention on the image and ‘feel’ that will appeal to your buyer persona(s) that you created.
4. Product Development
As your business grows and evolves, you may find yourself considering adding a new product or service to what you have to offer. During the product development stage, pay careful attention to your buyer persona and the problems that they are looking to solve in their lives.
By providing a solution to these problems, you can create a product that will appeal to your current target audience.
While it isn’t necessary to always focus on a singular audience for what you offer, it is a great way for small business owners to capitalize on the marketing that you have already invested in and the work that you have already done to build a community of loyal customers.
5. Identify the Best Ways to Reach Your Target Audience
As a small business owner, you have to wear many hats and do a lot of work to keep your business running. It may come as a relief to hear that you don’t have to be present on all the social media platforms. In fact, we don’t recommend splitting your attention and focus between every available platform.
Take a moment to look at your buyer persona and consider, for a moment, where they would spend their time online. For example, platforms that have been around for a while like Facebook tend to attract an older audience than the newest, hottest platforms hitting the world wide web. If you are trying to reach that suburban mother that we mentioned before, you likely won’t find her browsing a social media platform that is geared to teens.
By determining where you can find your target audience, you can focus your time on building in the places that will offer you the highest return on your investment.
In short, the buyer persona is a marketing exercise that is often overlooked and undervalued. It does take some time to go through the work of building one, but the insights that they offer will pay you back tenfold.
Are you interested in creating your own buyer persona but unsure how to get started? Our eBook will guide you through the process complete with an easy-to-use buyer persona template. Download it and get started today!
About the Author: Britt Kascjak is a freelance writer and content creator with a background in digital and social media marketing. In addition to running her own personal blogs Shed Happens and Alternatively Speaking, she is also the editor and a contributing writer for All Pet Voices. When she’s not working, she can be found volunteering in the rescue space, camping, hiking, canoeing, or spending time with her 3 dogs and 2 cats.