A Practical Look at Creating High-Value Buyer Personas

The ultimate goal of a buyer persona is to help you focus your messaging to speak to the right prospect with a message that resonates.

It’s no longer viable to look at a target market as a monolithic customer base. Successful marketers understand that the more they can understand potential customers and personalize their messaging, the more likely they will convert and retain them.

personas

It’s easy to get caught up in generating a high number of targeted customers and lose track of the quality of those customers. This leads to inefficient sales efforts, poor customer experiences, and high churn rates. Buyer personas help to shift the focus to the valuable prospects. They make marketing and sales more efficient and build loyalty.

What is a buyer persona?

A buyer persona is just an intelligent way to look at your potential customers through a more meaningful, less transactional lens. It’s a means of understanding how to speak to prospects appropriately and address their wants and needs in a meaningful way.

A persona is a fictionalized customer profile based on characteristics found in a substantial segment of your customers or ideal potential customers.

Defining your personas requires a few essential data points; demographics, psychographics, goals, and challenges. You can find most of this information in public profiles without being intrusive.

Dig into your sales data, look at Google Analytics, and see who interacts with your social media posts. Look at Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram profiles. Look for patterns.

Demographics

Demographics are the characteristics such as age, gender, and income. Demographic data is essential for businesses to create marketing strategies. Demographics is the broadest category determining if a prospect is likely to convert.

Demographics for a Jane Doe persona might include age 40 to 50, female, married with two kids, annual income of $150,000, education level graduate degree, urban homeowner, etc.

Psychographics

Psychographics are psychological characteristics. These are the qualities of personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles.

Our Jane Doe is athletic and active, thoughtful, lighthearted, humorous, and charitable. She loves the outdoors and active family vacations like ski trips. Stephen King novels, Instagram and Pinterest, help her unwind.

Goals

A persona’s goals can be any number of things ranging from short-term needs to long-term life goals.

Jane Doe wants to spend more time with her kids, take a pottery class, get the garage door fixed and move to a new home.

Challenges

Challenges are obstacles to reaching goals.

The obstacle to Jane’s goal of spending more time with her kids would likely be time management. Finding time in her schedule for personal and family activities is her primary challenge. She values products or services that save her time and help her efficiently manage tasks (fixing the garage door, simplifying home financing options, etc.). Think about ways to apply your product or service to help her solve her challenges.

Filling in the Picture

Different attributes, seen collectively, will lead to logical assumptions. We can assume that Jane Doe might be interested in yoga and cycling because we know that she is athletic, enjoys the outdoors, and is active on social media platforms that have a strong focus on self-image.

Starting with High-Level Personas

A high-level persona uses the broadest segment of your customers or potential customers. This is a very general picture of a person that would see a benefit in your product or service.

Creating a high-level persona requires looking at a broad group; this is usually current customers but could be prospects if you don’t have a healthy customer base already.

When looking at existing customers, make lists of attributes and look for patterns and commonalities. Take the most common characteristics and use them to build your high-level persona. You’ll see some obvious ones, maybe annual income, but you’ll also see some that might surprise you, like 80% of them might be big fans of Cohen Brothers films or Tony Robbins.

Building a high-level persona from current customers is valuable because your current customers have already converted. They fit the profile.

Diversifying Specific Personas

After establishing the high-level persona, it’s important to get more specific. The more detailed the persona, the more targeted campaigns can be. Four to six specific personas is a good number relative to the industry, location, and product or service.

The specific personas work just like the high-level persona but dial in a tighter set of attributes. If 25% of the customer base drive Chevy pick-up trucks, that’s a pretty good insight about one of four personas.

Aspirational Personas

Aspirational personas are the ideal customers that haven’t already converted. Aspirational personas are helpful in product and messaging development. They create a goal post for reaching the ideal customer.

You may do well with B2C customers but want to add some commercial clients to your portfolio. Reaching those commercial clients requires targeting commercial personas. A business client persona may be dramatically different from a domestic customer persona.

Negative Personas

Negative personas create another point of reference to dial in your process. Developing a negative persona requires looking at your “worst” customers; the time-wasters, the bad-fits, the ones that cost you time, money, and goodwill and only produce negative outcomes. Having a good sense of a negative persona will help you complete your positive personas. It will also allow you to focus your efforts where they will be effective - on prospects that will convert, be thrilled with your company, and respond with loyalty for years to come.

The ultimate goal of a buyer persona is to help you focus your messaging to speak to the right prospects. When a potential customer feels that you know them and speak to them in a personal and meaningful way, they will be more receptive to your communication.

Personas keep your marketing activities focused and help you eliminate efforts that don’t align with customer goals.

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