How to create buyer personas for your business
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on data and research.
The definition of these characters helps your company to focus its time on qualified customers, guiding the development of products / services to meet their needs.
Why is defining buyer personas important to your business?
A Buyer Persona is your ideal customer. A persona is a character created to help your company better understand who your customer is and what he needs.
Let’s make one thing clear: target audience is not the same as buyer persona. Here’s an example of what most people understand as a target audience:
Young people between 18 and 24 years old who live with their parents, go to college, receive between $ 500.00 and $ 1,000.00 per month and have few bills to pay . They use smartphones, have social networks and spend most of the day connected.
This is a very broad description, don’t you agree? It covers a large number of people and says nothing more about their habits and particularities.
An effective and elaborate buyer persona describes in detail your ideal buyer and enables the creation of a more focused strategy, making easy the adaptation of content, messages, product and services development, etc.
Depending on your business, you can have only one or two buyer personas, or up to ten or twenty. But if you are just beginning to understand this strategy, define only one, it is always possible to develop other personas later, if necessary.
How to create buyer personas?
Buyer personas can be created through surveys and interviews with customers, prospects and anyone who aligns with your target audience.
Here are some practical methods for collecting the information needed to develop personas:
- Check your contact database to discover trends about how certain leads or customers find and consume your content.
- Create forms that capture important information from the people who visit your site.
- Ask your sales team for feedback on the leads they interact with most. What generalizations can they make about the different types of customers they serve best?
- Interview customers and prospects to find out what they like about your product or service.
Once you’ve completed the research process, you’ll have lots of raw data about your prospects and customers.
The next step is to use the survey results to identify common patterns and points, to develop at least one main persona and share it with the rest of your team.
Who should I interview to create buyer personas for my business?
To define your buyer personas you will need to conduct some interviews and / or surveys with people related to your target audience.
To find these people, there are some sources you can look for:
Your existing customer base is the perfect place to start your research, because they have already bought your product and have engaged with your brand.
But don’t just focus on those who are satisfied with your products. Disgruntled customers will show you other patterns that will help you form a solid understanding of your personas.
Another advantage of interviewing current customers is that they generally like to be heard and have a chance to talk about their world, their challenges and what they think of your product.
Consumers also like to have an impact on the products / services they use. Therefore, by involving them in research like this, they can become even more loyal to your company.
Be sure to also interview people who have not bought your product and also do not know much about your brand.
Your current prospects and leads are a great option here, because you already have their contact information.
Use the data you have about them (any information collected through lead generation forms or website analysis) to find out who can fit your target audience.
You will probably also need to have some referrals to talk to people who can fit into your buyer personas, especially if you are entering new markets or do not yet have leads or customers.
Use your network of contacts, such as coworkers, existing customers, social media contacts, and more, to find people you would like to interview.
It can be difficult to reach a large volume of people this way, but you will probably get quality responses.
Now, it’s important to note that even if you’ve managed to get a considerable list of people to interview, that doesn’t mean they’ll show an interest in answering your questions.
So, below, we will give you some tips on how you can convince someone to dedicate a little time to help you.
Tips for getting answers
When contacting people who can help you define buyer personas, you can use some of the strategies below to improve your response rates.
1. Offer incentives
Incentives give people a reason to participate in an interview or take a survey if they don’t have a strong relationship with your business. A discount coupon is an easy and simple option to get more engagement.
2. Show that this contact is not an attempt to sell
This is especially important when dealing with non-customers. Be clear that you are researching and that you just want to learn from them. Show that you need and would greatly appreciate help to develop better products and services.
3. Make it easy to say yes
Make the task easy, the more work the person has to answer your questions, the less answers you will get. Create multiple-choice surveys that are quick to answer. Questionnaires as succinct as possible, and if you are doing an interview, let the interviewee determine when and how it is best for them.
What questions to ask to define my buyer personas?
There are several categories of questions you need to ask in interviews and surveys to create a complete buyer persona profile.
Here are some that are frequently used:
- Brief personal history (age, nationality, marital status, children, etc.);
- Brief educational background.
Company and Work
- What is your position?
- What do you do at work?
- What skills are needed to perform your tasks?
- What tools do you use daily?
- What is your company’s segment?
- How big is the company?
- What are your main goals?
- What does it mean to you to be successful at work?
- What are the biggest challenges you have?
- What are the biggest problems you encounter in achieving your goals?
- How do you acquire new skills and information?
- What are the main publications and / or blogs that you consume?
- What social networks are you part of and how often do you use them to learn something?
- Where do you usually do most of your shopping? (Physical / online store)
- How often do you shop online?
- Do you usually conduct research before shopping?
You are probably wondering how many people you need to interview, and the answer is: it depends.
Start with at least 10 to 15 interviews for each persona you are creating.
The general rule is that when you start to accurately predict what the respondent is going to say, it is probably time to stop. Through these surveys you will begin to notice patterns.
With a significant number of questionnaires answered, the next step is to analyze the collected data.
The purpose of this process is to try to find the common characteristics among your customers, such as what their wishes, desires, problems, doubts, most frequent complaints and most mentioned solutions are.
It is common to have several buyer personas profiles, so it is necessary to define which ones are most important. There is no maximum number, but remember that the more, the more you will have to invest in differentiated content for each persona.
So, our advice is to focus on one or two buyer personas at most. Thus, it is possible to work on that profile of your ideal client in a complete way that generates expressive and lasting results.
The next step is to personify your persona. Create a character that incorporates all the information obtained, such as name, age and profession, and then create a story describing that person’s daily life.
This is important to help you think of your buyer persona as a real human being, the person who will receive, read, interact with your content and buy your product.
Be sure to give your persona a name (for example, Financial Manager Erica or programmer James), so that everyone refers internally to each persona in the same way, creating consistency between teams.
Now you have what you need to start producing the right content to attract your ideal customer, and this is the first step to success.
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