The Definition of a Buyer Persona
A buyer persona is a fact-based representation of the person who will spend money with you. This profile is created through market research and collecting online data about your existing buyers. Important information to collect includes demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.
It is critical to note that a buyer persona is not necessarily the person who will use your end product, it is the person who makes the ultimate decision to buy the product. Examples of buyer personas are parents who buy toys for their kids, and the purchasing department in a company.
How to Create a Buyer Persona
Creating a buyer persona can be a long process due to the need to collect and interpret various types of data. Because buyer personas are different to normal customers, you should decide if the end user and buyer are the same person for your product. Plan scenarios to understand if you need to build both a buyer and user persona.
Below is a four step procedure you can follow to create your buyer persona. Keep in mind that it can take days, weeks, or months to finish depending on your resources.
Step 1: Gather Data
Firstly you should put together a list of data points you collect on previous and potential customers. This could include specifics from your sales and marketing system, email list, social media, etc. It is critical to ask yourself if the customer information you are looking at comes from the buyer or end user. Creating two buckets for your data can make this process easier. Place buyer persona details into one bucket and end user persona details into another.
Now you’ll have a pool of buyers that you can start to gather details from. At this point it is a good idea to carry out user research with this group of people. User research will allow you to ask pertinent questions about purchasing behavior that can highlight important information to pass to product development, or marketing.
Step 2: Identify Trends
Once you have gathered all the facts you can about your buyers, you can start to extrapolate trends from the information. At this stage you should have a sample size that is big enough to pull valuable details from. For instance, if you can only find data points relating to 20 buyers within your systems this simply isn’t enough data.
Building a persona from this information could have a detrimental effect on your business. In this case, it is likely that you will need to do extensive user research with people who fit your ideal buyer representation, and market research to build out your trends.
Step 3: Create Buyer Personas
Next you want to develop the actual persona which you can start from scratch or use a template. Building out a buyer persona is the same as a user persona only with a different type of person in mind sometimes. Common elements to both personas include:
- Brief Description
- Goals and Motivations
- Online and Offline Behavior
Distributing the buyer persona to your sales and marketing department can ensure that collateral is updated to mirror this new information. Sales people can now have more meaningful conversations as they understand their point of contact in a business better.
Why is a Buyer Persona Important?
A buyer persona is important for many reasons. Having well defined personas can help many different departments within a business.
Marketing Department. When a marketing department is creating information around a product it is important to keep the buyer and the end user in mind. Sometimes these are different people so messaging has to be altered. For instance, a landing page on the website needs to mention features (for the end user) and pricing (for the buyer) both prominently on the page, in order to speak to both audiences simultaneously.
Sales Department. Every sales department needs collateral to provide to their potential customers. This could be drafted outreach emails, posters, presentations, etc. Using a buyer persona to inform all this collateral means that information is more targeted and to the point. Having clearer details means higher conversion rates as customers feel more trust with you.
Product Development. Product development is hinged on creating a product that customers will love, but sometimes this goes out the window when the buyer is not the end user. Think of a toy that a child would love, but looks unsafe to use. There is no way that a parent will buy this for their child. Your product development department needs to work alongside your buyer persona to make sure all necessary steps are taken to make your product as appealing to your user and buyer.
Customer Service. Finally, your customer service department needs to be aware that sometimes the product user might not be the person contacting them, it could be a buyer. In this case a simple request might be more complex, as the buyer might not understand the intricate details of the product. Customer service agents need to be patient and understanding so they can give the best possible information to the buyer. Providing buyer personas to agents can greatly improve customer service satisfaction.