There are still some companies out there who do not even think seriously about their target audience.
Others are already there and define them. Then it says our target groups are medium-sized companies or women over the age of 40 with two children.
This is a good start.
But such a target group definition is too board-like and does not take into account some things that are important to the buying decision. It’s just too one-dimensional.
That’s why we’ve talked about a perfect customer and a customer avatar. A Buyer Persona is in a very similar direction, describes the target customers but still much better!
But one by one.
What is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is a fictional person based on research, market research and real data from your prospects and customers. It’s the face of your target audience.
Or in other words:
Buyer Personas are archetypes of your target audience.
But it is more than just a face. Above all, a Buyer Persona pays attention to the behaviour of this person. It incorporates the problems, needs, desires, goals, and objections.
A Buyer Persona is far more profound and gives you detailed insights into your client’s decision-making and emotional world. Finally, we have a three-dimensional human being!
Personas are especially attractive for products and services where you have to invest a lot of time and thought.
If For example, if you want to build an inbound marketing platform, then I’ll think about it for a long time. If I want to buy a Snickers on the tank, I’m not wasting so much time there. (But even here you can work wonderfully with personas.)
There are also negative Buyer Personas that are considered the same. These are then people you do not want to have as a customer. I would not write these down anywhere, but I’d think about it enough.
Who invented Buyer Personas?
In 1983, Alan Cooper faced the challenge of developing a new Project Management Tool.
He knew instinctively that the solution had to be knit for the needs of the customers if it was easy to use. Remember that at that time, the tools were still very product-oriented and therefore, complicated.
So he came up with the idea of interviewing some colleagues who would be perfect customers for this software. The result of this work was a fictitious person: Kathy.
Whenever he thought about Kathy now, he could better respond to her problems and wishes.
That’s why he made it a routine to go lunchtime on the golf course and talk aloud to Kathy. That did not bother the golfers, but he did not care. The concept worked: he knew which feature was essential and which was not.
A few years later he wrote these findings and wrote: ” The Inmates Are Running the Asylum “. He did not call it “Buyer Persona” yet, but he had already described the concept.
What are the advantages of a Buyer Persona?
Do you know the feeling when you are on a website, and you think, “Hey! This is precisely how made for me! “?
In general, then a perfect Buyer Persona was used, which fits exactly to you. That’s also the significant advantage of it.
You just go away from the “me, me, me” thinking and start spinning everything around your customer. You focus on your communication and your solution to your customers.
But let’s take a look at some other significant benefits:
- You know who your customer is, how he wants to be approached, and how to reach him.
- This makes every message, campaign, and content more targeted and effective.
- Accordingly, you attract the right leads, which, in time, become the right customers.
- Also, marketing and sales focus on a clear goal and work more efficiently.
- In addition, you differentiate yourself from your competitors because you know the needs of the customer the best.
- In the end, you know where to pool your resources and how to align your organization.
And what happens now? Suddenly, you no longer have a megaphone, but a lively conversation with your customer at eye level.
How do you create a Buyer Persona?
Basically, there are no rules to create a buyer persona.
Although there are many different ways, which are very detailed, but also much too complicated.
Therefore, we have developed a simple method, which consists of the following six components.
- Background – What is your persona? What do they look like? How old are they? What did they do for a living? How much income do they have? Do they have a family?
- Why – What is the reason why your customer buys? Why did your client decide to go looking for a solution?
- Advantages – What advantages does your customer expectations for himself and for his organization, which are essential to him?
- Objections – What keeps your customers from buying from you? What are your competitors doing better? Are there any prejudices?
- Customer Journey – What is your customer’s journey? How does he compare options? Which influencer does he consult? How did he decide in which phase?
- Features – What unique features of the solution are important to him? Which properties have alternative solutions?
Because we humans are visual creatures, you finally look for a matching image that perfectly represents your buyer persona.
If you look at these six elements from a slightly different perspective, these are all essential parts of the traditional sales process that you would do face-to-face.
In general, I am convinced that you, as an entrepreneur, should always have a feel for your market. Above all, you automatically have a good feeling for your persona, if you have regular direct customer contact. Therefore, it is the easiest way to create your persona first from the stomach.
Then to increase the accuracy and density, you should do interviews. You can focus on the following groups:
- People who considered you and choose you (your customers).
- People who considered you and choose a competitor.
- People who considered you, but chose to leave things as they are.
- People who never considered you but choose a competitor or substitute.
If you do (or have) these interviews, do not talk so much, or even better, about your business and your solution. Try to identify patterns, attitudes, and opinions that influence the buying process. Let the customer tell you their story.
Take about 30 minutes for an interview and record it the best. Take as few notes as possible and concentrate on a casual conversation with your interviewee. Also, do not try to use a fixed script, start with the following question: “Why did you decide to look for such a solution then?”. After about 10 interviews, you recognize patterns and slowly know that’s enough.
Then you have to use the interviews. It’s best to transcribe the recording and then filter out the six elements. You summarize these than too short statements (in principle, like a headline), but the quote is still also. You then incorporate these insights into your Buyer Persona.
All the representative background data is terrific on social media. Look, For example, check the profiles of your interview partners and check your social media analytics. Just Facebook Insights can give you very good data.
How many Buyer Personas do you need?
Maybe you are already thinking about your personas and wondering how many you need?
The good thing now is that you often need less than you think. Adele also says that you usually only need half as many.
If, for example, if you have customers from five different industries, countries, or company sizes, then you might automatically think you need five different buyer personas. The best you are still in the B2B sector and then have five different decision-makers. Then we have 25 different personas somewhere. But this is much too much. Then the shot goes backward!
The secret is that these people have a lot in common. Maybe more than you think. The following graphic shows this more exactly:
In this example, you have two different audiences, with six similarities and only two differences.
That’s the critical task in creating Buyer Personas: you need to find common ground and use that to group yours. This saves you a lot of effort.
In the end, the decision is up to you. Do you have the resources to play multiple Buyer Personas? Does it make strategic sense to focus on several personas? Do you make more sales when you target multiple?
For example, we have four different target groups: small businesses, startups, solo, and self-employed. But we only have one buyer persona: small businessman! No matter if you are managing director of a small company or independent tax consultant, there are many similarities. Both want to grow their business with inbound marketing. Only the level is different, not much else.
What common mistakes do you make with Buyer Personas?
First and foremost, marketing is always an art form. And you can still do a lot wrong with art.
You rely on reliable data, but especially if you have multiple personas and you need to summarize them, there is no right or wrong.
Sometimes you can overdo something in the creation. Whether the persona is now called Kevin or Klaus and has a German shepherd or a bulldog, has little relevance if you want to distribute a marketing platform.
Tom Fishbourne shows us another funny mistake here. You have to be careful that your Buyer Persona does not automatically reflect you or the marketing team. Something like that happens quite happily without it.
Last but not least, Mark Schaefer addresses another interesting point here. He writes if all competitors focus on the same data, that at the end the same Personas and accordingly, the same Messages come out.
The solution to all these problems, as I’ve already said, is that you have to know your market pretty well.
How do you use a buyer persona?
Your Buyer Persona goes through all the essential business areas.
As I said earlier, you should focus on them and build your entire business around them.
But above all, the following divisions are affected:
- Design – Does your design speak to your persona? Does it provide things that interest you?
- Communication – Do you speak with her in your connection and your campaigns?
- Copywriting – Do All Your Copywriting Talk to Your Persona? Only with her?
- Content – Is your content tailored to your persona?
- Product – Do you like your solution to your persona? Do you focus on your needs and wishes?
- Strategy – In which direction is your persona developing? Are you developing with her?
If you look at a few companies and compare those points, many will have to rethink their complete marketing approach.
Especially about your inbound marketing, you should correctly map the customer journey with your content. So check if you’re missing content at a particular stage and if your content hub is neatly displaying your content.
The concept of Buyer Personas is quite simple: You interview prospects and customers, recognize specific patterns and let them flow into an archetype.
Since you always want to get a better result and also change the people in your target group, you should regularly conduct these interviews and improve your Buyer Persona.
Buyer Personas is a bit like cheating: you know what your client wants, how he wants it, and what steps he takes before he buys. That’s a competitive advantage that others do not have.
So please be the company that not only defines its target audience but also thinks seriously about its buyer persona and invests resources there.