One of the first questions I ask business owners on my free 30-minute consult calls is the following:
Paint me a picture: What does your ideal customer look like?
It’s the essential starting point for your business strategy and forming your marketing plan.
If you don’t form an idea of your ideal buyer persona, you’re at risk for wasting time in social posts, throwing away money on Facebook ads, and essentially – catering your offers to a wide umbrella of potential customers who aren’t a fit.
You’ll also miss out on key opportunities to promote during the year, such as during Amazon Prime Day and during the holidays with Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
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Without determining the root challenges and objections your customers are facing, it’s hard to speak their language and truly catch their attention.
By not outlining the details of your customer, what opportunities for engagement and prospective conversations are you missing?
What money are you leaving on the table?
What is a persona?
It has many names, depending on the resource referenced or what marketing expert you speak with. It can be referred to as an ideal customer avatar, a customer profile, and a customer persona. Don’t be confused – as all names relate to the same concept.
Essentially, it’s a detailed outline of your customer that represents your customer across all areas of their life.
It’s a holistic view of them socially, physically, emotionally, and considers all aspects of their thought process in buying. In a persona, you consider their likes, needs, desires, lifestyle, favorite products, family ties, relationship status, and job, along with many other points.
It’s a painting of their entire life and everything that runs through their brain when it comes to what you offer in your business.
What challenges do they face that make them buy your product?
What are the reasons they wouldn’t buy your product?
What aspects of their life do you make easier with your business offering?
These are KEY questions that you must ask to make your market and targeting to this individual really hit home.
These questions all hit on the essential persona components that, if you’ve constructed your persona correctly, are the foundational key areas.
What are the components of a buyer persona?
- Your Solutions
These are the key details of your customer’s life. What is your prospective buyer’s salary? What car do they drive? Do they own a home? How many kids and pets would you expect them to have if they have them at all? What do they like to do in their spare time?
What is your buyer striving for in their lives? Can your service or product help assist them and reach their goals? What do they perceive as a success for themselves? If your buyer is considered to be at Point A, how do you help them reach Point B? How do you do it in a unique, quick, or comprehensive way?
As mentioned earlier, what aspects of your buyer’s life can be made easier by your business product or service? What do your customers force themselves to do that they hate doing? What do they wish they could outsource? What has been hard for them in their everyday life, work, or journey to reach their goals?
Pairing with the customer challenges, you should aim to define some of the ways your business directly solves your customers’ problems. For example, if you’re a luxury property company wanting to pull in corporate executives irked by the inconvenience of airline travel, you could speak to ways you’ve prepared a space that automates their experience from check-in to keyless access to smart home routines to help relax them.
The best way to think of this component is to imagine an FAQ page for your customer. Consider the kinds of questions they might have upfront. Do they want to know more about returns? Are they concerned about pricing? Security? Usefulness?
How do I write a buyer persona?
Creating a buyer persona to better encompass your ideal buyer habits can feel daunting.
You might have read to this point and realized, “Yes, I need to consider my buyer more.”
Here’s what to think about, whether you’re crafting a buyer persona from scratch or revisiting.
First and foremost, is that you’re going to continually revisit and revise your buyer persona.
Getting your buyer persona pinned down is essential, but it does not have to be the most complete portrait from day one in your business.
It’s not essential for you to understand your customer’s hourly routine or exactly how many cars they drive, or even all of their purchase objections, especially when you’re starting out in launching your business.
It’s completely understandable that you won’t know all your customer questions and concerns at that point.
It’s also likely that your focus could change, you’ll gather more insights through your sales journey in proof of concept, and your business could pivot to offer new or additional products.
When you interact more with your ideal customer, you’ll get a clearer definition of who they are and what they are seeking in an ideal product and customer experience.
However, this doesn’t belittle the effort that’s needed and necessary to create a general guideline of your customer as soon as you can in the marketing journey.
To start forming your persona, you’ll want to research key insight reports, demographic data, as well as any research articles that might help to highlight your ideal customer.
Another good trick is to consider people you know that actually represent the person that you hope to target. Interview anyone you know, as that can help you better pin down what their buyer journey will look like.
Finally, let your data speak for itself on the full picture of your ideal customer. This means going through the results of your advertising on Facebook and seeing how your posts performed.
Sift through Google Analytics to determine what content is getting focused on your website. Where are your readers headed, and what can that search history tell you about what other content they might want and REALLY NEED from you?
Instagram is another great spot for free data (assuming you have the “Creator” or “Business” account settings turned on) which can help you see when users are active with your content, where they’re located, and what gender your message is resonating with.
Buyer Persona Example
I wanted to include a few examples of what a buyer persona can look like from a number of different angles with demographics, financial practices, and the buyer mindset.
You can be as bare bones or as detailed as you want, and as mentioned there are a couple of templates you can make use of, linked at the end of the post here.
I wanted to be pretty open with giving you an idea of what a heavily outlined buyer persona looked like, so you know what direction to build in your own buyer persona crafting.
Luxury Travel Persona
A while back, I was working with a luxury travel company and had to craft a buyer persona for their customer, which was a corporate executive traveler.
Here’s a snippet of what their day-to-day life looked like:
This was just a small section out of a nearly five-page document really getting down into the nitty-gritty details of the customer.
I dove deep into an initial introduction – which is a key part to understanding the inner workings of your potential buyer’s mind:
“Mark is successful enough that he is earning close to over $100k a year but he is starting to find himself spending less time with family, pets, and his partner and more time dealing with the additional responsibilities of a recent promotion. Mark is at the point where he is overwhelmed in finding a work-life balance of running his project team and keeping current in learning and improving himself. He also wants to become better at time management.
His ideal vision in traveling is to experience fine dining and highly rated lodgings that have unique and high-class amenities. He is highly open to automating the experience of travel that would normally take up a lot of time and mental bandwidth. He doesn’t like to wait or go through long-winded purchase experiences. He is highly critical of poor experiences, while also being vocal on good experiences and will refer colleagues to a business experience that he likes.”
As you can tell, you can get into the minor details of your customer. Continuing to revisit and modify further better helps to further personalize their buying experience.
Property Manager Persona
As part of my work in managing another company with software design and production planning for property automation, I set up a document painting the stressors of a property manager.
I had a whole section dedicated to their financial views and practices, to help key into whether they might be the one making room in the budget for the service and platform I was working on.
These were some of their challenges in their work:
Building out this section on key consumer challenges and objections better helped to hone in on what areas of the software would catch the attention of this and similar users, and even which features would work well later in the pipeline.
Even if you can’t dive deep into their day-to-day life and specific demographics of your buyer yet, focus your attention on their challenges, objections, and immediate needs that would lead them to your business offer.
Where to Find Free Buyer Persona Templates
If you’re starting from square one in crafting your buyer persona, here are a few helpful sources of free buyer persona templates that you can use to plug and play.
These are available to download in PDF format, and from there you can edit the document and save it for your needs.
The first is dedicated to business-to-business (B2B) targeting and the second and third options are catering directly to customers (B2C).
B2B Buyer Persona Template – This option by Red Fern allows you to download a free template (upon signing up via their page form).
B2C Buyer Persona Template – This template is offered by Hubspot for download, by filling out their form (you can select whether or not you want to subscribe to their marketing blog).
B2C Buyer Persona Template #2 – The template here is courtesy of Digital Marketer, and they refer to it as their Customer Avatar Worksheet. You can become an “Insider” for their email list to access this simple worksheet.
Need help in pinning down your customer for your startup? You can book a consult call, entirely free, to help get some insights and bounce around ideas.
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