One of the most important rules of any business is this: know your audience. If you want to connect with customers, provide products and services your ideal market loves and continuously build brand loyalty and affinity — you need to truly know and understand your audience. One way to do that is by creating a customer profile buyer persona.
What is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional characterization of your ideal customer. It’s an extremely thorough and detailed customer profile that outlines the demographic, psychographic and personal characteristics of one target customer.
Many brands create a target market description that outlines their ideal audience in vague terms. For example, The Honest Company might say their target market is a head-of-the-household who makes more than $70,000/year, has children, and values safe household cleaning products.
A buyer persona would go much deeper, and instead of describing a group of people, it would represent one person. The Honest Company might say their buyer persona is:
Sarah, 37, a fit and active working mom (accountant) who has two children (ages 3 and 7). She places a high value on healthy living and wants her kids to have the best and safest foods and products on the market. She spends time reading parenting and healthy living blogs to find the best products for her family. Her favorite blogs are momtricks.com, everydayfamily.com and wellnesstoday.com.
While the target market description is helpful for imagining The Honest Company’s customers, the buyer persona customer profile creates a concrete image and allows you to visualize an actual person who would shop for the company’s products.
Why is a detailed customer profile important?
Using a detailed description of one person instead of a broad outline of an entire market’s characteristics helps brands both know and visualize their customers. It allows them to imagine creating their online marketing, messaging, products, and services for one person.
This approach gives brands the following benefits:
- Deeper understanding of customers. When you know your customers inside and out, you can better anticipate their needs and communicate with them in the terms they use and understand.
- Develop better products and services. When you know your customers’ needs, you can improve your current offerings and create new offerings that provide better solutions to their problems.
- Create niche marketing ideas and opportunities. When you drill-down into your customer base, you can identify opportunities for targeting smaller, niche markets.
- Improved targeting. When you know in-depth details about your audience, you can create hypertargeted social media ads and identify the best places to advertise and guest blog to get in front of your target market.
- Better qualified leads. When you are speaking the right language and marketing in the right places, you attract high-quality leads that are most likely to be interested in your brand and offerings.
How to create a buyer persona for your business
In The Honest Company example above, we offered a very brief look at what is included in a customer profile buyer persona. You can keep it brief like the example. Or, if you want to create a more useful and strategic client persona, you can go deeper and include the following details and descriptions.
- Family situation
- Annual income
- Job title
- Company size
- What are his/her professional goals?
- Personality traits
- Subconscious and conscious beliefs
- What does he/she believe strongly in?
- What are characteristics of his/her personality?
- What are his/her personal goals?
- What is he/she afraid of?
- What keeps him/her up at night?
- What are his/her pain points?
- What challenges is he/she facing?
- Favorite blogs/websites
- Favorite magazines/books
- Favorite thought leaders
- What is his/her role in the purchase process?
- How does he/she regularly buy?
- What are his/her objections to purchasing?
Once you insert each detail in an outline form, turn the information into a story. Write a few paragraphs about who the person is, what they need and the problems they face.
Pro tip: Take it further by assigning a name and a photo to the story. This type of description helps bring the fictional character to life.
Where to get details for your customer profile
When looking at this list of information, you might be wondering how you find the details to fill in your customer profile.
There are multiple ways to get the data that will shape your buyer personas. You can use any or a mix of the following tactics to research your ideal audience and get accurate information for your customer profile:
- Conduct in-person interviews with your current customers. Truly get to know your ideal audience by having conversations with your current customers in person.
- Survey your current customers. If you can’t get in the same room as your current customers, use a tool like Survey Monkey to send online surveys to them.
- Survey your ideal customers. If you don’t have a pool of current customers, create a survey for the people who you want as customers. Use a tool like Google Surveys to build a questionnaire and assign who you would like to complete the survey to get insights from your ideal demographic.
- Dive into your business data. Use point-of-sale system and customer data collected through opt-ins and customer loyalty programs to gain insight into your current customer base.
- Research your Google Analytics website traffic. Review data collected in your website analytics to expose details about your audience’s digital habits and activities.
- Engage in social media listening. On social media, browse hashtags and search for terms related to your business or industry to see what people are saying about your category of products, services and solutions
As you go through these steps, look for trends and themes. Note the characteristics and qualities that show up most often, and use those to details to create your customer profile.
Put your customer profile to work
Once you create your detailed customer profile buyer persona, put it to work. Use it to create better marketing messages, improve your targeting, identify niche market opportunities, build better products and services and grow your business.
For more tips on how to use deep customer insights to improve your business and marketing strategies, check out “How to use personalization to boost sales and marketing effectiveness.”
Also published on Medium.