What is a buyer persona, and do you need one?
A great advertising campaign is nothing without an audience. You can have the best, most creative ads in the world, but if no one sees them, they won’t do you much good! But how do you find that audience? Sure, you could try to find them based on sheer gut instinct. But we guarantee your marketing efforts will be more focused and more effective if you take the time to do the research and craft some buyer personas.
So what is a buyer persona?
Put simply, a buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. It is a profile comprised of various characteristics, such as interests, demographics, roles, and priorities, meant to guide your marketing efforts. It can be as sparse or as detailed as you like, though there’s a bit of a balancing act involved. A persona with one or two data points will be so broad it won’t be useful. But a persona with too many data points may get too specific to leave you without much of an audience.
Since your business is certainly trying to reach more than just one kind of person, you will likely want to make more than one persona to fully understand your audience – but of course taking the time to make just one is a great start! The more personas you craft, the more useful information you’ll get. To get the right balance of data and insights unique to your business, it’s best to build your personas out of both high-level data from online research and personal insights gleaned from your existing customer base. Your sales team will be a great help on that front, and you can also survey your customers directly.
Each buyer persona will be different, but they are usually comprised of answers to questions like these:
What is their age demographic?
Where do they spend their time online?
What is their home life like?
How much information do they need before they make a purchase?
What are their values, needs, and concerns?
Okay, but why do you need a buyer persona? You already know who your audience is, right? That may be the case to some extent. You likely have at least a general idea of who your business is trying to target. But taking the time to craft a detailed buyer persona – and get it in writing – can both focus your marketing efforts and uncover new audience segments you might have missed. A buyer persona can help you take the guesswork out of finding your audience and help you reach them effectively.
Here are four quick reasons why you should consider crafting one or more buyer personas:
1. You could uncover untapped audience segments.
Sometimes operating on instinct can give us tunnel vision. You might think your secondhand clothing business is meant only for people looking to pinch their pennies, but research might uncover that you’re missing out on the huge potential audience who is more interested in sustainability.
2. You’ll learn how to target your audience more effectively.
It’s all too easy to get drawn into your own ideas as opposed to what your customers actually want. Your priorities may not be their priorities. Your perception of what your customers want will change the course of your marketing strategy – and you could miss out. If you get your audience’s priorities wrong, you won’t know the best way to reach them. It’s easier to craft messaging and strategy when you know who you’re trying to reach and what they want! If you’re trying to reach everybody, you may reach nobody. Specificity can get you results.
3. Learn where to spend your advertising dollars.
When you know where your audience is spending their time online, you’ll know where to invest your time and resources. If your target audience is mostly comprised of people of retirement age, it’s not going to benefit you to develop a robust LinkedIn strategy. Having a clear target audience will ensure that you’re not wasting money on platforms that won’t give you a return on your investment.
4. Segment your audience.
The surest way to lose someone’s attention is to show them information that doesn’t relate to them. In fact, 59% of consumers say personalized engagement based on past interactions is very important to winning their business. Creating different buyer personas provides you with a great opportunity to segment your audience and only show them messaging that’s relevant to them. You probably can’t segment every aspect of your marketing, but everything you can segment – such as advertising campaigns and email marketing – will be a huge boost. Each persona will have slightly different goals and values.
Buyer personas are an incredibly powerful tool to add to your marketing arsenal. Armed with one or more, you’ll have the knowledge required to craft messaging that will reach different segments of your audience effectively. If you take the time to thoroughly research your audience and create personas to guide your marketing, every advertising dollar you spend will go farther, since you’ll be spending less money on guesswork.