How to Create Buyer Personas for Your Business (a Step-By-Step Guide)

How to Create Buyer Personas for Your Business (a Step-By-Step Guide)

Buyer personas are one of those things every marketer talks about but rarely explains, which is a shame because they're an essential part of many successful marketing campaigns. In fact, according to recent research:  

  • 71% of businesses that exceed their revenue goals use business personas. 
  • Customer engagement is 6X higher with persona-based content. 
  • Using buyer personas in emails increases email conversions by 10%. 

Additionally, buyer persons increase website visits by 100% and the length of those visits by 900%. So, in other words, they're a pretty powerful tool for helping you better understand your target audience and create more effective marketing strategies. 

But what is a buyer persona? How do you create one? Moreover, how do you use them once you have them? Here are all the details for creating and using buyer personas in your business. 

What Is a Buyer Persona?

A buyer persona is a semi-fictitious character based on real-life data and research. It helps you to understand your target audience better and create tailored marketing initiatives that are more likely to be successful. 

Buyer personas are created by gathering data about your customers like: 

  • Demographics
  • Goals
  • Challenges 
  • Motivations
  • Interests 
  • Preferences  

The more data and details you can gather, the better because you use this data to construct a detailed buyer persona that reflects your ideal customer. A detailed persona will help you figure out where to focus your energy and product development and help your entire team get aligned on verbiage, customer experience, and more. 

Also, it's not uncommon for a business to have multiple buyer personas to reflect several different types of customers. 

Now, this isn't meant to be confused with a target audience. A target audience is the larger group of people your business hopes to reach, whereas the buyer persona is the actual person. 

For example, you may know your target audience is gym owners, but do you know their specific interests and needs? Here are some examples of buyer personas that could exist within your target audience. 

  • Lyle: a 42-year-old gym owner, father of three, and breadwinner whose primary focus is providing for his family
  • Leslie: a 32-year-old gym owner and fitness enthusiast, living her lifelong dream of owning her own health-centered business

Both personas fit within your target audience, but they're very different personas. So, how do you get these details to create buyer personas for your business?  

How to Create a Buyer Persona

Creating buyer personas is a multi-step process that requires research and data analysis. Here are the three steps you need to complete to create buyer personas:

Step One: Gather the Data

To develop a buyer persona, you'll need data – and lots of it. Here are a couple of ways to collect that data: 

  • Use your contact database or CRM to look at your existing information. 
  • Interview customers and leads to get more details. 
  • Talk to your sales team to get feedback about leads and ideal customers. 
  • Collect information in form fills and surveys. 
  • Conduct market research.
  • Look at your competitors' customers. 

Your goal is to get as much information as possible to ensure you create a buyer persona based on research and not assumptions. 

Step Two: Analyze the Data 

Once you have the data, look for trends. Are there any specific demographic details that stick out? What about their behaviors? What are their buying habits? What other products or services do they purchase in addition to yours?

Take time to crack the data open so you can understand the crucial details about who your customers are. Then, try to determine if you have one customer type or multiple. You'll want to create a persona for each customer type you uncover. Once you have a good idea of these things, you can move toward making fictional profiles.

Step Three: Create the Profiles  

Now, it's the fun part. You want to create profiles that include all the information you discovered and create fictional characters to represent the profiles. 

For example, if you find that the majority of your customers are millennial moms, you'll want to give your persona a quintessential millennial name, like Ashley. Then, find a picture to represent her and use your data to create a complete profile. 

You'll want to keep Ashley in mind when you think about your marketing initiatives, sales scripts, and customer service procedures. When in doubt, you'll ask, "Would Ashley like this?" or "Does this speak to Ashely's needs?" 

If you aren't the artsy or creative type, turning data into fictional characters might sound super intimidating. HubSpot's buyer persona tool can help you turn your data into a buyer persona – no creative brainstorming required. 

How to Put Your New Buyer Personas to Use 

So, once you have your buyer persona, how do you actually use it to improve your marketing campaigns? There are several meaningful ways you can use your buyer personas, including: 

  • Crafting your brand's tone around what appeals to your personas.
  • Segmenting your email lists based on your different personas.  
  • Timing your marketing campaigns based on your personas
  • Identifying the ideal influencers to reach your personas. 
  • Personalizing every level of your marketing campaigns
  • Choosing the right marketing channels (i.e., which channels are most likely to reach your personas) 
  • And more

Ultimately, having buyer personas should impact every level of your marketing, sales, and customer service because it will inform how and when you speak and interact with your prospects. 

Create Your Buyer Persona(s) Today. 

Creating buyer personas is an essential part of any successful marketing strategy. In short, buyer personas help you to understand your target audience better and create more effective marketing initiatives. 

Following the steps outlined above, you can easily create buyer personas for your business to help you target your desired customers and increase your sales. 

Keep in mind that this process should be fun but also data-backed. If you feel you're guessing at any point, try collecting more data before moving forward. If you can't collect any more information, you can make educated guesses based on what you know and test and adjust as you get more information.

Don't wait to create your buyer personas. Instead, start digging into your data and crafting profiles to level up your marketing results.

Jonathan Bodnar