How to Create Buyer Personas

October 9, 2017

You’ve created and designed your product or service. You’ve ironed out the details, built your company website and hired the best talent. Now it’s time to get your message out there.

How do you set your product or service apart from the competition? Whether you’re just starting out, or part of a seasoned company looking to expand your marketing efforts, there are specific steps you can take to make sure your message rises above the noise.

One of the first and most crucial tasks for marketers is creating buyer personas. A buyer persona is basically a fictional “character” that you create to represent a potential buyer of your product or service. “These are the demographic groups that are ideal customers,” says Sam Gallen, digital strategist here at Commit Agency. “Each buyer persona represents a type of consumer you want, or expect, to interact with your company.” To create a buyer persona, consider factors such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Job
  • Industry they work in
  • Interests
  • Buying habits

For example, imagine you are opening a new exercise facility that offers quick 20-minute workouts with a personal trainer. Think about the people your gym might attract: sedentary office workers looking to lose weight, busy moms, business professionals with little time for workouts, maybe even travelers looking for a workout that won’t take too much time away from their relaxing vacay. Create a buyer persona for each one of these imaginary clients.

Have fun with it! “Many of the buyer personas we create have clever names that explain what type of client they are,” says Sam. In the gym example, Lazy Susan could be our slow-paced office professional, while On-the-Move Mary is the busy working mom. Use a photo image to represent each one of your buyer personas, and come up with a “story” for them that breaks down their characteristics (age, gender, interests, etc.)

By this point, you’re probably wondering why we take the time to design fictional customers, when we could just be out Tweeting, posting YouTube videos or advertising to the world. Simply put, you can’t create a message that works if you don’t know who you’re talking to. “Buyer personas help you develop messages that speak to a particular target group. When you know who you’re targeting, your message will be more relevant to them,” Sam explains.

Once you have your buyer personas outlined, you can start thinking about possible messages. Consider what challenges your buyer has and how you can address their concerns. On-the-Move Mary needs a quick workout with a flexible schedule. Lazy Susan wants an easy workout for beginners. Traveling Todd wants a variety of machines and multiple machines of the same type so he doesn’t have to wait.

“But wait… hold on,” you say. “I don’t know what Susan and Mary and Todd and my other potential customers want!” Some of our most successful clients started off in a similar position. This is where you browse online forums, chat rooms, Facebook groups or meetups for consumer complaints about your industry. Use the features of your company Facebook page to get audience insights. Run a focus group or conduct interviews.

What do people ask for? What are the issues they want addressed? If your messaging addresses a common consumer complaint and provides a solution, you’ve attracted your target’s attention. Faster workouts? Four hundred machines? Yeah, I’m there!

In most cases, three or four buyer personas will do the trick. For some of our clients with multiple products or far-reaching services, we’ve created up to 20 buyer personas. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a printable Buyer Persona Process document (bel0w) that outlines every step of the process, from designing personas to crafting messages and determining if your marketing was successful. Contact Commit Agency today for help with crafting your company’s buyer personas, and for all your digital marketing needs.