What are buyer personas
Buyer personas are a small business’s way of segmenting their audiences and targeting their ideal clients. Have you ever heard the saying, “If you try to speak to everyone, you’ll speak to no one?” Researching who your clients are helps you to identify marketing opportunities and narrow your message to who matters most.
Buyer’s personas are semi-fictional bios of who you are targeting your services to. Foreman Frank, Marketing Maya, LinkedIn Larry are examples of buyer personas small businesses use to hone in on their targets. But how are buyer’s personas created? This blog will take you through three essential steps every small business should do when creating their buyer personas.
1. Research who are your best customers
Many businesses have a gut feeling of who their audience is. We’ve heard our clients say things like “I feel like my client is someone like me.” While it’s great to know yourself and what you want, your services may not actually appeal to people like you. That’s why it’s so important to get your hands on factual research.
When picnic rebranded, we did a full scale industry analysis to help us decipher our buyer’s personas. The tools we used to get our information from included the Vancouver Public Library Small Business Database, and Statistics Canada Small Business Report. These were all free reports that showed peer-reviewed articles, statistics, and graphs on current business demographics in Vancouver and BC. All we had to do was ask the public library and they delivered.
We were able to recognize the following from our industry analysis:
- What were the most popular types of small businesses in BC.
- Age and gender of business owners.
- Number of hours business owners worked.
- And more.
Ultimately, we recommend you don’t go on a hunch. Use resources from your city’s municipality or the region you plan to sell, in orderto find the right data for your audience demographics.
2. Interview your own customers
If you already have customers, start using them to build a foundation for your buyer personas. Start to conduct interviews with your customers and ask for honest feedback. Don’t just focus on the people who love your product. Having more critical feedback from previous customers who may have had a negative experience with your product or service is important. It will help you to improve your business and recognize pain points potential customers may face.
Here are questions we used from Buffer.com to interview clients:
- What are the main frustrations and pain points you’re experiencing?
- How do you use our product to solve your problem?
- What are the top 3 things you’re looking for in a product like ours?
- Tell us what your biggest fear or concern was with using our product? Was there anything that almost stopped you from purchasing?
Questions should be customized to suit your business. When conducting interviews be clear this isn’t a sales call and keep it short. We also recommend providing an incentive for non-customers or prospects to give you their time and get them to talk. For instance, at picnic we offer small business owners and entrepreneurs our free 30-min Consultation to learn about their specific pain points, business goals and ways we can support their growth.
3. Begin to build your buyer persona
Now’s the time to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and start building your persona. There are many templates out there you can use to format your persona. We’ve used Xtensio in the past to build our three main personas. However, no matter how your buyer’s persona looks, it must have these essential points:
A summary of who they are, their role in their company, their personality, and their demographics. We love to use the Myers Briggs personality type to identify the type of personality they are. Who wouldn’t want to market to the “Champion” or the “Architect”?
What they’re looking to solve. Why they are seeking out a product like yours.
Pain points and benefits
A summary of what is troubling them in their personal or professional life. and what the benefits -tangible, emotional, monetary – would be of using your product to help them solve these pain points.
What are the challenges involved in working with this type of person? What are the challenges involved in reaching them?
What opportunities present themselves in working with this persona. How could they grow and improve your business?
Through this process you can usually see recurring themes pop out of certain clients. Write them down as they can help you see opportunities for your business to use.
Bringing your Personas to Life
It’s now time to bring your personas to life (anyone read Pygmalion?). Start by communicating with your own team which the personas you will be focusing on and begin to plan a marketing strategy to target them through awareness, engagement and purchasing behaviours. Read Hubspot’s article on how to create content for each stage of the buyer’s journey. Lastly, make sure everyone on your team is on the same page of who your buyer’s personas are.
Remember that the point of a buyer’s persona is discovery! Allow yourself to learn new things about your business marketing efforts and discover new possibilities that you may have not considered before. By conducting research and creating buyer personas you will be able to better grasp the market you’re looking for and begin speaking to your targeted buyers.