Learning how to create a buyer persona can be the most impactful thing for your business you will ever learn. Many business owners wonder why their marketing efforts are not generating any results. Sometimes this even reflects in their sales and they are left wondering why their business is not performing.
Tidal, is a famous rapper Jay Z music platform, which hosts some of the biggest artists in the industry but has only 3 million users compared to Spotify 286 million, and Apple Music 72 million. Although it received enough capital to possibly become the biggest music streaming service it was built around the artists' needs and not the end-user. That’s one of the reasons it has lower users than its competitors. Some other great examples are Hooters Airline, Virgin Cars, and the other 13 Virgin ideas that failed mostly because of product-market-fit.
Product-Market-Fit is understanding who is the ideal market for your business. Taking the time to identify your buyer persona and addressing how the business will solve his problems is how you improve your market fit.
It all starts by identifying who is your business directed to and why.
It starts by asking yourself “who is my ideal customer”. That person who represents that perfect buyer. And going into details of what comprises this character. We’ll go moreover that in just a second. But first we got to understand:
The buyer persona is a fictional representation of what your ideal customer looks like.
Knowing who your ideal customer will help you understand how to create a buyer persona, and where you should direct your marketing efforts. Heck, your entire business! Understanding what problems your business is solving will help you deliver your value proposition.
In marketing, this translates into more effective targeted massaging, understanding what platforms your customer is at, at what times, what type of content is he searching for, what he/she likes, and some of his biggest motivators and pain points.
In marketing knowledge is power! And in order to have a successful marketing campaign, you should be able to identify all these things your buyer persona is composed of. In order for this blog to help you, you should grab a piece of paper and with your business in mind start creating your buyer persona bit by bit.
The Free Template to download will make everything easier. It is comprised of specific questions you can use to guide yourself and speed the process. At the end of this blog, we’ll also have a complete example of how a Buyer Persona should look. Ready? Let’s get started!
To create a buyer persona let's start with the basics. Think of your ideal customer - that fictional representation of who your products or services are intended for. Is it a male or a female? Assign a name to make the whole experience more personalized!
At Zaperoco our buyer personas have names and this helps us reference them, later on, more easily. It goes something like: “This campaign is for Camila”. Putting a name to it also makes it more personable and your team can relate more easily.
Next, think about his age, ethnicity, marital status, kids, language, income level, education, zip code, religion, and political affiliation.
Now that you covered the basics let’s go a little more into detail about what your buyer persona professional background looks like. If it is a student think about what year he/she is attending, what major is he/she taking, how campus involvement is for him/her, is he/she part of any organization, does he/she have a part-time job or a full-time job? All these questions are valid to help us create a buyer persona.
For example, if your business is a skate shop and your buyer persona is a 19-year-old college kid who is a Sophomore at your local college, his major is business and he is a member of a skating organization on campus you might want to target a discount to all members of that organization.
If your buyer persona is not a student you should think about whether he/she is in a full-time or part-time job, in which industry, what days he or works, what times, what is his/her company size, and what possible job title can this person have.
One important thing to have into consideration when creating your buyer persona. If it is an Executive or part of the C-Suite maybe reaching him can be somewhat difficult. In this case, your marketing efforts should be directed to the closest and most reachable person next to that person. Example: his secretary, managers, or decision-makers.
One example, we worked for a medical company that produced medical devices. Our clients' buyer persona was doctors who utilize the instrument. After understanding that the doctor was a target, we created another buyer persona for the purchasing manager at the hospital. In this case the decision-maker. This allowed us to target our marketing efforts to the hospital's decision-makers and increase sales for the client.
Sometimes you’ll end up having multiple buyer persona and this is completely fine. In fact, you should have multiple buyer personas because your business won’t survive on only one type of person. Understanding there are multiple buyer personas will help you direct your marketing efforts accordingly to each of them!
With a good sense of who this person is let’s think of some of the things that identify him. What are his beliefs, how he speaks, slang words, what communication tools does he uses, at what time does he uses these tools, does he read the news, what type of news, how he distracts himself, hobbies, what he does on a Friday, Saturday night, how his Sundays typically looks like, what are his favorite shows, who is the most likely to follow on social media, etc. Think of everything you can think of that can possibly identify this individual.
It is important to note that some of these identifiers are very important in the long run of your career. For example, knowing what communication tools he uses will give you an insight into where you should market to him.
If you were to invest in media for example you would have a clearer understanding of what shows he watches or what news he reads in order to present your offering in the correct channel and increase your success rate.
If you ever thought about doing influencer marketing, this is the first step to knowing what influencers to reach out to because you already know who your buyer persona is following (hence your target market).
Notice how these steps are important because the more identifiers you can put to your buyer persona the better it is for your marketing campaigns. The success of your marketing depends heavily on how targeted it is, never forget!
Notice how up to this point we’ve had a good understanding of who your buyer persona is, but in order to convince this persona, we have to understand his psychographics. The first step lies in understanding his aspirations. What does your buyer persona aspire to?
Goals are composed of two parts. The primary (end-goal) and the secondary. Understand that everyone has multiple secondary goals but usually one big end goal. For a college student this might look like financial freedom as his end goal, whilst having as secondary goals acing A on a test, graduating, finding an internship, etc.
End-Goals are usually idealistic. It’s that thing people dream of having, or accomplishing. Understanding this can help you better sell a “promise”. We go more in-depth about how to write effective powerful messaging in this blog. But, understanding that you can sell your product or service on this idea of “the promise” is very powerful.
Think about health insurance, they just don’t sell you a prime but the security of making it old with your loved ones. Hence why most health insurance commercials feature old couples. Another example is dog food which doesn’t just sell you dog food but your dog's happiness and wellness. If that wasn’t the case the commercials will go into detail about how the food is produced!
Understanding your buyer persona end-goal should help construct your company messaging. Nevertheless, understanding the secondary goals will help with your immediate marketing campaigns.
If you know your buyer's personal secondary goal is buying that expensive new car, you can play on your marketing material to help your buyer feel the excitement of what this goal means to him. Or even, identify if your customer's secondary goals align with your business even better!
Understanding what motivates your ideal customer is imperative in mastering how to create a buyer persona. At the end of the day, this is what makes this person wake up every day and do it all over again every day. Try to contribute to your buyer persona with value, by helping him get closer to his goals.
In our case, as a marketing agency, we understand our client's secondary goals usually mean making more money. Understanding this helps us deliver our customers valuable information about how they can improve their sales with marketing tips and guides. In the end, this builds trust with our customers and they see us as the experts. Which in the long run helps us get more customers! This is one very important technique of inbound marketing, and if you are interested in learning more you read more about it here.
As Raid Ant & Roach Killer commercial explains, it not only kills the ants and roaches but helps you take back your home. Notice how the offer goes beyond the practical but into the emotional - the peace of not having insects in your home. Think about this, if you were asked what you use to kill roaches, you would probably think about Raid. Why is this? This is not magic, nor sorcery but the great work of a marketer who understood the buyer persona.
People have two types of challenges. The external ones usually manifest as those tangible things that you need to solve. They are practical problems like insects, you need money or a new toothbrush. Every day we are solving external problems, and we are looking for solutions to these problems. They are usually pretty obvious to identify on your customer but don’t ever think people are coming solely because of an external problem. There is something else.
Donald Miller in Building a Storybrand explains how companies tend to sell solutions to external problems, but people buy solutions to internal problems. Your Apple iPhone is more than a technological device, it is a lifestyle. Raid Ant & Roach Killer is not only killing the insects, but it is making you feel safe at home.
When thinking about how to create a buyer persona, think about what is the underlying motive behind the external challenge. What really drives your customer? What is the internal motivator? Imagine becoming your customer's shrink for a minute and asking him repetitively “Why” for all of his problems.
Our client Bare Skin Boutique is a skincare salon in Miami that needed help with its marketing. As always the first thing we got on working was identifying their buyer persona challenges. After hours of discussion, we identified their personal external problem as “wanting to have healthy and nice skin” but their internal problem was “a skin they could feel comfortable in”. Isn’t that powerful? That one-liner has guided our entire marketing strategy and on all platforms what we try to focus on is confidence. That one single internal challenge.
We got to that point by asking ourselves repetitively “why”. Why would people go to the salon? Because they need skincare treatment. Why? Because their skin is too damaged by the Miami sun. But why? Because they want to feel and look good. Why? Because they are not feeling comfortable. Why? Because they care about how their skin looks. Why? Because their skin makes them feel uncomfortable. Why? Because their skin is a part of who they are, and they want to be seen as good to feel good. Why? They lack confidence.
In movies usually, the hero is not only disarming the bomb (external challenge) but he is usually trying to prove he is a good father, a good son or he is the person who always doubted himself and he is proving to himself he is better than what he thought. If it wasn’t for this, the movie would be very boring. Don’t let your company become a boring movie and begin solving your client's internal problems.
You have identified your ideal customer's internal and external challenges and now propose solutions to these. Take into consideration that your solution should not only provide a fix to their challenges but a clear path to their goals.
Begin by writing the solution for their external challenge, and then their internal challenge. Now, look at your buyer's persona goal and write the solution to help them achieve their goal.
One easy trick to develop your website is that you should include on the top of your site what external challenge you are solving for. Example: Bicycles that are faster than your typical vehicle. Next, you should include the solution to their internal challenge. Example: Life is too precious to be stuck in traffic. Lastly, finish with the solution for their goal “Get your Bicycle at your door in just 24H with ZERO down-payment”.
This is just an example of the multiple applications you are going to be using. The solutions should guide your social media strategy, your content strategy, your website, and even how your store is distributed. Think about how Starbucks is more than selling coffee, it is offering a space where people can feel upscale and comfortable.
At last, you should be prepared for all types of responses and objections. Preparing for rainy days allows you to not get wet when it pours. When you have such a deep understanding of how to create a buyer persona you can be able to predict what some of his common objections are and work to surpass these.
One example is that if your buyer persona is money, you can offer them a payment plan. If it is convenient you can offer them expedite delivery. If it is trust, then you can show some of the work you’ve done.
Think of the objections your customer might have and look for solutions to these. Make it so you are answering these objections even before they pop off. Try incorporating an FAQ on your site, or use your social media channels to answer most of these.
In your paper write all those objections your buyer persona might have, and what are some of the solutions that you are going to use in order to counter all of these. Not only this will prove to be beneficial for your marketing, but it is a great public relations preparation for your business.
How to Apply Your Buyer Persona
Now that you’ve finished creating your buyer persona you might be wondering how to use it. Throughout the blog, we highlighted some of its marketing uses, but in reality, this should guide your entire business practice.
Your business model should accommodate your buyer persona, your business decoration, its location, how your employees greet your customers, the packaging of your product, and the list goes on.
What makes your business succeed is how many more customers you have in comparison with your competitor. Your idea can be better and your location the best one, heck everything can be better but if you fail to identify successfully your ideal customer the most probable thing is that your competitor won’t fail. Your competitor will have your customer's love, and you’ll end up eventually losing the race.
Take this document and use it as the sails of your sailboat. Understanding how to create a buyer persona is a big step. Gear your business to solely focus on addressing your customers and you will notice how everything will begin falling rightfully in place.
“Focus on your customer and lead your people as though their lives depend on your success” - Warren Buffet.