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October 02, 2019

How to Create Buyer Personas

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” 
Benjamin Franklin

So, you’re planning your online marketing strategy. You see and understand the value in laying out a plan before diving head first into marketing your product or service. If you’re struggling to fully realize your next steps, you may be missing an important piece of the puzzle. To communicate effectively and attract new customers, it’s critical that your messaging across paid promotion, content creation, social media, and search engines is aligned. A quick and easy way to develop this direction is through buyer personas. 


What is a buyer persona? 

You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint. In the same vein, you wouldn’t build a marketing strategy without a buyer persona. But, what is it?

A buyer persona is an outline of your organization’s “ideal customer.” This outline is research-based and provides an overview of the day-to-day work of your customers. These outlines will guide your marketing team’s targeted paid promotions and tailored content, while also ensuring new customers find your product online. 

But buyer personas don’t service your marketing team alone. Knowing and understanding your customers will help other departments too. For example, your product team can glean insights on how to create a more intuitive tool, and your design team can learn about what updates are best for your product’s user interface.

Rather than allowing your team to waste time aimlessly working without guidance, well-crafted buyer personas provide a streamlined, unified, and organized direction. Today, we’re going to walk you through a few key tips to ensure the personas you create are thoughtful and thorough. 


#1 Start with a good foundation. 

In order to create useful buyer personas, you need to do some research about your target audience. Don’t worry, you won’t need to venture out to the library or do a Google deep dive. You should be able to find all of the information you need in your CRM and other customer management tools. Start by asking yourself a few questions about your customer base: 

Who are your most knowledgeable customers?
Who are your repeat purchasers?
Who are you best customers?
Which of your customers are champions for your product/service?

Once you’ve compiled a list of these customers, take some time to identify similarities between them. Are they all in a certain industry? Do they make purchases at a certain price point? What is their organization's size? Once you’ve found some similarities between these customers, it’s time to take a more granular look. 

Who in the organization makes the decision to purchase your product?
Does the purchaser or decision-maker have a certain set of skills?
Are they buying your product for themselves or a team?
Who actually works with your product after it has been purchased?
What are the biggest challenges your product solves?

If you can’t answer these questions with information you already have, it may be time to do a few interviews with your customers. Once you’ve got a solid understanding of your customer base, it’s time to start writing your personas. 


#2 Get specific.

Now, it may feel silly, but let’s start by giving your persona a name. Assigning a name to your persona helps your copywriters and sales team better remember personas and customize content. You can even take it a step further and add a photo to your persona. 

Some basic demographics you’ll want to iron out for your persona might include: 

Age
Location
Organization size
Job Title 
Level of experience 
Typical daily duties
Interests and hobbies

Next, you’ll want to outline their challenges, concerns, and goals. Why are they looking for a product like yours? Have they tried other products in the past? Will they want to integrate a secondary tool with your product?

Your last step for this section will be to identify some things that might hold your buyer back from purchasing. Maybe they’re using a similar product already or your solution is too expensive. 

Now, you need to communicate your personas to your teams. To get you started, here’s our buyer persona example. 


#3 Create secondary personas.

Not everyone who interacts with your product is going to be a fan right away. So prepare your teams by writing up a few hesitant buyer personas. 

What makes potential customers hesitant to purchase your product? Maybe they don’t work well with sales or are invested in another product. These “lukewarm” personas are great for training and educating your sales team about customers they might encounter. Prepare role plays or tactics for how to best showcase your product to these clients in order to close the deal. 

Similarly, consider creating negative buyer personas. A negative buyer persona outlines someone who is not a good fit for your organization. This will help your teams proactively identify dead ends and avoid wasting time and resources. 
We’re dedicated to helping your team stay productive. If you’re interested in productivity improvements, consider adding Formstack and WebMerge to your toolkit. With our comprehensive set of tools, you can transform how you gather data, create documents, sync tools, collect signatures, and more! Get started today with a 14-day free trial.
 

6 min read

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