Buyer Personas are the Best Way to Hone in on How You Should Be Selling to Your Consumers
Pinning down your company values is integral to keeping your brand story focused. A company mission not only tells the world what you’re all about but acts as a compass for both you and your customer.
One way to help establish this is by creating buyer personas. After all, if you know who you want to help, you’ll better know why you want to help them and how.
If you already have a pretty good idea of who your target market is and what product your company sells, you might be thinking this post isn’t for you. On the contrary. If you keep reading, you’ll find that buyer personas have a way of helping you hone in your efforts and strategies.
What is a ‘Buyer Persona’?
First thing’s first. You may have heard talk of these “personas” under a slew of different names but one thing remains the same: a buyer persona should essentially be a composite of traits that are shared amongst a specific demographic. While you’ll be working to create one or a handful of personas, they will actually represent a large percentage of your consumer base.
Everyone has a broad idea of who their consumer is. “Female, Millennial mom-on-the-go who loves to keep active” is fine, but there’s only so much you can glean from so few details. Eventually, you’ll want to dig in a little deeper to find out who your consumer base is really comprised of.
Data is your friend
Luckily, thanks to the complete digitization of retail and the resulting new breed of omnichannel consumers, we now have a wealth of information (read: data) at our finger tips.
While it sounds like a scary concept, data analysis isn’t specific to just the big companies of the world. In fact, many craft brands look to this type of information in an effort to learn more about the business and, of course, make better decisions for their companies. Whether it’s looking at receipts at the end of a work day, analyzing your financials, or simply talking with your customers, data can often be found right under your nose.
For example, if you run an e-commerce site, more data can be found by looking at:
- Google Analytics
- Indexed data from your e-commerce site provider (i.e. Squarespace has a built-in analytics system)
- Analytics from your automated email service provider (i.e. MailChimp reports)
As a business owner, you can also go ahead and collect data yourself – there’s nothing stopping you from going straight to the source and talking directly with your consumer in order to get the answers to your most pressing questions.
Keep in mind that while data analysis is great for gathering data and can prove an invaluable part in making business decisions, it’s also an integral part in targeting the way you communicate with your consumer. Especially when looking at social media. As one of the fastest growing advertising networks in the world, Facebook Ads are a great place to start to look for customer demographics and psychographics online. They also allow brand owners to target consumers based on specific information such as location, age, languages spoken, education level, and various interests.
What information do you need…
Now that you’ve compiled all the data you can, here’s what you need to know:
- Location: Where do your consumers live?
- Age: How old is your average consumer?
- Gender: What gender would you say the majority of your consumer base falls under?
- Interests/activities: What sort of interests do your consumers pursue?
- Job title/income: What field of work does your customer work in and what income bracket does they fall under?
- Family: What is their relationship status? Do they have any children?
- Competition: Aside from yours, what type of websites or other brands do your consumers frequent?
- Buying motivation: What motivates your consumer to buy your product?
- Buying concerns: What might be some of your consumer’s concerns when buying your product?
It’s important to know hard hitting facts about your consumer base such as age, sex, location, etc., but don’t forget the more personal pieces of information, too; after all, consumers today shop with their hearts, not with their wallets. As a result, brands are building a more intimate relationship with their consumers based on common motivations.
… and how do you turn that pile of information into a real person?
Now that you have all your ducks in a row, it’s time to build your buyer personas. The reason for this is to envision exactly who you’re targeting. Remember, this isn’t just a set of data in an excel sheet – these are real people. And don’t just stop at one persona – it’s usually recommended to create three to five personas since you almost certainly have a varied audience (which you are most likely to take into account this way).
When creating brand personas, try breaking them down like this:
- Relationship Status/Family
Why do they buy?
- Primary buying motivation and values (what would drive them to buy a product like yours? How do you help achieve these goals?)
- Primary buying concerns and roadblocks to purchase (what might keep them from buying a product like yours? How can you help solve that?
- Keeping all of the above in mind, how might you go about pitching your product to this consumer?
To give you a clearer idea of what this should look like, let’s use the above example and expand that to say that you are a kids’ food and beverage company. You know your consumer can generally be described as a “female, Millennial, mom on-the-go, who loves to keep active.” After analyzing consumer data, not only should you have found out a ton more about her, but the information should have lead you to discover a couple more buyer personas. Here’s what they might look like:
If nothing else, this exercise proves that as a business owner, sometimes you need to look internally to really understand how best to sell your product. There are plenty of factors that go into being a better company, and in a world where consumers view trust as a form of currency, learning everything you can about them certainly doesn’t hurt.
Follow her at @D_isforDayana