If you want to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your marketing strategy, you need to learn how to create and use buyer personas. These ‘ideal’ customer characterisations have been proven to work much better than demographics-based segmentation. Personas are a great way to make sure your ads and content stay on message. Done well buyer personas can see conversion rates as much as triple.

Creating effective buyer personas can be a lot of work, but it pays dividends to get them right. At the same time, it can be fun thinking up different characters and then putting them into action. There’s no need to start big, one or two good personas is fine – don’t forget you can always tweak them as more information comes in.

A good buyer persona is:

  • Well researched, using current customers and genuine market research as a resource
  • Not based on any one real person – instead create each one around a set of needs, wants, and pain points (problems)
  • Based on the clients you want to sell to now, rather than on possible future clients that you might get after expanding your business or improving your product in some way
  • Flexible and organic, always being tested and tweaked to more closely match the current market and business environment
  • Doesn’t duplicate your other personas, especially their needs, wants, and pain points

There are also a lot of myths and pitfalls involved in creating good buyer personas, which I’ll cover in a future blog. For now we’ll look at some persona creation basics.

The main thing beginners often ask is “can’t I just make these characters up? I have a pretty good idea who my customers will be and why”. It can be difficult to find the time to do market research, and if your business is relatively new you may not have a large customer base to help you gather data. The answer is that yes you can just make up your personas, they just won’t work very well if they aren’t based on real world facts and opinions.

Whether or not you have a lot of data to base your first buyer personas on you need to be prepared to modify them as you start to get more information about your clients. Since you should only start with one or two good personas this shouldn’t be too difficult. To be effective, make sure you keep your team updated with any changes. One if their main uses of buyer personas is making sure everyone workking with you is speaking to your customers with a unified and consistent voice.

Once you have some personas up and running, you can use them for a myriad of business and marketing purposes. Their main purpose  is to provide you with a target for your marketing strategy. They can also make a great starting point for planning customer journeys, can be a fantastic way to create effective and focussed content for articles and ads, and help make sure all of your content speaks to your clidents with the voice you want them to hear.

I’ll go into more depth on how to make a great buyer persona quickly and easily in my next blog. For now you may want to start thinking about some of the problems that you want your customers want you to fix (their pian points). Then we’ll discuss how you would go about turning those problems into solutions. I’lll talk more about why this is a good place to start in my next article.