Free Template and Tips to Develop Effective Buyer Personas
By : Alexandra L Watson -
Before you decide “where” your business is going (goals & objectives) or “how” you’ll get to that stated end (strategy) you need to first understand “who” you are addressing and “what” value your business uniquely offers to that audience. Developing buyer personas (a.k.a. marketing personas) for your target audience can be extremely helpful to gain understanding of what motivates them, what pains them, and what they’d find most valuable and beneficial. Think of these personas as the compass that will direct your strategy and keep you on-course. This guided understanding can translate to strategic insights that make your marketing more relevant, timely, and effective. Devoting time and attention to reflect and research your target audience is critical to tailoring your marketing and maximizing your return on investment (ROI).
Researching Your Audience
How do you know your ideal target audience? If you are an existing business, look at your average traffic flow (whether online on your website, offline, or both) and typical purchaser. Also look at those who are most vocal in your reviews and referrals. Mine data from your customer lists – just be sure to anonymize it when it’s aggregated to protect consumer privacy. Consider conducting a quick survey of your transaction base via email, website, or survey app such as SurveyMonkey or Toluna.
If you have a startup or brand-new business to launch, your target audience should naturally resonate with your product or service because it fills a quantifiable purpose. So, consider what needs or desires your product or service offering fulfills. Also consider who could best afford your product or service and find value in it. Start from here and gather data to refine your audience as you launch.
You can also use third-party research to better understand your target audience. The Pew Research Center is a great place to start for quantifiable data on everything from internet trends and attitudes toward technology, to social media usage, to trending political and religious views. Edison Research is another great source for publicly available media research. For consumer shopping trends and buying patterns, look to Mintel Research’s paid subscription reports or information from loyalty card programs. You can also turn to industry publications like Social Media Today, Search Engine Land, or Fast Company. Individual social networks and technology platforms will also have data available on their current active userbase.
Target Audience Characteristics
Characteristics of your target audience may include demographic information such as age range, gender, marital status, household size, presence of children, educational level, etc. Think of how you might physically describe your audience, including their location and economic surroundings.
It may also include psychographic information such as interests, hobbies, beliefs, attitudes, information consumption and other behavioral patterns, or other psychological traits. This will reflect their mindset and habits, in contrast to their physical traits. Remember the idea overall in persona development is not to stereotype, but to create a profile of your ideal customer that will guide your marketing efforts.
Marketing Buyer Personas
It’s customary in marketing to take your general observations and notes on your target audience and complete a Persona Profile document for each distinctive audience you serve.
There are many different templates that exist to summarize a persona. Alexa has a blog article here with numerous example personas (both B2B and B2C) that will help you create your own. Hubspot has a very popular process and template that you can learn more about here. Marketo has a cheatsheet to learn how to build persona journeys available here.
I have created a one-page sample Buyer Persona for you as well. I used some third-party research to build this sample Buyer Persona profile. I researched information on an average CIO for a mid to large-level IT firm and conducted interviews of individuals in this position to fill in the assumptions on their typical day and media usage. I also used a stock photo and a business quote that embodied the audience segment.
Create Your Own Buyer Persona Profile(s)
I have also provided a blank, editable PDF template for you to complete your own Buyer Persona Profiles here as part of my Strategic Digital Marketing Survival Kit Workbook. This is a companion to my recently published ebook on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited entitled Strategic Digital Marketing Survival Guide: A Practical Field Guide for Small Businesses and Startups.
On the Buyer Personas profile worksheet template, keep as many of the section headers as you can and fill in your own bullet points from the reflection and research you’ve done to describe each audience persona. Do one worksheet per identified persona and you’ll be one step closer to a complete marketing strategy!
Buyer Personas are a semi-fictional representation of your target audience. They will help you to crystallize who this customer group is and see your business from the perspective of their needs and lifestyle. Taking the time to develop marketing buyer personas will be extremely useful for tailoring marketing messages and offers to each of these primary audience segments.
For more information and instruction on creating a marketing plan suited to your unique business needs, contact us at Digital Measured for a consultation.