Are your marketing campaigns falling on deaf ears? No matter how good your campaign is, it won't succeed unless you're targeting the right audience in the right way. That's where buyer personas come in. Buyer personas give you the information you need to make better decisions around how and where to reach your ideal audience. Without them, you're simply gambling your hard-earned money on campaigns with questionable ROI.
Here's how buyer personas can help you break through the noise in order to reach your target audience and convince them to make a purchase.
Defining Buyer Personas
A buyer persona is a detailed description of your target customer. It's a detailed biographical sketch that outlines lists everything about your prospect including demographic information, career history, family tendencies, personal goals, fears and challenges, hobbies - and pain points.
Fleshed out, a buyer persona should seem like it describes a real person, not a series of cobbled-together stats. Remember those high-school language arts classes where you were told to write with one particular person in mind? The same applies here. When you know your "ideal" customer, you can precisely target them with your marketing materials.
A buyer persona for a cafe might look something like this:
Kelly Schmidt, Student
Kelly is a 23-year-old student majoring in English and minoring in French. She works part-time in retail, and in her spare time enjoys reading, writing, and playing acoustic guitar. Kelly is an Apple loyalist who prefers to shop local.
At home, Kelly makes coffee using pre-ground beans, adding syrups and creamers for flavor. For Kelly, coffee is a pick-me-up, a treat, and an experience, and she loves to try new coffee drinks. She is a regular coffee shop visitor who treats her outings as both a reward and an opportunity to "get things done", which is tough to do at home with multiple roommates.
"I want a cafe with a creative menu and a setting that's relaxing, inspiring, and good for studying or hanging out," says Kelly.
Building a Buyer Persona
But buyer personas aren't just a creative writing exercise. You need to start by understanding your ideal customer, which involves doing the research. Information about your customers can be gathered using the following approaches:
- Affinity mapping, where customer-facing team members compile assumptions about buyer needs and attributes
- Focus groups, where you interview community members who fall into your target audience to learn more about their backgrounds and needs
- Analytics, where you analyze bounce rates, page traffic, device usage and referral sites to glean information about buyers
- Ethnographic research, where you "observe" target consumers through keyword research, social media activity, and even real-world shopping activity
- Multiple-choice surveys, where consumers share information about themselves and their needs.
- Internal data, where you analyze information compiled from research, purchasing behavior and more.
Once you've done the research, it's time to analyze and segment the data, then construct your profiles. You may find that your data shows that you have multiple personas represented among your customer base.
For example, in addition to our Kelly Schmidt example above, your hypothetical cafe might also be targeting Mike Benning, a 35-year-old entrepreneur who exclusively drinks espresso and likes to conduct meetings at coffee shops, and Kay Bishop, a 40-year-old working mom who grabs a coffee and bagel to go every morning. All of these personas have some overlapping needs, but they're also distinct in many other ways - and so require a different approach. Pitching your coffee shop as a quiet place to get work done wouldn't work on Kay Bishop, but it would work on Kelly Schmidt. Similarly, Kelly Schmidt won't buy a bag of your freshly roasted beans, but Mike Benning probably would.
Buyer Personas Make for an Easier Sell
Buyer personas help put a human "face" to your customer data, allowing you to build marketing strategies that are carefully designed to meet the needs of those people. After all, it's much easier to sell something to a person than it is to sell something to a bunch of disparate data.
StellaPop has extensive experience in researching and defining buyers personas - as well as building effective marketing campaigns. If you're looking to improve your campaign outcomes and would like some expert input, get in touch!