5 Tips for Building an Effective Buyer Persona

Every company needs a marketing strategy, but where should you start? To build an effective marketing plan, it is important to understand your target market. A great exercise for doing so is to craft a buyer persona for your product or service.

A buyer persona is a representation of the target market for your company. The buyer persona gets into the specifics of your target market including motivations to buy, goals that they want to achieve, behaviour and demographic information. There are many reasons your company should create a buyer persona for its product or products. Creating a buyer persona helps you to understand the customer so your company can target its marketing efforts accordingly. Having a buyer persona helps your company understand the customer’s frame of reference and how they perceive your product their point of view.

Many marketers get frustrated when it comes to thinking about finding the right buyer persona for their product. It’s not because the topic is particularly difficult to understand or complicated – it’s because choosing the right buyer persona is so vitally important that it can be an extremely difficult decision to make. Don’t get overwhelmed or deflated by the thought of getting it wrong. Fear is an entrepreneur’s worst enemy. Some startups never choose a buyer persona for their product because they worry about limiting the sales their product too much. But marketing your product without knowing who you are marketing to would be like shooting an arrow blindfolded and hoping it hits something you can eat.

Creating a buyer persona is essential to having a good marketing strategy

There is more to choosing a buyer persona than just taking a guess and going for it. Creating a buyer persona will bring to light a number of important factors that can greatly benefit your marketing efforts. You can ensure the most success if you follow these simple steps:

1. Know the problem you are solving and solve it well

You have created a product that solves a particular pain-point or multiple pain-points. That’s the whole reason behind creating your product – it makes something easier or does something better than other products. Make sure you know exactly what that problem is that your product solves and that your product solves it better than your competitors. Ideally, you have done some ground work to validate your product idea in the early stages to discover whether you are accomplishing what you have set out to do.

2. Who has the problem you are trying to solve?

Make a list of all of the possible target markets for your product. Don’t hold back or censor yourself during this process. This step requires some thinking outside of the box. You may already have had some idea of who might be a good consumer fit for your product, but you need to take a step back and make sure that you haven’t left any important customer segments out. It is very tempting to pick one of the customer segments solely based on which customer segment has the biggest pain point. Don’t start comparing and contrasting the different customer segments just yet. Choosing a buyer persona at this point means you might miss out on opportunities. You can uncover some really great information by completing Step 3.

3. What is your ideal customer profile?

Now it’s time to narrow down your list from step two into your ideal buyer persona. Think of all of the potential consumers you listed for your product in Step 2. Which of these customer segments are ready, willing and able to use your product? Which customer segment is the best target based on your company’s budget, resources and location? Be realistic. Think about your company and product or service as it exists today, not how you want it to be in five years. Is the market segment with the biggest pain-point ready, willing and able to use your product? Maybe that customer segment is not aware that they have a pain point that your product can solve. You might need to invest significant money in marketing to reach the consumer with the biggest pain-point. There might be easier target that would generate more revenue in the short term. This step all depends on your company’s specific situation. For a more detailed approach to creating an ideal customer profile, take a look at Lincoln Murphy’s Ideal Customer Profile Framework.

4. Create and test out a marketing strategy

Now that you have a buyer persona in mind for your product or service, find out what makes them tick. What will make them choose your product over your competitors? Where do they look for new products or services? Don’t just guess at this. Ask them. Is there specific messaging or a price point that will suit them the best? Find out as much as you can about them and base your marketing strategy around their interests and needs. The best way to learn the characteristics of your ideal customer is to speak to them; by leaving the cozy confines of your office, you are leaving your own assumptions behind and learning from those who know the problem best.

You might not get it right the first time. That’s okay. Like I said earlier, don’t let the fear of getting it wrong stop you from trying. Your buyer persona will probably evolve based on what you learn about the buyer, so don’t be afraid to iterate your strategy accordingly. Use the early days of marketing your product to test out different marketing strategies so that you know which one is most effective.

5. Be obsessed with your analytics

After learning as much as you can about your ideal target market, there is still a very important step you must take to determine if you are going in the right direction: tracking your results. In order to know if your marketing strategy is targeting your ideal customer persona, you need to track the amount of traction you are getting, as well as your conversion rate. Is you strategy meeting your expectations? Is there something you left out of the buyer persona that could increase traction? Having solid analytics in place will allow you to base important business decisions on facts and not assumptions. If you are carefully reviewing your analytics data, you can adjust your buyer persona accordingly. The de-facto standard for audience and conversion data is Google Analytics, which can track user data directly from your website.

Creating a well-founded buyer persona for your product is absolutely necessary to creating a marketing strategy that works. Don’t just think about what customer segment has the biggest use-case for your product. This factor is important, but it isn’t the only one. You should also think about the specific circumstances of your company, the short term and long term goals of the company, and what stage of development your is company at. These elements are equally as important to creating a solid ideal buyer persona as knowing which customer segments have the pain-point that your product or service helps solve. By following these 5 steps, your company should be in a much better position to successfully reach its target market.

Heather Curran is a Marketing Assistant with Gnowit. Gnowit is a content discovery and publishing platform designed to increase your customer engagement and reach while saving you time. Gnowit helps you stay on top of your social media and news consumption, providing you with content that you can easily read and share.

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