How to create and use buyer personas to drive sales

Posted by Shane Barker on 30 Nov, 2017
View comments Marketing
Are you using buyer personas to improve your sales figures? If not, you’re missing out on a useful tool which could deepen your understanding of your end consumer and lead to a better bottom line.

buyer personas

If you want to drive sales for your business, you need to market to the right audience. And depending on various customer characteristics, you will also need to make adjustments to your pitch and your marketing tactic.

This only means one thing – you need to create buyer personas to identify the most relevant customers for your business. You will then need to use these personas to create targeted marketing campaigns which are highly relevant for your target customers.

Buyer personas: what they are and why they’re important

If you’re new to buyer personas, you may want to know more about what they are. The simplest way to define a buyer persona is that it’s a detailed description of what your ideal customer looks like. It can include demographic information, career background, hobbies and interests.

Here’s an example of a buyer persona from Brightspark Consulting.

persona profile

Source: Brightspark Consulting

By creating buyer personas, you can clearly define your target customers and create marketing messages that will resonate with them. You will likely need to create multiple buyer personas, and develop different marketing messages for each of them.

How to create buyer personas

The process of creating buyer personas can be a bit time-consuming, especially if you’re new to them. Use the following tips to create buyer personas for your business more easily and effectively:

1. Look at your current target customer groups

Before you start defining a buyer persona, take a closer look at your current target customers and try to identify their differences. Based on these differences, you can group them into different buyer personas.

Let’s say you’re a travel agency that specializes in family vacation packages. Your target customers would be families. But even among these customers, there may be a lot of variations in preferences and requirements.

For example, you have a family that’s looking for budget vacation packages. They prefer holiday destinations that are close to home and offer lots of perks at minimal cost. They’d like to engage in a lot of adventurous outdoor activities.

You also have a family that’s more keen on a luxury vacation and isn’t too restrictive about costs. They prefer destinations where they can relax by the beach and indulge in leisurely activities such as spa treatments and sunset boat rides.

holiday types

In this case, you can create two distinct buyer personas based on these differences. You might have other customer groups who could fit into a completely different persona from these two existing ones. Start by creating 3-5 personas for customer groups that yield the highest revenues. You can then add more as you become more acquainted with the concept, creating personas based on types of breaks sought, budget and so on.

2. Conduct research into each persona

Now that you’ve identified your main buyer personas you can start collecting valuable information to help define each persona further. This step takes a bit of time as you need to ask a multitude of questions that will help define the buyer persona more thoroughly.

Overall, you should be able to use your research to discover information related to demographics, personal life and interests, career, browsing and purchase behavior, goals and financial status.

Here are some ideas for questions you can ask in your research. You won’t need to use all of them but it’s a good idea to get a cross-section of information to build a more complete picture. Select the questions that will be most useful to your particular business.

  1. What’s the buyer’s age?
  2. What’s the buyer’s gender?
  3. What type of company do they work for?
  4. What is their role in the company?
  5. What are their responsibilities?
  6. What skills do they need to fulfill their job role?
  7. What is their career goal?
  8. What is their household income?
  9. What kind of environment do they live in (urban, rural, semi-urban, etc.)?
  10. What type of housing do they live in?
  11. Who lives with them?
  12. What is their marital status?
  13. What level of education did they achieve?
  14. What do they do for fun?
  15. How do they spend their day?
  16. Where do they buy products?
  17. How often do they go online?
  18. How often do they buy products online?
  19. What makes them buy a product?
  20. What makes them refuse to buy a product?
  21. From where do they discover new products or services?
  22. Do they make indulgent purchases often and on what?
  23. Which social networks are they most active on?
  24. How do they prefer to communicate?
  25. How technically savvy are they?
  26. What do they worry about?
  27. What scares them?
  28. What frustrates them?
  29. What angers them?
  30. What accomplishments are they proud of?

You can add other questions that are important to you as you construct your research.

There are several ways to conduct the research. You can conduct a traditional market research campaign if you have the budget. Otherwise you could send out questionnaires via email or share via social media and offer a small incentive in exchange for completion.

You can also make the most of insights from your social media or website analytics. Your sales personnel and customer care team should also be able to provide you with important insights for your research based on their day-to-day customer interactions.

How to use buyer personas for increased sales

After you’ve successfully created and defined your buyer personas, you can start looking for ways to use them to boost your sales. Here are a few ideas you can use:

Create personalized customer experiences for each persona

The best part about having well-defined buyer personas is that it gets easier to create personalized experiences for your customers. This is crucial because personalization can have a massive impact on people’s purchase decisions.

In fact, Accenture reports that 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from retailers that recognize them by name, know their purchase history, and provide purchase recommendations accordingly.

You can create more personalized experiences by tailoring your messaging and your content delivery for different customer personas. One example of this in action would be to set up a different landing page for each buyer persona in which the copy specifically addresses that persona’s needs and preferences.

For example, the landing page copy for budget vacationers could highlight the discounted price of your travel packages. Luxury vacationers, on the other hand, could see a picture of a lavish resort with copy that highlights the leisurely activities available.

Customize ad copy for different personas

You can also use your buyer personas to deliver relevant ads for different types of prospects. What attracts a certain type of buyer may not necessarily be so appealing to another buyer. If we consider our travel agency example again, a high-income individual who enjoys luxury vacations may not feel compelled to click on an ad for budget vacation packages. Similarly, someone who’s in need of cheap family vacations may not be so interested in an ad promoting luxury beachside rentals.

You can develop different ad copies to appeal to each buyer persona. You can then deliver the right copy to customers after determining which buyer persona they seem to be most suitable for.

Conclusion

These tips should be able to help you drive more sales by creating accurate buyer personas. Don’t be afraid to spend quite a bit of time in the research process. You need to be very thorough with it if you want your personas to be accurate.

If you need clarification on any of these points, please let me know in the comments.

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