Everything You Need To Know About Creating Target Buyer Audiences

4 min read

If you'e anything like me, buyer personas are one of those things that maybe you've heard about, and knew was something you should be doing, but didn't quite understand , or really any of it. Don't worry, you're not alone, and you've come to the right place. what, why, how, or who

First, Let's Go Over The What

A buyer persona is a character that portrays your ideal customer built on data from your existing customer base, research in your unique marketplace, and educated fictionalizations. This character depicts who your target customer is, what their personal and business life is like on the surface level, and what their challenges, goals, and needs are on a deeper level. A buyer persona uses research to uncover crucial information about your customers, so you can truly know how to provide for them.

Ok, But Why Are Buyer Personas So Important?

Have you ever been shopping at the grocery store and decided to buy a name brand product rather than the store's brand, even though it was more expensive? There's a simple reason why: trust. Customers are inherently more inclined to choose products that they trust will provide to their needs. It's just natural to choose Oreos over generic chocolate creme sandwich cookies because Oreos have never let you down. And when you move up from Oreos to bigger purchases like a new tablet, or a security system, you definitely want to trust what you're buying.

Survey Monkey found that 92% of Americans say Trust plays a role when making a big purchase.

That's where buyer personas come in. Building customer trust is crucial but quite tricky. And the biggest step in doing so is creating the buyer persona. They give you critical insights into your customers' pains, struggles, and needs. By understanding your customer on this emotional level, and showing that you do, your customer can trust that you truly have their best intentions at heart, and ultimately, choose you over the competitor.

Putting your customers' needs first, and shifting how you present your company, will build this trust. Building effective buyer personas and continuously using them to your advantage will allow your company to place your customers needs at center focus.

Once you've obtained customer trust, and proven that their needs are your priority, you will be able to truly serve your customers. This can mean providing them with engaging marketing, educational self-help content, convenient self-service features, and really, anything else you can imagine. And the more your customers are building their trust, and becoming successful with your product, the more they will return, and the more your company will flourish.

How Can You Create One?

Buyer personas include a lot of valuable information, so creating one that will be effective may seem like an intimidating task. But don't fret, here are some simple and easy steps to begin building your personas.

1. Research Who Your Target Audience Will Be

The first step to building a buyer persona is collecting a bunch of information on your target audience:

  • Start by looking at your existing customer base: who are your current and returning customers? What similarities do they share?
  • Try looking into a specific customer. Choose a reliable customer who fits right into your demographics and continuously returns. Research them specifically, even interviewing them or asking them questions to gather more information. Getting this specific information on one customer, allows you to get a better insight into all of your customers.
  • Try the inverse as well. Look into less successful customer interactions you've had, and try to research why they didn't go so well. This will help you learn who doesn't fit well into your customer base, giving a more rounded picture on who does.
  • Keep your research updated. Don't just look at who your customers were a few years ago, but who is buying now, if changes have occurred, and possible reasons why.

Some Questions to ask (can be used in a survey with a customer as well):

  • What questions do your customers often have?
  • What social media platforms do they use most?
  • What is their preferred method of communication: mail, call, text message, in-person, social media?
  • What are their average demographics: age, gender, location, occupation, etc.?

2. Narrow Down Your Research Into Commonalities

After uncovering all of this research, you will be loaded with information on who your customer is, and it may seem overwhelming and unhelpful. You most likely will see that all of your customers are unique and don't quite fit into one persona. Therefore, you may have to create a few. It could be anything from 2 to 15, depending on your unique company. There is no right answer. But don't fret over how overwhelming this task could become, just pick one or two personas to start with. But, before you start building them, you have to decide what your different personas will be.

  • First, comb through the research you've collected to find the most important details that relate to your audience's needs, and how you can effectively serve them.
  • I.e. If a large portion of your audience struggles with learning how to set up their new phone, this is a key detail to include.
  • Next, combine these common details into categories that will become your separate personas.
  • Maybe you've discovered a large portion of your audience is beginners who've never used your product before. But, maybe another portion of your audience are installers who are hired to help people set up your product. And maybe another section of your audience is retailers who want to buy your product to sell it themselves. These are all very different, so you can create separate personas for each of these groups, or whatever groups you discover.

3. Personalize Your Persona

This step may seem trivial and unimportant, but it's actually critical in stepping into your customers' shoes to uncover their deep needs and values. Adding personal details to your persona allows you to see them as a real-life human being, rather than just an abstract target. This will help you connect with them when the time comes, and hopefully build that trust.

How to do this:

  • Give your persona a name. This will ground your persona and help them start to become a human character.
  • Add demographics based on your research. How old is your persona? What do they look like (feel free to add a picture or illustration)? How old are they? What is their level of education? What is their job title? Where do they work? What kind of company do they work for? Dive even deeper by adding demographics to the company they work for as well (size, location, service it provides, etc.).
  • Add personal details. Are they married or do they have a family? What are their hobbies? How do they spend their free time? What are their priorities in life, and in the workplace? Cater these details to what service or product your company provides.
  • Include their preferred methods of communication and preferred social media platforms. This will also allow a more rounded insight into who your persona is and how they prefer to communicate and spend their time online.

I truly believe one of the most important things in the business world and at home is knowing your identity. I have raised my daughter to discover and embrace her unique identity, and I have raised Gizmos to do the same. Knowing who you are, where you are going, and how to articulate those things is crucial to succeeding in life. I truly love watching trends change and life around me evolve, and believe any company should embrace and adapt to such things. Lauren, Persona Example

4. Dig Deeper

Now that you've got all of your research gathered into defined personas, and you've started personalizing them, it's time to dig deeper. Use the information you've found to uncover their main goals and objectives, biggest challenges and obstacles, and what they value most.

To do this, ask some questions like these:

  • What is most important to them?
  • What is their main goal in life and at work?
  • What are their daily objectives in reaching their goal?
  • What are they hoping to achieve with your company?
  • Why are they looking for a change or improvement in their life?
  • What kind of challenges do they experience when trying to achieve their goals?
  • What are the specific obstacles they have to overcome on a daily basis to reach their objectives?
  • What is their main villain stopping them from achieving their goal?
  • What are their biggest daily pains?
  • What are they looking for in a product or service to relieve these pains?
  • What do they value most?

These are just a few ideas of some questions you can use to dig inside of your personas head. Since your company is unique, depending on your product or service, you can also create your own questions to help uncover these deeper values.

Persona Question Chart self-service

5. Leverage This Insight to Find What They Need, And How You Can Provide

Once you have figured out what your persona's main goals and struggles are, coupled with what they value most, you can leverage this information to discover what product or service they will need to overcome these obstacles and achieve their goals, and ultimately, how you can provide that for them.

To do this, you should simply list out the needs and wants of your persona based on the challenges you have already outlined. For example, if they are struggling to stay connected with their family in Spain, then their need is a device that allows for easy communication across the globe.

Now that you understand their pains, and how your company can resolve them, you are prepared to communicate with the actual customer on how you can benefit their life. You have uncovered deep insights, and therefore, will be prepared to put the customers’ needs first, and ultimately, build their trust.

Who, In Your Company, Should Be Using Them?

So you've done a ton of research and made your incredibly valuable buyer personas. What comes next? Who in your company should be using them, and how?

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Simply put, everyone. Nearly every branch of your company has something to gain from using buyer personas. Here are just some of the examples:

  • Marketing. This one is the most obvious. Developing your buyer personas is a crucial first step in marketing to uncover where your customer base is, what they want, how to locate them most effectively, and how to increase the awareness of your company. Not only does it help you learn how to interact with your existing community, but it can help you reach new audiences.
  • Sales. Preemptively learning who you will be interacting with when maneuvering a sale is vital to setting value propositions, gaining the customer's trust, and ultimately, making the sale.
  • Service and Support. If your customer service or support teams can understand who they are serving, they can do so more effectively. Knowing what your customers' biggest concerns are can allow you to figure out ways to prevent those contacts from happening with self-service strategies. And understanding why your customer has chosen your service will better help you support whatever problem they come across.
  • Product Development. Understanding what your ideal buyer is looking for to improve their life is the perfect insight in creating that product for them. Knowing what their problem is, and what they need to fix it, is how you create that tailored product or service just for them.

Now that you've effectively targeted your audience and built your buyer personas, start creating effective knowledge base content to empower your users to be successful with your product by helping themselves. Work on reaching your target audience more effectively by boosting your SEO, allowing your ideal users to find the content you create.

Gianna Spitaliere
I love exploring, writing about, and building knowledge on different ways to make businesses and customers more successful all around. I have been with ServiceTarget for less than a year, but have been thrilled to expand my writing into customer self-service.

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