How to create an ideal buyer persona

In modern marketing, buyer personas help brands better understand their customers. This tool is a guide to creating better targeted, more relevant and more efficient marketing actions. In this article, we tell you all about these fictional characters.

Hustle Howard? Moving Marco? Vegetarian Vanessa? Ecological Eva? These obnoxious names made of one specific character trait combined with a random name to make it more human might it seem confusing at first. Some might even go as far as to call them ridiculous. But as a matter of fact, creating an optimal customer of your company can turn out to be a useful tool. But how is it done? Let’s get started. 

(Read also: Everything you ever wanted to know about Inbound Marketing)

What is a buyer persona

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional character representing your ideal customer. This character is optimally based on demographic and other data out of your extensive research. Possible lack of data can be filled with educated guesses. Most importantly, it should not be based on intuition or wild guesses – validation is key. 

Some marketers might also call a buyer persona profile a guide or a recipe to everything that drives customers and everything that worries them. Sometimes, it is difficult to break down a company’s entire target group or market to one unique persona. Indeed, the customer base is not homogenous and it also differs greatly in relation to the services offered. In that case, segmentation is essential and three to a maximum of five personas can be created. 

You give your persona a name, professional and personal details, personality traits, goals, struggles, and motivations. The more vivid, the better. 

Remember when you used to have imaginary friends? How real they seemed? Your social media persona should be just as real to you and your company.

Why is it useful to have a buyer persona?

Let’s start with the most obvious reason why persona creation is useful: because it helps you identify where they are on the internet and how you can reach them. This process of locating your target audience is an essential part of targeting, where a certain message is delivered to a certain audience. By targeting more specifically, you can save a great amount of time and resources that would otherwise be wasted on irrelevant target groups. 

On top of being a huge help in the targeting process, this created persona can also guide your future content creation process. I mean, how can you possibly create content that will help your target audience if you do not understand or try to grasp exactly what it is they want?

The last benefit of persona is more of a side effect, but nevertheless a crucial one. It helps align your company and clearly define what type of people, what profile you are working for and what their wishes and fears are. Company alignment can be highly effective in raising employee satisfaction, work productivity and the overall health of your business.

How can you create a buyer persona?

Firstly, interview in-house: Ask the marketing team for help. They can provide a whole array of demographic information based on your website visitors. Further, they can lay out the current marketing strategy and the most and least successful campaigns conducted thus far. These insights will greatly help your persona creation. 

Secondly, question the people that are in the closest contact to the customer base on a daily basis: the sales team. Doing this has even a double positive effect. Not only are you getting valuable information to proceed with your persona creation, but you are also showing the sales team that they are an essential part of this process, hence showing them some appreciation! Here are some questions you can ask them:

 

  • Can you describe a typical customer profile?
  • What do customers observe and indicate as purchase decisions?
  • What are the most common objections by customers?
  • Why do you think customers choose our business over others?

 

Lastly, but most importantly, conduct some in-depth interviews with customers themselves. Try to be as heterogeneous and wide as possible when choosing your interview partners in order to cover the whole target group of your product or service.

There are a number of lists out there on which questions are essential to ask. Below, you can see Enigma’s version and what we deem important when creating a buyer persona. This list is by far not complete. Every company is different and there are of course many more points that could be important for you. 

However, one last advice before getting started with the questions. Consider the nature of your company and how that affects the persona you are about to create: B2B? B2C?

1. Demographic description

  • Rich or poor?
  • Old or young?
  • Married or single?
  • University degree or apprenticeship?
  • Does she speak French or German? Other languages?

2. Personal history

  • How did she end up where she is in life now? 
  • What was her career path like?
  • What was her private life like?

3. Professional life

  • Does she have a job? 
  • If yes, in what industry does her company work? 
  • How big is it in terms of revenue and employees?

4. Role in the company

  • What is her job title? 
  • How long has she held this title now? 
  • Where does she see herself in 5 years? In 10 years?
  • What does her typical day look like? 
  • Who does she have to report to?
  • What skills does she have to do the job?
  • What tools does she use to make the job easier?

5. What are her challenges?

  • In her personal life?
  • With family, friends, and boyfriend?
  • At work?

6. How does she learn?

  • Does she watch TV? Read blogs?
  • Who is her favorite writer or speaker?
  • Which magazines or blogs does she read?
  • Which groups on social media is she a part of?

7. Her buying preferences

  • Does she go to shops, or rather buy online?
  • How does she notice new products? Brochures? Ads?
  • What did she buy recently?

Here in Switzerland, there might be some additional questions to ask. A client of Swisscom in the French part of Switzerland will be wildly different than a client in the German part. Remember the segmentation thing we were talking about earlier? 

Furthermore, it is recommended to fine-tune your persona by looking at the marketplace in general in which your business is situated, at your competitors, and at publications and articles concerning your industry. 

All these considerations result in an enormous amount of questions and answers. This can be a bit overwhelming… But creating a persona can be so much easier with the help of a structured template!

Download our persona template and you’ll soon have your ideal buyers persona mapped out!