How To Create Detailed Buyer Personas For Your Business

min read
June 23, 2023
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The number one key to success is understanding your customers, and you can do just that with a bit of research and imagination. Buyer personas are a valuable tool for understanding your customers, their motivations, and their desires. By providing a comprehensive view of your customers, buyer personas help you shape your entire business approach to achieve success in your operations.

Personas influence almost every part of your approach, including your content strategy, messaging, and product development. To build an accurate buyer persona and get the most out of it, you need a strategic and crafted approach. Having the right buyer persona templates and quality examples can go a long way. This guide will give you clearer direction on how to create a buyer persona that achieves success.

Understanding buyer personas

A buyer persona is a fictional representation of a customer of your business created based on your real customers and audience. With this hypothetical customer profile, you can build a strategic business approach and tailor your communications to your customers. This persona gives you a picture of your target customer and places them in the context of the market as a whole. 

Some of the vital information to incorporate into a buyer persona includes:

  • Demographic information – Demographics include the age range, income level, location, gender, and other related information of your customers.
  • Psychographic information – Psychographics focus on your customers’ worldviews, including their values, interests and personalities, helping you communicate better with them.
  • Goals and motivations – Knowing what motivates your customers helps you to speak to those motivations and build connections to your brand.
  • Challenges and pain points – What frustrates your customers during the buying process helps you to build strategies that alleviate these frustrations.
  • Preferred communication channels – Whether your customers prefer social media, phone, or email tells you how to properly communicate with and reach them.

An important element to keep in mind when creating a buyer persona is personalization. In fact, as much as 76% of customers get frustrated when they don’t find personalization in their interactions with a brand. By building this personalization, you can target your customers with content, communications, and services that speak to their needs and desires. In doing so, you keep your customers coming back to your business.


How to create buyer personas

The key to a buyer persona is using your actual customers as a model, so they must be the starting point. That said, no two brands are the same, so there is no one-size-fits-all model for crafting buyer personas. Still, the goal is to compile as much information about your customers or potential customers as possible. You can use this step-by-step process as an excellent starting point.


1. Conduct customer interviews and surveys

The best way to learn about your customers is from your customers themselves. As a result, interviews and surveys are two of the most powerful tools for creating informative buyer personas. Interviews provide you with true stories that allow you to create a realistic, human persona. Your reach should include both current customers as well as potential customers you want to target.

You also want a balance of feedback from your customers, meaning both positive and sometimes hard-to-hear constructive feedback. Positive feedback helps you understand what your business is doing well, but constructive feedback allows you to hone in on what you can improve, which is vital for growth.

You can send surveys to your email list of current customers, offer incentives to interview prospective customers about your product, or include surveys as a part of customer service interactions. 

Here at PETERMAYER, we follow a comprehensive process to gather customer feedback and accurately inform our buyer personas. We use nationally syndicated and customized surveys to understand customer behaviors in addition to interviews that provide a perspective of real-world events that affect consumers. 

Together, these tools help us create a lifelike persona that provides a picture of the customer on paper and a narrative of how they exist in the broader market. 


2. Analyze website analytics and social media insights

For many brands, their online presence is at the center of what they do. With this being the case, your online presence and how customers engage with it are precious in informing your customer personas. Find out—who is engaging with your website? Who are you reaching with your social media campaigns? Answering these questions will give you an idea of who actively engages with your brand and why.

Gather information about the individuals engaging with your brand, like age, location, and purchasing habits. This report data will be valuable in telling you how you can adapt your messaging to maintain those engaging already and whether you need to make changes to target additional audiences.


3. Review customer support and sales data

Customer support and sales data can tell a story, and it is worth listening to. This data will highlight significant trends, like customer concerns when interacting with your business. It will also highlight how the sales pipeline looks and if there are any gaps in pushing your customers down the funnel.

Reviewing this support and sales data answers questions like: 

  • What are customers struggling with?
  • Are their interactions with your brand positive?
  • What prevents customers from completing a sale?
  • What encourages customers to complete a purchase?

Answers to these questions will provide you with a picture of your customers’ pain points and barriers to sales. Having all this information allows you to build an action-oriented buyer persona geared toward streamlining the buying process and closing more sales.


4. Identify patterns and common characteristics

Once you have gathered information about your specific customers and overall business trends, you can look for patterns and commonalities across your data. By identifying these patterns, you can start to establish the information that will compile your overarching buyer persona. You likely won’t land on just one perfect buyer persona, which is entirely normal.

After you find various patterns and themes in your customer data, you can segment different personas from your customer base depending on demographics, attitudes, and motivations. This segmenting is powerful for personalizing your outreach. For example, a brand should send different emails to long-time customers than to new leads.  

Embracing the different trends while building several buyer personas will only make your personas stronger and more valuable, allowing you to be more specific in your communications and campaigns.


5. Create detailed profiles using a buyer persona template

A buyer persona template gives you a better picture of the information you should include in the customer profile. Using a template allows you to avoid leaving out important information like challenges, identifiers, demographics, and goals. With the help of a template, you can ensure that you create a complete and comprehensive picture of your buyer and fill in the information most valuable to you.


Tips for effective buyer persona creation

Building a buyer persona is a foundational component of any ad campaign or brand messaging creation. However, a buyer persona is not inherently valuable, especially without direction. When creating a buyer persona, it is essential to know what information you can use and how to make the persona useful and effective for your specific brand and industry. With a few tips, you can ensure that a persona is truly helpful for your marketing efforts.


1. Use a mix of qualitative and quantitative data

When building personas, you don’t want to get stuck looking at only select data and should gather as much information as possible. To do so, you should look at both quantitative and qualitative data to find patterns and build your approach.

This data can come from both current customers and prospective customers. Gathering data from prospective customers and their behaviors in the market helps you understand where your customers are coming from, as well as how their attitudes and motivations translate to real-world action.

Some examples of helpful qualitative data include:

  • Quotes from customer interviews
  • Customer values
  • Customer hobbies
  • Consumer opinions on cultural trends
  • Opinions on current events

Meanwhile, quantitative data includes:

  • Customer behaviors
  • Preferred consumer brands
  • Preferred media brands
  • Media consumption
  • Website analytics
  • Sales numbers
  • Social media engagement


2. Validate assumptions with real customer feedback

If you have assumptions about customers, you can use them to guide interview or survey questions, but never assume them as fact. In fact, gathering assumptions from preexisting data is a great way to build out interviews, but you shouldn’t stop there.

Yes, your tools can tell you a lot, but it always helps to hear directly from your customers to receive a final confirmation and understand why certain trends are taking place. For example, you might assume from low time-on-site numbers that your website may need more engagement opportunities when, in reality, your customers actually feel that your ecommerce site is too busy and leave because they are overwhelmed.

The last thing you want to do is operate based on an assumption or hunch and begin pushing your marketing efforts in the wrong direction with low return on investment.


3. Prioritize the most significant and relevant characteristics

The most important thing to remember with buyer personas is that they need to be applicable to your brand. Of course, you want as much information as possible in your buyer persona, but you don’t want to focus on gathering customer characteristics just for the sake of having them. Instead, prioritize characteristics that are the most informative and relevant to your brand and industry

Which characteristics you prioritize are going to look different depending on your industry and your goals. For example, if you have a clothing brand, customer characteristics like location and hobbies are going to matter more than job title when deciding on dropping your winter clothing line. However, if you are a software company, your customers’ career field becomes a lot more important than location as it will inform whether your tool will be useful.


4. Continuously update and refine buyer personas as needed

Just like your customers, a buyer persona is a dynamic entity. It will change and adapt over time based on the market, social trends, and your brand’s growth. If you refuse to update your buyer personas, your messaging will grow outdated and less powerful, leading to a drop in your reach and customer conversions. Routinely gathering data on your customers will help you keep your personas fresh so that your campaigns stay relevant.


Buyer persona examples

Here at PETERMAYER, personas are the most important starting point in our work. By crafting personas first, we can build our messaging and marketing campaigns while making sure they properly target the right demographics.  

We use a comprehensive process to develop valuable, practical customer personas. This process includes gaining an understanding of brand audiences through quantitative and qualitative data. Through this approach, we are able to adapt brand messaging to meet specific audiences and strengthen brand campaigns, and we’ve been successful in multiple cases.


Kennedy Space Center

One of our successful examples of using buyer personas at PETERMAYER is through our Kennedy Space Center campaign. To get more visitors to Kennedy Space Center, we created buyer personas of current and potential visitors, highlighting the opportunity to reach the family audience. Our research found that these consumers were interested in space because of a love for science fiction more than just science. 

With this knowledge, we created a campaign called “Look Up” that invited people to experience the awe and excitement of space and its possibilities firsthand. The campaign allowed us to emphasize the chance for visitors to experience space through the live launches of spacecraft from Kennedy Space Center instead of their phones.

These efforts highlight the power of an accurate buyer persona, as the campaign led to a 49% increase in visitors over five years, 5.7 million dollars in attributable revenue to the campaign, and a 160% ROAS increase from 2019 to 2022.

To build specific profiles, we used data points around:

  • Interest in science and other relevant attractions
  • Demographics including geographic location, household income and family makeup
  • Favorite media brands 
  • Verbatim quotes from real people who fit our profiles


The City of Asheville

In another example, we helped build a marketing campaign for the city of Asheville that all started with creating a persona of potential visitors. Through our research process, we discovered that most of the audience was only aware of the Biltmore Estate. However, they were not aware of everything Asheville had to offer, from its many layers of culture to its wealth of attractions.

Using this information, we created a campaign that highlighted all that Asheville has to offer, growing awareness of the many options. This campaign showed off the bars, arts scene, outdoor activities, and beautiful landscapes of Asheville under the tagline “Discovery inside and out”.

Thanks to our buyer persona process, PETERMAYER was able to fill in these gaps for potential visitors and target their desire for more out of a tourist destination. The strength of this campaign led to a 26% increase in overnight visitations, a 1.9B direct visitor attribution, and a 91% increase in lodging sales.

To build personas specific to this destination, we included data around:

  • Preferred vacation activities of prospective visitors
  • Work occupation and average household income
  • Frequently watched TV shows or other highly consumed media
  • Verbatim quotes from real people who fit these profiles


Applying buyer personas to your business

Once you have a detailed buyer persona established, the opportunities are virtually endless, making the buyer persona process extremely valuable. With a complete profile of your customers, you can use this knowledge to inform your business strategy in a way that maximizes reach and engagement.

Some key ways you can apply a buyer persona to your business include: 

  • Brand messaging – You want your message to resonate with your ideal customer. Knowing your audience allows you to adjust your brand messaging and voice accordingly so that you create a message that sticks.
  • Content strategy – A buyer persona allows you to create content that is engaging and helpful to your customers, leading to more interested leads and more conversions. Understanding your customers ensures that you create content that they want and need instead of the content you assume they do.
  • Product development and innovation – When you grow your product, it is helpful to keep your focus customers in mind. Having a clear buyer persona allows you to make updates and changes that address your customers’ pain points and satisfy their goals.

At PETERMAYER, we never start a campaign without creating a detailed buyer persona. With a model persona that represents your current and potential customers, you can take more informed steps to address your customers’ specific needs and concerns.


Leverage buyer personas for growth

The value of an accurate buyer persona cannot be overstated. Once you know how to create a buyer persona, you can go anywhere. A well-developed buyer persona skyrockets your brand’s potential for growth, offering direction for action. PETERMAYER works closely with your brand to develop a detailed buyer persona that allows you to craft your ideal business strategy.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your brand get the most out of your buyer personas. Through a simple discovery call, our team can discuss your brand’s needs and a plan of action to start expanding your reach.

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