What Is a Buyer Persona? Introduction to Basics and Examples for 2023
A buyer persona is a description of your company’s ideal customer. It should guide most of your business activities, from product development to the channels and marketing messages you use to promote your brand.
If you’re new to buyer personas, though, you might not know where to start. To help your business make the most of this type of user profile, this article will cover:
- What is a buyer persona?
- Why a business should establish buyer personas
- Benefits of establishing a buyer persona
- 11 important characteristics that should be included in a buyer persona
- Best places to obtain buyer personas data
- Difference between B2C and B2B buyer personas
- How to create a buyer persona
- Buyer persona examples
What is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona represents your ideal customer. It’s a semi-fictional representation of your best potential buyer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. It’s also called an audience persona, a marketing persona, or a customer persona.
Some characteristics you’ll give a buyer persona include geographical location, age, interests, and more. Your goal is to understand your customer’s goals and challenges. This way, you can understand their pain points and provide solutions through your products or services.
Why a business should establish buyer personas
It’s important for your business to establish a buyer persona because it helps you focus on the needs of your customers. Having buyer personas also help ensure:
- The marketing strategies to acquire customers are planned and implemented with your target audience in mind.
- You provide a customer service experience tailored to your ideal buyer.
- You appeal and connect authentically with your target customers.
When you present your products or services as solutions to your target market’s problems, it’s easier to convince them to buy from you. Read on for more on the benefits of establishing a buyer persona.
Benefits of establishing a buyer persona
Taking time to create a buyer persona can help you expand your market reach and encourage brand loyalty. Here’s why:
- A buyer persona helps you understand your ideal customer. Knowing your prospective customer’s likes, habits, preferred shopping methods, etc., gives you insight on how better to connect with them.
- A buyer persona helps you save on marketing efforts. When you know your target audience, you can design and implement targeted marketing campaigns that will result in more sales without more effort or cost on your part.
- Buyer personas allow you to use segmented marketing. This means you can send personalized, targeted marketing campaigns to each persona.
- A buyer persona helps your business achieve cross-departmental alignment. This means your marketing team, sales team, product development, and customer support departments have the same information about your ideal customer.
- Buyer personas help you connect with your target audience in the right place at the right time. Knowing your target audience means you can meet them in their preferred channel or social media platform.
- Buyer personas help you stand out from the competition. If you’re a business that puts your customers’ needs first, your customers will notice. And this will establish you as a trustworthy brand.
- Buyer personas help identify who you’re not targeting. When you know your potential customers, you can also identify who you’re not targeting. And knowing these saves you from spending resources marketing to the wrong customers.
11 Important characteristics that should be included in a buyer persona
Your customers are more than a collection of characteristics. However, it’s important that you understand their demographic information and psychographics to connect and reach them. Below are important characteristics that should be included when establishing a buyer persona.
In terms of creating a buyer persona, “name” refers to descriptive nicknames. Examples are Soccer Dad Sam, Trendy Tina, or CEO Carla. You can use these nicknames to guide your product development and marketing campaigns through questions like:
- What would CEO Carla think about this offer?
- What would make Trendy Tina buy this product?
Age refers to the ideal age range of the perfect customer. Examples include the 35- to 45-year-old demographic, toddlers (1 to 3 years old), and millennials (25 to 40 years old). Knowing the age range of potential customers can help you create marketing messages that resonate with the unique challenges each segment faces.
It’s important to know the income ranges of your customers so you can market to them effectively based on their disposable income. Depending on your products or services, you can include an income bracket for your buyer persona, such as someone with an annual income of at least $50,000.
The occupation of your buyer persona matters, especially if your products or services are tools to increase productivity or anything work-related. Below are some questions to consider when adding an occupation to your audience persona:
- What is their job title or role?
- What company or industry do they work in?
- How long have they been in their position?
- What are they responsible for?
- What is their typical day like?
- What tools do they use or need?
Location is an important characteristic of a buyer persona because it affects shopping behavior and spending power. For instance, if you sell heavy items that cost a lot to ship, you may want to focus your marketing in specific areas near you. Trends and needs also vary depending on where your customers live. For example, wool clothes sell more in cooler areas.
Background information about your potential customers refers to additional data that will give you more context about them. It could be related to education, marital status, lifestyle, work, and more. Examples include “father of two,” “weekend warrior,” “travels for work often,” etc.
Knowing what your potential customers are interested in helps you understand them more. It also gives you insight into where they spend their time. Below are some questions to ask to narrow down the interests of a buyer persona:
- What social media do they use?
- How do they spend their days?
- Do they belong to any associations or groups?
- What events do they attend?
- Where do they get their information and news?
- What influences them?
Hobbies refer to the activities potential customers do for pleasure or entertainment. These could be engaging in a sport, making crafts, or reading. Questions to ask yourself regarding a buyer persona’s hobbies include:
- When did they start—beginner or expert?
- How often can they participate in their relevant hobbies?
- What tools or equipment do they use?
- How can you help them spend more time doing what they love?
- What are their goals and do they want to get better?
Goals and objectives
The goals and objectives of your target audience may include losing weight, spending more time at home, working less, etc. These are important for you to consider to connect how your products or services can help them achieve their goals. Below are some questions to help you identify a buyer persona’s goals and objectives:
- What are their personal goals?
- What are their career or business goals?
- What challenges do they face that prevent them from achieving their goal?
- How do they measure their success?
Values and fears
Values and fears refer to the social behavior of potential customers that impacts how they purchase products or services. For instance, your target customer might want products made from sustainable ingredients. Below are some questions to guide you on this characteristic:
- What are your buyer persona’s personal values?
- What do they value in their professional life?
- Why would they not buy your product or service?
- How can you help relieve their worries?
Product challenges and pain points
Product challenges and pain points refer to objections or reasons your ideal customer won’t buy even under the perfect circumstances. When you can identify your buyer persona’s pain points, you can address it as you design and implement marketing campaigns. Questions to ask yourself to help you identify product challenges and pain points include:
- How do they shop for products or services?
- What problems are they trying to solve?
- How can your product or service help them achieve their goals?
- What impacts their decision-making process?
- What does it mean to be successful in their role?
Best places to obtain buyer personas data
Below are the best places to obtain data to help you begin your research and create buyer personas for your brand.
Sales refers to your existing customers. These are the ones who already bought your products or services. They’re a great source to learn more about your ideal buyers because they’ve tried your products or services and engaged with your company. At least some of them represent a buyer persona for your target market.
Aside from the usual demographic data, such as age, location, and occupation, you’ll also gain insights on which features happy customers liked. On the other hand, unhappy customers will tell you what was lacking.
A customer relationship management (CRM) system is a tool that you can use to store customer data, track customer interactions, and share information within your company. It’s also an excellent resource to research your brand’s buyer personas. Some information you can obtain from the CRM system includes:
- Updated information about your existing customers
- Information on leads—those who engaged with your company and expressed interest but didn’t buy yet
- Data representing the channels that drive sales
- Data representing the channels with the most interactions with existing and potential customers
Make sure your CRM system is integrated properly into all of your business activities, though. This way, you can take full advantage of its features and the data it provides.
Facebook Audience Insights
Facebook Audience Insights is designed to help brands learn more about their target audiences by providing information about their geography, demographics, and purchase behavior. This Facebook tool also shows you aggregate information for three groups, namely:
- The people who connected to your page
- Your target audience
- All Facebook users
Examples of data you can gather by using Facebook Audience Insights include:
- Demographics (e.g., age, gender, education, household size, relationship status, job title)
- Interests or page likes (e.g., sports, movies, fitness)
- Where people live and the language(s) they speak
- How often a user visits Facebook
- Buying behaviors of a person, including past purchases and purchase methods
Surveys and focus groups
Asking directly for opinions through surveys and focus groups can also help you create buyer personas. When you have hundreds of prospects, conducting a survey will help you categorize your target market. You might end up with a few buyer personas, each with their own unique characteristics.
The exercise also prevents ineffective marketing because you understand the differences between your target audiences and you can provide each group with the right services and offers.
Difference between B2C and B2B buyer personas
A business-to-consumer (B2C) model means prospective customers are individuals or families, and their decision to buy your products or services depends on their personal buying power. Based on their needs, they might not need a long time to consider if they want your products or services. Marketing B2C products or services can also be done through a broad customer base.
On the other hand, marketing business-to-business (B2B) products or services needs to be handled differently. This is because the buyer persona is composed of multiple people in different roles. There are varying interests, concerns, and goals, so the customer journey can take a while. In addition, the decision-makers may not be the end-user for the product or service.
Differences between B2B and B2C buyer personas include:
- Target market. A B2C buyer persona describes the ideal customer as an individual or a household. In contrast, a B2B buyer persona will have the characteristics of an ideal company profile.
- Demographics. Both personas will take into account the job titles and age range of the target audience. But a B2B buyer persona will include considerations about experience and decision-making power.
- Goals and objectives. The B2C buyer persona focuses on individual goals, while the B2B buyer persona focuses on business goals. Some examples are increasing sales, advancing technology, or reducing costs.
- Challenges and pain points. A B2C buyer persona will be making decisions based on whether the product or service suits their needs. In contrast, a B2B buyer persona will be making decisions based on whether the product or service suits the needs of the company.
How to create a buyer persona
Now that you know the characteristics and descriptions your buyer persona should possess, below are the steps you can take to create a buyer’s persona:
1. Research your customers
Taking from its definition, a buyer persona is based on real-world data from your existing customers and market research. Compile information about your current customers and target audience. Take note of demographics, such as age, location, language, job, income, interests, and background. Collect data on psychographics, including spending patterns, challenges, lifestyle, and goals.
2. Understand all of their interests
Next, you need to understand the buyer persona’s interests. You’re looking for answers to questions, such as “What do they do for fun?” “Where do they spend their free time?” and “How do they get their information?”
This is important because knowing how your customers spend their time will tell you what’s important to them. It also gives you insight into their values and how you can reach them.
For instance, you might not be able to reach customers who stream entertainment, like movies and music, through traditional advertising. This means you might need to employ digital marketing, such as social media or inbound marketing.
3. Apply interests to customer pain points
Customer pain points refer to the problems potential customers are trying to solve. It might be what’s holding them back from reaching their goals.
For example, if a buyer persona’s goal is to lose weight through eating right and exercising, you can apply their interests to address their pain points. If their interests are green smoothies, yoga, and celebrity or influencer endorsements, you could attract their attention via content marketing. You can create content on yoga and healthy smoothie recipes and reach your target market through social media.
4. Continue to do more research
Creating your own buyer persona helps you have a deeper understanding of your customers as real people. You’ll be able to anticipate their needs and address them. You’ll also be able to focus your marketing efforts to promote lead generation. Your leads will be easier to convert because they are your ideal customer.
However, remember that trends change, and your customers are dynamic. So, it’s important to continually monitor and review your buyer personas. This way, you can adapt your marketing campaigns based on changes to your buyer personas.
Buyer persona examples
To help you develop your own buyer personas, below are some examples for inspiration. There are also many buyer persona templates available online.
Buyer persona: Virtual assistant Victoria
In this example, let’s assume you’re trying to sell Victoria accounting and bookkeeping systems.
- Age: 26
- Location: Chicago, Illinois
- Hobbies: Traveling, night outs with friends
- Education: Associate degree
- Role: Freelancer
- Income: $30,000 to 40,000 annually
- Active on social media platforms
- Relatively tech-savvy
- Likes to gather information for products and services from recommendations of colleagues
- Likes to compare products and services through demos or free trials
- Motivated by free products and discounts
Values and fears:
- Worries about not being able to pay her bills
- Values her independence and being able to travel whenever she wants
- Find a system that makes sending invoices and receiving payments easy for Victoria and her clients
- Spend less time on bookkeeping activities
- Has limited free time
- Manages multiple accounts and clients
- Not confident in her ability to manage accounting and bookkeeping
Buyer persona: Project manager Pete
In this example, let’s assume you’re trying to sell Pete a project management tool.
- Age: 48
- Location: Tampa, Florida
- Hobbies: Member of a bowling team, works on a vintage car on the weekends
- Education: Bachelor’s degree
- Role: Project manager
- Income: $83,000 annually
- Married with two kids
- Trusts recommendations of clients and colleagues
- Gathers information directly from websites
- Gets news from industry publications
Values and fears:
- Worries about not being able to provide for family and save enough for retirement
- Values job security, family, and getting recognition at work
- Find software that’s suitable for different organization sizes
- Increase team productivity
- Grow a strong industry reputation
- Manages several projects and teams all at once
- No time to try demo products
Buyer persona: Frequent flyer Fiona
In this example, Fiona is a buyer persona for your travel planning services.
- Age: 38
- Location: Los Angeles, California
- Hobbies: Reading, cooking
- Education: Master’s degree
- Role: Regional manager
- Income: $125,000 annually,
- Married with two young kids
- Professional working mom
- Travels a lot for work
- Limited social media access
- Prefers to communicate through phone calls and email
- Prioritizes convenience and comfort over price
Values and fears:
- Worries about not being present enough for her kids
- Values work-life balance
- Spend less time booking trips
- Find a travel solution that makes booking trips easy and organized
- Limited free time
- Doesn’t want to visit multiple websites to book one trip
- Not tech-savvy
Create a buyer persona for your brand today
Buyer personas are important for all aspects of your business, including product development, sales, and marketing. Make sure you’re gathering information from market research that represents your target audience. When you focus on your customers, your engagement can increase and, in turn, raise your conversion rates.
Create a buyer persona for your brand with the help of skilled talent. Connect with top independent buyer persona development professionals on Upwork, the world’s work marketplace.