How to Create a Buyer Persona

As we mentioned in the Beginners Guide to Digital Marketing.  The first step to take is to create a buyer persona

Most of us get into business because our business that we decide to set up is something that we are particularly passionate about.

The “E-Myth” by Michael E. Gerber spells this out.  Most business owners aren’t “entrepreneurs”.  They don’t see a gap in the market, define their buyer and their journey and design their product/service around this research.  

Quite the opposite.

They adopt the “build it and they will come” model.  

Sometimes they get lucky, sometimes, not so much.

Now, you can understand why this the way most of us go, I know I did when I set up my first business as a personal trainer.  I knew there were other personal trainers in that area so I had some idea of demand and I had a vague idea of the footfall.

But if I’m honest...pretty clueless!  I set it up because I wanted to do something I enjoyed while helping others.  Which, from marketing a long term sustainable business, probably isn’t the best approach!

So what is then?

Many businesses/freelancers set up like this…

  1. Get a business idea that I’m good at/enjoy/am passionate about

  2. Create a product or service 

  3. Hope and pray somebody buys it!

If we want to set ourselves up for success, we need to flip this model on its head.

  1. Define our market (make sure there is a clear buyer pool for our planned product/service including checking for market saturation)

  2. Define our buyer persona (who is going to be buying our product/service)

  3. Design our product/service with our buyer persona in mind

See how that works?  By beginning with your customer in mind, we can take a lot of the guesswork and uncertainty out of whether or not our product or service will sell.

And this also sheds light on why so many attempts at marketing fail.  Either:

  1. No one wants to buy your product/service in the first place

  2. You’re “fishing” in the wrong pond i.e you are putting your marketing message in the wrong place in front of the wrong eyes

So, ideally, you’d start your business like this.  No worries if you haven’t, but I’d recommend you get this done as soon as possible, particularly if you’re marketing isn’t working at the moment, to avoid wasting any more time, money, energy or resources.

What is a buyer persona?

A buyer persona is a semi fictional profile of a customer who your product or service would be a best fit for.

We start off with some demographics such as location, age range, industry they work in and job titles.  Then we move on to behaviours such as where they get their news and information from, what social platforms do they use and how do they develop themselves before moving into the tough questions like, what problems are they trying to solve and what role does our product or service play in that solution

For example, you are out on a walk and it’s a blisteringly hot day, someone approaches you offering to sell you a waterproof suit.  Now, the product may well be sound, but because the seller approached the wrong market at the wrong time, no need is there so a sale will not be made.

Developing your buyers persona will minimise this problem as much as possible 

How to create a buyer persona

We’ll now look at 5 steps to creating a buyer persona.  This will be much easier for you if you have downloaded the digital marketing template for free at the home page.  The first sheet is a template to guide you through this.

Step 1: head to the home page and download the digital marketing template

We give you a free template where you can work out your buyer persona before anything else.  This is the best possible start if you want your marketing to work for you

Step 2: if you have customers already, start there

If you have customers, use the sheet in conjunction with your CRM and match your existing customer demographics into your buyer personas.  This way will give you the best start as you are basing your buyer personas on fact

Step 3: Create a survey

If you don’t have existing customers but you can identify where your ideal customers congregate (Facebook groups, twitter chats etc) you can create a survey using google forms and put it out there.  Leverage your personal and professional networks to get more exposure.  For example, if you ran a printing business, operating in east London, you may identify a Facebook group called “local East London businesses unite” with the permission on the group admin, you would post a survey in there, asking the members what issues do they need help solving.  You could up your response rate by offering a freebie in return for survey completion.

Step 4: forget guesswork, look for evidence

When we create a buyer persona, we look for evidence.  This means delving into a few platforms to check viability.  Facebook Ads Manager is a great place to start if you plan to use Facebook or Instagram to market and Google Ads Manager and Google Trends if you plan to market via SEO or Google Ads.  Using these free tools, you’ll be able to match the size of your audience to behaviours and demographics.  Plus you can view how many times a keyword gets searched for each month which will give you an idea for the demand for your product or service

Step 5: Be prepared for revisions

Developing a buyer persona isn’t a one time thing.  What will probably happen is you’ll spend time initially working it out, then you’ll spot different trends, your experiences will dictate change and as you start getting new clients, you will continually modify your buyer personas plus as you move into new markets/scale up, your buyer persona will constantly evolve.

Hope that helps.  Remember, creating a buyer persona is the first step to your marketing’s success.  To download the free resource, go to the homepage and enter your email, or if you’d like help, get in touch.

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