Buyer personas are one of the most valuable tools in your marketing arsenal. Once created, they can be used as the foundation for more or less every piece of marketing going forward, inform business decisions, and strengthen your brand identity. Here’s a quick guide:

What are personas?

Personas are fake characters that represent your target customers. Ideally, you’ll have several of these, representing different groups you want to reach. For example, a farm machinery business might want to have a persona targeted at young farmers seeking the latest tech, and another one representing older, more traditional farmers. Marketing would speak differently to these two people, as if they represent their respective groups. Personas let you focus on the right people, using specific language and methods to target your customer base with greater precision.

How do I create a persona?

This can take time and research. Depending on your business structure, it’s usually best to speak with staff who directly interact with customers, e.g. salespeople. Ask about the “types” of customer they have. You’re looking to find out age range, what those groups want and don’t want, their concerns and worries. If you have willing customers, it might be good to interview them too.

Next, create a full profile. You can give each one a real name or short descriptor,e.g. “young innovator”. Next, add the basic facts. What is their age range? What is their net worth? What news outlets and social media networks do they use?

Create a list of pain points – the specific issues and troubles this persona has. Make sure these relate to your business. Start to think how you can address and solve those pain points.

Next, create a messaging framework. Using those pain points, what messages can you offer to address them? Following on from that, what reasons should the persona believe you? Write the pain points from the perspective of the persona, then the messaging from your point of view.

You can keep these profiles relatively simple or go further. Perhaps certain terminology would work well for one persona but not another, for example. Make sure that your voice remains unified across these, according to your established branding. Adopting a completely different attitude and register for each persona will make your business sound fragmented and unprofessional.

How do personas benefit me?

Personas can be worth their weight in gold for years to come. They act as the first stop for every piece of marketing collateral you create. When writing a newsletter or article, who are you trying to reach? Consult your personas. Look at their specific concerns, pain points, and desires. Direct your language accordingly.

Personas make your customer base more tangible. When developed properly, the persona should be vivid enough to seem almost real, to the point where you can anticipate what will appeal to them and what won’t. This doesn’t just help with marketing; when making strategic business decisions, personas can be taken into account there too. In short, you’re effectively taking your anonymous and monolithic customer base and working out what drives and appeals to different segments of them. It’s targeted, rather than scattered.

Is it worth speaking to somebody about developing personas?

Absolutely. While this can be done in-house, an external perspective helps bring issues and opportunities to the fore that you might otherwise miss. Experts in branding –such as, for example, us – can work closely with you to determine the best course and bring your personas to life.

Contact us to arrange a call to talk through a practical example.

How can developing personas help your business? What other strategies might drive better results? We can help. Get in touch.