How do you create a buyer persona for your business enterprise?
Every inbound marketing resource recommends that you create a buyer persona for your target audience
Persona is a fictional character who represents the ideal customer of a company and is based on data from real customers (such as: behavior, demographics, problems and objectives).
The buyer persona is a market segmentation tool and is the basis of Digital Marketing.
Who does your brand want to reach? Who does it produce content for? Who does she intend to communicate with? Who wants to educate, entertain and convert?
Every marketing strategy is aimed at customers, of course!
But how to produce a blog post or create the layout of the site with such a large and varied group of people in mind?
That’s why brands adopt a buyer persona – a semi-skilled character that represents the company’s customers , created based on real data about this audience.
It is for the persona, then, that strategies will be created.
The creation of a persona has helped companies a lot in planning Digital Marketing strategies more accurate, aligned with the profile, interests and journey of customers.
Therefore, we want to help you also use this tool in your business to optimize your content and campaigns.
In this article, we’ll talk about:
- What is persona?
- What is the difference between persona and target audience?
- What is a persona for?
- How to create a persona?
- What are the main doubts when creating a persona?
- How to create strategies and content for each persona?
- Bonus: examples of Rock Content personas
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What is persona?
Persona is a semi-skilled character, based on real data, who represents the ideal customer of a brand. She is also known as a buyer persona or avatar.
The goal is to create a profile that synthesizes the main characteristics of customers so that the brand can create strategies aligned to its audience and capable of meeting their demands.
To create a buyer persona, it is necessary to research: who are your customers, what do they work with, what do they do during the day,
how do they inform themselves, what are their greatest needs? Thus, the persona is based on data, not on the assumptions of the marketing team.
Who created the concept of personas was Alan Cooper, software designer and programmer, when developing a project management system in 1983.
Kathy was a project manager and was interviewed by Cooper, who wanted to better understand her work. According to the programmer, she was a kind of primitive persona.
Throughout the project, Cooper engaged in internal dialogues, as if it were Kathy explaining what he needed from that software in his daily life.
There he understood the importance of the persona: with a person in mind, who has real doubts and needs, it became easier to understand and resolve complex issues of design and interaction.
Later on, personas were formalized by him and became a method of his design processes. Finally, in 1998, he launched the book in which he explains the concept of personas.
Over the years, personas have extrapolated the universe of interaction design and reached marketing .
With Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing, the concept became even more popular. Today personas are one of the main planning tools for brands that focus their strategies on the consumer.
Here is a simple example of a persona:
Michael, 30: is a workaholic, married, and the marketing manager of a medium-sized company in the Digital Marketing area.
He has an analytical profile and is focused on numbers, obsessed with news and innovations (looking for news in the international market), he always wants to qualify his team, he doesn’t have much time and his schedule is tight.
He would like to increase his results with marketing, generate more leads and qualified, increase his sales, innovate in the strategies of his team and be seen as an authority in the market.
Its main obstacles are the lack of budget to invest in new solutions, the excess of tasks and the difficulty of time management, and the little manpower available to put all your ideas into practice.
What is the Difference Between Persona and Target Audience?
If you work for a marketing team , you’ve probably gotten used to using an audience in your campaigns. But now, it’s the personas that are on the rise. After all, are they the same? No, persona and target audience are different .
The target audience emerged in the context of Marketing 2.0, when brands started to put the consumer at the center of the strategies.
Instead of creating campaigns for a mass of consumers, they began to segment markets by age, location, gender, income, education, interests, etc., in addition to psychological and behavioral characteristics.
The target audience, therefore, is the definition of a segment of people with common characteristics that the brand chooses to target its campaigns and ads. We could describe, for example, the target audience of an entrance exam campaign:
- High school students, between 16 and 20 years old, living in the state of Lagos, with family income between $5,000 and $15,000. They are in the transition phase from school to university, in search of greater independence from their parents.
Realize that there are several differences between target audience and personas. The main difference is that the target audience is a more generic definition of consumers, while the persona creates a well-defined identity in the role of a character.
It makes all the difference to create strategies for a person instead of a generic group , doesn’t it?
With a broad definition, the target audience also opens loopholes for unconscious simplifications and stereotypes. After all, the human being is much more complex than demographic data and specific characteristics, right?
The buyer persona, in turn, takes care of this complexity, since it traces the entire profile of a person.
There is also an important difference in the concept itself: the target audience presupposes a target that the brand only wants to achieve, while the persona considers that there is a person on the other side, with whom the brand wants to interact.
But personas didn’t exactly come to replace your target audience – you can use these two tools together in marketing.
Next, we’ll talk about the roles of personas in marketing, and you’ll understand how they can be used with your target audience.
What is a Persona For?
Now you have started to understand the importance of personas, right? So, we will detail more how they can be used in marketing, including with the help of the target audience.
Understand what a persona is for:
Deepen Public Awareness
The target audience can be the first step in defining the group of consumers with whom your brand wants to communicate. Then, you can deepen the knowledge about them with the personas.
In the example of the entrance exam campaign: ok, the audience is made up of students, but do you know what your daily life is like, what doubts are going through your head, what are your dreams? The buyer persona tries to go deeper into the public profile to understand its complexity.
Understand the Value of your Product to the Public
The persona seeks to describe a person’s routine with a focus on pains, doubts, needs and desires related to the company’s value proposition.
A high school student, for example, is full of doubts about which profession to pursue and dreams of attending a college he likes. The entrance exam (which is the product in question) is a difficult step, but it is the way to do it.
There is the space that the product occupies in the person’s life , the value that it has for the public. Therefore, the persona helps to realize how the brand can be useful to the public.
Define Channels of Communication with the Public
The persona also covers the channels that the public uses most to get information, talk to friends and interact with brands. It is on these channels, then, that you must be present to communicate with people.
Defining Content Marketing Guidelines
Personas play a key role in Content Marketing . They raise the main doubts and needs of the public. And each persona question can turn into an agenda for blog posts or social networks.
So, the content seeks to resolve these pains along the purchase journey and guide consumers from the top to the bottom of the sales funnel.
Define the Best Language and Tone of Voice
In addition to guiding the guidelines, the persona also serves to direct the language and tone of the content. After all, you need to communicate better with people. There is no point in using a formal tone of voice if your audience is young and relaxed, for example.
This goes for any point of contact with the consumer. Paid media campaigns, for example, require you to define an audience to filter who you want to reach. But it is the persona that will help you build the message of these campaigns, with the right language and tone.
Optimize the User Experience on the Site
As we saw before, the origin of personas comes from interaction design. Today, they still play an important role in design, especially in the area of User Experience (UX) .
In this area, in addition to raising the behavioral profile, the personas help to understand how the user would use the site – where he arrives, how he navigates, what content he is looking for, etc.
So, designers and developers optimize navigation, layout and functionality to better meet users’ demands and thus offer the best experience.
How to Create A Buyer Persona
Okay, we’ve already seen what persona is and what it’s for. But, after all, how to build a persona for your brand? That’s what we’re going to see now.
The creation of the persona is a process. You can’t just go out and describe someone you think represents your customers. Nor can you fall for the “I already know my clients” objection, as our perceptions can deceive us.
In order to fulfill its role, the persona must be the result of research, analysis and construction . Basically, she must follow these five steps:
- Collect customer data;
- Ask these customers questions;
- Analyze the data collected;
- Structure the persona;
- Share the persona with the team.
Next, we will detail each step better and clear up any doubts that may arise along the way. Follow:
1. How to Collect Customer Data to Create A Buyer Persona
The first moment in the construction of the persona is the “going to the field”. It is this expression that is used when researchers perform data collection for their studies. And this is what you must do first: collect customer data.
Good data collection starts with good research planning, which involves defining objectives and target audience and building the collection instruments (a script of interview questions, for example).
The objective and target audience of the research is already clearer, right? You want to know the profile of your company’s customers . Of course, you can have other goals, but the main one is usually this.
It can also include other consumers and prospects, but it is important to focus on those who have already purchased from your company and have realized the value of your product.
To conduct the research, you can combine different methods and instruments, which provide a complete view of your object of study – the profile of the clients. There are two types of research you can do: quantitative and qualitative .
While quantitative surveys are applied to a larger number of people and allow the measurement of behaviors from across the base, qualitative surveys are less numerous, but obtain more in-depth responses.
Among quantitative surveys, you can conduct closed questionnaires or survey data from tools like Google Analytics. Among the qualitative research, it is possible to do interviews, focus groups, among other methods.
In general, interviews and questionnaires are the most used methods . Usually they are made over the internet, but the face-to-face data collection allows to perceive nuances of behavior that the virtual prevents.
Questionnaires can be applied to more people to have a representative sample of their customer base. With a sample calculator , you can identify how many customers to approach.
To apply the survey, there are several tools on the internet, such as Typeform, Google Forms and SurveyMonkey (paid). Send the survey by email, ask them to respond after an appointment or whenever someone finalizes a purchase.
Another interesting tool is HotJar, which allows you to insert polls on the website itself, on certain pages. In this way, you collect the responses of the consumer in the environment in which he researches and buys.
In person, you can leave questionnaires in sight at the entrance or at the store’s cashier, if you have a physical point. If you want to conduct interviews or face-to-face groups, choose a place that puts customers at ease. It is also possible to offer some remuneration (gift, discount, etc.) for participation.
2. What Questions to Ask Customers to Create A Buyer Persona
After all, do you already know what you want to ask customers? This is a very common question. Of course, the questions vary according to the business segment, but here we try to raise the main questions that must appear in the research to build a persona.
A good practice is to divide into five stages of questions: demographic, personal / professional, content consumption, purchasing habits and relationship with the company. Here are some examples:
- What is your gender? Age? City? Schooling?
- (If B2B) What is your position? Company segment? Company size?
Personal / professional
- How is your routine?
- What are your main responsibilities?
- What are your main goals and obstacles to achieving them?
- (If B2B) What do you do in your work? What are your biggest challenges?
- What social networks do you use?
- How do you stay informed?
- How do you learn new skills?
- What subjects do you like to follow most?
- What brands do you usually use?
- How do you find out about brands and products? Where do you usually buy?
- Which channels do you prefer to interact with brands?
- (If B2B) What brands does your company use? How is the purchase process?
Relationship with the company
- What led you to look for solutions from company x?
- How does company x help you solve your challenges?
- What is the highest quality of company x?
Use these questions to build your questionnaire, adapting to your segment and your questions about customers.
If you want to do an open interview, just use a question script and conduct the conversation more freely.
It is important to have sensitivity to understand which and how many questions your customers would be willing to answer , both in interviews and in questionnaires.
3. How to Analyze the Collected Data
After applying the survey, you will get a lot of data about your customers. It is necessary to tabulate the data, transcribe the interviews and analyze all that you have collected.
In the analysis, try to identify the patterns in the responses . They represent characteristics, problems, challenges and doubts that are common to several customers and that must be part of the persona.
If you notice that almost everyone answered that they have completed higher education and usually use Instagram to interact with brands, then there are traces of the persona profile.
To do this, you need to organize responses in a functional way. You can create a table with the same question steps that we suggested before and fill it with survey data. Thus, you will be able to view the information that is repeated.
4. How to Structure the Persona
From the analysis, the persona will come to life . It will have a name, a face and a well-defined profile, with the characteristics and behaviors that you perceived as most relevant.
The secret here is to think of the persona as a real human being, who will interact with the brand, read its contents, buy its products. And a human being is not just a list of topics. Try to develop a descriptive text about the person you are creating.
A good solution is to tell a story. You can narrate a day or a week of the persona in which she interacts with your product. Thus, it becomes much easier to understand its habits, behaviors and how it relates to the brand.
5. How to Make the Team Use the Personas
There is no point in creating personas if they are not used by the marketing team. A nice attitude to promote the use of the persona is to involve the whole team in its creation . Thus, everyone understands what it is for and memorizes the avatar more easily.
In addition, after the persona has a profile and a story, you can synthesize the data in a summary table and choose the image of someone who personifies that description.
This picture can be shared by email, printed and distributed, pasted on the company wall … The important thing is to make everyone know the persona and think about it in their processes.
What are the Main Doubts When Creating a Buyer Persona?
When following the five steps listed, it is possible that some doubts still arise in relation to this process and even to the specific conditions of your business.
Thinking about it, we answer some of the most common questions that our marketing team has ever received and that we have seen commented on the internet. Check out!
Can you Create More Than One Persona?
When collecting the data, you may notice that there is more than one predominant profile among customers, which leads to the creation of more than one persona. There is no problem with that. Most companies, in fact, have more than one persona.
However, the tip is not to overdo it, especially if you are starting out. Having many personas can take the focus off your strategies and content .
So, have more than one persona only if you realize that the differences between them are decisive for strategies, content and approaches.
You can have customers from different cities, for example. But if their pains and needs are the same, they can probably be combined into one persona.
How to Create A Buyer persona for B2B companies
When it comes to B2B companies , customers are companies. So, the question remains: should the persona be the description of a person or a company?
The persona will always be a person. After all, the customer may even be a company, but people who make decisions, seek solutions and use products are people. So, research should be done with them.
In the case of B2B companies, is it important to identify who your persona is: the analyst, the manager, the director, the owner of the business? Understand who plays the role of decision maker, influencer and buyer and to whom you should target strategies.
How to Create A Buyer Persona without Customers
If the persona is based on customer data, how do you do the research if the company does not yet have customers or is launching a new product? Good question!
In such cases, there are other research methods that you can use to better understand the audience that interacts with your brand and who would be an ideal customer. These are the main solutions:
- Market research (with respondents that fit your target audience);
- Research with your contact base;
- Google Analytics analysis (if the company already has a website or blog );
- Competitor analysis.
A combination of these methods allows you to extract reliable data to build your persona. They can also be used to supplement data collection with customers, if you already have one.
Is there a Tool to Generate Personas?
Want a tool to facilitate this whole process? Top 5 Customer Persona Generators!
This tool works as a guide for creating personas, with a series of questions for you to fill out. At the end, you receive a PDF with all the documented information about the persona and can share it with your team.
How to Create Strategies and Content for the Persona
Now, personas need to get into marketing. How to apply all this work in your processes?
The persona must be present when planning any marketing strategy. When defining the objectives, goals and indicators of a campaign, it is also necessary to define which persona it will be directed to.
When setting prices for a product, for example, you need to consider the persona’s perceptions of the product and how much they would be willing to pay.
When thinking about the layout of the site, you should also consider the persona’s profile, what content is most important to him and how he would navigate the pages.
In creating paid campaigns, the persona helps to define audience segmentation and create a more attractive and persuasive message that really communicates with them.
It is important to do the exercise of putting yourself in the persona’s shoes and thinking what would be consistent for her. Would the persona do that? Would she like to read this content? How would she react to this campaign?
In Inbound Marketing, it is also necessary to consider the different doubts, pains, needs and challenges of each stage of the purchase journey, which coincides with the stages of the sales funnel .
For each stage, there are different content formats to better suit the persona:
- Funnel top: blog posts, infographics, podcasts, newsletters, social networks.
- Funnel medium: blog posts (denser), email marketing, ebooks, webinars.
- Funnel fund: customer cases, sales webinars, product reviews, product demos, conversation with consultant.
For each stage, there are also different content production guidelines to resolve the persona’s doubts. After all, it is these doubts that consumers type into Google in the form of keywords. Then, when the contents are produced based on them, they can be activated in the results of those searches.
I know you enjoyed reading this article on the 5 steps to develop or create a buyer persona for your B2B or B2C business.
Now go forth and create a buyer persona for your business and maximize ROI on your marketing efforts.