What do we REALLY mean when we talk about buyer personas

(and why should we care about them)

‘Buyer personas’ is a term that gets bounced around a lot in marketing and within business and sales strategy teams, but what we find is that people are often not clear on what they actually are, and more importantly how to use them when they are completed.

So here’s a helping hand…

What is a buyer persona?

It’s a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer, based on real data about your existing customers and market research of your target audience.

It’s very unlikely you will have just one buyer persona because your product or service is likely to appeal to multiple people for different reasons. For example: a toy shop has at least 3 buyer personas they need to target – children, parents, grandparents… you could even split these down into gender too to create 6 buyer personas. You’re probably thinking, children aren’t buyers…BUT you need to think about who you need buy-in from, and when little Bobby doesn’t stop talking about the train he’s seen to his parents, it’s guaranteed to be on his Christmas list.

 

How do you build a buyer persona?

You need to think about who they are, where they live, age, gender, interests, what they care about (this will help with message and pain points to use in your marketing). Most importantly, you need to treat every buyer persona differently even if they seem similar.

For us, as a marketing company we mainly target business owners (we could also appeal to small marketing teams too) but let’s focus on business owners for now.

We could be lazy and just target business owners in general, but the smart way to build buyer personas are to break them down.

Start-up business
Sole Trader
Business under 5 years old
Business heading towards 10 years
Freelancers

These can then split into B2B or B2C, they could also split down into different sizes (revenue/number employees), and industry which of course creates multiple personas… so as you can see we are looking at between 15-100 personas (maybe more) for our marketing business.

 

I know what you’re thinking:

  • That seems like a lot of work
  • I wouldn’t even know where to start
  • I have not got time to do this work

It’s important to recognise that building buyer personas is not a task you add to your list and expect to complete in one day, it’s an ongoing task you complete as you gain new customers and learn about them. It’s also a tool you use when you plan your campaigns to get the right message in front of the right people (more about this below)

So if you’re reading this feeling a little overwhelmed, stay with us. When you read the last section, the penny will drop on the importance of this exercise and you won’t regret it.

You can also fill in your email address at the bottom of this page and have a buyer persona form sent to you and a couple of examples.

Example buyer personas

Here are a couple of example buyer persona for a hairdresser to give you an idea.

This hairdresser’s is based in Warwick. They are what we’d consider a ‘value for money’, ‘less-expensive’, ‘attract a lot of local & repeat business’ type of salon.

(We tend to give them names so we can really relate things to them, and they feel like real people.)

Persona 1

Name: Mary
Gender: Female
Age: 70-90
Demographic: 3 mile radius of salon
Service: Weekly perm, hair wash, tidy up
Common behaviours: walk round or get dropped off by family members, like to have the same slot each week, love a chat with the hairdresser, drink tea or coffee, don’t like change
Interests: Knitting, reading
Career: Retired
Situation: Recently moved to the residential care home over the road
Average spend: £10-£15

 

Another example persona for the same hairdressing salon

Name: Bill
Gender: Male
Age-40-60
Demographics: 7 mile radius of salon
Service: A trim and tidy up
Common behaviours: Want to be able to walk in or book last min, want a quick turn-around, don’t want a lot of small talk, aren’t fussy about who cuts their hair
Interests: Pub, golf, fishing
Career: Professional services (earns good money)
Situation: Rest of family go there, it’s convenient
Average spend: £5-£10

(We will use this both these examples to link to marketing message below so keep these in mind)

TOP TIP: Google analytics (if set up on your company website) will be your best friend in regard to data research. I just clicked on yesterday’s analytics reporting and I can see the age, gender split, interests, media used (social/organic search etc) so I know exactly where my posts were working to get people to my site. If you want a 10-minute chat about analytics and how it works just call us on 07854 982728.

How to use your buyer personas to get more sales

This is the part that makes everything else click into place and seem worth the time and effort – I promise!

In marketing, we talk about the 3M’s – Market, Message, Media.

Above we have built the personas, so now we have to think about the message before we go to media.

Let’s take Mary (the elderly hairdressing customer above).
We know that her situation is that she lives around the corner and needs a salon close-by and where she can book the same timeslot each week so someone can take her.

Therefore, the messages may be something like “Are you looking for a weekly perm?”, “Do you want to guarantee the same slot every week?” “Are you looking for a salon in Warwick, close to where you live?” “Tea & coffee whilst you’re being pampered!”

We may also decide to target her family… “Are your elderly loved ones in need of a weekly hair appointment” “Perfect for residents of XXX care home” “Just around the corner”

With this is mind – when you really know your market you can introduce services into your business where you walk round to collect them if it’s a 2-minute walk and they just need someone to help them cross the roads. Only when you know your customers can you create a service/product that makes you an absolute no-brainer to them. Then your message can also be “We’ll collect you to make sure you get here safely and don’t have to rely on someone bringing you across”.

Now let’s take Bill (other hairdressing persona)

Bill doesn’t want small talk, he wants to book last minute or walk-in. He wants a speedy service.

His messages would go along the lines of “No booking required for gentleman’s haircut”, “In and out in 20 minutes” “20-minutes of down time, we won’t make small talk unless you fancy a chat!”

Hopefully that all makes sense in regard to using your personas to craft the perfect message.

Now let's look at media...

Let’s face it, Mary is unlikely to be on Instagram – we need to find out where she would see the adverts. At the care home in the lounge area, the local post office, look local magazines that get posted out. Maybe we take the approach to target her younger family members too with the messages then we could look to social media.

Only when you really understand your customer buyer personas will you get the messages right and put in the right places. That’s why situation and behaviour/interests is useful. For Bill you may advertise at local golf or fishing clubs in Warwick/Leamington. Leaflet drops through letterboxes too.

It’s trial and error with your media choices but having the insight to your website analytics is a really smart thing to set up so you can see if people are clicking through from social or emails or whether they are directly typing your URL and therefore likely to have a flyer. Unique landing pages for different media are useful to track success too.

There’s so much more to be said about Market, Message, Media.

Flamingo Marketing Strategies are here to help any businesses with their persona building and understanding and can help you craft the perfect messages (in the right places) for your potential customers.

If you would like to get hold of our Persona form, fill in your details below.

If you’d like to have a chat with us about how we can help you with your marketing strategy, fill in your details on this page.

Request a buyer persona template - sent to your email inbox


Address:
9 Vicarage Rise,
Bishops Tachbrook,
Leamington Spa, CV33 9SH
Phone: +44 (0)7854 982728
Email: info@flamingostrategies.co.uk