Who is Your Target Buyer Persona and Where Are They Hiding?
Any business needs to figure out who they are trying to sell to in order to figure out where their customers are.
Marketing is your message to customers saying, ‘Buy from us, we rock at what you need.’
Different customers live their lives and spend their days differently, so to make sure that your marketing message is the right one and appears in the right places, every business should define their target audience.
You need to create a picture of your customer in terms of their attitudes, lifestyle, behaviours and how they make decisions to spend money. Using this picture, you can work out what marketing tools and channels you will use to connect with these people.
This is how to engage with the most potential customers.
This means being as clear as you possibly can about who the best customer for your business would be – and then tailoring all marketing, customer service, branding, packaging, and more towards connecting with that type of person.
Working out your Target Audience
There are a few different terms you will hear to define the customers you are trying to reach with your marketing. There are small but subtle variations in what they mean. Let’s break these terms down for you.
This is the section of society that is most likely to buy from you. You can define this in terms of demographics like age, gender, marital status, geographic location, education, employment, financial status, and interests.
This is a subsection of the target market that you will specifically try to reach with your marketing strategy and channels. The target market is all of the people you’d like to reach, the target audience is all of the people you will reach.
This is a hypothetical creative representation of a specific person who would fit within your target audience. It may also be called a client persona, user persona or marketing persona.
A buyer persona is far more detailed in terms of their attitudes and behaviours including where, when and how they shop, what their pain points are and why they buy. It will likely include their specific job title and also where they are at on their buying journey as well.
Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
Just to get even more confusing, you may see this term come up as well. This is a hypothetical company that would fit within your perfect definition of a member of a target market.
For B2B organisations, they will likely have an ICP, and then several buyer personas who are hypothetical people that work within the ICP company. If your business is smaller or B2C then you don’t need to define an ICP as well as a buyer persona.
Do I need to work out a Buyer Persona?
Defining personas helps a business to recognise that people within your audience could have the exact same demographics, education, lifestyle, and interests but still will shop differently and buy differently. They may have different goals and motivations.
Each buyer persona will spend their time online differently as well – some will use Google to do research, some may use mobile searches (“Siri, find a car dealership near me…”), some may research through videos or social media, or base these decisions on recommendations from specific friends. Some may respond to influencers or only buy from companies that align with certain social causes.
And every one of these buyer personae will need a different marketing channel for you to connect with them. Each one may also need different media, content, and search terms as well.
They are most commonly used by B2B brands because different people within the client company you are targeting will make decisions about purchases differently depending on their role within the company.
If you are B2B
If your company is B2B and deals in companies with different executive levels then it will be helpful to create a buyer persona for each one.
It can be helpful to think that the person within the company who will be researching your product and perhaps trying to convince the company to buy it, may be a different individual to the one who ends up using it. And the person who pays for the purchase might be different again.
How do you connect with each buyer persona within a company? What attracts a user may differ to what attracts a researcher, which may differ again to what attracts the purchaser.
If you are B2C
If your company is smaller or only sells to individuals then you don’t need to get into the level of detail of different buyer personae, as defining different target markets will be enough.
In this case, however, you might like to create a hypothetical representation of your target market in terms of one individual, because having detailed descriptions of individual people you are trying to engage can really help you create a well-rounded marketing strategy.
Let’s illustrate this a little:
|If your business is a…||Your target markets might include:||Your buyer personae might also include:|
|Small business owners|
|Wedding dress designer||Women about to get married||Facilities managers|
|Small businesses owners of dress boutiques||Team leaders with buying roles|
|Car manufacturer||Individuals who need a car|
|Companies who need a car||Finance officers|
So, if you only sell to individuals – then creating a target market outline for each different type of customer will be enough (but you might like to give them names, job titles and goals to really colour them in).
If you sell to individuals and companies or groups (and then individuals within these groups) – then you should create a target market outline for each individual or company type, as well as a specific buyer persona for each type of individual you will try to connect with inside the target market (and give each buyer persona a name, job title and goals to really colour them in).
Tips to Creating a Target Buyer Persona
If you have been in business for a little while, you will already have a customer type. If you have a Facebook page, you can also get all of the demographics, interests and much more about all of the kinds of people that follow you.
You should compile the information you can get about pre-existing customers first.
You could also develop an online survey for existing customers to complete for you, or perhaps interview a number of them to get in-depth details about how they shop and what they need.
You might like to find out:
- Your customer’s ages, hobbies, interests and life situation
- What they like about your business
- How you could improve your business
- Why did they come to your business from a competitor
- What they think about your future ideas/products
- What problems do they have that no one is solving
You may like to grow new personas from there as well because your current customer might not be who you really want to target in the future – but it can be a great place to start.
If you haven’t started business yet, you might have to estimate a bit in terms of your buyer personas, but that’s ok.
In an article for Entrepreneur, Brian Tracy recommends asking yourself these six questions:
1. Define your product or service from the customer’s point of view. What does your product do for your ideal customer? What problems does your product solve for your customer? What needs of your customer does your product satisfy? How does your product improve your customer’s life or work?
2. Define the ideal customer for what you sell. What is his or her age, education, occupation or business? What is his or her income or financial situation? What is his or her situation today in life or work?
3. Determine the specific benefits your customer is seeking in buying your product. Of all the benefits you offer, which are the most important to your ideal customer? What are the most pressing needs that your product or service satisfies? Why should your customer buy from you rather than from someone else?
4. Determine the location of your exact customer. Where is your customer located geographically? Where does your customer live or work? Where is your customer when he or she buys your product or service?
5. Determine exactly when your ideal customer buys your product or service. What has to happen in the life or work of your customer for him to buy your product? What time of year, season, month or week does your customer buy?
6. Determine your customer’s buying strategy. How does your customer buy your product or service? How has your customer bought similar products or services in the past? What is your customer’s buying strategy? How does your customer go about making a buying decision for your product?
You can create spreadsheets with your personas details, but there are some fantastic free templates and apps that will do this for you. Extensio is a very good one.
Here are some broad categories that you should fill out for each buyer persona:
- Education level
- Employment status/Job Title
- Motivations for making a purchase
- Channels likely to use (when and where do they shop?)
- Search terms likely to use
You should look back over your buyer personas every so often to check that you’ve got them right. If your descriptions are off from the beginning, then your marketing strategy will be too. You should review and reinforce or redo these personas every few years or when you have a significant change in your business focus.
Where Can Different Target Buyer Persona be found?
If you think in terms of digital marketing, you need to look in different places and at different times for your customers. Everybody uses the internet differently.
Here are some broad generalisations that may help you find where your target buyer personas are hiding:
Google – almost 90% of searching for products and services online happens through Google, so your customers are definitely here sometimes. The key to using Google well for marketing purposes is knowing what search terms your customers use, how they ask questions and how they research their problems. Then fill your website with the answers.
Facebook – roughly 70% of adults are regular Facebook users, with more women than men. Around 80% of people aged between 18 and 49 use Facebook, but the numbers start to drop off a bit at either end of the age bracket. It is still the best place for B2C businesses to find their audience. Facebook users are more predominantly urban-based than rural-based and tend to have higher education levels.
Instagram – the audience is slightly younger on Instagram, and also on Snapchat and Twitter. Instagram is a great place to find people aged between 13 and 25, and also essential for any business with a visual aspect to their brand such as product-based businesses, food and beverage, weddings, and celebrities.
YouTube – as well as Instagram, this platform is a great place to find younger audiences and connect with anyone under 25 years of age. It also a fantastic platform for any kind of instructional or advice-giving, great for service-based businesses.
Twitter – around 20% of adults use Twitter. It is a great platform for anything timely, so good for news updates, media releases etc. If you have things to tell the public often, Twitter is essential. Its audience is more male and professional than some of the others.
LinkedIn – this platform is growing in terms of marketing capabilities. It is becoming essential for B2B organisations to have a branding presence here and is also another good place to market to professionals and men.
Pinterest – This platform is smaller but growing, and is also a great place for visual brands and especially those that people are likely to build a vision board around – such as travel, weddings, food, home décor, fashion, and beauty. Its audience is predominantly female.
Buyer Persona Final Thoughts – Why am I doing this again?
Marketing is not about trying to reach as many people as you can, especially not digital marketing. It is about trying to connect with as many of the best possible customers for your business as you can. It may also include creating some new ones out of people who didn’t even know yet that they are the best customers for your business.
This means working out exactly what that person acts like, how they shop, and why they buy. In doing this you can work out what marketing channels you need to use and when, as well as how to tailor your message best to engage with this ideal customer.
Give them each a face, a name, a life, a personality, behaviours, and motivations. You could even write personal emails directly to them.
Business is money but buying is entirely human – and you need to figure out the humans your business is trying to reach.
If you need more help working out your buyer personas, get in contact with us today.