Buyer Personas: How To Nail Customer Profiling To Increase Conversions
Studies have shown that an effective profile can increase conversions by up to 200%. Discover how to write good profiles and attract the right customers.
If your business relies on selling stuff to real people, then you probably know how important it is for you to get to know these people well. Even if many companies don’t do this and just treat their customers like faceless numbers, the smart ones out there will tell you that understanding the people who buy their products is crucial.
We all know that marketing isn’t just about demographics, psychographics and behaviours: it also plays a significant role in understanding attitude. This means that if you want to reach more customers and convert more leads, you need to start thinking about buyer personas.
If you are in the plumbing industry, you might be interested in reading about the 6 types of customers in the plumbing industry that will make your business grow!
Table of Contents
- Customer demographics
- Key challenges & goals
- Preferred channels of communication
- Brand perception
- Media consumption & preferences
- Common objections to your product or service
- Decision-making process
What is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is a research-based profile, a fictional character of someone who portrays your target audience. Although this person is fictitious, it is based on a deep analysis of your existing or desired customer base. It’s like the FBI or CIA creating a profile of someone in history based on current, historical and other data about that person.
Personas can also be referred to as audience personas, customer personas, or marketing personas.
Why do you need to create buyer personas?
While you may be tempted to say, “everyone is my ideal customer,” that’s not true. In reality, different types of customers would be interested in your products or services, and each one has different needs and requirements.
Buyer personas can help your online business by segmenting your customers. Knowing who they are and what they care about will make it easier to tailor your marketing to their needs. This means you will be able to relate with them better and potentially increase your chances of conversion. You can also use buyer personas in other areas of your marketing strategy, like copywriting, which will make it much more effective.
For example, the key to lead generation is tailoring your marketing efforts to the correct people; buyer personas play a vital role in this. Buyer personas allow you to understand better what your customers need and want. That will help us to cater to those specific desires more efficiently.
Who should you involve in the persona creation process?
The short answer? Every customer-facing member of your team. However, that could be an extremely optimistic scenario, so at least one or two delegates from every customer-facing division. They’ll bring their personal experience with triggering events and dilemmas that your customers undergo at each stage of their buyer’s journey.
Customers who have previously used your service can also provide valuable information for your personas if they’re willing to share.
You will gain greater insight into your customer’s psychology, emotions, and journey stages with each person who contributes to your buyer personas. By combining these factors, you can get an idea of how customers feel and how to approach them.
Ideally, your “personas builder team” should be composed by the following employees:
1. A member of the sales team
Your salespeople practically have endless experiences during which they’ve interacted with a customer. They directly communicate with customers daily and have personal knowledge of the frustrations they typically experience while trying to solve their problems. Most experienced sales associates already have a basic profile of their most profitable customers, which can help build a more comprehensive buyer persona.
2. A marketing specialist
At least have one marketing team member as part of the crew that will build your personas. A Marketing Specialist can analyze the personal information about your customers gathered by your sales team and identify commonalities that can construct a central component of the buyer persona. They will be able to categorize the data and organize it into useful bits of information that are easy to interpret and apply to your marketing campaigns. When your marketing team contributes to your buyer persona, you’ll be able to craft messaging that will resonate better with your ideal customers.
3. High-level management
Your company’s high-level leadership should be involved in developing your buyer personas because they know the objectives and vision of the company and how they can align them with the profiles you are building. Although a great deal of information can be included in a buyer persona, executives can determine the most critical information to provide. In this way, they can give a sense of purpose and structure to your buyer personas, making them directly valuable to the company.
4. Past or current customers
Your past or current customers are one of the best sources of information to build your profiles. If you have the opportunity to interview them, they can provide you with practical psychographic details that you can only speculate from other sources. Your customers can give you firsthand facts of their problems, painful experiences, fears and triggering circumstances that eventually pushed them to take measures about their situations. Build personas around individuals you like working with. The profitability of a specific customer type should be only one of many factors to consider when building a profile with the highest priority. You should also consider a long-term relationship based on loyalty and compatibility with your vision and company values. By creating their personas, you’ll be better positioned to attract more customers like them.
There is no limit to the number of personas you can create; the only limit is what your company decides to make. There are, however, only a few buyer personas that can be developed around success stories.
Creating “Negative Buyer Personas” based on customers who were unhappy with your company can help your marketing and sales team to find areas of improvement or customer types you may want to avoid.
How to conduct research for your personas?
It’s essential to define the problem before you start solving it.
This is especially true when it comes to creating buyer personas.
Instead of starting with a solution, think about what goals your ideal customer might have and make sure they align with your business goals. For example, if you’re selling an e-commerce product and want to increase conversions, it would be wise to define a goal that says something like: “I want my customers who visit my site on mobile devices to spend at least 2 minutes on my site before purchasing.”
That doesn’t mean every single one of your visitors needs 2 minutes; some may not even want or need what you’re selling! But suppose we can identify those people by creating specific buyer personas for our business and learning how they behave online. In that case, we can target them specifically with relevant content about our products/services for them to convert into paying customers more often (all while ensuring all other visitors are still satisfied).
Another example is if your company sells phone cases for all types of phones, your customers may have one or multiple problems. For instance:
- They want their phone case to protect their screen from scratches and cracks
- They need a case that can fit in their pockets without being bulky
- They want a case that looks good on their phone and matches their lifestyle (e.g., sports team or favourite band)
Now that we’ve identified some common needs among customers who purchase phone cases, let’s think about how these needs align with our goals as an e-commerce store owner who sells phone cases online.
There are three ways to gather information about what motivates your customer segments.
1. Customer surveys
Whether online or offline, letting your customers answer open-ended questions is essential to understanding their motivations and needs.
The objective is to get honest and detailed information from your customers to ensure your personas are founded on what genuine individuals think, not a guess of what they believe.
Depending on your business type, you can ask around ten questions concerning their behavioural triggers, barriers to purchasing, and attitude. Try to find actionable information that suits your marketing needs.
Some of the survey questions can include the following:
How did you realize that you needed a product/service like ours?
What problem does our product/service solve for you?
Before buying, did you have any doubts or hesitations?
2. Phone and in-person interviews
Speaking to current customers can give valuable information that you might not be able to collect via online surveys or questionnaires. Pay attention to their words and tone when explaining their buying habits, what motivates them, or when describing your product or service. When you interview them, you can identify non-verbal cues that provide critical data about attitudes and prejudgments towards your product or services.
Performing interviews can be costly and labour-intensive. However, the responses can be enlightening. You can request your respondents to elaborate on their answers, getting details that, by any means, would be unattainable through surveys.
3. Web exit intent surveys
Every customer interaction should end with either a sale or a lesson. An exit intent survey, also called an e-commerce churn survey, grabs feedback as an individual exits your website. Once you know why customers leave, you can mitigate it and reduce your bounce rate.
What to ask will depend on your goal. Do you want to know if your site or products/services meet their needs? Or do you want to understand the sources of disagreement that hold them from buying?
Test your questions to see which ones generate more responses or provide better insights. For example, if “Why didn’t you conclude a purchase today?” isn’t as successful as you expect, try, “Do you have inquiries we couldn’t answer today?”
Use of quantitative data to support qualitative personas
To create the ideal customer profile, you need to know a lot about your customers. The more data you have, the better equipped you’ll be to understand their behaviour and needs to solve their problems.
Data about what people buy tells us how they behave. For example, if someone buys a sleeping bag at 3 am on a Thursday morning but doesn’t buy another one for another two weeks (and then doesn’t buy anything for another month), it’s safe to say that person has some sort of sleep problem!
Data about what people look at can tell us what they’re interested in. For example, if someone looks at pictures of polar bears on Pinterest but never clicks “Pin It,” we can conclude that they may be interested in polar bears without having yet done much research into them. * Data about search history can help us understand what questions people may have before they even know they have them!
Data about how people interact with your website can tell whether they’re confused by it or having trouble finding what they want. For example, if someone clicks on a product but doesn’t buy anything after looking at three different pages of your store, that’s probably an indication that something needs to be fixed.
What to include in your persona template.
The persona template is a guide that helps you craft detailed, accurate, and realistic customer profiles. Depending on your industry, the structure might change. For example, building buyer personas for the plumbing industry is not the same as creating customer profiles for a gym. To create a persona template, start by identifying the critical elements of your buyer’s demographic information (age, gender), psychographics (lifestyle interests), and motivations. Then consider their challenges and how they want to be engaged with your brand. Finally, decide on the best channels for communicating with them based on their preferred methods of communication. Use this template when creating or updating personas for every stage of your buyer journey: from initial research through conversion optimization.
1. Customer demographics
Location (city, state)
Family status (married, kids, single)
Education level and income level. This is important to know so that you can make a pricing decision. For example, if your persona is a young professional in New York City with an above-average income who works in finance and has been married for two years, then it makes sense to position yourself as a luxury brand. If your persona is a middle-aged woman who lives in rural Mississippi and works for minimum wage at WalMart, then it makes sense to position yourself as affordable and accessible.
Occupation: Knowing what people do for work helps you understand their priorities when it comes time to design features or services around them; plus this information can also help guide your marketing efforts in terms of which tactics would be most effective with each segment based on their interests/hobbies/job description etc..
2. Key challenges & goals
This section should include the most important challenges and goals your persona(s) face. Focus on the main ones, since this will allow you to create personas that are as specific as possible. For example, if your product is a platform for managing social media accounts and one of your personas is a small business owner with two Facebook pages (one personal and one for their business), their biggest challenge would probably be finding relevant content on both pages.
3. Preferred channels of communication
You may have noticed that some of the personas we’ve created so far include a section called “Preferred Channels of Communication.” This is important to consider when creating your own persona template, but it can be difficult to figure out precisely what information you should include here.
Here are some tips:
Include all forms of communication that might be relevant. For example, if your customer may prefer phone calls over email or text messages, then make sure they know this upfront. Some companies also like to add social media channels like Facebook and Twitter as part of their preferred communication method—that way, if a potential customer wants to reach out through those channels instead, he/she knows where he/she can go for help!
4. Brand perception
Brand perception measures how people perceive your brand in their minds. This can be measured by asking them to fill out a survey or just asking them directly what they think about your company, product and services.
You can also track brand perception through social media sentiment analysis tools like Brandwatch or Crimson Hexagon. These tools will show how people react to your content on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. For example, if someone tweets, “I love this new movie!” the tool will give you an overall positive score of 85%. If they tweet, “This movie sucks!” then it will provide an overall negative score (15%).
5. Media consumption & preferences
Another important aspect of your personas is their consumption and interaction with media. Whether they consume online or traditional media, this includes how often they read newspapers, watch TV, listen to the radio, Spotify and open their Instagram; what kind of content they like to consume; where they get their news from, etc.
All this data will help you make informed decisions about which channels are best for reaching out to your customers in a way that resonates with them.
6. Common objections to your product or services
You can build a highly converting “Value Proposition” tailored to a specific customer profile by identifying the most common objections to your product or services.
Common objections include:
“I don’t need this.”
“This feature won’t work for me.”
“I’m concerned about security.”
However, other objections can come up after deep research on the topic. In some cases, customers are very savvy about what they want, and they might come up with objections like:
“This product takes too much time to set up.” “The price is too high.” “I’m worried about losing access to my data after I cancel.”
– “I’m concerned about getting locked into a long-term contract.” – “I don’t like the way this product looks.” – “The customer service is terrible.”
7. Decision-making process
How do they make decisions?—This is an important question because it will help you understand how your persona will evaluate options and choose a solution. For example, if someone is going to buy a car, they might:
Research various brands of vehicles online and read reviews.
Go to multiple dealerships and test drive different vehicles.
Compare prices online before heading out to the dealership (this step might happen before or after visiting several dealerships). Then once at the dealership, they may consider other factors like financing options or whether a particular model has all the essential features for them when researching their options. If we were building software for this hypothetical person (and let’s say we are), then it would be essential for us as designers/developers to understand exactly how this person makes decisions so that we know what information needs to be included in our product’s interface so that it can help them make good choices quickly and efficiently when needed during each phase of their decision-making process.
One of the most important benefits of using personas is that they help you build better products. They allow you to focus on your target customers and understand their needs, desires and challenges. This will lead to better product features (i.e., what the product should do), purchase processes (i.e., how someone buys it) and user onboarding experiences (i.e., how someone uses it).
Personas also help attract more buyers by providing a clear understanding of who they are—and how they think about themselves—so that marketing campaigns can be targeted at specific groups.
Finally, personas can be used as a framework for strategic planning: A persona might have specific behavioural patterns or characteristics that are not present in other personas across your business, so when thinking about new products or services, use these unique insights from one particular type of customer as inspiration for what else could be offered to people like them to improve on existing offerings for all customers within your company’s reachable market space.
If you still need to figure out buyer personas and whether they could benefit your business, then it’s worth looking at the data. Over 75% of marketers use buyer personas as part of their marketing strategies, but only 33% have a straightforward process for creating them. This means that if you don’t already have a strategy in place, then now is the time to start!