Buyer Persona [bahy-er per-so-na] is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. In simple terms, buyer persona is a character sketch of the target audience constructed on common traits (not an assumption) and it helps marketers plan their strategies.
It is a measurable figure created after rigorous and thorough analysis; in simple language you can call it a way to quantify the quality of customers.
The process involves thorough research of different traits of users,based on which multiple personas are developed and the thought process, feeling, concerns, hopes, expectations, plans, and beliefs of the audience are identified by a business.
Not just Ideal customers, you can learn about the customers you least expect
During the process of identifying key characteristics of ideal customers, you will come across some customer’s characters (negative persona) you do not want to sell your product to. You do not want to do business with these characters as they waste your resource and end up buying nothing. Eliminating/reducing the probability of these customers is important as they reduce the profitability and gobble up resources, which you could have spent on targeting other customers.
The below image depicts some of the personas, which any website based business can create.
These personas can change according to the market and niche you are targeting and cannot be same for two businesses.
How to create a buyer persona
Analysis, research, survey, interview of your audience, are few of ways you can opt for creating buyer persona. By audience we mean a mix of happy customers, unhappy customers, potential prospects, and the customers of non-competitive brand who are ready to align with you.
Following are few more practical ways to gather information for developing buyer persona.
- Analysis of customer’s behavior and trends on a website
Analyze your customers and take note of frequent behaviors. Understand how these customers reach your website, how they behave on the website, when they visit the most, what are their favorable payment methods, etc.
- Gathering important information through forms
When creating a registration form or any other form for your website, create form fields that can help you gather important information. For example: – While deciding the field for a registration form on ecommerce website most important fields will be gender, age, etc.
- Close connection with customer support team
Have a detailed discussion with the customer support team of your organization, as they are the people who are know the end customers the maximum. They can help in generalizing the key characteristics of different type of customers you serve.
- Interview the customers and the prospects
Try to discover what your customers like and dislike about your brand; you can use online survey or email for this. Interviews help in extracting a lot of information and details regarding the behavior of the customers.
Who Should You Interview To Create The Most Appropriate Buyer Persona
- Customers- For interviews, the existing customer base is the perfect place to start with. It is very important that you take interview of both bad and good customer as this will help in creating a variety of personas.
- Prospects- Make sure you also interview those people who have not bought anything from your website and do not know much about you. There are some customers who register on your website and do not purchase, contacting them can help you know what went wrong.
- Referral – Ask existing customers or co-workers to spread the interview among known people. This will help you gather information of the general public and what they are expecting from an ecommerce website.
- Third-party network- Connect with any company (Non-competitors)that can give information regarding their customers. Make sure you find those companies that have similar target audience as you.
Tips to conduct a successful interview
- Give incentive to customers who are willing to give an interview or fill out a survey for you. A gift card or a discount coupon can entice customers to fill out answers for your brand.
- When you are asking non-customers to fill out a survey, make sure you inform them that it is not a sales pitch and you are just conducting an interview to know them better
- Make sure you are flexible about the timing of a telephonic or email interview. Allow them to pick up any date or time and make sure you send a calendar invitation to book the time and interview.
- The number of interviews you need to conduct depends on the size of the business but even for a start-up it is advisable to have at least 5 interviewees for each type of persona; as the business grows, so will this count.
- Ask questions related to their basic details, personal information, preferences, etc. Dive deeper into the questions so that you understand more and more about the characteristic of the customer.
Now it’s finally the time to create a buyer persona from the information that you have gathered. Make sure you segregate information based on various parameters, like,
- Where they prefer shopping?
- Functionality of product
- Solution from product
- Communication preferences
Together these descriptions and answers will help you picture your ideal customers, so that you can direct your marketing strategies according to their preferences. Don’t restrict your categories to the groups you see in this post; these categories will differ as per different needs/goals/nature of a business. Make your own categories from the information that you gather eventually.
A buyer persona can be termed effective only when the information you gather can be used by your marketing team. Collecting all sort of information that have no relevance to your business goals cannot be used by them so make sure every piece of information that you put in a persona informs your marketing team about something.