How to create a buyer persona: a complete guide with templates

Deb Mukherjee

by Deb Mukherjee · Updated Sep 13, 2021

The reason your marketing campaigns aren’t really taking off could be poor sketches of buyer personas or even the lack of one.

We’ve got the stats to back this up - 93% of businesses that are meeting their revenue targets have their entire database segmented by buyer personas.

persona-workshop

Keep reading to know how you can build perfect buyer personas for your business.

What is a buyer persona?

Buyer persona brings your target audience to life!

  • What makes your customers tick?
  • Or what ticks them off?
  • What makes them buy from you?
  • What type of messaging clicks with them?

Identifying your buyer personas will help you find answers to these questions.

A buyer persona is a detailed, fictional representation of your ideal customer. They help you understand your prospects better, help you nail down the characteristics of your target audience and the motivations behind their purchasing decisions.

You can even go ahead and assign them names to make them more relatable like ‘Millennial Mia’, ‘Banker Ben’, ‘Student Sally’, ‘Accountant Aaron’ - get creative and have fun with the names. Go ahead and put a face to these personas using stock images.

Study these personas in-depth and based on your market research and customer data - carve out buyer demographics, interests, pain points, buying behaviors, typical traits, and anything else that can give you a better idea about your target customers.

This will help you build products that solve problems for your customer base, tailor your messaging to appeal to them, use social media channels that they are active on, and build a brand that resonates with them on many levels.

Do buyer personas really work?

Detailed buyer personas are at the crux of a successful marketing strategy. Buyer personas are the fundamentals guiding you through every stage of a marketing campaign, influencing every decision you make.

So you know your customers are working moms. But do you know what interests they have, their spending habits, or their biggest concerns?

Address your customers' pain points and you’ll stay ahead of your competition! Pinning down ideal buyer personas will help you do just that.

Dig into your database to find out more about your existing customers and go all out with market research to gather key insights on your potential customers.

How to create a buyer persona?

Now your business might be catering to people from different walks of life - based on the size of your business you could have a handful of buyer personas or in some cases around 10-15 customer personas. As per the stats, 90% of company sales primarily comes from 3-4 key buyer personas.

People might have different reasons that motivate them to buy from your business - you cannot be building a persona for individual customers but you can group similar customers to form segments. Developing personas for each of these segments is the way to go about it.

1. Do in-depth audience research

Audience research is critical - you need data-backed facts to build your buyer personas and not base it on mere instinct. The people you need to be looking up are your existing customers, potential customers, and just about anyone who might match the traits of your target audience.

Here’s what you need to be doing and where you need to be looking:

  1. Shoot out surveys to your customer database and conduct polls on your social handles to find out more about customer preferences and interests
  2. Gather data from social media insights, purchase history details, and Google analytics
  3. Check up with your sales teams on the nature of leads that they are dealing with. Finding out more about how their conversations pan out with potential customers can tell you a lot about the audience that you need to be targeting
  4. Find out which social media channels your customers prefer to use and when they spend their time online. Use tools like Keyhole, BuzzSumo, or Hootsuite to know which social networks, hashtags, and topics are popular among your customers
  5. Study your customer database to understand buying behavior and trends that you need to know about your customers
  6. Watch your competitors closely - they are also targeting similar customer personas. Look for patterns in their content, posting style or hashtag usage that are fetching them good engagement.
  7. Strategically position form fills across your website and promotional campaigns to collect useful customer persona information

Some details that you need to be capturing:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Income level and spending power
  • Behaviors, and interests
  • Languages
  • Business type/size
  • Designations

2. Find the true customer pain points

It’s important to know what are the problems that your customers face today!

What’s stopping them from getting what they want?

Are there any bottlenecks in the service you provide?

Drill down on what your customers need, what you could do to make their lives easier, and how you can improve your offerings to serve them better.

Checking with your customer support teams can help you gather valuable insights on what the customers are asking for and how you can improve the entire experience for them.

With most people taking to social media channels to vent out their frustration with brands and services - you stand to gain a lot of insights on brand perception and customer pain points from social media networks.

Make use of social media listening tools and monitor the overall sentiments about your brands. You can turn to popular tools such as Mention, Brandwatch, or Talkwalker to keep track of brand mentions, customer feedback, and support queries in real-time.

3. Identify customer goals

While pain points talk about problems that you need to tackle - goals are more on the lines of what your customers would like to achieve.

What are their aspirations and what drives them? These need not be directly related to the products or services you offer. They could either be personal in nature or professional depending on the type of your business.

The idea here is not for customer goals to be the basis of your product development strategies but they can be helpful in conducting content research, building your brand’s tone, or directing your marketing efforts.

The best source to gather insights on customer goals would be your sales team. They know what your customers want to achieve by buying from you and they also know what motivates your customers to use your products and services.

Understand from them how you could build better experiences for your customer - you could even ask them to conduct customer interviews and collect customer testimonials or feedback on the user experience.

4. What can you do to help

Alright, now to figure how you can find ways to help out your customer personas. So you know their problems and the goals that they’re looking to achieve, with that in the backdrop - work out strategies that will benefit your customers.

Put yourselves in the customer's shoes and understand what you could do to make your products or services more valuable, your website and customer support experiences more delightful, and your overall brand perception more appealing!

Along with determining the pain points and customer goals, understand where your customers are currently in their buying journey and work your way backward to offer solutions and experiences that they simply cannot resist!

5. Final stop, create your persona

We’re almost there - all you need to do now is study the pool of data you have gathered so far and start classifying common characteristics, demographics, and other traits that will help you flesh out unique buyer personas.

Make your personas relatable and start defining characteristics - give them a name, a hobby, a job and make them seem like a real person.

For instance, say you identified a customer group of techies in their early 30s with kids between the ages of 5 and 10, who are interested in building a healthy lifestyle. We’ll now create a buyer persona with this data:

  • His name is Techie Timothy
  • He is 33 years old
  • He works at a tech company in Brooklyn
  • He is a fitness freak who loves going to the gym
  • He has 2 kids, aged 1 and 3
  • He avoids junk food and wants to maintain a healthy lifestyle

Persona template for Word

word-persona-template

We've gone ahead and created a Word persona template you can use to start your persona creation process. It contains the most important elements we've covered in this article. If there's things missing that are relevant to your use case, don't be afraid to add them!

Persona template for Notion

notion-persona-template

Since a lot of companies nowadays use Notion for their knowledgebase and documentation we've also created a Notion persona template. At Dashword we also use Notion and this is the persona template we use ourselves. To add the template to your own workspace just click the "Duplicate" button on the top right.

Get the Notion persona template here.

Time to build your own buyer personas

The benefits of building buyer personas and establishing the customers that are your biggest revenue-earning opportunity are paramount to your business growth. If you need help with tailoring your content for the buyer personas that you build, then give Dashword a try today!