What Is A Buyer Persona? A Complete Guide (+Free Templates)

7 out of 10 businesses take off without even knowing their TARGET AUDIENCE. The Result? A measly 2% lead-to-sale rate. Yikes. Read this guide to know why you should care about creating a buyer persona.

If you’re a marketer or a copywriter, you’ve probably heard the term “buyer persona.” It’s tossed out so casually, as if everyone knows about it.

But, that’s not completely true.

Most marketers sell to unknown entities and call them “target consumers” without even identifying their pain points, interests, desires, etc. How can you expect to succeed if you don’t even know who you’re selling to? You can’t make your marketing communications relevant, appealing and enticing if you don’t recognize your real audience.

The rationale is that the more we understand who this person is and what their needs are, the better we can target them with personalized messages. Otherwise we’re marketing to a silhouette with a question mark above their head.

If you’re a beginner in the world of marketing and still don’t know “What Is a Buyer Persona?” and you’re hoping to find out what the heck everyone’s talking about, this is the right place.

By the end of this blog, you will have a solid understanding of buyer persona. Plus, you’ll get personalized buyer personas for your industry, absolutely FREE.

First, let’s get the basic definition.

What Is a Buyer Persona?

A buyer persona is a research-based profile that depicts target customers, what their days are like, what they’re thinking, the challenges they face, the anxieties they have, what they do to address a problem, what phrases they use, how they make decisions, and much more.

Buyer personas are specific enough so that you will have a mental model of your audience that’s easy to understand.

For example,

Karen is 40 years old who loves to waste money on clothes, never stops telling her friends about it, wealthy enough to waste money but not too wealthy to realize how trash the stuff she’s buying is. So, if you sit down to write a blog or an ad copy, it’s easier to write for one person than women from high-income households, urban, and 30-45 age groups. So having a buyer persona enables you pass a simple test – will this content help Karen Buyer or not? Will she like it? The persona puts a laser focus on – what your audience is trying to achieve.

Why is buyer persona important?

A buyer persona is crucial for marketing success. It allows you to build a long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship with your customers and generate content that actually speaks to your audience in terms of their various needs, pain points, and buying cycle stages. It is like having a treasure map that leads you straight to your ideal customer.

Let’s have a sneak peak of the most obvious reasons why buyer persona is important.

1. Cracking the differences in buying habits

User personas help you uncover different ways people search for things online, buy & use products/services, and set their expectations. It serves as your guide that walks you through the experiences of real customers so you can focus solely on improving your user journeys and make a real difference for your customers.

2. Gauging fears in making medium-to-complex purchase decisions

The fear of making the wrong decision is often as powerful as the enthusiasm of making the right one. This includes a purchase decision that takes days, months, or even years to evaluate for example, deciding on a college for your child to attend, purchasing a new technology solution, or choosing a consulting firm to advise you on an important issue your company is wrestling with. There’s a lot at stake – the decision has vital ramifications for the customer because they are probably going to live with the decision for a meaningful period of time. A buyer persona will help you identify their fears.

3. Understanding needs and motivations

User personas can be beneficial in understanding users’ motivations and needs how they influence online purchase decisions. By creating a clear picture of user types, your team can focus on them while making design decisions. This alignment will help avoid brainstorming irrelevant issues or arguing over what the user wants.

4. Eliminating pain points easily

User personas are like x-rays that help you quickly identify negative issues your users might be facing with your website or product. This gives you a quick heads-up that enables you to tell where the problem is and decide what to do with it without any delay caused by disagreement regarding the problem

5. Preventing confusion

When you understand your user personas, you can map out the best route to a great user experience. When you create this path accurately – using data from user personas – you will be much more productive and less likely to get lost during the process. You will know all about the conditions, expectations, and potential obstacles along the way.

Ready to build your own buyer persona? Get a free personalized persona for winning customers. Contact Today!

How are buyer persona used?

You can use your personas to guide the direction of your work. For instance:

  • Building product roadmaps are made easier by identifying and prioritizing changes based on buyer personas.
  • In addition to building efficient content marketing strategies, it can also be used for keyword research, copywriting, and prioritizing promotional activities.
  • Using it can help sales teams build rapport with prospects by understanding their concerns and being prepared to address them appropriately.
  • Customer support teams can use personas to better serve customers. When your support team knows about the frustration customers may feel when their product doesn’t work out, they will be in a better position to show empathy. A little compassion can go a long way to calm an angry customer.

How to build the perfect targeting persona?

Turn a marketing challenge into an opportunity by getting to know your buyer like the back of your hand. By taking the time to understand their needs, motivations and goals, you can develop a buyer persona that will help guide your marketing decisions.

Find your competitors

According to Jobs-to-be-done, there are three levels of competitors and we usually think just about the first one. There are regular direct competitors – ones doing the same job in the same way. Then there are the secondary competitors – ones doing the same job in a different way. Lastly, the indirect competitors – the ones who do a different job that has a conflicting outcome.

Say you decide to watch a movie. You might go for Netflix or go to the cinema. But you might choose a different way of entertaining yourself, going to the theater or reading a book. Finally, you might decide passive entertainment is boring and you want to go get a subscription to cooking classes so that you spend your free time with other people while learning something new. Get the point?

Use Google’s Consumer Barometer for user journey behavior

“It’s a common belief that everyone is now on mobile. But did you know that 91% of users in my country still use desktops for product research? Google’s Consumer Barometer lets you explore insights into user behavior, so you can get a better understanding of your audience.

Try Population Pyramid for demographic info

Many businesses don’t rely on one specific demographic. But if you intend to target a specialized audience, you can look into population trends with Population Pyramid to fetch data – current and future population composition, trends, historical data, etc.

For high-level research, you can use the World Factbook website for country-specific information. So, for example, if you intend to sell hand-made Smiling Buddhas in France, you can learn that only 0.5-0.75% of French citizens are Buddhist. That’s still a potential market of 249,000 active shoppers from the age group 15-54.

Unfold their Anxieties

Your target customers are probably anxious about a lot of things – the price, delivery dates, whether they’re making the right choice. They’re looking for a compromise, something that will let them click the “Buy” button without too much hesitation. Why did they choose you? What makes you different from all the other options out there? Unravel their anxieties.

Less is more

Personas should only be segmented based on differences in how and why people buy – not your product lines, industries, or job titles. If you have like minded buyers in terms of the buying decision you want to influence, they will respond equally to the same sales and marketing activities. Don’t get lured into demographics and product-based segmentation by building multiple personas. Care about differences in your buyers’ thinking about a buying decision. Otherwise, you’re just making more work for yourself.

Don’t work from a script

When you’re trying to understand what went into a buyer’s decision-making process, it’s important to ask lots of questions and really listen to their answers. You might be surprised at how much the buyer will reveal if you show genuine interest in their story. And, of course, these are golden insights that you won’t get if you’re just presenting your own ideas. So ditch the agenda and let the buyer do the talking.

Interview recent buyers

Find people who dodged the status quo and invested time and money to solve the same problem with different vendors. People act and think differently when the budget is on the line. You may ask questions like: “Take me back to the day when you decided (problem to solve) was important…”, “What was special about that day and why didn’t you act sooner?” If you want to find differences between different segments of buyers, ten interviews are enough. Whatever you hear in 11th, 17th or 26th interviews won’t be worth the investment.

Also, interviews can be a powerful tool for gaining insights that your competition doesn’t know about. By talking to people who have actually made high-risk buying decisions, you can learn about the thought processes and sources of information that they used.

This knowledge can then be used to your advantage in marketing and sales interactions. Once you’ve conducted the interviews, commission a quantitative study to validate your findings. Use the buyers’ actual words summarized with headlines in your personas.

Organizing the quotes and headlines around priority Initiative, perceived barriers, decision criteria and buyer’s journey would be a good idea.

Other useful ways to create your buyer persona

  • Join groups where your audience hangs. Create posts asking quality questions directed specifically to your audience. Ex: For a watch brand, what problems do they have with the watch they are wearing presently.
  • Emphasize what they mean rather than just understanding what they say
  • Check out blogs in your industry. Notice the patterns of the issues pointed out in numerous blogs. That is the target’s pain point
  • Get on to Reddit and join the discussions of your audience. Notice the kind of posts and kind of words used to describe.
  • Check out news articles on the news about the industry. A great source of inspiration for Copywriting
  • Type in google and let the autocomplete do the magic for you. Notice the kind of autocomplete searches that appear as you amend your query or search terms
  • Get on to Facebook ads library and notice the kind of marketing angle and messaging followed by your competition
  • Type in YouTube “Day in the life of your {[Ideal audience]} Software Engineer” and notice the pains they have to face which your product can solve
  • Get on a call or one-on-one conversation with your existing customers and ask them for feedback. Reasons they choose you over your competition
  • Find influencers in the industry and check out their followers’ profiles. The gold mine of your ideal audience lie here

Pro Tip:

Use Answer the public to actually get into the head of your buyers. Notice the queries based on your industry keywords and find the pains they are seeking solutions for.

Buyer Persona Examples

If you are new to creating user personas, you can check these user persona analysis examples as the starting point. Roleplay’s marketing and design team have created these personas based on in-depth analysis of our target customers.

Buyer Persona Example 1: Mary – The Technical Decision Maker

Example 2: Agnes Pedro, Single Mother

Buyer Persona Example 3 : Sasha Ros, New Professor

Want the same, detailed Persona Card for your Buyers – for FREE? Contact Today.

Should very small businesses need customer personas?

It’s pretty easy to see why buyer personas are important for businesses with multiple employees – but if you’re a solopreneur, or a very small business, you might still be wondering why you should bother. After all, you know who your customers are – wouldn’t this be a big waste of time for you?

Well, no. It really wouldn’t. If you want something, it always helps to clearly define what you’re going after – and that’s exactly what a buyer persona can do for you. By taking the time to understand your target customer and creating a detailed profile of them, you can make sure that every decision you make in your business is laser-focused on attracting and serving them.

In other words, a well-defined buyer persona will help narrow your focus, save you time, money, and energy in the long run – so it’s definitely worth the investment.

How many buyer persona cards should I have?

You may need more than one buyer persona for several good reasons, nevertheless, do not forget that target persona is intended to narrow down your marketing focus so you should be cautious not to create too many of them. Remember, less is more. It can be helpful to reduce the number of target personas for your marketing scheme by grouping them according to needs. This way, you would arrive at fewer groups, thereby narrowing your target focus, preferably not more than three.