Buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market data and research about your existing customers. If used to its full potential, a buyer persona can help you get right to the core of your customers’ values—attracting the most valuable leads and visitors to your business.
How can a buyer persona benefit my business?
- It brings your target demographic into focus.
When you go through the exercise of defining a buyer persona, you write their story. By doing so, you are uncovering their hopes, concerns, behaviors, activities and needs. When you have a full picture of your target rather than just the basic demographics, you are better able to tailor your message to those consumers and reveal unique opportunities for establishing connections.
- If it’s inaccurate or underdeveloped, it can alienate your target market…
“As a rheumatoid arthritis patient and as a healthcare marketer, I cringe every time I see the TV commercial for a Humira. It doesn’t connect with me and, even worse, it perpetuates the false myth that people suffering from RA can take an injection and then run off to build a playground during a rainstorm. Only 20 percent of patients achieve full remission,” said Shannon O’Connell. This is a prime example of a brand that could benefit from a more accurate buyer persona. While healthcare marketers want to communicate the message that good care will allow patients to get back to their lives and daily activities, they need to ask serious questions about patient outcomes before making that promise. Knowing your target market—and not just basing your advertising on a stereotype or caricature—can be the key to avoiding disconnects and unfulfilled brand promises like this one.
- …but if it’s accurate, it can help you improve your brand experience.
The process of wiping the slate clean and thinking about things from the customer’s perspective will often uncover valuable wish list items that could make all the difference in getting word-of-mouth referrals or higher ratings in online reviews.
Steps for developing a buyer persona:
- Research to find basic information such as gender, age range, education levels, household income and geographic areas.
- Survey to discover their activities, priorities, how they source information, social media usage and any other lifestyle preferences that could be relevant to your business.
- Define their needs and expectations as well as any struggles or issues they may have.
- Define how others influence their buying decisions.
- Survey to discover your company’s strengths and what makes you stand out from competitors.
- Use this information to group similar consumers together.
- Develop an anecdotal story about a fictitious person who represents each type of group.
Additional tips and tricks:
- The more detailed your buyer persona is, the better!
- You may find it helpful to search for a stock photo that fits your persona.
- Be careful to avoid making up answers to the questions in the above steps; make sure your responses are backed up by research or customer statements. Otherwise, your buyer persona may end up being more self-serving than enlightening.
- Once you are able to identify real customers who fit your buyer persona, you can tailor your communications to fit their needs. Be conscious of this in your business interactions.
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Tulsa, OK 74120