What are buyer personas and how can they be used to drive sales?

An introduction and how-to guide

Let’s talk buyer personas.

Often an overlooked step in the marketing strategy process, having well-defined personas for your business help to target communication and, ultimately, drive sales. Any good communicator will tell you ‘one size does not fit all’ – and that knowing your audience is an invaluable piece to the marketing puzzle that will influence your business’ potential for growth.

Consider recent advertisements you’ve observed. How are they attracting you and where are you seeing these ads? It’s likely a bank will target their first home buyer loans using imagery of loved-up young couples, promoted via social media channels and during The Bachelor TV episodes and NOT with imagery of retirees promoted during M*A*S*H re-runs.

This is where buyer personas fit into the picture.

Put simply, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer.

By collecting user data – not making assumptions – you can paint a picture of the key traits of your audience and be able to target your marketing efforts to attract the right new people as well as better serve your existing customers. Buyer personas should be the major guiding force and reference point in all your marketing and communications endeavours.

Depending on the range of your products and services and the complexity of your offering, most organisations should have between 1 to 5 buyer personas – some up to 7.

What information should you include in your buyer personas?

Identifying valuable details of your buyer personas is the key to their effectiveness. Use the data available to you – Google analytics; customer surveys; Facebook insights; industry and market reports – and drill down into actionable information.

As a start, you could define your ideal customer’s:

  • average $ spend amount
  • interest in particular products and/or services
  • position in the company they work at
  • level of seniority (are they a key decision maker?)
  • information and/or purchasing channels
  • demographics (age range, where they live, how much they earn)
  • personal wants, needs and aspirations
  • pain points/barriers to completing a sale

Adding in the smaller details and naming your personas can help to humanise them, but don’t lose focus – the more valuable and actionable information you have, the better you’ll understand your audience and be able to address their needs.

The power of personas

Nailing down buyer personas early on helps to structure your marketing plans. They’ll offer a central reference point across your organisation, providing insight that will inform your ongoing marketing and communication efforts.

With detailed buyer personas, your messaging and delivery channels can be targeted to valued customers. You’ll engage more with an audience that are likely to be interested in your offering, and appeal less to those that aren’t. Your marketing energy will be directed more efficiently for better results.

Not only do buyer personas help target your marketing efforts, they can also guide product development. By seeing things from a customer point of view, you can start to address challenges from their perspective and identify gaps in the market too.

Go forth and conquer!

There are plenty of templates available online to help create buyer personas. We like HubSpot’s version but there are many more out there. We can also assist you in putting them together – just get in touch and we’ll start the ball rolling.

If there’s one thing you take away from this read, it should be that no matter your budget, time constraints or experience, it’s simply not enough to aimlessly promote your business. Your energy and resources will be wasted. Incorporating buyer personas as part of your marketing strategy is vital to producing targeted campaigns and will result in increased engagement and ultimately, sales.

Need a hand with your next project?

The Orion Creative team are experts at designing, building and writing digital projects and creating strategic or tactical campaigns that make a tangible difference. Contact us and we can chat about how we can promote your products and services, boost your brand, and grow your business.