At the heart of all marketing is one very important question – who are you aiming to reach? Unless you know exactly the kind of customers you are targeting, you will never know how best to engage with them. No strategy can be developed without detailed buyer personas and running campaigns without this crucial point of focus is essentially just shooting in the dark.

Why are buyer personas so important?

According to a study by Mark W. Schaefer, 90% of a brand’s sales will come from just three or four buyer personas. This makes it hugely important to identify these groups, as these are your target audience.

Buyer personas also help you to:

  • Understand what platforms to use to reach and engage with your target audience
  • Speak to buyers in their language
  • Create targeted content that provides value and meets the needs of the specific customer – this is essential, as research shows that personalised campaigns can create as much as 18 times more revenue than generic ‘one size fits all’ campaigns.
  • Craft the most compelling messages for your target buyers
  • Understand your customers’ buying behaviour
  • Understand the crucial path-to-purchase process of each customer.

Creating buyer personas – where to start

To build a picture of your ideal customer, you need data. You may not realise it, but you already have a lot of the information you need.

Existing data

Start by taking stock of what data you already have for your customers, looking first at existing customer purchase information. You do need to be mindful of data protection regulations, so only use data for the purpose it was intended. From purchase histories and information in your CRM system, you may be able to start compiling data on customer locations, average spend, the types of products they buy and other useful information.

Interactions with customers

Commonly asked questions in enquiries, social media engagement and email correspondence can also help you to understand what your customers want from a product or service. You can use this information to glean an understanding of their problems, challenges and needs.

Website analytics

The analytics data from your website can help you to understand where your customers are coming from, and how they are finding you. You can also see how long they spend on your site, which pages they visit and the search terms they used to find you – all valuable information.

Customer polls and surveys

If you need more data to flesh out your buyer personas, why not ask? Offer an incentive or prize for filling out a survey or poll. Make sure though that you don’t focus on questions relating to personal or confidential information, but rather ones that offer insight into buying motivations, pain points etc.

Create a template

With all of your data, it’s time to build a template for your first buyer persona. Include:

  • A name – this will help to bring the persona to life
  • Job title and salary
  • Age, gender and location
  • Level of education and family size
  • Goals and challenges
  • Values and fears.

From this template, you can start to work on a tailored sales approach for this kind of customer.

For more sales insight and support in developing your own buyer personas, get in touch with the professional development specialists at the Institute of Sales Management.