Buyer personas are one of the most fundamental parts of marketing. But many people get personas wrong.
In some cases, you might rely exclusively on quantitative data-based demographics, such as age and gender. This greatly misses the mark on psychographics, which are arguably the most important aspect of buyer personas.
In other cases, brands don’t rely enough on qualitative data to create an accurate picture of your persona. Instead, they create a picture of who they think this person is without any psychographic data to back this up.
Creating effective buyer personas needs a healthy mix of quantitative data, qualitative data, background research, and information we know about current customers.
Here are some tips on how to create stronger buyer personas.
Use Quantitative Data
Quantitative data is a crucial first step. Look at Google Analytics, social media channels, and any other software to get an idea of who your persona is.
You should also conduct background research to supplement this, such as market research, industry reports, studies, and more.
Use this data to form the bones of your personas.
Rely on Qualitative Data
Use qualitative data to refine your persona.
This allows you to create a detailed, specific version of who this person—or people—might be. Qualitative data often looks like surveys or interviews, which you can read about below.
Conduct Client Interviews
Conducting interviews is one of the best ways to get a crystal clear picture of your customer.
One way is to schedule interviews with existing clients, and potentially offering them an incentive to help you with your research.
In these interviews, your goal is to uncover as much psychographic information as possible. Focus on their likes and dislikes, values, pain points, etc.
Here are general interview questions you can start with:
What their job role/title is
The favourite part of their job
The least favourite part of their job
Their pain points at work
Their hobbies outside of work
How they gather information online
What online channels they use
What their goals and aspirations are
What their values are
What their favourite books/movies are (after the interview, familiarize yourself with the books, movies, etc. that they answered here. This will help give you a better idea of their worldview and values!)
Note: Your interview questions should vary depending on your audience and product. If you’re a B2B business, you might ask more questions about their job duties and decision-making at work. If you’re a B2C business, you should ask more about products and buying habits.
It’s also important to work across different departments to uncover lesser-known information about your customers.
Ask sales about pain points or objections to purchasing and customer support for recurring problems or FAQs.
Create a Customer Journey Map
Once you have a clearer picture of your persona, create a customer journey map. This is one of the most important—and often overlooked—parts of the persona process.
Beyond creating the archetypes themselves, ensure that you create journey maps to see how your customers get from awareness to conversion.
Journey maps allow you to walk in your customers’ shoes. They help you make your communication more targeted and specific, allowing you to truly meet your audience where they’re at.
To create customer journey maps, use a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data, like above, as well as information you already know about your customers.
For example, use tools like Google Analytics, Hotjar, or Lifetimely to determine online behaviour. You can also ask questions in surveys and interviews to learn about offline behaviour.
Update As Necessary
Remember: your personas may change. You might think your personas are accurate, only to find that after creating content for months, you’ve slightly missed the mark.
Check in on your personas frequently, such as quarterly or bi-annually, and refresh them as necessary. Evaluate your content and customer buying habits to see what’s resonating with your audience and where you may need to shift them.
Enjoy the Process
Lastly, and more importantly, have fun. Personas are an exciting part of the marketing process. Make sure to enjoy the journey!
What other tactics do you like to include when you create your buyer personas?