Buyer personas, or customer profiles, are semi-fictional generalisationa of your ideal customers.
At the simpler end of the scale, they allow you to personalise your marketing for different segments of your audience. For instance, instead of sending the same emails to everyone in your CRM, you can segment by your buyer personas and tailor your messaging according to what you know about those customer types.
In this post we'll go over 3 easy steps to get you up and running with your first complete customer profile.
Step 1: decide who your ideal customers are
Take some time to look at each of your customers. Do they follow a familiar pattern, or can you identify a particular trend amongst them?
Do you or your company have a particular niche in which a specific set of customers would fit? For example, if your company produces bespoke furniture, do you find you produce more home cinema furniture installations than anything else? If so, then you might think about targeting hi-end cinema enthusiasts or retailers who sell the cinema equipment.
By starting with a loose picture of your ideal customers, it will make step 2 much easier and more productive.
Step 2: do your homework
OK, so we've got an idea of our ideal customer. Now we need to flesh out their profile with some real-life market research. Whilst it can, and should take some time, it doesn't have to mean endless days crafting the exact details down to infinitesimal spec. In fact, it will be better to start with a handful of quality informational nuggets and build out your profiles in more detail as time goes on and you have a better understanding of your customers, their details and needs. Creating great buyer personas is an evolutionary process.
Here are some places you can go to start your research:
- Talk to your existing customers. You can either pick up the telephone or meet them in person to discover what they like about your company, its products and services.
- Look through your contacts database or CRM to identify trends around how customers find you, find your content and consequently utilise it.
- Add some new form fields to your website contact forms. If you know that companies of a certain size are a better fit for you, or your target customers are in their mid-40's then add a field to your forms allow visitors to provide this information. This way, right from the get go, you can align new visitors and leads with one or more profiles.
- Ask your sales team for their feedback; who do they interact with most? What trends and generalisations can they identify about the customers that serve you best?
Step 3: fill out a customer profile template
Once you've got a good understanding of who your ideal clients are and you've collected enough research to be able to fill out your ideal customers' profile, the final step is to write it all down in a concise manner somewhere that allows you to refer back to it time and time again. You can use an online tool, such as HubSpot's Online Persona Builder or by downloading our very own worksheet, Buyer Persona Template Worksheet (also available in the right hand side bar and at the end of this very article).
By keeping your fleshed out buyer personas to hand, you'll be able to, at a glance, identify best-fit customers more easily when they cross your path.
Happy profile building!
Finished all 3 steps. Now what do I do?
Nice work! Now that you've crafted the foundation, you can use your shiny new profile(s) in a number of ways and for a number of reasons:
- better target customers because now you know what they're looking for
- refer back to each profile to make sure your prospects and leads are aligned to your 'best fit' customer profile
- produce content that matches the goals and challenges that each customer has
Would you like a handy worksheet to take with you?
Well you are in luck! We've got a great downloadable worksheet on the importance of buyer personas, more details about how to create them and a reusable template to produce winning customer profiles again and again.
Get your copy today!