How to create buyer personas (Free template)
Updated: May 13
What are buyer personas?
Simply speaking, buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers.
The primary goal of creating buyer personas is to understand your audience to the best of your ability so you can tailor your marketing, sales and customer success interactions to the needs of your leads and customers on an individual basis.
They will vastly improve your customer experience and the effectiveness of your marketing. When you understand the types of people who typically buy from you, you can begin to engage with them in a human and helpful way.
Buyer personas embody the characteristics, goals and challenges of your target audiences.
By creating personas for your business, you are giving yourself the best chance of providing a solution that's suited to them.
Businesses generally have a 4-6 buyer personas and 1 or 2 primary personas, but this can vary significantly from business to business. The primary personas are those you chose to target more heavily than others and they usually represent the largest portion of your customer base.
“Buyer personas embody the characteristics, goals and challenges of your target audiences. When you understand your buyer personas, you can market to them in a human and helpful way.”
Some businesses will have more personas than others but you want to keep the number down to a minimum; they are meant to help simplify.
Personas allow you to map out and produce targeted content for your primary audience for the different stages of their buyer's journey.
They humanise interactions and help you to understand your customers on a deeper level.
How do you create buyer personas?
To create accurate personas you need to conduct some research among your existing customers, search for insight online, and put yourself in your ‘ideal’ customer’s shoes. How do they think, behave, make decisions, etc?
Here are 4 ways to start creating your buyer personas:
1. Analyse your current contact database. Make a list of commonalities between certain leads and customers. What challenges do they have? What are they trying to achieve?
The owner of a £10m business is likely to have very different needs to a mid-level marketing manager at a FTSE 100 company.
2. Look at the forms on your website. Can you change a required field to capture specific persona information? E.g. if your personas vary based on geography, ask each lead for information about their location on your forms.
3. It’s critical to ask your sales, marketing, customer service teams to contribute. You need to collect their feedback on the leads and customers they interact with most. What generalisations will they make? Make a list and categorise it. Inviting your client-facing teams to contribute will give you the best representation of your customer profiles.
4. Interview customers and prospects in person or over the phone. Find out what they like about your product or service. This is arguably the most important step but is often overlooked due to time restraints or not wanting to ‘annoy’ a customer. To overcome that barrier, ensure your customer knows this is not a sales call, and offer an incentive like an Amazon gift card for their participation.
What information do I need to create buyer personas?
There are 4 areas we suggest focusing on: demographics, goals, challenges, and your communication strategy.
Essentially this means finding out who they are, what they want to achieve, what's stopping them, and how you can position yourself as the solution to their problem.
1. Demographic information
- Background: job title, career background, family background
- Demographics: age, location, salary
Example questions: Could you describe your role? How is your success measured?
2. Goals & motivations
- List their top 3-5 goals.
Example questions: What are your top priorities this year? Why did you make the decision to use our service vs a competitor? What is unique about our offering?
3. Challenges & preparation
- List their top 3-5 challenges.
- What are the common objections from this persona?
Example questions: What challenges do you face most often? What is your biggest challenge?
4. Communication strategy
- Summarise your messaging strategy for this persona.
- How will you use the information above to position your offering to them?
- How will you help them overcome their challenges?
Use this simple guide to creating buyer personas and make your marketing and sales far more targeted and effective.