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Step by step guide on how to define your Buyer Personas

Buyer Profile is an analysis of the PEOPLE who make decisions. We previously defined the COMPANY you want to do business with as Ideal Customer Profile and if you haven’t done it, you may want to go look at the ICP for web agency article and do a quick definition for yourself.

By defining Buyer Personas you will be creating semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. This is a strategic tool in making informed decisions that will improve your targeting and business growth.

Importance of personas

If you are going to discover your personas you will be able to create content and organize promotional campaigns that:

  • target your specific audience
  • expand a common language about your buyers
  • develop procedures for classifying prospects
  • segment your company by persona
  • build a globalization strategy

Also, those semi-fictional profiles support you to make the right decisions regarding the:

  • marketing budget
  • time spending
  • developing products and services
  • targeting segments
  • allow for alignment across the organization

You will get a great advantage on the market because you will focus on the correct segments of the market using the most efficient strategies and you will also attract better quality lead and ideal visitors.

Characteristics

Before you start defining buyer personas, keep in mind it is a relatively hairy area. Let’s look at some guidelines we have prepared so you know how to approach this process:

  • are not necessary users but they can be and must represent the most useful class of product users.
  • must be consistent and lifelike
  • their needs has to be suitable with your products and services
  • they will have the financial support to purchase your product or service
  • they may were not satisfied with the competitor products

Usually buyer personas are based on real research, interviews. ….. However sometimes we don’t have the budget or the time to do all the research. In this case we can define and use Proto-personas instead of Buyer Profile. They are a bit different and here’s what you need to know:

  • are used when there cannot be allocated resources for a proper research
  • helps you getting some experience before building the actual buyer personas
  • are often created in a brainstorming session with you team members
  • they are builded without the research background when the buyer personas are based on the information about your clients
  • you need them to help you get an idea about the buyer personas

Steps to create your Buyer Persona

1. Gathering information

So, now let’s find out how you can create a profile of a buyer persona for your web agency. You will need to gather information about your customers. You can then use this information to get a more accurate version of your Buyer Profile. Here are a few suggestions of ours that you can do right away:

Make interviews. Find a bunch of people that are decision makers in companies you have defined to be ICP and ask them for a short talk for some questions. Say you are doing research and can help you a lot if they could dedicate 30m. Here is a great set of questions you can use as framework.

Current and past clients are your best immediate information. You have that information, you just need to classify it. Use the same questions from the interview, just answer them yourself - you should know most of the answers. If some answers are not obvious give your clients a call. It’s a good opportunity to reestablish the connection.

  • You can use your forms from your website to get information about your customers. For example, if your personas vary based on job title, build the specific fields so you will find answers about the job title.

  • Talk to your Project Managers or Customer Care representatives and  get feedback about your clients. You can find out what products they liked the most, where they had difficulties understanding the instructions and much more.

  • If you have social media like facebook, twitter, instagram you can have more surface information about your personas like name, age, race, educational background, family status or how they look, where they are spending more time, what are their preferences, etc. You can dig into specific people, research them, find their profiles and get a sense of answers on the list of questions.

  • For a more specialised way to gather what you need you can always pay for a marketing research. There are companies that will take care of everything for the right price. You can ask for your own research, that means to have primary research and quality data, or you can have secondary data(research), that means to buy already processed data that will fit as much as possible with your requirements and of course it will be faster to get and cheaper.

Now is the time to do some of those steps and get some answers. Do at least 3 full interviews with some clients to be able to continue with creating the profile.

 

2.  Find Common things between those people

Now that you have collected information, look at it and decide the common trends between people. Take the most common (and important  things for you) even if they are positive or negative. You need to figure out why the people are looking for your products and services.

You are probably a company that is making apps for smartphones and websites and the common things your potential customers have is that they are a small to medium company, they do not have so much profit, they do not have a CTO, the owner has a lot of responsibilities, they need to sell themself and become more popular on the market. In conclusion the owner is too busy to take care of this need and he does not have the knowledge to do it, so he will want to contact you to take care of this job. Because he does not make that much profit you can give him options of payment.

Since you’ve already done research and you have answers to the interview questions (right?) you can sit down and start grouping things you see in common. Group the trends into things that good clients do/are and things that bad clients do/are. Once you do that, you will start getting a feel of an imaginary person that works in the ideal company and is at the right position to do business with you. And that’s what we are aiming at.

  

  3.  Define Buyer persona by using a template

Now the creation. It will be easier for you to create a buyer persona profile by using templates. We looked at everything there was online and compiled a buyer profile template for digital agencies by adding everything required and removing the irrelevant things.  Use that template and fill up with the data from the common things you noticed between the interviews. Again, when you start doing this, a few things might change during the process and you can adjust them. I know it always so helpful when you see this work done and completed by someone else, so here are two examples of buyer profiles - Mark and Phillip.

If you feel you need to dig deeper on your own and make your own template we made you a list of a few we found online:

How many buyer personas should you do?

The number of personas has to be the same as the number of subgroups but keep the number as minimum as possible because, buyer personas require constantly updates and if there will be some modifies it will take a lot of time to work on it. You don’t need to create a buyer persona profile for each role, department, function, campaign.

The extra mile - Empathy map

Empathy represents the ability to understand and share other people feelings. An empathy map is a tool that it helps you understand deeper your personas and how do they think. You can create this map after building your buyer persona because it will help you have a better understand about your persona. The buyer persona will get you the surface information and the empathy map will get you the insights.

How this map can help you

  • You will be able to find out the insights of your customers
  • Get a complete analysis of your target segment
  • Fail projects rate will decrease considerably because the most successful projects are considering the customer’s thoughts, feelings, behaviour to be the most important.
  • It will guide your product development in the right way because you will know what your customers want from your products and services
  • Helps you discover your ideal customer

The map is divided in 6 section: think and feel, hear, say and do, see, pain, gain and it looks like this:

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                            Pic. 1 

 Elements

What the user is thinking and feeling when is interacting with you products:

  • What are my customer real feelings about my products ?
  • What are my customer concerns about my products?
  • How happy is my customer with my product?
  • What are my customers fears about my product?
  • What are my customer dreams and hopes?
  • What matters the most for my customer?
  • What my customer thinks about a person that is using my product?

What does my customer hear about my products:

  • What/Who influences my person in taking the decision of buying my product?
  • Through what channel is my customer getting the information?
  • Is my person easily influenced?
  • What is my person hearing from family/colleagues/friends/boss?
  • How my customer prefers to communicate?

What my customer is saying and doing :

  • What is your customer talking with the others about my product?
  • What my customer is doing matches with what is it saying?
  • Does my customer have influence power?
  • What my person is repeating to others?
  • What is my person usual schedule?
  • How you customer is portraying itself in front of others?

What my person sees about my product:

  • What design is my customer looking for?
  • What does my customer’s entourage looks like?
  • What maket offers does my person see?
  • What my persona sees it’s friends are doing?
  • What competitors my customer is seeing?

This section is about customer’s need, gains, wants, success :

  • What my person need?
  • What my person want to get from my product?
  • What my customer understands by being successful?
  • How it is going to use my product to achieve success?
  • Does my product satisfies the full need of my customer?

This section is about person’s frustrations, pain points, fears:

  • What my customer wants to avoid?
  • What my person fears the most?
  • What frustrations my person is facing during an ordinary day?
  • What obstacles my customer still needs to overcome?
  • What was my person’s hardest obstacle to overcome?
  • What are my person’s weak points?

You can build your own empathy map just by printing that piece of paper we prepared for you (template) or just draw it by hand on a white sheet.

Useful tools

These are a few tools that can be used to collect and analyze your audience.

  • SurveyMonkey - surveys
  • Clearbit Enrichment Program - database of emails and information on those people
  • Google Analytics - stats
  • Application Insights
    • is an extensible Application Performance Management (APM) service for web developers on multiple platforms. Use it to monitor your live web application. It will automatically detect performance anomalies. It includes powerful analytics tools to help you diagnose issues and to understand what users actually do with your app on FB, TW, IG, Whatsapp




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