Meet Kylie Montgomery from Milwaukee, Wisconsin:
Kylie is 25 years old, single, and has an older dog she rescued from the humane society while in college. She runs her own new home interior design company, mostly out of her home office and the coffee shop on her street. Although, she occasionally rents flexible professional meeting spaces for appointments with clients.
Her main concern is how to grow her company and get new leads from social media, word of mouth, content marketing, and other channels, as well as get more well-versed in email marketing.
Kylie also posts the before-and-after pictures of her interior design work on her professional Instagram page, which has recently started to take off and get her noticed by more and more new clients in her city.
Kylie also loves running half marathons, visiting local breweries, and exploring new-to-her national parks whenever she can. She hates online dating and refuses to sign up for it.
But Kylie Montgomery isn’t a real person (unless your name is Kylie Montgomery too, in which case, you’re totally real). In this case, Kylie is a buyer persona. She is a fictitious, specific, narrative of who your ideal customer is.
And Kylie is vital to your business’s growth.
We all crave personalized service: Personalized products, personalized content, personalized responses. It’s why promotional emails with personalized subject lines using our own names get opened 29% more frequently and have a 41% higher click-through rate. We love personalization.
The best way to provide this individualized attention? By creating characters like Kylie who represent a specific group of people who you want to do business with; by creating a buyer persona.
So What Exactly is a Buyer Persona?
When you are examining who is your exact, ideal customer, a buyer persona is like a semi-fictionalized version of who that person is. This isn’t just based on a whim or a general thought about who you would like your buyer persona to be, it is based on real market data and actual research about your company.
Creating a thorough, detailed buyer persona for your company will provide your company with clarity, focus, and structure for how you should market your business, where you spend most of your time and resources, and how you develop your products. This can also help you improve overall customer experience, so not only are your customers spending more, they are happier and more loyal to your company too!
- Positive Buyer Persona: Your positive buyer persona is your ideal customer. This is the person for whom you create products and services.
- Negative Buyer Persona: Conversely, a negative buyer persona can be helpful just like knowing your positive buyer persona. Knowing your negative buyer persona is helpful because this is a representation of the people whose needs do not align with your business. You most likely won’t do business with them - not because you don’t like them, but because they do not need your products or services.
Dividing your customer base into at least two groups like this helps narrow down who your target audience is (or isn’t) so that you can focus your marketing on the kind of customers you are seeking. This allows you to focus your attention, your resources, and your marketing budget in the most effective way possible, while still getting the best possible results.
How Do You Get Customer Data to Create a Buyer Persona?
In order to create a buyer persona, you need to collect information about your customers, but you also want to do this without bothering them or seeming nosy. It shouldn’t feel like an intrusion or an annoyance to your customers to provide this data, but you should also do your best to collect whatever information you can.
Just how valuable is this data? It’s everything. According to several Gallup polls, the companies that collect this data and use it to tailor their marketing and their products to their customers outperform their peers in sales growth AND 25% in gross margin sales.
So how can you obtain this customer data?
- From Orders: You can get information from your customers whenever they make a purchase or interact with your company. If you get their names when they work with your company, you can start to track your customer data, follow their transaction history, and start to learn more about their buying habits. This is a great way to start to build your buyer persona.
Additionally, you can ask for more information from customers, such as their birth date (to learn median age range, etc), and if they create an online profile, you can even ask them to answer a few questions so you can tailor your website to their specific needs and interests.
Here’s an extra tip: Make these questions mutually beneficial for you and your customers. If you ask them when their birthday is, let them know it’s to provide them with a birthday deal, or if you ask when their anniversary is, let them know that you are doing so to provide them with a special date-night treat. Or if you ask what kind of pets they have at home, make sure they know they will receive a special snack or toy for their furry friend! If you make it fun for the customer, they will be thrilled to provide you with the customer data you are seeking!
- Surveys: You can ask your customers to fill out brief online surveys to obtain new customer data. It’s easier than ever with sites like SurveyMonkey, Typeform, Feedier, and Survey Gizmo available at your fingertips for free.
Again: Make sure there’s some kind of incentive for your customers to give you this information. Perhaps they are entered to win a gift card, or they receive a promotional code or coupon after completing the survey? If they have a reason to fill out the survey, you’ll get more useful responses.
- Customer Feedback and Interviews: Without realizing it, you collect some of this information every time you have a conversation with your clients. You can target some of these questions and collect data while still maintaining a genuine conversation, focusing on your clients’ needs, and staying present in the discussion.
- Google Analytics: Google Analytics is designed to partner with your existing Google marketing, like Google Ads and Data Studio, to learn more about who your customers are and what information they are seeking. It helps you understand your site users so you can evaluate and target your main audience.
- Social Media Data: Are you encouraging your clients and customers to follow you on social media? Take advantage of this amazing tool to learn about your customers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, and local online forums. You’d be surprised how much you can learn about your customers by hanging out on your social media pages!
Analyze shares, retweets, likes, mentions, and hashtags to learn more about what excites your customers, and you start to figure out what makes them tick, and why they love your company. Then you can tailor your content and marketing to them.
- Your Competitors: There’s nothing wrong with using information from your main competitors to learn more about what your customers want! Visit Kissmetric’s blog to learn more about what you can do, but it starts with things like setting up Google Alerts and using awesome tools like Infinigraph.
Putting it Together: Using Data & Creating Your Buyer Persona
And now we get to put everything together!
With Hubspot, I’ve created my own handy template to segment customer data into different categories and now you can too! Once you’ve done this, it’s much easier to step back and learn more about who your buyer persona is. It’s separated into the following categories:
- Background: Your persona’s position or title, the type of customer you serve, type of industry they belong to, and their organization size.
- Learning: Your customers’ favorite blogs and publications, as well as their preferred social networks and associations.
- Job Role: Who is your persona directly reporting to? What are their team affinities, responsibilities, the tools they use, and their job measurements? (KPI)
- Challenges: Knowing what problems they face can help you come up with solutions.
- Goals: What do they want to accomplish?
- Preferences: This includes learning how they like to be reached.
You can access HubSpot’s free template too. Click here for the totally free template to create your business’s very own buyer persona.
If you’re looking for the best way to reach your customers? Ask them.
What kind of marketing campaign should you launch next? Ask your customers.
Running out of blog topics or fresh content ideas? Ask your customers.
Doubting the effectiveness of your homepage, and whether or not it draws visitors in? Ask your customers.
It should always go back to what the customer wants. And if you provide your customers with what they want? That’s how your business will grow and expand. And creating a buyer persona makes that process so much easier!
If you're like Kylie, I bet you're wondering how to use all this new information to conquer email marketing, increase sales, and leads online too. And I can help you get there.