What Are Buyer Personas?

We’ve all heard the term “model citizen.” Well, imagine the model citizen of the specific market your company is targeting. That’s essentially what a buyer persona is: a non-existent person that represents the data-driven route to increased sales.

Buyer Personas Explained

When you launch a business with a niche service or product, or a suite of niche services and products, you won’t really be selling to specific people, because you certainly don’t know everyone in your market. So instead, you’ll have to make up people in the form of buyer personas.

So, what exactly are buyer personas? Put simply, they are profiles that represent the ideal consumer of whatever it is your business has to offer. A buyer persona is a researched-based representation of the average person you want to target in your marketing. And because most businesses will target more than one type of person, almost all companies have multiple buyer personas they will want to try to reach with their marketing.

The research component of this is very important. While you probably have some idea of what consumers in your market think is important when it comes to products and services, industries are always shifting. Plus, there are many other facts you can learn about potential clients, such as their buying habits, pain points, online preferences, and more. Using detailed buyer personas created from the most recent data will allow you to gain the competitive edge you need.

Why Most Businesses Need Multiple Buyer Personas

If you started a business to solve a specific problem, you may find yourself with a relatively narrow list of buyer personas. Let’s say you sell a very specific type of guitar case that protects the instrument from damage when transported on planes or in the cargo compartment of a tour bus. Most likely, your buyer persona would be professional musicians who are used to going on tour.

However, you also wouldn’t want to exclude outdoor enthusiasts who simply enjoy bringing their guitars with them while they travel the country. By analyzing all of the data available to you and considering the possibilities, you can ensure your marketing reaches the most potential clients.

When it comes to other types of businesses with a broader range of buyer personas, market research will be an indispensable part of your success. For instance, if you’re planning on starting a coffee shop, the types of people you would want to include in your marketing can vary widely. A coffee shop in the heart of downtown Portland will need to market its business very differently from a coffee shop in the desert on the way to Palm Springs from Los Angeles.

In either case, multiple buyer personas are necessary. The Portland shop will likely want to target local residents deeply entrenched in coffee culture while also appealing to tourists. And the middle-of-nowhere desert coffee shop will need to consider the preferences of residents of the Coachella Valley along with people who travel from across the globe to visit Joshua Tree and Southern California in general.

The key to optimizing any business is using accurate buyer personas for all potential customer types based on careful market research. Our next post will discuss how to create these valuable tools using your current customers or competitor analysis and demographics.