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What is a buyer persona and how do you create one?

If you had to describe your ideal customer in a few words, what would you say?

If you’re having trouble answering, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board, summarise your customer profile and create your buyer persona.

It’s impossible to sell your products and services to every person, because your message will come across as vague and generic. That’s why your buyer persona is essential for effective marketing communications, especially if you’re investing in a content marketing strategy. Successful companies have risen to the top because they know who their customers are, not because they set out to please everyone. 

It’s also important to be intentional with the details in your buyer persona’s profile. If it’s too specific or niche, you can have a challenging time growing your customer base. To hit that sweet spot, you should craft one or two buyer personas. 

Creating a buyer persona is kind of like drafting a new character to enter into your brand story. Think of building a buyer persona as creating a “fictional character” with whom your brand personality can best engage with. One thing to note in storytelling is: don’t overcrowd the scene. 

Creating too many buyer personas can mix up your messaging and marketing objectives, one or two is usually enough.

Crafting a buyer persona will ensure that your small business is customer-focused, and it will give you a crystal clear idea about the defining traits of your target customer, and why your product is the solution to their problem.

What is a buyer persona?

Your buyer persona is a reflection of the values and aspirations your brand upholds. Once you have a vision for your buyer persona, then you can create stories from your content that will draw in your target audience. Remember that your buyer persona is the “main character” in all your storytelling. If all your content marketing strategies are anchored in this central character, you will eventually build a loyal customer base that advocates for your brand.

To create a strong buyer persona you can:

  • Conduct market research
  • Review the customer data you already have to find patterns
  • Incorporate your brand’s beliefs and values into your content

Distinguishing your buyer persona from your target market is crucial in building a loyal customer base. A target market can encompass key demographic traits that may align with your brand’s values. 

The traits of your target market can include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Educational background
  • Location

A target market is a group of consumers you wish to reach, but a buyer persona is a more detailed profile of your ideal individual customer. If you consistently produce content that aligns with your values as well as your products and services, then your business will continue to attract and retain customers who support your brand. You can also visit copywriting services if you are looking for a strategy for quality content.

How Story League created buyer personas

The best way to illustrate the concept of a buyer persona is to show you how we created our own. We looked at our reach, scope and what solutions we solve to craft two ideal prospects: the established business owner and the emerging small business owner.

Buyer Persona 1: John Peters

John Peters is proactive in positioning himself as a thought leader, especially when faced with the constant changes and disruptions threatening his business and the industry in general. He’s a straight shooter with a strong moral compass, he advocates for his opinions and beliefs with confidence. He has a healthy work-life balance and he makes sure that he has time for himself and his family. As an established business owner, John Peters has plenty of stories and work experiences that can be used to boost his brand.

Because he’s been focused on building the business, he sometimes has a challenging time understanding the power of digital content. As an established business owner, John’s priority is building good relationships with his peers, both within the industry and outside of it. He has limited time to build a strong content strategy and he’s unsure of how to use online platforms to disseminate his brand’s messages.

But as a thought leader, John recognises that younger, slicker companies that are digital-savvy are winning the game, so he is prepared to align his vision with his younger staff members to keep his brand at the forefront. 

This is where Story League comes in: We can uplift the established business owner so that their values and experiences are properly reflected in their brand content and online presence.

Buyer Persona 2: Sarah Jamieson

As a small business owner, Sarah Jamieson has established CoHab, a coworking facility. She’s driven to become an established authority in her industry. She works hard now, for the life she wants in the future.

The current workplace she’s cultivated at CoHab is continuously growing because it has an “anti-corporate” vibe. Sarah believes in giving her staff a level of autonomy; so while there are occasional spot fires, on the whole, her staff work well together in resolving the challenges that come their way.

Sarah encourages her staff to seek a healthy work-life balance and to have interests outside the office, which helps ensure that everyone is engaged and invested in their work. Because everyone works well together, the business continues to grow and prosper. Sarah’s senior executives are available and approachable, which allows any potential issues to be properly resolved before they develop into bigger problems.

As a small business owner, Sarah recognises that she can tap into the stories of the tenants in CoHab. Although it’s becoming a rising movement across the globe, coworking is a new and emerging space and CoHab needs to find a point of difference.   

Sarah has a young and dynamic business and she and her team understand that content can generate sales, which is what pushes them to promote their business across all online platforms. Because Sarah and her team are all driven self-starters, CoHab still has the mindset that content is something they can or should do in-house. CoHab has one PR person who has recommended that “writing a blog” is something they can do.

This can be frustrating for emerging businesses because there are so many digital platforms used by their target market. Sarah knows that the business has limited resources for marketing and promotions and she has less time to focus on what their content needs to be about, since she’s continuously improving the core competencies of her brand.

Story League can help emerging businesses such as this because we believe in the value of targeted, story-driven content. We can provide different services that address the needs of growing small businesses.

For both our buyer personas, Story League offer customised services to suit both established and emerging businesses:

  • Copywriting
  • Videos
  • Social media graphics (e.g. images, short videos, etc.)
  • Podcasts

What makes up a buyer persona?

Developing a buyer persona isn’t like making up a character from scratch, though. It’s more like creating a “composite sketch” that reflects a group of people you want to reach. Your buyer persona needs to be backed up by your own market research. 

Once you have a composite sketch of your buyer persona, you can start your market research by practising active social listening. Social media has made it much easier for people to share their opinions across different platforms, which can help you identify the ideal customers that fit under your buyer persona’s profile.

You can practise social listening by:

  • Tracking public conversations about your brand
  • Reviewing what your competitors are doing
  • Considering keywords used by your target audience
  • Staying informed about current events and other industry trends

Findings from your market research

It helps to back up your buyer persona choices with real-life buyers and customers, which is where market research and qualitative analysis can help.

Pie charts and graphs are a great way to get a visual snapshot of your data and organise your market research in a way that clearly shows trends. To get started:

  • Review your current list of regular customers to see who is buying what, how much of what, and how frequently
  • Look at where your best customers come from to see if you can find similarities or patterns occurring; where do they live, where do they work, what is their occupation
  • See them as individuals. When you find a pattern or segment of customers appearing in a cluster (i.e. students), work down to see this person as an individual, are they living independently, working while studying or struggling with something in particular.

When it comes to understanding your qualitative analysis, look at who you are attracting and why they might be seeking you out or repeating their contact with you. Consider:

  • Who your existing customers are 
  • Who your social media followers are 
  • Who your competitors are targeting? 
  • If you do influencer marketing, which influencers does your business best resonate with?

Basic characteristics of your ideal consumer

Once you’ve compiled enough data from your market research and qualitative analysis, you need to articulate the basic personality traits of your ideal customer. This will cover details like name, age, gender and location.

You should also contextualise your buyer persona (e.g. job title, where they work or study, education background and their career motivators). This will give you a picture of your ideal customer and how you can address their needs or pain points.

Identifying the following factors will give you a better understanding of what your ideal customer would want from your brand:

  • Workplace environment
  • Lifestyle
  • Values
  • Customer story
  • Goals, pain points, needs and wants

Creating a buyer persona can be challenging, especially if you’re unsure about what kind of content to deliver. Partnering with a content agency that has a diverse team of storytellers, editors and artists can help build your brand as well as create a buyer persona that makes sure your content stands out as memorable and valuable to your readers.

So, if you are ready to tell your story, contact us to create the ideal buyer persona for your business and reach your audience with a greater impact.

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