Creating buyer personas is something all experienced business owners do before they develop their marketing plans, in fact you can’t develop any sort of meaningful marketing plan without first knowing who it is aimed at. A buyer persona is a picture of a particular audience member, it is not a group of people, or multiple groups it is a single individual; a typical person who might be in your target audience is described and defined down to their sex, income status, education, and as much detail as you can realistically get.

Creating buyer personas is an important way that you can improve your marketing so that it is more effective in capturing exactly the right person who is ready, willing and able to purchase what you’re offering. Without creating buyer personas you’re really just guessing at what marketing efforts will work. This guessing can cause you to waste a lot of time, money and effort on marketing and generate only mediocre success.

The following steps should help you to create your buyer personas.

Determine Who You Want Your Customer to Be

If you don’t have a product yet, it’s actually easier to choose your audience, figure out what they need, and then provide solutions to them. But, if you already have a product or service it’s important to figure out who you want to use those products and services and who needs them.

Segment Your Customers into Sub-Groups, Try to Create at Least Three to Five

Every product has many subsets of users, and it’s important for you to figure out who yours are. That way you can design different campaigns for each subset. You will want, for your first marketing campaign, to choose the largest and most likely buyers from your segments that you choose during your customer profiling exercise.

Create a Questionnaire for Each Subgroup

If you could ask them anything, what would you ask? Of course, ask the normal demographic questions but add in specifics to the questionnaire. Keep it short, about 4 to 8 questions, so that they don’t get tired or bored. And be specific about your questions so that the group can be specific about their answers and try not to ask leading questions.

Get the Questions to Each Group through Social Media, Email and your Website

Once you create your survey using either Google Docs or something like Survey Monkey, send your survey to your audience via social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and so forth. Ask people you know to share your survey with specific people.

Get the Questions to Each Group through Whatever Means Necessary

If your audience often shops at your local mall, you can stand there and get them to answer your survey. For instance, if your audience is women between the ages of 22 and 30 who have kids, approach women who look as if they fit that group. Even if you want to reach these women online, getting answers from them in person will help you with your online marketing efforts.

Determine the Top Two Most Important Subgroups

Once you get some answers, determine which subgroup you’d most like to have as your clients or customers and start creating marketing plans that match their answers, needs and concerns. You don’t necessarily want to choose the largest of the subgroups but use an educated way to choose which are more likely to buy. A small group who will buy is much better than a larger group who won’t buy.

Create Marketing Plans Based on Those Two Subgroups

Start working on your marketing plans. You should know how to reach them, what their problems are, and how you can solve them. By providing solutions in your marketing program, mixing up the marketing channels you use to reach this audience, and by being aware of who your audience is, you’ll succeed.

Knowing the most likely people to buy from you is part of creating buyer personas. Through your study you should be able to now create simple buyer personas that you will now use to craft all your marketing programs, be they copywriting, videos, social media marketing, print ads or other. They will all start with what you know about your customer, and who you want your customer to be.

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