Estimated reading time: 14 minutes
You asked us to look over your branding efforts, site, and social media accounts, and we did. First and foremost, you have a communications issue: an inability to fully define your brand. We see it, your customers see it, and we have no doubt that you’ve noticed it, too.
We looked at your social media pages and how you describe yourself. Your accounts make sense for those who already know what you do, but we, well… we didn’t know anything about you until now. We checked out your pages and felt a little like we’d stepped into your company ad.
In short, you’ve missed a very important piece of the puzzle. To help you, we’d like to introduce you to Ted.
Ted is 20 years old. He sees himself as a stylish, well-groomed visionary. He never uses anything electronic piece that isn’t Apple. Not only that, but it’s always the latest, greatest do-dad.
Yes, Ted is an up-and-coming schmexy do-getter, and one of Apple’s favorite people to sell to. After all, the latest and greatest is usually the most expensive.
When Ted finds out his friend has a PC, Ted just sighs and shakes his head–poor, delusional PC owner.
But Ted Isn’t Apple’s Only Target Market
Ted (and people like him) aren’t the only people Apple markets to, however. If that were so, we wouldn’t have had priceless commercials like these:
Sure, they’re older commercials, but we can still learn from them. As you watch the commercials, you get the idea that:
- People who own Macs are more creative – in one commercial Mac tells PC he’s great at pie charts and data. PC tells Mac he’s “okay at creative stuff (if that kind of thing were important).” Translation? Mac users are more creative. PC doesn’t care about that stuff. Mac does care, so it does better with creativity and is the better choice.
- Macs are simple, intuitive, and easy to use – as opposed to PCs, which are full of bloatware, take forever to load, need lots of extra stuff before they can do anything, and break all the time.
- Mac sales are through the roof – Mac is doing great and PC isn’t. Why? Because Mac.
And people like Ted swallowed it hook, line, and sinker.
Are You Guilty Of Playing Favorites?
What’s the lesson we can learn here? Ted is one of Apple’s buyer personas, but not their only buyer persona. In other words, they market to more than one type of people.
Market To More Than Ted
One of the biggest mistakes in marketing is forgetting there is more than one demographic. You say, “we are targeting people who will want our product.” -But what if one person wants your product for reason X, and another wants your product for reason Y? By developing content marketing strategies and marketing campaigns that focus on a single buyer persona (those with reason X), you lose out on a much richer customer set (those with reasons X and Y).
Your product doesn’t call a single type of person. If it did, it’d have to be a very particular product. You want to get the broadest customer base; marketing to only a small section isn’t going to achieve those results.
Buyer personas help you create customized marketing plans for more targeted groups within your audience. This helps every marketing effort become more effective.
You must market to more than the Teds of the world.
What is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is like a character sketch of your ideal customer. It’s a fictional representation of your target audience, based on research and analysis of their characteristics, behaviors, motivations, and pain points.
By creating a detailed buyer persona, you can better understand your customers’ needs and preferences, and tailor your marketing messages and product offerings to resonate with them. It’s a way to humanize your target market and make them feel seen and understood, which can lead to more effective marketing and higher conversion rates.
Developing A Rich Buyer Persona Portfolio
Buyer personas allow you to create a content marketing plan on steroids. They’re in-depth market segments that look beyond the immediate sale so your pieces of content can do more than market to search engines. They inform how and what you write about in blog posts, how you share your content and even product development.
Having a strong persona portfolio can help you fill in any holes you may have in your content calendar. It can also help you create better, more targeted marketing campaigns for better results.
Let’s look at how to create buyer personas.
Buyer personas are built on target customer data. It helps to already have an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) at hand. Otherwise, you’ll need to gather all your data before using this walk-through.
Most of the data can be found in your marketing research, but not always. Ways to gather data beyond the already mentioned market research include:
- Website analytics (Google Analytics’ demographic section is über helpful)
- Social media analytics (such as Facebook Insights)
- Trolling social media
- Send out customer questionnaires, surveys, request interviews, etc.
- Question your customer service representatives (they’re the front-line of dealing with customers)
- Guess, based on past experience
Listening to social media is an excellent addition to market research. It’s basically free market research. People on social media talk very freely about products, experiences, wants, needs, etc. Don’t leave out this important source of information.
Creating a Buyer Persona Portfolio
First off, let’s start by saying there are some big mistakes to avoid, such as only marketing to Ted. Another is having different information in different buyer personas.
Once you have the data, you need a uniform way to create the personas. This is done with a buyer persona template. You can make your own or can use one of the many templates available online.
Personas, although somewhat fictional, should read as in-depth as a military dossier. You’re creating a physical and psychological placeholder so you can put yourself in their shoes. With this in mind, your buyer persona portfolio template should at least include the following.
- Company Type
- Technology Type
Other information you might want to consider, depending on what you sell, might be religion, education, marriage status, kids or not, etc. For example, Parent.com needs people who like kids, want kids, or are about to have kids.
Building Buyer Personas with ChatGPT
ChatGPT 4, which, if you don’t know, is an AI chatbot, can provide some pretty robust buyer personas. You can use ChatGPT to create buyer personas by providing information about your target audience–the same information, in fact, that you’d have to gather anyway.
ChatGPT can ask you relevant questions about your ideal customer, such as their demographics, psychographics, behavior patterns, pain points, motivations, and goals. Based on your answers, the AI can then generate a detailed profile of your buyer persona. You can refine and customize the generated buyer persona until it accurately reflects your ideal customer.
The bonus is that ChatGPT can also suggest additional insights and recommendations based on your buyer personas, such as marketing messages, content topics, product features, and sales strategies.
If you don’t know the answers, you can use ChatGPT to help you pinpoint them. For example:
Q: What type of person needs ChatGPT?
A: ChatGPT can be useful for a wide range of individuals and businesses who require an AI-powered language model for various purposes. For example, it can be useful for content creators, marketers, writers, students, researchers, and anyone who needs assistance in generating human-like text or answering questions. Additionally, businesses that require customer service chatbots or virtual assistants can also benefit from ChatGPT’s capabilities.
Q: What kind of pain points would a person have who wants to use ChatGPT?
A: Someone who wants to use ChatGPT may have pain points such as struggling to generate high-quality content consistently, difficulty responding to a large volume of customer inquiries, or a desire to improve their customer service experience. They may also be looking for a way to save time and increase productivity by automating certain tasks such as generating content ideas or scheduling social media posts.
Q: Based on these pain points, please provide me with one buyer persona for ChatGPT.
A: As you can see in the image below, ChatGPT provided us with a robust buyer persona. -And that was with very little information. Imagine how in-depth you could get if you gave it your actual Ideal Client Profile. Enough said – use it or don’t, but it’s a great tool if used carefully.
Once you’ve created your personas, it’s time to put them to use by developing marketing messages. We’ll use Chat’s buyer persona:
Sarah is a marketing manager at a growing technology company. She is responsible for creating content for the company’s website, social media, and email campaigns. Sarah is always looking for ways to improve the content creation process and make it more efficient. She spends a lot of time researching topics, writing and editing content, and finding the right keywords to optimize for SEO.
If Sarah was in your target market, what angle would you use to get through to her? What do you think would appeal to her? The answer to this is your marketing message.
Angles could be:
- Product provides quick, accurate answers
- Product helps optimize content for SEO
- Product increases the efficiency of content creation
What do you use to get that marketing message across? This is your elevator pitch. For example:
“Saves time so you have more time for the important things in life” (video short of happy family, friends out on the town, etc.)
“ChatGPT helps me keep my marketing manager happy and our clients satisfied,” says the sincere woman in real life testimonial.
Step Into My Shoes
A well-rounded buyer persona allows you to step into the shoes of your customer base. It allows you to come up with the questions that need to be answered to get through to them. More importantly, it allows you to target what is most important to them.
Steve might be interested in keeping his marriage strong, while the main thing unmarried Janice is interested in is advancing her career. Frank, now in his sixties, appreciates simplistic computer use, while Dawn fancies herself to be an electronic guru. Whatever their interests, you can step in, “channel” them at will, and market to them.
Building Marketing Campaigns With Buyer Personas
Your basic marketing matrix is pretty simple. You have a marketing campaign. You push that marketing campaign on social, through content, and with paid ads. It all goes out to your target market as a whole.
Marketing accomplished. Let the sales roll in.
This is how many business owners use up their marketing dollars, with the basics. However, you’ll realize greater returns with more precise targeting.
Finding Your Target Market Pre-Qualifies Your Audience.
The term “target market” doesn’t mean “the people coming to my website.” It means “the people I WANT to come to my website.”
If you’ve read our articles before, you’ve heard that traffic isn’t everything. Numbers mean nothing without context. So you look at your traffic numbers and you say, “I’m getting over 30,000 visitors a year! Why did I only get 3 sales?” And the answer, more often than not, is a matter of your actions not fitting the target market (in the content you provide, social accounts you use, or ads you purchase).
Creating your marketing campaigns to match your target market is a means of pre-qualifying the traffic that comes to your site. So the next time you look at your traffic and see 10,000 visits you can say, “I’m only getting 10,000 visits, but I have a 10% conversion rate.” That’s 1,000 sales instead of 3. You decide which you’d prefer.
This is the power of having a target market. Although you may not reach a 20% conversion rate, it’s a guarantee you will achieve better conversions by aiming for your target market than if you just shoot in the breeze.
Creating Buyer Personas Helps You Understand Your Target Market Better.
Once you have your target market, it’s important to categorize them – because not everyone is a guy or girl. Because target markets are made up of men and women, boys and girls, families, blondes that want to be brunettes, brunettes that want to be redheads, and so on.
Skinny people want to gain weight and put on muscle; overweight people want to lose weight and put on muscle. Some men and women are career people; some men and women are at-home parents. For every person you can think of, for every hobby, value, moral, age group, gender, etc, there is someone else that feels differently.
What you have to remember is that (with some niche exceptions) these many variations of humanity will inevitably end up in your target market at least once. Buyer personas help you categorize them. You say things like:
- My audience is 38% women and 43% men. So you have a male buyer persona and a female buyer persona.
- My audience age ranges from 25- 60. So you have male and female personas within those generations (Gen-X, Millenials, Baby Boomers, etc).
- My audience consists of managers and self-employed people. So you have personas within those areas.
Eventually, you learn things like:
- 25-year-old Sally, the single customer service representative is interested in the Swiffer Sweeper
- 40-year-old Carrie, the married, stay-at-home mom, is also interested in the Swiffer Sweeper
- Sally isn’t going to be as interested in an ad showing kids running around as Carrie is. It’s not going to call her the same way.
Buyer Personas Help You Expand Your Marketing Campaign Options.
It may or may not seem like it now, but knowing about the differences between Sally and Carrie is important to the success of your next marketing campaign. That knowledge makes it possible to expand your marketing efforts while raising your ROI with targeted content.
For example, segmented email marketing:
If you have managers and the self-employed in your target market, you can add the “title” option to the information you ask for in your forms. Segment your email list depending on the title. Then send the newsletter to one section with an ad targeting managers, and to the other segment with an ad targeting the self-employed. With better specificity, there comes a better chance of conversion.
Expand Your Marketing Campaigns Now!
Do you have your buyer personas ready? Let’s see what a better marketing matrix looks like:
Buyer personas come into a campaign after you know what you want to accomplish. At this point, you’re saying statements like, “We want to increase conversions on overall products by 3%.” When you’re considering the tactics you need to achieve your goals, it’s time to pull out your persona profiles.
1. Choose The Personas That Fit The Campaign.
It’s important to realize that not all your personas work for all marketing campaigns. You could end up with several buyer personas, so look them over and see which ones fit your goals.
2. Choose Tactics For Each Persona Group.
The biggest purpose of buyer personas is realized in this step. Why? Consider age demographics. Marketing to Millennials takes different channels than marketing to Baby Boomers. The same can be said for any demographic you want to target.
For example, TikTok is the fastest-growing search engine for Millennials. If Millennials are your target market, you don’t want to ignore this digital space.
3. Develop Ads, Content, and Social Communication According to the Chosen Tactics.
You will not be able to market to a Maturist in the same way as Generation Z. Not only is the outlook different, but half the time the language isn’t even the same. For example, very few Maturists have ever used the word “lit,” unless they meant the fire was lit.
You can be sure that many Baby Boomers stared in confusion at Time Warner’s “Revolt” commercial. A few probably looked at each other and said, “What the heck is cray cray?” The point – write for your audience, even if it’s a particular segment of your audience.
There are numerous quotes out there that talk about hard endeavors, such as “nothing ventured, nothing gained,” or “nothing good was ever easy.” Those quotes are right. Developing a buyer persona portfolio isn’t easy. It does take time.
Developing alternate marketing strategies for particular personas also takes time and it is also not an easy endeavor. However, the returns can be – and have been – astronomical at times. Sometimes it’s just a matter of luck – the right place at the right time -, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with helping luck along.
Take the time to create your buyer persona portfolio, and then use those personas to fine-tune your marketing campaigns. You’ll be amazed by the results when you start talking to your target market instead of at them.
We hope you enjoyed our article on Buyer Personas. If you need help at any point of your marketing campaigns, give us a call. We have over 20 years of experience in creating campaigns that convert.
Hey Gabriella, awesome article! You know, watching customer interviews and diving into sites like SimilarWeb, Salary.com, Zippa, and Google Analytics can really help bring a buyer persona to life.
I’ve seen it myself! I once had a client who believed she knew everything about her target audience. I persuaded her to create a Facebook group for her fans, and within a month, she had hundreds of people actively engaging in her niche. This eye-opening experience showed her that her initial assumptions about her audience were way off! The insights she gained allowed her to pivot and grow in the right direction. Amazing what a little connection can do 🙂