The Design Train blogs are a series of articles researched and written by Andrew Knapp for submission to various publications and sites. The articles cover a wide range of topics and can be adapted and edited for use in various styles of media application.

  • Andrew Knapp

Who do you love? The buyer persona.


The Buyer Persona - what is it and how do you find one?

Digital marketers often talk about the buyer persona. Simply put, a buyer persona is the perfect target market for your business. When you decide to start marketing your business seriously, creating a buyer persona is the first and most important task to undertake. After all, how can you promote your product or service if you’re not sure who your ideal customer is? In this blog we’ll discuss the steps to take in creating the ideal target group.


Identifying a buyer persona isn’t as obvious as it may seem. There are some specific questions that you’ll need to consider in the process, the obvious one being ‘who needs me’? With the growth of digital media and the increasing volume of information that lands in our social feeds daily, customers have become far more selective about what they open. An eye catching advert or post will have more chance of being read when targeted at the right group of potential customers. But where do that ‘right group’ live? What interests them? Who are they? How do they behave? What motivates them?


It is sometimes hard to put your personal perceptions aside when creating a buyer persona. Although you may have a rough idea, the finer details are based on demographics, psychographics, behavioural patterns, environmental information and the client’s pain points.


So where to start?


Location is everything. Where the customer lives is the foundation question needs asking. A local business’s target group will differ greatly to one offering an online service that can be marketed globally. So ascertain where your ideal customers are based.

Now consider how old they are. Sporting equipment will have a wider interest to those under 50 years old, whereas coach trips usually appeals to the 50+ age group. If you own a guest house the age group is wide, but will predominately be 25+ years old, whereas a rave festival is the normal territory of those under 25.


Is your customer male or female? Single or married? Do they have a young family or are they empty-nesters? What is their cultural background? Each of these points helps define exactly who you are targeting.


How they get to work has become a widely asked question with the advent of digital broadcasting and blogging. Those with a 30 minute train or bus commute is a great target market for those in the podcast and webinar industry and the ideal time for the commuter to read their favourite blogs.


On the subject of work, what kind of industries do they work in? Where are they on their career path? What are their aspirations?


What about lifestyle? Do they have disposable income or constricted by a tight budget. Are they outdoor ramblers and nature lovers or prefer cooking and home improvement. Are they home owners? Do they socialize or are they stay-at-homers? Do they travel, if so, for business or pleasure? Are they physically impaired in any way? What is the age of their families? Try and pin down as many details as you can, even if they don’t seem relevant to your business.


A pain point is a marketing term used to describe what problems or irritations, whether real or perceived, in a customer’s mind. A good marketer will use pain points to offer the potential client a solution to their ‘problem’, so making that service or product stand out as valuable to the client.


How can you solve problems for your clients? How can make your client’s life easier? If you are selling a product can you make the order process and delivery easier? If you are in the hospitality industry do you have an online booking or reservation option? How quickly can you provide your service if global? What guarantees do you offer? These are all valuable selling points that you can consider when considering the buyer persona.


Now you should do some sleuth work and have a look at your competition. Visit their social media pages and websites. See who is interacting with them and what is being said? This is called social listening and there are a couple of tools you can use to do this. Google Alerts is free and allows you to enter terms or company names and receive an alert every time they are mentioned on digital media. (Just Google 'Google Alerts'). Socialmention.com is a great piece of free software that scans the social networks in real time and reports exactly what is being posted on what platform with links to the posts. You’ll be surprised with what you can find out about others in your industry and ideas to integrate into your persona and campaigns.


Having all of this information on hand will help you paint a fairly accurate picture of your ideal buyer persona. Divide the information into groups, then sub-group if necessary until you find the perfect fit for your service or product.


Remember that a company may have more than one buyer persona. If you have services that appeal to different groups, you must create a persona for each aspect of your offerings. Also remember that your buyer persona may change along the way, so it is an exercise that needs to be undertaken at least once a year to ensure that you are on point with your audience.


Whether your business is large or small with your strategy being organic (free) or paid advertising, you will soon see by the response and engagement you get to your efforts if your buyer persona process needs further refining.


I hope that you have found this post valuable and that it helps your marketing efforts. I welcome and appreciate any comments you may have. Please join our community by joining our mailing list and have our blogs delivered directly to your inbox.


Until next time – The Train Driver.

(Image – optinmonster.com)

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