How Creating Buyer Personas Can Increase Sales

January 5, 2013

Several business owners in the Charlotte, NC area looking for help with marketing have asked about a Buyer Persona. What is it and how is it used to grow my sales?

The buyer persona is not just about developing a demographic profile but really understanding who their customer is, what struggles, challenges or obstacles  Businesspeople Playing Soccer on the Beach they face, what motivates them, what is important to them, etc.

Typical Questions to Craft the Buyer Persona

When a business starts thinking about creating a buyer persona, it’s important that they know their buyer inside and out. Here are the most common questions asked when creating a buyer persona.

Demographic Information

Demographic information includes information like how old is your customer, how many children they have, (if any,) what kind of house they live in, their marital status, the type of car they drive and everything we can notice from the outside. That’s the easy part. Demographics can be effortlessly collected from all over the Internet. Even before the Internet, demographics were key to developing a buyer persona.

A Day in the Life Of….

Now it’s time to use your imagination. What does the day in the life of your customer look like? What do they do at work and how long do they spend there? What is it they’d rather be doing? What are they planning to do after work? Do they have plans for the weekend? Where do they spend time? Where do they good to get information or research a product or service? Once you start to picture this person in your mind, you will start to get a better understanding of what’s important to them. Then, you can craft a message based on what is important to them and what they would value most in the product or service your provide.

Pain Points

There’s an old saying in marketing, no one buys the drill because they want a drill. They buy a drill because they want a hole. However, it is not simply a hole they want. In that case most drills may do.

It is really digging much deeper and understanding why they are drilling the hole. Is it a carpenter or contractor and what is the buying persona of a contractor verses a DIY weekend warrior. Even among weekend warriors you may have a different buying persona. You may the professional home DIY that loves to fix and build a project every weekend or a homeowner that truly needs the drill only once a year. Each buying persona and what they value in your product and how you tailor message to each will make a difference in how your message connects with them. The offers you tailor to each may also vary. For the contractor you may provide a free or discounted extended warranty. For the weekend warrior it may be a free how to guide for building projects and for the homeowner that doesn’t use a drill much, you may offer a guide for hanging pictures.

Annie Admin, A Buyer Persona in Action

Let’s give an example. There’s an administrative assistant (Annie). She’s between 30 and 50, works full time, has two children. She is struggling to balance work with raising a family. She has a boss and family she has to keep happy, along with aging parents that she is worried about. She is always on a very tight schedule. Getting everyone ready for school in the AM, working full time, coming home preparing dinner, running all over town for children’s activities, she has little time for anything else.

Above all, she values time. She’s only interested in products or services that will make her life simpler reduce her stress and give her more time. If the marketing message is about making her life more complex or adds to an already busy schedule, it will not appeal to her pain point.

Features vs. What’s In It for Me

Most companies make the mistake of stressing their features over how they benefit their customer. For example saying something is new or improved, better or faster, are features not benefits. It’s only when you can answer the question, ‘so why should I care’ or ‘What’s in it for me’ that you truly can come up with how your benefits positively impact your buyers.

Let’s go back to Annie. She wants something that will save her time. But Annie knows it’s not really about time, it’s about what she can do with that time.

So if your product is faster and saves her time, focus on how this benefits her. Both of those facts are features. However saying she’ll have time to read a novella or take a relaxing bath is a benefit she can understand. Does it save her enough time to take the kids to the movies? If so, that should definitely be mentioned.

Crafting a buyer persona is essential to understanding who your buyer is, what they care about and where they go to get information or do research. Once you determine what they care about, you can tailor your message to that buying persona and connect with them on the medium they are most likely to hangout or seek information from.

The recipient of the message should feel that your message is being directed right at them, ‘hey that company really understands me and I’d really like to learn more.’ Of course this assumes you have a product or service with defined Unique Selling Points, you have an offer and tools or system in place to capture their contact information and you have an automated system to follow-up with them.

Stay tuned for more information: On developing your Unique Selling Points and Why They Matter, Your Database is Money in the Bank and How Automating Your Marketing will Grow Your Sales.

Michael Beauchemin

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Certified Inbound Marketing Consultant committed to helping businesses grow sales through measurable, accountable marketing metrics.
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  1. Need To Improve Sales? Improve Your Offer | Marketing Advice | Charlotte Businesses - July 9, 2013

    […] Buyer Personas.  If you do not know what a buyer persona is, check out our previous post about buyer personas.  For an offer to resonate with a potential buyer it has to appeal to their interest and match the […]