In 2021, over 365,000 new businesses entered the Australian market. And by the end of that financial year, there were over 2.4 million businesses operating in Australia.
With the whole world trying to recover from the impact of the pandemic, competition in business is tougher than ever.
Understanding your customers has never been more important - and buyer personas are the key to doing just that.
In this blog post, we’ll explore what buyer personas are, why they’re important for your business and how you can go about defining them.
What are buyer personas?
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer.
Going beyond broad audience descriptions, buyer personas are specific detailed customer profiles. They paint a clear picture of your audience’s lifestyles, motivations and pain points.
And in the context of digital product development? Personas represent the different types of users that will come into contact with your website, product or service.
They focus on user needs, goals and challenges so you can create relevant solutions.
Personas should be memorable, actionable, and distinct from one another. They are there to sum up the main needs of your different audience segments so you can recall and empathise with them easily.
What’s the difference between target audience and buyer personas?
A target audience is a particular group of consumers at which a product or service is aimed.
But, buyer personas are specific characters that represent the target audience.
For example, a gallery might have the following target audience groups:
- Regular weekend visitors that live in the local area;
- Out-of-town tourists on a one-off visit;
- Arts students from the nearby university; and
- School teachers looking to make class bookings.
For each target audience group, the gallery could create a detailed buyer persona. The persona might have a name, career, family history, hobbies, goals and challenges.
So one of the gallery’s buyer personas might look like this:
Mariam, 43 years old. Lives in North Melbourne, within walking distance of the gallery. Married to her husband, Ian, and has two teenage children. Visits the gallery on the weekends, either with friends or family. She works as a Senior Marketing Manager for a local law firm and manages a team of 4 people. Loves the Arts but has limited spare time. Prefers to go to events that she knows have been well-received by her friends and companies like Time Out and Broadsheet.
Why are buyer personas important for your business?
So we know what buyer personas are, but why do you need them?
Creating accurate research-based personas has many benefits for your business.
You can gain a better understanding of your customer
Personas bring your target customer to life. By describing them as real people, you can look beyond the basic demographics, digging into their lives for deeper insights. The better your understanding of your customer, the more chance you have of gaining their trust and loyalty.
You’ll be able to create more targeted messaging
Buyer personas help you to understand not only who you’re talking to but how to talk to them. Apply your learnings about their goals, challenges and characteristics. Tailor your messaging and craft your content to make sure it truly resonates.
You’ll know where your customers spend their time
Does your target persona use Facebook? Are they more of a LinkedIn person? Do they turn to printed information directly from the companies they engage with? Understanding where your customers spend their time, and how they get their information, allows you to get your message in the right place at the right time.
Your product development will be more informed
At Bravo, buyer personas often play a strong role in the products and solutions we create. They encourage a user-centred approach that removes assumptions and biases. Personas help us focus on what matters most. We can put ourselves in their shoes when making design and development decisions. This ensures that your solution is created with the end users clearly in mind.
You’ll keep your team on the same page
Buyer personas ensure a shared cross-departmental understanding of who your customers are. Going back to the gallery example, it’s quite easy for the Marketing team to have a different interpretation of your customer from your Customer Service team. Personas keep everyone in the company aligned with the same view of your ideal customer.
How to figure out your buyer personas
Consider your existing customer research and knowledge
Personas are a quick, empathy-inducing shorthand for your users.
Because of this, they should always be based on a qualitative understanding of your audience. They need to reflect the real things that drive them in the context of your organisation.
To form the basis of your personas, start by analysing any existing customer data.
Involve all departments from your organisation
As mentioned earlier, different departments might have different interpretations of your customers. Their views on the main customer goals and challenges could vary significantly.
Gather a broad group of colleagues for a discussion about your target customers. Explore your various user types and review the initial categories that come up.
You might find new perspectives are brought to the table that you hadn’t already considered.
Break your user categories down into a handful of key personas
Personas are not intended to be an exhaustive breakdown of every possible user type. Making design decisions while keeping in mind tens of personas would quickly become overwhelming!
Instead, they’re focused on a handful of specific characters. These characters represent the majority of your customers.
As a group, identify the top 4 to 6 personas that best capture your target customers.
Flesh out the personas with details
For each persona, you might ask questions like:
- Who are they?
- What is their common attribute?
- Who do they live with?
- How do they spend their spare time?
- What is important to them?
- What are their needs in relation to my product or service?
- How are those needs currently met?
- What role can my product or service play in meeting their needs?
- How do I expect them to learn about my product or service?
Create a persona document
Once you’ve done the hard work, it’s time to document your personas so you can put them to use. You might find it helpful to use a photo for each persona to help bring them to life.
The persona information should be easily digestible and shared with your whole company.
Make time for a buyer persona workshop today!
It can be quite easy to lose your way in the above process. Figuring out your buyer personas requires research, thinking and team collaboration. Doing that in a structured way can be hard to organise yourselves.
To make the most of your time, we’d recommend going to an expert agency to lead you through a buyer persona workshop.
We’ve done this for lots of clients including Mahercorp, Melbourne Recital Centre and Australian Brandenburg Orchestra to name a few!
Our organised, collaborative workshops are designed to draw out your customer insights and define your buyer personas in the most efficient and effective way - providing you with the information you need to build more customer connections.
Whatever you do, make it meaningful
One of our core values that guides our culture at Bravo is ‘Make it Meaningful’. We define the goals and problems to solve and understand why it matters.
When creating a new digital product or service, you must consider WHO you’re targeting, HOW you're reaching them and WHY it matters.
Understand your buyer personas. Apply them to your digital presence, strategic decision-making and content creation. And see the difference for yourself!