Developing buyer personas can be time consuming and challenging. While there are expensive options, such as focus groups, sometimes all you need to do is talk to your customers. Recent customers know what your target audience is looking for and the pain points they are experiencing. So start interviewing!
After you have interviewed several recent customers, you are ready to get started creating your buyer persona. Here's a Kuno Creative example:
4 Questions for Understanding Your Customers and Your Product
Who is your ideal buyer? Yes, the first step is that easy. Talk about who your buyer is — as you would describe a friend, and take notes. This does not mean write down demographics and move on. It means understanding what your buyer cares about, what a day in his life is like, how he likes to communicate, what his hobbies are and what drives him to make decisions. Sit down with your team and talk about the details that affect your consumers’ lives.
At Kuno Creative, we have a client called Kendal at Oberlin, a retirement community located in Oberlin, Ohio, for independent adults. After interviewing several current residents, here’s how I would define a likely candidate: John and his wife, Theresa, are retired but are not slowing down. They enjoy traveling, social engagements and physical activities that help them remain fit, and they don’t want to stop learning—ever. Their fear is feeling old, lonely and useless. John and Theresa are not ignorant of technology—their grandkids got them an iPad for Christmas last year—but they prefer to communicate via phone or in person. Finally, John and Theresa do not want to deal with owning a home anymore: landscaping, paying utilities, cooking and cleaning are just not priorities these days. However, they do not want to give up their independence or living in Ohio where their family also resides.
There are a lot of factors in that one conversation, a lot of which help you understand what drives your buyers’ decision-making process. Your next step should include boiling down your buyers’ problem.
What is their need? John and Theresa want to sell their home and find a retirement community that is filled with life, instead of a nursing home for “old people.” They are not sure this option even exists.
When you get to the root of your persona’s problem, you can really target your marketing in an effective way. Do not skip this step.
How do we solve that problem? This is the step where you figure out why consumers should care about your product or service and what would intrigue them to check you out.
For example, our client provides a vibrant living community located in a college town for active older adults who are seeking independent living and also planning for future health care needs. Now Kendal at Oberlin needs to convince John and Theresa they are a perfect fit.
What is your unique value proposition? In this case, we are a retirement and long-term care community that encourages independence, lifelong learning and a social life without the hassle of owning a home.
What makes your business stand out? What makes your product or service different from your competitors? How does it solve your potential customers’ problems? Once you figure this out, you know how to start marketing.
Write out your persona using complete details. Give the persona a name (such as John or Theresa) and include a picture to really help your team picture this persona as a real person.
Remember, each persona is different and will have a different buying cycle. In our current example, John and Theresa do not want to leave Ohio because that is where their family is located. Their buying experience will be different from Jacki’s, a single retired college professor who wants to move to a retirement community but does not want to give up that college-town vibe, so she is willing to move farther to obtain those goals.
What are your tips for developing buyer personas?
With a degree in journalism, Brianne has more than six years of professional writing and content marketing experience. Through web and editorial writing, she reaches target audiences for Fortune 1000 companies, as well as small businesses. She uses her content marketing powers to help Kuno and its clients build their brands. You can connect with her on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.