What is a Persona?: Everything You Need to Know
Social Media Sara starts her day scrolling through TikTok. She is an avid fan of podcasts and handles social media strategy at her company.
This is a snapshot of what a buyer persona looks like. You may have a great product or service, but without understanding your target customers, you might as well just market to the void. Buyer personas are the antidote to that. By creating buyer personas, you will gain clarity on who you’re marketing to and reach your ideal customers.
In this blog post, we’ll cover the following:
Read on to learn more.
What is a Persona?
Simply put, a persona is a detailed, semi-fictional representation of your target customer that is informed by qualitative and quantitative data about existing customers and market research.
Every business has a target audience, which is further divided into different customer segments. Within those segments, there are different types of buyers — not every customer has uniform wants and needs. A buyer persona details your ideal customer and maps out their story.
A buyer persona is linked to a buyer’s journey, but the buyer persona focuses on who will go on the journey. Take Social Media Sara, for example. Her company determined that their target social media person often spends time scrolling TikTok and listening to podcasts. Because of this, they might create a marketing campaign that meets her where she is in a targeted TikTok video or in an ad on her favorite marketing podcast
Naturally, every business will have more than one type of customer — it makes sense to create multiple buyer personas for the different types of customers you want to reach.
Why You Need a Persona
A buyer persona extends beyond simply describing your audience; the powerful insights generated by a buyer persona can be leveraged to make better business decisions.
Ultimately, a well-crafted buyer persona will help you understand your ideal customer and their goals, provide guidance on how to tailor your marketing strategy, guide product development, and help you prioritize your time.
When done well, buyer personas are incredibly valuable for marketing. They can help you find gaps in the content you create. You will also be able to use buyer personas to tailor your content so that it is relevant. Buyer personas can even help you figure out ad spend.
How to Create a Persona
Creating a buyer persona can seem daunting at first, but it doesn’t need to be once you know the key components of a buyer persona. Backed by data and insights, devising a buyer persona is a very creative process, much like coming up with a semi-fictional character. In this section, we will go over the steps to creating a persona and what to include in a persona.
Steps to creating a persona
1. Conduct research
Research forms the foundation of your persona. Analyze data from your current customers and conduct market research to figure out who your ideal customer is. Combining demographic, behavioral, and psychographic data will yield the best results — the more types of data you analyze, the more comprehensive your buyer persona will be. You can collect data from your current customers through your CRM and conduct market research through surveys, interviews, and paid databases.
The insights from your research and analysis will help you figure out key information like demographics, business size, job title or position, goals and objectives, and challenges and pain points.
2. Ask the right questions
Reference your list of questions to guide you in the buyer persona creation process. A basic list of questions can include the following:
- What is their profession?
- What does a typical day in their life look like?
- Where do they go for information?
- How do they prefer to obtain goods and services?
- What is important to them when choosing a vendor?
- What do they value most?
- What are their goals?
3. Dive into your customer’s interests, goals and objectives, and pain points
The key to creating a useful buyer persona is understanding where your customer is coming from and putting together a story. Your buyer persona is not a mere aggregation of data points; by putting together a story based on research, you humanize your customer. Your customer’s interests can include anything from podcasts to TikTok. Once you have the foundation, you can then dive into their goals and objectives. What do they want to achieve for their business? What are the challenges standing in their way?
4. Map the persona to your product
Mapping the buyer persona to your product is a key step. By doing so, you will understand how to solve for the customer.
To learn more about these steps and other ways to develop a persona in more detail, check out this blog post, or you can generate your own now with this free tool from HubSpot.
What to include in a persona
Come up with a descriptive name for your customer. You can use a realistic first and last name, or a fun moniker like “Marketing Mary” or “Social Media Sara.”
Your customer needs an occupation. Identify your customer’s job title and the industry they work in. It would also be helpful to note if they are a decision maker.
Basic demographic information like age, gender, education, and income is useful to identify.
Include their interests. What media do they consume? What are their hobbies?
Goals and objectives
Define their business goals and objectives. What do they want to achieve for their business? How do they plan to get there?
Identify their pain points — this will help you gain clarity on how your product can solve for your customer’s needs.
Best Persona Creation Tools
Luckily, there is a wide variety of tools you can use to create your buyer persona. In this section, we spotlight some of our favorites.
HubSpot Persona Generator
HubSpot’s Persona Generator streamlines the buyer persona creation process — and it’s free. Simply plug in the details like age, education level, industry, company size, job title, and more. The persona generator guides you in creating a buyer persona step by step.
Additionally, HubSpot offers free and convenient buyer persona templates.
With a user persona creator, user story template, and story mapping canvas, Userforge has a variety of options for creating effective buyer personas. The user persona creator lets you choose content sections: quote, goals, story, needs, frustrations, values, blockers, habits, and motivators. This program is free.
Xtensio’s template goes beyond the basics. The clean but visually appealing template design is packed with information to help you understand your target customer in a holistic manner.
Get Started With Personas
Buyer personas are critical for any business. The insights you can derive from a well-crafted buyer persona can shape your content strategy, ad spend, product development, and more. Get started with HubSpot’s free buyer persona creation tools.