How to Create an Ideal Client Buyer Persona in 4 Steps: Your Key to Unlocking the Power of Developing Good Ideal Client Buyer Personas
Buyer personas – also known as buyer profiles or marketing personas – can provide key insights about your ideal client(s). While a well-developed buyer persona can help you dial into the phrasing, topics and tone that are most compelling to your ideal client, it can also be pivotal to:
• Effectively targeting different segments of your ideal client base
• Delivering the right message to a specific ideal client at the right time – and in the right forum (whether that be via email, social media posts, blog posts, etc.)
• Connecting with more ideal clients online and making your brand as memorable as possible to them
• Seeing more of your prospects turn into new ideal clients.
Whether you’re developing buyer personas for the first time – or it’s time to refresh your personas, this useful guide can help. It uncovers and clearly explains the essential steps to take in order to create an ideal client buyer persona – and how to use this information to generate better campaigns (and more profits) for your business.
The Case for Developing Ideal Client Personas
Before we break down the steps to creating ideal client personas, first, we want to back up the case for precisely why ideal client buyer personas are so important – and just how they can help you gain more attention, authority and leads for your business online.
• Essentially, buyer personas can personalize the ideal client, enhancing your (and your team’s) ability to:
• Identify with the ideal client and better understand his or her needs, challenges, interests, habits, and goals
• Locate the ideal client online and make sure your message is getting out in front of them
Use the right language and platforms to deliver your message so it has the best chances of standing out from the noise online and being memorable.
In other words, the right buyer personas can help you and your team jump inside the minds of your ideal clients. And that can be key to shaping your content, social media posts and other digital marketing efforts so they are as effective as possible at engaging your ideal clients and getting them to respond to your call(s)-to-action.
4 Steps to Developing Ideal Client Personas
Step 1: Start by Gathering Data
The initial step to building a buyer persona for your ideal client is the data-gathering process. This can happen in any number of ways, with some of the most efficient routes being to:
• Conduct surveys on current and prospective clients – Ask your current and prospective clients to take a survey and answer some basic demographic questions about themselves, as well as questions about their online habits (more on this below). It’s usually a good idea to provide an “anonymous” option (so people’s names are not associated with their answers); offer an upfront promise to not sell or share responses; and offer some raffle or gift for participating in order to get better results (and more helpful, thoughtful responses).
• Analyze the data for your current leads – Check out the demographics data for your current leads and try to find any prevailing trends. You may even want to take this a step further by adding some specific demographic questions to your lead intake form (so that you have more data to evaluate lead base and ideal client).
• Talk to your sales team – Ask your sales staff about the trends they have noticed when it comes to prospects and current clients. Their feedback can reveal some interesting new insights, especially when it comes to psychographics, as well as the concerns and the online habits, of your prospective and current clients.
• Use some tools to conduct market research – There are various tools (many of which are available for free!) that you can use to conduct market research about your ideal client and start gathering more specific details about them (like gender, age range, occupation, online shopping habits, social media habits, etc.). While we shared a number of useful research tools in one of our latest Weekly Authorities (available here), some of our top choices included:
⟡ Social Mention, which monitors mentions of your brand in more than 100 social media platforms
⟡ Google’s Marketer’s Almanac, which provides insights regarding consumer trends around key moments (like holidays or sporting events) throughout the year.
Step 2: Ask the Right Questions to Get Useful Answers
Here are the top 25 questions to ask (or use tools to find the answers for) when creating buyer personas for your ideal clients. We’ve broken these down into 3 primary categories: personal questions, job-related questions, and online use-related questions.
1. What is your age and gender?
2. What language(s) do you speak? (Follow up: If you speak more than one language, what is the primary language spoken in your home?)
3. What is your marital status?
4. Where do you live?
5. Do you have children? (Follow up: How many? What are their ages?)
6. What is your level of education? (Follow up: Where did you attend school? What degree(s) have you earned?)
7. What are your hobbies (i.e., activities you enjoy in your free time)?
8. What challenges do you face or deal with in your day-to-day personal life?
9. How do you prefer to be contacted by a business when you’re interested in getting more information from it (via phone, email, text, social media or some other forum)?
10. What industry do you currently work in?
11. What is your current job, career or profession? (Follow up: Did you ever work in another industry? Or have you been working in the same industry over the course of your career?)
12. What is your job title? (Follow up: What are your general job duties?)
13. How large (or small) is your company?
14. What tools or apps (if any) do you use regularly when carrying out your job duties?
15. Are you in a managerial (or director/executive-level) role
16. Do you work in an office, on the road or from home?
17. What challenges or obstacles do you deal with in your day-to-day professional life?
18. What is your income level or bracket?
Online Habit-Related Questions
19. Where do you look for news or credible information online?
20. Do you regularly visit any blogs or websites? (Follow up: If yes, which one(s)?)
21. Are you active in social media? (Follow up: If yes, which social media platforms do you regularly use? How often are you active on these sites – daily, weekly, etc.?)
22. What do you primarily do online (shop, look for information, stay connected with others, or engage in some other activity)?
23. Have you ever researched a business online before making a purchase? (Follow up: If yes, tell us more about what kind of research you did – and how your findings influenced your decisions to buy or not buy a product or service.)
24. When was the last time you made a purchase online? (Follow up: What did you buy and where did you buy it from?)
25. What are your biggest concerns when making an online purchase?
Step 3: Analyze the Data & Pinpoint Trends
Once you gathered the data, it’s time to take a critical look at the commonalities between the responses and findings to start pinpointing larger trends.
At this point, it can helpful to:
• Be mindful of whether you need to create more than one buyer persona (because you have more than one ideal client, based on the emerging trends).
• Create a “negative buyer persona,” which represents the antithesis of your ideal client persona. This negative persona can signify the type of client you do NOT want (because, for instance, that type of client costs you money or doesn’t provide as much or enough return for the effort(s) you need to extend in order to get or keep that client). A negative buyer persona can help you figure out which data to omit from your analysis (and to not include as part of your ideal client persona).
As you start recognizing the overarching trends, you can really dial into the details you need to put together your ideal client buyer persona.
For instance, you may find that your ideal client is middle-age working mom in your county. Or you may discover that you ideal client is a small business owner in your state. As you starting pulling together these details, you can develop a clear picture of the “persona” and his or her life circumstances, interests, needs, and habits.
Step 4: Put the Final Touches on Your Persona(s)
When the detailed portrait of your ideal client buyer persona comes together, here are the final steps to take:
• Give each persona a name and face – This will help you and your team to really get personal with (and internalize) the details of each persona. Try to map the details of the persona onto the name to make them as memorable as possible (e.g., “Business owner Bob,” “Teen driver Tina,” or “Working mom Mary”). And find a stock photo to pair with the name and details for each persona to really bring them to life.
• Share each final persona with your team – This will give your entire team a clear idea of precisely who your ideal client is. It can also be an opportunity to further refine the details for each of your buyer personas, based on your team’s feedback, experiences and input.
Creating Ideal Client Personas: More Helpful Tips
• Revisit & update your buyer personas – Make it a point to review and update your buyer personas on a regular basis, as well as when your business changes, expands or reduces its offerings, products and/or services. This can help you make sure that your messaging is always on point with your current ideal client(s).
• Start small – If you’re developing buyer personas for your ideal client(s) for the first time, start with one and go from there. You can always add more buyer personas in the future (as you gather more data), and starting small can ensure that you aren’t wasting your time (or other resources) in the process.
• Know when to ask for help – If you simply don’t have the time to create an ideal client persona or you want to be sure you’re developing the right persona(s) for your brand, hiring a marketing pro – like the experts at Digital Authority – can be your best option.
To find out more about how the pros at Digital Authority can help you with any of your digital marketing needs and campaigns, let’s talk today!