How well do you really know your ideal target market?
You won't be able to position what you're selling to meet prospects' (and potential prospects') needs without knowing who they are. How well do you know your ideal prospects' backgrounds, their goals, and their challenges? How well do you understand their interests and needs? Do you know how old they are? Where they went to school? Whether they have kids? What a day-in-the-life looks like?
These questions may sound specific, but here's the thing ...
Creating very specific buyer personas can dramatically improve your business results.
Without knowing the answers to questions like these, it's difficult for a business to create an effective strategy to attract, sell to, and delight more of those types of people. In order to grow, you need to understand your ideal customers inside and out and integrate that research across your entire business.
Here, you'll learn all about personas in more detail: what they are, how you can use them, and how to create them. Keep scrolling and you'll find customizable persona templates you can use for your business, as well as persona examples to guide you.
What are personas?
Finance Manager Melanie. Landscaper Larry. Caregiver Cassy. These names refer to personas: fictional, generalized representations of real people. By grouping people into persona categories, it's much easier for marketers, product designers, salespeople, and services people to tailor their content, messaging, product development, and services to different groups of people.
You might have heard personas referred to more specifically as "buyer personas" or "marketing personas" by marketers, or even "customer personas" or "user personas" by product designers. Regardless who in your business is using them, it's important to remember that personas aren't just for marketing. They're not one of those one-off exercises you do, only to promptly forget about them several weeks later. Implement your personas across your entire funnel strategy, and let everyone in the organization know who they are -- from Marketing to Product to Sales to Finding Great Business Prospects.
Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. They help you understand your customers (and prospective customers) better, and make it easier for you to tailor content to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different types of buyers.
The strongest buyer personas are based on market research as well as on insights you gather from your actual customer base -- through surveys, interviews, and so on. We'll get more into how to create personas later.
Depending on your business, you could have as few as one or two personas, or as many as 10 or 20. You can use them to inform everything from writing more effective copy to developing better products.
What About "Negative" Personas?
Whereas a buyer persona is a representation of an ideal customer, a negative or “exclusionary” persona is a representation of who you don’t want as a customer. These are the people you don’t want to target. The fact is, some leads just aren't a good fit for your business.
Here are some reasons you wouldn't want to target them:
They may not have budget.
They may be students who are only engaging with your content for research or knowledge.
They may be too advanced for what you're selling.
They may become a customer, but they were inordinately expensive customer to acquire.
They may become a customer, but you never recoup the costs of acquiring them because of a low average sale price, their propensity to churn, or their unlikeliness to purchase again from your company.
To identify and understand these kinds of people, you need to create a negative (exclusionary) persona. It may appear counterproductive to spend timing getting to know people who will never be your customers, but it'll save you and your team time and money in the long run, as you will not waste time marketing and selling to these people.
Persona Templates & Example
Now, it's your turn.
Ready to create your own personas for your business? We’ve created blank templates for developing three distinct personas. Click the link below to download your free persona templates. (You will not have to enter any personal information to get access to this template, and it's completely free.)
Whether you're just getting started with personas or you've already begun your research, use these templates to help you focus, simplify, and streamline your persona development.
What does a buyer persona look like? Use your creativity here as it pertains to your industry, network marketing, or small business. You'll get the idea. Use this example as a guide to customize your own buyer personas, and use them to organize your audience segments and strengthen your marketing.
Here's an example of a persona we created using the buyer persona templates you can download above. We'll call her Sample Sally.
Section 1: The "Who?"
In the first section, you'll fill out your persona's background, demographics, and identifiers (like demeanor and communication preferences).
Second 2: The "What?"
Next, you'll fill in your persona's goals and challenges, followed by what your business can do to help them achieve their goals and overcome their challenges.
Section 3: The "Why?"
Here's where you can input real quotes from customers and potential customers from the surveys and interviews you conducted for persona research. You can also input common objections -- reasons your ideal buyers have said they wouldn't want to buy your offering.
Section 4: The "How?"
Finally, you can fill in the marketing messaging you want to use for this particular target buyer. How should you describe your offering to this persona? What's your elevator pitch to them?