Buyer Personas: Just What Exactly Are They?

Buyer personas are fictional, generalized characters that can give you, as a business owner, an idea of who your ideal customers are. They can be useful when trying to understand your clients (and prospective clients) and tailor to their specific needs, behaviors and concerns.

Learning about your business’ buyer personas will not only foster a better, more open relationship between you and your customers, it will also make them more apt to feel like they are truly being heard. And, at the end of the day, isn’t that really what everyone wants? Depending on the size of your business, you could have as few as one buyer persona or as many as 20, but it is always better to start out small and develop more as your business grows. Conversely, there are also “exclusionary personas.” These represent the population of people who you do not want as a customer. An exclusionary persona could be someone who is too advanced, or not advanced enough, for your product. It could also be someone who is researching your product for reasons other than wanting to purchase it, or it could be a prospective customer who would simply be too expensive to acquire (because of their unlikeliness to purchase again, or because of their low average sale price).

Buyer personas will allow you to map out and create highly targeted content, saving your business both time and money in the long run. It will also open up a new level of contact between you and your customers. Once you develop your business’ buyer personas, and segment your clients accordingly, you can tailor your method of communication to each persona. As a result, you become more aware of your exclusionary personas and can reduce your cost-per-lead and cost-per-customer.

There are several methods for gathering the information you need to develop personas. You could interview your customers in person or over the phone and get a better idea of what they like about your product or service. You could also use your contacts database, or forms from your website, to uncover trends about how certain leads or customers find and consume your content. Finally, you could take your sales team’s feedback into consideration; these are the people who deal directly with your clients and potential clients after all.

Understanding your business’ buyer personas is worth the fraction of effort it requires, because it will help you distinguish between the customers you should keep and the customers you could do without. This will allow you to begin to target your business accordingly, and save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

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