By Dolly Howard

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By now, you've probably heard that every tech company should be using storytelling as a means of relating to their potential customers and encouraging adoption. Just like a product story, you need to know and create your customers’ stories. Why is this important? In short, the better you know someone the better you can provide them service, solutions, and a place of trust. Ask yourself, “Who are my customers?” If you don’t know the answer, or you only know their job titles, it is time to get to work. It all starts with buyer personas

What is a Buyer Persona?

Buyer personas are a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. You develop personas using real data and inferences based on your experience. Buyer personas should include information about goals, main motivations, demographics, and behavior patterns (and what actions those patterns trigger).

A buyer persona is not the same as a target market, a job role, or a real customer. They are also not dependent on specific tools or technology to exist. Instead, a buyer persona is created when there are:

  • Common, shared behavior patterns
  • Identifiable pain points (professional or personal)
  • Universal goals or hopes
  • Common demographic and biographic information

How to Create a Buyer Persona

Creating a buyer persona can take a lot of work, but your marketing and sales experience will be much more enriched. Remember that buyer persona creation is ongoing. You made add or remove personas as you learn and research more. 

Here are a few tips for creating buyer personas:

  1. Establish Your Ideal Customer - Be detail oriented and look through everything, every piece of data you have, to learn who you ideal customers are. You may be surprised.
  2. Utilize What You Have – You may not know the answer to every question. It’s ok. Start with what you have.
  3. Create a List of Questions – The best way to create personas is to interview the list of ideal customers you created. If you don’t know what to ask, SmartBug Media offers a free ebook full of helpful questions you can add to your list.
  4. Determine What You Have to Infer – What questions you are asking your customers is determined above. Next, you will need to decide what information will need to be inferred. (For example, if your product caters to women in their 50s, you may infer that the woman has had children at some point...most likely).
  5. Choose an Image – You will need an image that encompasses your persona. Is your persona a woman in her 50s who is upper middle class in Texas? Find an image of a woman (not a real customer) that matches your findings.
  6. Choose a Name – Using the example above you may call your persona Texas Tori. The name should remind you of which persona it is and have a standard name to add believability.
  7. Create a Persona Workheet – A persona sheet will include the image of the persona and 5 – 10 important findings. Print them out, give them to sales and encourage colleagues to use the personas name when speaking about prospects, leads and customers.

An Example of a Persona Worksheet

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Have you created buyer personas for your company? Are you using them? Let us know by tweeting us at @smartbugmedia.

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Dolly Howard

About the author

Dolly Howard was formerly Director of Marketing for SmartBug Media. Previously she worked as a senior marketing consultant leading SmartBug Media clients in strategy for lead conversion improvement and total marketing ROI. As a past HubSpot employee, Dolly is excited to share her knowledge and help enterprise companies grow their business. Read more articles by Dolly Howard.

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