By Ryan Malone

One common misconception about user personas is that only large corporations with big marketing budgets can use them. The truth is, businesses of all sizes and types can benefit from getting a deeper understanding of their target customers.

In fact, smaller companies with tighter budgets should take the time to develop user personas because they can help you get a better return on your investment and save money in the long run.


Six Industries (of Many) that Should Develop User Personas

No matter how large or small your business, if you have customers, they have personas. Anybody who makes a purchasing decision, whether it is a product or service, is worth understanding. The better you know what motivates your target audience, the better you can reach them.

Virtually all businesses can benefit from using buyer personas; here are just a handful of examples:

  1. Retail stores - Use personas to create the promotions that bring people in the door. Then create a sales experience that is most likely to result in a purchase.
  2. Online businesses - Develop an inbound marketing strategy with calls to action that resonate with your audience, and create landing pages that increase your conversion rates.
  3. Business-to-business sales - Developing personas for small business owners, office managers, or other key decision makers can help you get an edge when selling to other businesses.
  4. Service providers - You don't need to sell a product to understand how your customer decides to make a purchase. Find out what they value most in a service provider and give it to them.
  5. Manufacturers - Your customer is not always the end user of the product. Personas can also be created for buyers and purchasing agents at distribution companies.
  6. Consultants - Hiring a consultant or other professional service provider is a big decision for many people. Taking the time to develop personas for the people most likely to engage your services can help you generate a larger client base.
     
Even if your business doesn't fit into any of the above categories, you can still gain an advantage over the competition by creating user personas.

What type of business do you own or manage? Have you developed user personas yet?
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Ryan Malone

About the author

Ryan Malone is the founder and CEO of SmartBug Media and is a veteran of Deloitte & Touche, Seagate and several venture-backed technology companies. When he's not leading SmartBug and helping clients build high-octane marketing organizations, he's loving his wife and daughters and unsuccessfully learning the guitar. Go Terps! Read more articles by Ryan Malone.

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