Creating Target Audience Personas

Laura English

Laura English

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Any digital agency getting to know your business will ask you about your target audience personas or your buyer personas. It’s common that smaller businesses won’t have them, which makes sense, you don’t have the same resources as an agency. But you can still give it a go. A target audience persona is a fictional person’s profile, based off the real people that your business should be targeting.

Target audience personas are so important to both your local digital agency and small businesses alike because they should inform almost every decision. Your target audience should inform working out your marketing plan, how you run promotional events or sales, and how you go about relating to your audience in a valuable way. Target audience or buyer personas are especially useful and necessary in e-commerce, but can help inform any business’ marketing plan.

Source the data

The very first step in putting together a target audience persona is collecting all the data you can find on them. This can be done from looking at sales or registrations data, looking at your business’ social media insights, and running online surveys for your customers or clients. Obviously, anecdotal evidence counts here too. You run the business and you know who your customers are. If you’re in a B2B business, the best way to get started anecdotally is brainstorming the occupations of your most common clients. If you’re running a B2C business, start with their needs or their problems. 

Find the trends and links

Once you’ve collated all of the relevant data you can find on your target audience, it’s time to analyse it. Look for trends or links in their basic information. What’s the common gender (relatively evenly split?), age group, and location? From these key identifiers, a digital agency would look further into the insights contained in the persona’s data. Is there an even split between men aged 18-25 and women aged 45-54? What’s the common factor? Is the common location where the business is based or is the common detail in your audience’s locations that no one lives in a city?

After the basics are laid down, get more specific. What are the key occupations popping up? Is there an average income? What’s their highest level of education, what sort of universities did they attend? Work out things like their hobbies, interests, lifestyle preferences. Learn about their personalities; how much time do they spend on social media, do they read, do they self-educate?

Some digital marketers say they sit down with colleagues to discuss the personas, they throw out suggestions or theories about who the people might be. Other marketers say they social-stalk actual customers to make the personas as realistic as possible (creepy but definitely effective).

Get to know them well

By this point, you or your digital agency should know quite a bit about your target audience. It’s now time to delve a little bit deeper. Find the linking factors between demographics. Think about what your product or services achieve and what the motivation to purchase is.

Learn about their goals or their pain points. You know the purpose or the intent of your product so you should be able to identify within the demographic what their pain points are and what they struggle with. As well as what leads to them buying your product or seeking out your services.

Create your target audience’s buyer personas

Now that you or your digital agency know everything there is to know about your target audience. It’s time to make a persona for them. But because within the certain demographics or target audience there may be varied voices, it’s worth creating at least three profiles.

Below is a quick example of what one buyer persona for a fashion brand might look like. 

target buyer persona

At Sonder, we have a variety of services that have a variety of outcomes and benefits. So, we have nine different buyer personas that cover the different genres of clients we’re trying to attract. Below is just one of them and one of the broadest personas: the small business owner. There are so many small business owners — they could fit into a huge age group, they can be any gender, their pain points will vary, just like their goals. While some small business owners are definitely frequenting LinkedIn and are consuming blogs, others might not be so involved. They might be on Facebook or paying attention to traditional ads more. So, there’s definitely some stereotyping and generalising involved.

target buyer persona

Adjust your marketing plan

Now that you’ve defined your target audience and created your buyer personas, adjust your marketing plan. This can be in conjunction with your digital agency, or on your own. Sit down and look at how you can directly address their pain points, whether it’s in your website’s copy, via content marketing, or social media marketing. Consider how you can address their goals and how you can let them know that you’re here to help them achieve those goals.

Most importantly, adjust your marketing avenues. Did you uncover opportunities you didn’t realise existed? Are there avenues you or your digital agency haven’t been tapping into, but should have? These personas should inform your marketing plan and strategy, not vice versa.

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