Other than your product or service, your buyer is the single-most important part of any business. For non-profits, you might be selling a product, but more often you’re providing a service which relies on donors and volunteers and, perhaps, law-makers or educators. For practical purposes, we’re going to use the word “buyer.” You can think of a buyer as anyone who needs to “buy into” your organization in order for it to succeed.

Is a Buyer’s Persona a Target Market?

A Buyer’s Persona is built on your Target Market. The difference between the two is a target market is a generalized swathe of society (e.g. women, age 35-65) while each Buyer’s Persona is a specific, fictionalized representation of the types of buyers who make up Target Market.

How Will Knowing My Buyers’ Personas Help Me?

The purpose of identifying and honing in on the specific personas is because you need them front and center for every piece of content you create, every new feature or service you create should be in line with what your personas need, everything that you put out into the world should be because it’s connected to the goals of your buyers.

Understand who your buyers are →
Have a product/service that addresses a need for your buyers →
Because you know who your ideal buyer is, you can easily explain how your product/service addresses their need →
Sell more things/raise more money/start a movement/change the world!

Ok, How Do I Do It?

First, you need to know who you want to be engaging with your brand. This may or may not be in line with who is currently engaging with your brand. If you find that it isn’t, you’ll have some brand soul-searching to do. Maybe your brand personality isn’t in line with your ideal buyers’ personas. Maybe you’ve tapped into a market you didn’t think of! Maybe you aren’t providing the thing that your ideal buyers really need. Maybe you aren’t talking about it in a way that’s connecting with your ideal buyer. But this is a post for another day.

Most organizations have 3-5 unique buyer’s personas. Any more than that, and your messaging will get too diluted and sucked into the vortex of trying to be all things to all people and in the end, you end up as a meaningless nothing….so focus on 3-5.

What makes each persona unique is their pain points and goals. As you go through this exercise, if you find yourself repeating pain points across personas, you can probably just combine them.

Imagine You’re at a Party

You walk up to a stranger, and you want to talk to them. You want to get to know them. You want to be their friend. What do you do? Hint: you should introduce yourself and ask their name. A name is powerful.

1. Name Your Buyer’s Persona

The first step in the persona exercise is to give your persona a name. Let me reiterate that, while these personas may be based on actual clients/customers/donors, they should be fictionalized representations. So, don’t use your client’s actual name.

Name:Working Mom Wendy

2. Demographics

After you’ve exchanged names, it’s time to talk. In order to do this, you need to be relatable. One of the ways we assess and process how to relate to someone is through visual cues and inferences. We will probably talk to someone who’s 18 differently than a person who’s 68. We might talk to a man differently than we’d talk to a woman. If you’re religious, you might pick up on religious cues like someone wearing a cross.

The second step in the persona exercise is the demographic information.

  • Age: 38
  • Race: white
  • Occupation: bank executive
  • Marital Status: married
  • Education: Masters degree
  • Church/spiritual background: holiday Christian
  • Income level: $200,000
  • Where do they go for information: Scary Mommy, Glennon Doyle Melton, Gwyneth Paltrow, friends, pediatrician
  • Other info: 3 children, ages 5, 7, 11

Some of these may not matter as much to your organization, but, by asking the question, you may learn things about your personas that you hadn’t previously thought about. You may learn a new way to connect with your buyers.

3. Your Buyer’s Goals

The third step is understanding what they’re trying to accomplish. What are this buyer’s goals?

Working Mom Wendy wants to provide and care for her children without neglecting her job and vice versa.

4. How Does Your Buyer Identify?

Step four is identifying any words to which your persona strongly relates.

Working mom
Millennial (or not)

5. Your Buyer’s Persona’s Pain Points

Step five is the most important part of the whole exercise: the persona’s pain points and how your product/service addresses them.

Persona’s Pain Points/Common objections:

  • Wendy has to be at work early, so her kids’ lunches have to be made early in the morning. She wants to include healthy foods, but none of the insulated lunch boxes she’s found keep foods like yogurts cold long enough.
  • They can’t be too heavy because her kids already have heavy backpacks.
  • She wants kid-friendly designs but doesn’t want gendered designs.
  • It’s usually so hard to wash an insulated lunch box.

How can we address their pain points?

  • Your company makes the best insulated lunch boxes on the market. They’re guaranteed to keep food cold for 12 hours.
  • Thanks to new technology, the slim cooling pack is also lightweight.
  • Dinosaurs for all! You can even custom-design the lunch box online!
  • Your lunch boxes have a zip-out liner that can be easily washed and dried.

6. Your Marketing Message

The final step has to do with your marketing message and elevator pitch. This will help you create the rest of your copy for your website and marketing materials.

Marketing Message:

  • How should you describe your solution to this persona? A light lunchbox that will keep your kid’s food fresh for up to 12 hours, so you don’t have to worry anymore.

Elevator Pitch:

  • Your 30-second spiel for this persona: We make lunch boxes. Our patented Dura-Cold technology helped us create the lightest, longest-lasting lunch box on the market. Plus, we made the inside liner zip out for easy washing, because we know how messy kids can be. We also created an online design application so each child can customize their own lunch box. Moms have enough to worry about during a day. Whether or not their kid’s lunch is still fresh by lunchtime shouldn’t be one of them.

And that’s it!

Now, it’s your turn. You can download our Buyer’s Persona template here. You can print it out or fill it in on your computer. And if you have questions or need help, feel free to contact us!

For further reading, Buffer has a great article on personas.