How to Create Buyer Personas That Actually Work

When you’re creating video content for your marketing campaigns, how do you decide which selling points, emotional appeals, and stories will resonate most with your audience? What about different segments within your main audience?

Whether you do it intentionally or not, you’re likely considering some version of a buyer persona when deciding what messages your audience would be most responsive to.

In this post, we’re going to discuss how to create buyer personas that actually work and how you can test them in your video content to evaluate their effectiveness.

What Are Buyer Personas?

Buyer personas are a little like a sketch what your average customer might look like. Many businesses may need different personas to reflect their multiple audience niches. These personas represent your audience members and are designed to give you insight and guidance into what they want and need. This will help you create marketing campaigns–both organic and that are more effective, because you’ll be able to better understand your audience and thus create more relevant content that speaks to their needs, pain points, and desires.

Can We See an Example?

Let’s look at an example. My own business has a very diverse client base, because I offer different types of services. These services attract different types of customers, including:

  • Marketing directors for medium and large businesses who are busy and need content marketing. Many of these directors are men in their late twenties to early forties. They’ve got a budget, but they need someone who can do the work without a lot of oversight. They’re results-driven, so metrics are big.
  • Startup founders looking to build a name for themselves through thought leadership. Cost is no concern as long as quality is high, though they typically work on tight deadlines because they’re always short on time, and have high expectations because their name is on the line.
  • Small business owners who are struggling to scale their businesses and need site or PPC copy. Cost can be a huge concern, so they’re more interested in package deals. They may know a lot about their industries, but not a lot about marketing, and need more guidance into  best practices.

These niches are not buyer personas just yet. Instead, we’ll take the small business owners and turn it into the following persona:

Small Business Owner Sarah is a thirty year old woman who has launched her ecommerce business selling organic beauty products. She is trying to wear all the hats in her business, but doesn’t know much about the business side of things. Her social media profiles only have 100 followers between the lot of them, and the blog section on her site just says “coming soon.” She’s on a tight budget, but is willing to invest what she can to grow her business and take it to the next step.

The marketing campaigns I’d run for Sarah would be different from CEO Chad or Marketing Director Mike, because these are very different people who need my services for different reasons.

How to Create Buyer Personas That Actually Work

Creating a persona isn’t as difficult as you’d think. It requires some research and assembly of data, and a bit of common sense. Mix it all together, and you’ve got a great persona on your hands.

First, you’ll want to use some data from tools like Facebook’s Audience Insights and Google Analytics to find the following information about your customers:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Job title
  • Location
  • Education
  • Interests
  • Family
  • Goals
  • Values
  • Fears / Pain Points
  • Income

For reference, you can access your Audience Insights on Facebook here.

how to create buyer personas that actually work

All of this information will directly affect how potential customers interact with marketing messages, so it’s important to take all of it into consideration.

Here’s where the common sense part comes in: you need to know which audience segments line up with which demographics, pain points, values, and fear, because your audience overall will be diverse. Write it all out, and then look at how to assemble it together.

how to create buyer personas that work

The small startups that hire me don’t often have the same kinds of budgets or personal income compared to more established businesses or CEOs, so I wouldn’t want to get my messaging muddled here or I risk losing site of my audience all together.

So How Does This Actually Work?

Let’s use my business as an example again. If I were crafting a marketing message while appealing to a Small Business Owner Sarah, I might realize that she has two kids and has started her business for them. I could test some marketing copy that reminds her that handing over her copywriting to me will take one task off her hands, giving her more time with her kids.

Or, maybe based on research, I’ll discover that she’s single and working hard to build a life before she considers starting a family. A more aggressive growth message would be appropriate here.

How to Test Buyer Persona Effectiveness In Video

Buyer personas, like all other parts of your marketing campaigns, will need to be tested. This will also include testing different messaging and evaluating what your audience responds to most.

Video is a great way to test your buyer personas, especially if you run split tests on select audiences that reflect your buyer personas. Video, after all, is engaging and an easy way to fully deliver your message quickly. You can also use metrics like clicks and viewer retention rates to see how effective your video was and how interested your target audience was.

When I’m testing different buyer personas through video, I use Shakr’s video templates.

how to create strong buyer personas

I choose a single template and customize the images, and then change the text on each new video. This allows for a true split test that makes it easier to check how well the messaging is performing with specific personas. The time saved from the template isn’t so bad, either.

Final Thoughts

Buyer personas might seem like some cheap marketing trick, but well-developed personas can be an essential part of your marketing campaigns. It can help center you and remind you the except audiences you want to appeal to. As an added bonus, if you ever outsource any part of your marketing to third parties, these personas will catch them up to speed quickly and get everyone on the same page.

Want to start split testing your buyer personas and the messaging you use to reach them with video? Sign up for your free trial with Shakr here

What do you think? How do you create buyer personas that work for you? Do you use our method discussed here? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below! 

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Ana Gotter is a business writer specializing in social media and content marketing, though she writes on a variety of other niches and subjects. She can be contacted at anagotter.com.

1 comments On How to Create Buyer Personas That Actually Work

  • Ana, great article explaining some effective ways to develop buyer personas. Love how simple yet effective some of your ideas / framework are (especially the use of Facebook as a research too). Developing useful buyer personas can seem overwhelming or in your words “a cheap trick” but when done correctly has heaps of value for any organisation. As you said it’s often common sense backed with a bit of research. Have you found LinkedIn metrics to help you at all? It’s definitely something we will be testing, especially for our B2B campaigns.

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