If you’re interested in boosting sales, you need to improve marketing. You get better at marketing when you target the right people.

Buyer personas help you target people who are most likely to become customers.

You can offer highly personalized offers and content to your ideal customers via buyer personas.

Collegis Education increased conversion rate by 7% and email open rate by 28% when it ran a persona-based email marketing campaign.

Concur increased sales opportunities by 20% by offering targeting content to its target audience.

So what exactly is this buyer persona?

According to Sam Kusinitz:

It is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer.

Here is how it looks:

It is based on research and data on your ideal customer’s demographics, motivations, goals, behaviors, life challenges, and other information.

When you have all the information about your ideal customers, it makes targeting a piece of cake, right?

Offering personalized content and offers gets a whole lot easier.

Not just personalization but personas help you understand your ideal customer better. What are their interest, challenges, life goals, problems, habits, income, content preferences, etc.?

This information helps you reach the right people at the right time on the right place with the right offer and content they cannot refuse.

Sounds awesome, sure it does.

Data Collection

Everything about buyer personas is nice except one thing: You need to collect data (a lot of it) to create personas that truly represent your ideal customer.

Buyer persona = Data collection.

Period.

Once you have the data, you can fill it up in a persona template. That’s easy.

So how you can collect data?

Here are some of the best ways to collect data for the development of customer personas.

1. Website Analytics

I'm sure you must be using Google Analytics to monitor your website’s traffic. If you’re, there is a wealth of information available there.

You can analyze demographics, interests, location, behavior, technology, devices, and several other variables from Google Analytics.

Click Behavior to understand how visitors spend time on your website, what content they like, what keywords they use, pages that have high exit percentage, and more.

You'll get a lot of data from Analytics that will help you get a better idea of how your audience looks like.

2. Social Media Research

Your target audience shares a lot of information on social media. Think of photos it shares, pages it likes, comments posted, brand mentions, and type of content it has engaged with.

Analyzing your followers on your social accounts will reveal useful information about your ideal customer’s likes, dislikes, interests, behaviors, and more.

Social listening is another technique you can use to understand your ideal customers and how they interact with your brand. It lets you identify pain points and moment of joy your target audience experience with your product.

Knowing what makes your customers happy (and sad) is the information that you need and adding this information in buyer personas will guide you on what to do and what not to do.

Here is an example of how social listening can help you better understand your customer problems (and solve them).

Here is another example where a user is having an issue with LearnDash.

It’s not about finding and addressing these issues but it’s more about using this info in buyer personas for future reference.

3. Surveys and Interviews

Nothing works better than collecting data from your target audience and existing customers. Collect data from both happy and unhappy customers using surveys and interviews.

What type of questions to ask?

All the relevant questions that will enable you to improve targeting and sales.

Any question that provides you more information about an existing customer or future customers is relevant. And any question that collects data on something that is already available to you or can be fetched from any other source is irrelevant and will reduce response rate (and might have other consequences).

Here is the thing: People don’t like participating in surveys. It’s boring and time-consuming.

The average response rate for customer surveys is between 10-15%. It can jump to 85% if your respondents are motivated.

You have to do two things to improve the response rate.

First, value the respondent’s time by giving an appropriate reward to the participants.

Second, keep your surveys short and relevant. Collect information that’s essential and you'll actually add in buyer personas.

The best approach is to conduct in-depth interviews from customers and salespeople to identify themes. Use interviews to identify problems, challenges, motivations, and interests of your customers, and use this info to create surveys for data collection.

Here is a list of most common questions that you should ask in buyer persona interviews:

Convert these into Likert scale items and MCQs for questionnaire based on data collected from interviews.

For instance, the question “What blogs do you read?” can be changed to:

Do you read Healthline?

1. Strongly Disagree 2. Disagree 3. Neutral 4. Agree 5. Strongly Agree

Or,

Select the blogs you read:

1. Healthline 2. Delish Knowledge 3. My Fitness Pal 4. The Real Food Dietitians 5. Fit Foodie Finds

The data you need to create these targeted questionnaires will come from analytics, social media, sales team, market research, and interviews.

Creating Buyer Personas

Once you have the data, you can start feeding it in your buyer persona. You can use buyer persona templates that are already available out there for free (e.g. HubSpot, Digital Marketer, or Alexa) or you can use an app (like Xtensio or Demand Metric spreadsheet) to create your own customized personas.

Here is how a template looks like.

Simply add data.

You need to create at least one persona for each audience group. For instance, if your target audience includes homeowners and businesses. And homeowners include men and women, and men include salaried personnel, and salaried personnel can have several categorizations, and so on.

What you need to do is create at least one persona for each sub-type of salaried personnel who represents your ideal customer for that group specifically. Create another persona for a different salaried personnel type.

A single persona representing your entire target market won’t work.

The more targeted a buyer persona is, the better it is because targeting won’t be an issue for your marketing team.

Conclusion

A buyer persona that represents your ideal customer in the truest sense and has all the necessary information is what’s required to boost sales.

What information your buyer personas have is important.

So all you need is information about your target audience. That’s the key to creating buyer personas that are sure to work.