The Power of the Buyer Persona

A buyer persona is a representation of your brand’s ideal customer (for nonprofits this may be called a client or donor persona). Think of it as an in-depth customer profile, developed through market research and actual data about existing customers/clients/donors.

 In advertising, customers and clients have largely been divided by their demographics: age, location, gender, or some other generic description. For one-to-one marketing and advertising strategies, traditional demographic targeting is too large and diverse to effectively reach your audience.

Thanks to data-collection and research on existing customers, brands are able to create their ideal customer to clearly define and meet user needs. For most businesses, this ideal customer will be described by a buyer persona. For nonprofits, the ideal customer is better described by client and donor personas. These personas are created by the marketing team, or agency, often in conjunction with the sales or fundraising team.

Why are buyer personas useful to brands?

Not only do buyer personas provide structure and insight for brands, they are also useful in determining where to focus time and resources available. Client and donor personas are especially helpful when creating content to attract new clients and potential donors and encourage current donors to give more. 

On websites alone, using in-depth client profiles made the user experience 2-5 times more effective for targeted users.

Buyer personas and client/donor personas can also have a beneficial influence on the development of:

  • Content development strategies
  • Search optimization, both paid and organic
  • Advertising targeting
  • Creative elements.

Put simply, personas help align all messaging to the types of content your audience wants to consume at each point in their path-to-purchase.

Where do brands start the research process to build personas?

Research, research, research. The research you complete will help you identify where your organization’s goals and client needs intersect.

Here are some ways to collect this data:

  • Affinity mapping + internal data
    • Have your customer/client/donor-facing team members map out their gut feelings on user needs and attributes.
    • Ask your sales/fundraising team what questions they are asked and detail their interactions.
  • Focus groups
    • Gather 6-10 existing and ideal customers/clients to discuss different aspects of your brand with.
  • Ethnographic research
    • Use keyword searches to see what other topics your audience is looking at, and social listening to observe how they interact.
  • Analytics
    • Take your website and advertising analytics and put the data to work for your brand.

Ok, so you’ve researched and collected the data – how do you create the persona?

Here are the basic attributes and elements you don’t want to miss:

  1. Name: humanize your persona.
  2. Background: job, career path, family status
  3. Demographics: gender, age, income, education level
  4. Identifiers: anything specific to your organization that identifies this specific persona over another
  5. Goals and Challenges: what are they aiming to do, what is keeping them from achieving their goals
  6. What can your business do: to help them achieve their goals and overcome their challenges
  7. Real quotes and questions: what has this person asked or what may they ask?

To Finish…

Having a well-researched, fully-developed buyer or client/donor persona helps your brand connect on a deeper level with your specific audience.

The understanding of goals, motivations, and challenges of buyers, clients, and donors helps you find the intersection of business goals and consumer needs to create a consumer-focused path-to-purchase strategy.

Summary

Having a well-researched, fully-developed buyer persona helps your brand connect on a deeper level with your specific audience. The understanding of goals, motivations, and challenges of buyers helps you find the intersection of business goals and consumer needs to create a consumer-focused path-to-purchase strategy.

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