Getting Started with Buyer Personas


How to pull together the critical elements of a buyer persona.


If you are selling anything to anyone, one of the most important things you can do is to create detailed buyer personas. This exercise accomplishes many things:

  • Provides information about your buyer to any other stakeholders who might need it – for example your employees, and external stakeholders like agencies or freelancers
  • Acts as a touchstone for every marketing promotion you execute so you can always answer the question “what will this do for my customer”
  • Helps you better understand your buyer and their motivations so you can improve the quality and return on the marketing programs that you execute


It’s important to note that while it might be tempting to take shortcuts, it won’t be nearly as useful if you do. Many people thing that they know their buyers and will just start writing out what they *think* is representative of their typical customer. The thing to remember is everyone is different. Even if YOU are your target buyer, there are people who think, feel and are motivated by different things than you are.


So where do you start? There are a number of different ways you can start accumulating the data you’ll need to develop your personas. Here are just a few:

  1. Current customers – the best place to start is with current customers. Ask them about what keeps them up at night, where they get their information, what motivates them, and what frustrates them.
  2. Google analytics – check your website statistics, which blogs, content and pages get the most traffic, and have the highest time on page so you get a sense of the most burning topics.
  3. Industry websites – check the websites that your prospects / customers frequent. Check out the articles and other content that is being published. Who are the industry experts and what are they talking about.
  4. Recorded webinars – check out some of the hot webinars that people have attended.
  5. Communities – check out the communities that your prospects and customers frequent. What are the topics with the most comments.


However you decide to start gathering this data, the important thing is that you have a way to distill it and that you are including a large enough sample size to be representative of your target market. Making decisions on too few data points can lead you down the wrong path so make sure that you invest the time that is needed to get a significant sample.