Create engaging and comprehensive buyer personas

An illustration of buyer personas

No matter your industry or business model, you need customers who will buy your products or services. And modern consumers have many options, so it’s essential to increase customer engagement in the highly saturated market. It simply isn’t efficient to market to everyone on Earth — brands need to track potential customer data so they don’t use precious resources on people who have no intention of purchasing.

Having comprehensive information will help you clearly define and better engage with your target market — but how do you turn swaths of customer data into actionable insights?

Successful businesses use buyer personas to narrow their market, boost engagement, and close more deals. Follow this guide to gain clarity on buyer persona examples, templates, and a step-by-step process for creating personas.

In this guide to buyer personas, we’ll go over:

What is a buyer persona?

A buyer persona is a fictional representation of a key audience segment for your business. Also known as a marketing persona, customer persona, or audience persona, a buyer persona is a valuable tool used by:

Applications of buyer personas

Buyer personas synthesize all of the audience data you collect on your current and ideal customers. The goal is to categorize your data in ways that make your customers come alive, and so it will be easier for your team to empathize with their pain points.

Businesses rarely have just one customer persona. Effective businesses will create multiple customer personas so they can target multiple segments of their audience. There’s no “correct” number of personas, but most companies start with two to five buyer personas. The larger and more complex your business, the more personas you’ll likely need.

For example, you might create different personas for C-suite leaders compared to low-level coordinators. Both audiences are important to your brand — but they each require a different approach, which would warrant separate personas.

While you’re free to call personas whatever you like, it’s helpful to give them descriptive names that make it easy to refer to the correct persona. Buyer personas are an internal tool, so you’re free to make them however you see fit. You might create personas like:

Think of a buyer persona as a type of digital dossier. It should include demographic information about the most common prospects in your business, as well as their motivations and pain points.

While most buyer personas describe the type of customer you want to target, anti-personas are also a helpful tool. An anti-persona is the polar opposite of a typical buyer persona because it outlines the types of customers you don’t want to work with.

If you’ve spent time working with customers who aren’t a fit, anti-personas give your team a useful tool to remove unqualified prospects from your pipeline. This way, you ensure your business only works with the best customers for your offerings.

Benefits of buyer personas

Nearly half of B2B marketers reportedly use buyer personas. If such a substantial slice of the industry relies on buyer personas, they’re clearly a useful tool for improving business. Brands invest in buyer personas for many reasons, including:

71% of brands that exceed their revenue goals have defined buyer personas

82% of brands with buyer personas improve their value proposition

Five steps to create a buyer persona

Buyer personas have the potential to improve the customer experience and skyrocket revenue in return. The persona creation process requires a lot of data and iteration, but it will give you a powerful tool to improve your business. Follow these five steps to create buyer personas for your brand.

1. Quantitative research

Buyer personas are only effective if they’re rooted in reality. That’s why it’s important to start with objective data first. To do this, you’ll need to use analytics, audience segmentation tools, and market research to analyze your customer base by certain attributes.

Keep in mind that the information you collect will largely depend on your industry and company goals. For example, if you’re a software as a service (SaaS) company, you might care more about a persona’s budget than its psychographics. Every business is different, but it’s a good idea to collect quantitative data such as:

Buyer persona research is never truly done. Buyer personas are living documents that can — and should — change over time as your business, customers, and industry evolve.

2. Qualitative research

While quantitative data is incredibly valuable, it doesn’t tell the full story. Much of the customer experience comes down to qualitative factors, which is why your team also needs to conduct qualitative research for better buyer personas. Qualitative data can include:

Qualitative research for buyer personas

You can glean important insights by digging into the communications you have with your audience. However, the easiest way to do qualitative research is to sit down and interview both your employees and your audience.

Conducting employee interviews

Internally, you can interview sales, marketing, customer service, or IT employees to get their opinions on your audience’s pain points. Ask internal stakeholders these questions to learn more about your target audience:

Since leadership doesn’t work with customers on a daily basis, these interviews can help you discover unexpected customer pain points that you need to include in your buyer personas.

Conducting customer interviews

Interviewing your internal team will give you all kinds of helpful information, but you also need to go directly to the source — your customers. Choose members of your target audience to interview and add that data to your buyer personas.

You can find customers to interview by checking your social media for engaged followers who are also loyal customers, searching your CRM for your top-grossing accounts, and asking your marketing, sales, or product team to recommend customers who would be receptive.

During the interview, ask your buyers questions like:

Be sure to follow other customer interview best practices, including:

At this point, you likely have a swath of raw audience information at your fingertips. Now your goal is to look over all of the quantitative and qualitative data to spot major trends. These trends will help you distinguish separate segments within your audience, which you can use to create your different personas.

Follow these tips to find trends in your data:

4. Draft personas

After parsing the data, you’ll have a rough idea of the different personas in your business. At this point, you need to draft your personas using all of the data you collected.

Buyer personas are internal tools with the ultimate goal of making more money, so keep them as focused on the buying process as possible.

Feel free to get creative while writing your buyer personas. Give names and faces to your newly created personas, treating them like fictional characters in a TV show or video game. Make them seem like real people — write a short story about their home life, hobbies, and career path.

The key is to use your research so you choose believable options — remember, this needs to be rooted in data. Your personas should also touch on:

Ideal aspects included in buyer personas

Define their role at the company and their relationship to the decision-making process. Are they a researcher, or do they have a hand in making important decisions? What do they need to see from your company to make buying decisions?

While it’s fun to write backstories, focus on your personas’ work lives and how they relate to the buying process. Buyer personas are internal tools with the ultimate goal of making more money, so keep them as focused on the buying process as possible.

5. Distribute and use personas

Personas won’t do your team any good if they’re locked up in a vault, so be sure to distribute your personas and integrate them into your workflow. Buyer personas are so important that they warrant a presentation to your managers and teams. This gives you the chance to answer questions and tell your teams how to get more value out of your buyer personas.

Don’t sequester personas within your marketing or sales departments. Since the actions of one department can have a big impact on another department’s performance, shared buyer personas keep all of your employees on the same team. Use personas cross-functionally to encourage cohesion and focus across all of your departments.

While the hard work is over, buyer persona research is never truly done. Buyer personas are living documents that can — and should — change over time as your business, customers, and industry evolve. To that end, it’s a good idea to:

Buyer persona examples

Buyer personas are unique to every business. But even so, it’s helpful to see other companies’ buyer personas for inspiration. Check out these five developed customer personas to understand what your final product should look like.

Semrush — B2C buyer persona

SEMrush buyer persona example

Image credit: Semrush

Buyer personas tend to be more popular with B2B companies, but they’re useful for B2C applications too. If your company sells products to everyday consumers, this B2C buyer persona example from Semrush is a prime example of buyer data in action. While this buyer persona example emphasizes the buyer’s general background, it highlights important data like pain points and buying decisions.

Appcues — personality-based persona

Personality-based persona example

Image credit: Appcues

This buyer persona example from Appcues emphasizes the prospect’s personality, particularly as it pertains to their career. By listing Lisa Montoya’s trusted brands, it’s easier to figure out the types of content she might be drawn to during the customer journey. Visualizing the persona’s personality with a slider graphic can also help marketing and sales craft more effective messaging for either B2B or B2C applications.

UserGuiding — skills-based buyer persona

Skills-based buyer persona

Image credit: UserGuiding

This buyer persona example from UserGuiding is helpful for B2B use cases where you might look for professionals with certain skillsets. Not only is it visually appealing, but it also highlights the prospect’s technological skills and strengths. This is ideal for B2B SaaS brands and even for service-based businesses like executive coaching firms.

Venngage — visual buyer persona

Visual buyer persona

Image credit: Venngage

Venngage’s buyer persona example is visually appealing. Too often, brands overload their buyer personas with text — and the meaning gets lost. But by creating a highly visual persona with custom icons and bright colors, Venngage ensures no detail slips through the cracks. This buyer persona example would be perfect for brands with several personas that need to distinguish multiple segments from each other.

MarketSplash — simplified buyer persona

Simplified buyer persona

Image credit: MarketSplash

Buyer personas don’t have to be long or complicated. This example from MarketSplash shows that it’s okay to design a simple, straightforward buyer persona as long as it accomplishes your goals. In fact, it’s much easier to refer to a simple buyer persona during your daily workflow — so if you anticipate using your buyer personas every day, this approach would work best.

Buyer persona templates

Buyer persona examples will help you see what other brands are doing with their personas, but they still require you to do all of the heavy lifting. When it’s time to use buyer personas in your business, you need a replicable template that you can share with your team.

With a template, you can quickly generate multiple personas in a consistent style. Plus, when your personas eventually change, it’s much easier to make adjustments to a template instead of starting over from scratch.

At a minimum, your buyer persona template needs to include critical information such as:

You’re free to create your own buyer persona templates, but these three free templates can give you a head start.

Interactive buyer persona maker

Interactive buyer persona maker example

Image credit: Xtensio

This free buyer persona template builder from Xtensio is perfect for both B2B and B2C brands. The tool allows you to start developing a persona without downloading any software — and the drag-and-drop interface means you can quickly build personas in minutes. You can change the categories, although the emphasis on brands and influencers makes this template helpful for media brands and marketing firms.

B2B buyer persona template

B2B buyer persona template

Image credit: Venngage

The categories in this buyer persona template from Venngage make it easy to quickly find pertinent data on your audience in seconds. The simplicity makes this template perfect as a quick reference tool for B2B applications, especially for brands that want to rapidly understand a buyer’s psychographic data.

B2C buyer persona template

B2C buyer persona template

Image credit: Iterative Marketing

Iterative Marketing’s B2C buyer persona template might not be as flashy as other options, but it distills important information about a B2C buyer into just a few bullet points. Use the “Worries & Fears” section to overcome B2C buyer objections and emphasize how your product solves common shopper pain points.

Transform your business with effective buyer personas

Business leaders looking to build, shape, and improve the user experience know data is power. With comprehensive buyer personas, you can create relevant, contextual experiences for every customer in your business.

You can follow the five tips we’ve shared to create your buyer personas from scratch. But to get even more value out of your buyer personas, use Adobe Experience Platform. Analyze the data that matters most for customer experience, train artificial intelligence and machine learning models to put your customers first, and connect all of your customer experience technology to a single source of truth.

Experience Platform takes buyer personas to the next level. And it gives you the ability to analyze the data that really matters for customer experience and connect all your CX technology to a single source of truth.

Ready to see Adobe Experience Platform in action? Learn more or request a demo now.