How to Write a Buyer Persona

It’s easy to get bogged down in the generic when creating marketing content. All too often, marketers fall back on sales clich├ęs and broad benefit descriptions. And that’s where a buyer persona can help.

When you create a buyer persona, you put an actual face on each of your customer groups. A buyer persona goes beyond customer data and job descriptions to build a full picture of what your customer does each day, what their greatest pain points are, what motivates their buying decisions, what they value and what appeals to them.

When I was in college, I worked as a lifeguard at the university natatorium. It was a small pool with just a few lanes, and it attracted two main groups of customers. Here’s an example of a buyer persona for each customer group:

Perry the Professor. Perry is an academic who likes things just so. He has a couple hours every weekday between his morning classes and his faculty meetings. During this time, he swims 150 laps to stay fit. He doesn’t need a fancy locker room or deck chairs, but if things aren’t the way he expects them he will complain. Perry is happy when there are plenty of freshly laundered towels available at the front desk, when other guests follow lap-swimming courtesies and when check-in is fast and efficient.

Susie the Staff Mom. Susie is a mother of three who holds a 9-5 staff job at the university. During the week she is busy working, shuttling her children to activities, keeping up the house and preparing dinner. So on the weekends, she likes to spend quality time with her family. Susie has an inexpensive family membership to the university recreation center, and a few times a year she’ll visit the natatorium on a weekend with her children. Because Susie is an infrequent visitor, she appreciates helpful suggestions and advice. She’s happy when you ask whether she would like a towel, explain how to get to the pool through the locker rooms and politely mention where children can and can’t swim.

After reading through these buyer personas, it’s easy to see how they can help shape better marketing messages. If you were marketing to Perry, you would emphasize a hassle-free fitness experience. If you were talking to Susie, you would discuss the pool’s welcoming, family-friendly environment.

If you already have designated customer groups, why not take that extra step and write buyer personas? It’s an effective way to move beyond generic marketing-speak and create marketing messages that help each buyer feel as if you are talking directly to them.

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