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Develop a Buyer Persona: Small Business Marketing 101

Do you know who your customer is? Are they on social media? Do they hate social media? Are they primarily on phones or laptops? Do they even use technology? Do you know how they find out about your business, product or services?

If you can’t answer these questions, then it’s time to learn how to develop a buyer persona.

This is a great first step in knowing who your customer is and how to market to them.

We are going to break this down into three phases:

  • Gather Information
  • Refine Information
  • Use Information

What is a Buyer Persona?

According to HubSpot, “a buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.”

With this knowledge in mind, we can get started.

Gather Information

If you don’t have any previous customers then you will have to start from scratch.

If you already have customers that you can refine information from, then head down to the “Refining Your Information” section.

The first step to building a buyer persona is to ask yourself a few questions.

Here are a few basic questions to help you get started.

  • Who needs my product/service?
  • What age are they?
  • What gender?
  • What’s their income?
  • What area are they located?
  • What level of education do they possess?

Jot down the answers that come to mind. If you have more relevant questions that come to mind for your niche, then answer those as well.

Keep in mind that you may need to develop multiple buyer personas if you are offering more than one kind of product or service.

Refine Information

For many small business owners, they have an idea in their head of who their customer is (which you may have created using the questions above), but no quantifiable information to prove it.

This creates a problem because you are left guessing who your ideal customer is, without actually knowing.

I don’t know about you, but if I had the option between guessing and knowing who my ideal customer is, then I would choose the latter 10 out of 10 times.

If we can get objective information from our customers, we can find out how to best reach them.

So, how do we gather objective information?

A great first step in further developing a buyer persona is to interview your current customers. They already have most of the information that you need.

Let’s start the process of by asking our current customers a few questions.

#1 ) What Caused You to Start the Buying Process of (Insert Product/Service Here)?

By asking this question, you’ll get to the root of why your customers sought you out.

Maybe they dropped their phone while in the bathroom and their screen needs repaired.

Perhaps their child is being bullied at school and they want to boost their confidence through martial arts.

Maybe they had a bad experience early on in life and are seeking counseling.

It may be that they wake up in the early hours of the morning and need some caffeine to charge up their energy for day.

Whatever reason there may be, knowing why your customers sought you in the first place gives you invaluable information.

#2 ) What Were Your Next Steps in the Buying Process?

By asking this question we are able to find out how our customers found us.

Was it through social media? Did your content or paid ads reach the right person?

Was it Google? Did they google local coffee shops and your business showed up?

Did they find out through word of mouth? Does your customer base share the great experience they had with your business?

Whatever the answer to these questions, by finding out customer data and recording it we are able to know whether or not we are marketing to the right channels.

By asking the right questions to your current customers, you will be able to narrow down who your is customer down to the tee. This is how you refine a buyer persona.

Use Information

By asking questions, we get answers. By getting answers, we are able to develop a plan and target our audience correctly.

Keep in mind that developing a buyer persona is just one key component to making sure that your marketing strategies are on target. There’s still a lot of work and refinement to do!

Continue to go through the practice of refining your buyer personas. The customers of 10 years ago may not be the same customers you have today.


So, what’s your experience been like? Have you tried developing buyer personas before? Had it been even been brought to your attention? Do you refine the information you’ve gathered?

Let me know in the comments below!

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