Do you want to create a buyer persona for your business? Smart marketers know that clearly defining your ideal customer is the key to high conversions. In this guide, we’ll share how to create a concrete buyer persona (with templates & examples).
Here’s a quick overview of what we’ll cover in this guide. Feel free to use the links below to skip to a particular section.
Table of Contents
- What is a Buyer Persona?
- How to Create a Buyer Persona
- Buyer Persona Templates & Tools
- 188 Buyer Persona Questions
- Buyer Persona Examples
Ready to get started creating your buyer persona? Let’s begin with the basics…
What is a Buyer Persona?
If you’ve never created a buyer persona before, you may be wondering, what is a buyer persona and why is it important for your business?
Buyer Persona Definition
A buyer persona (a.k.a. “customer avatar”) is a fictional person who represents a particular company’s ideal customer.
The purpose of creating a buyer persona is to get crystal clear on the individuals who you are marketing to. Until you nail this down, you can’t really be sure that your offerings and your marketing messages are going to be successful. That’s why the buyer persona is often based on real customers, and/or extensive research.
I should also note that you may have more than one buyer persona. That’s perfectly OK! Sometimes your product or service is a good fit for several different “types” of people, so you’ll just need to create a buyer persona for each.
That way, when you go to write any given blog post, email or sales page, (or even create a new product), you’ll know exactly which buyer persona(s) you are speaking to. And in turn, you’ll enjoy much higher conversion rates.
OK, now that you know what a buyer persona is and why it is so important for your business, let’s dive into how to create your own!
How to Create a Buyer Persona
The first thing you’ll want to do when creating a buyer persona is to do some research on your existing customers (if you have any). These people actually bought from you, so they are the most targeted people to look at.
Ask your marketing and sales team to see what they can tell you about your existing customers’ demographics and other characteristics (see the list of questions below). However, don’t rely exclusively on your marketing and sales team to know all of this information. In most cases, you’ll need to conduct a survey to get all the information you need.
Step 1: Customer/Prospect Survey
The best thing you can do is to actually get on the phone (or a Skype call) with your customers and have a chat with them, one-on-one. I like to do this at least once or twice per year.
If you don’t have any existing customers, then speak with your email subscribers, social media followers, or any other leads you have. Simply say that you are doing some research to better serve them, and ask if they would be available for a brief 10-15 minute call.
If you don’t have any leads at all, go look at your competition’s customers. You can read reviews online, and even try to track these individuals down on social media to learn more about them. This brings me to our next step…
Step 2: Online Research
While getting on a phone call is the best way to research your ideal customers, there is also another way to go about it: online research.
This part may seem a bit creepy, but I like to choose a particular individual and track them down on all of their social media profiles, publications, and other websites. Facebook and LinkedIn are my favorite places to look for information that can help me fill out my buyer persona.
As you go about your research, keep a document with links to all relevant information on that person. This way, you can come back to these links later as you are creating your customer avatar.
Also, don’t just look at what’s on the surface. Try to read between the lines to figure out what makes that person “tick” (not just what they want the world to see).
Step 3: The Customer Avatar Exercise
Now that you’ve gathered your information–both on the phone and online–you are ready to start the customer avatar exercise.
This exercise is where you’ll actually write down everything that you know about your ideal customer.
I personally like to use Digital Marketer’s Customer Avatar Worksheet (see templates below), but you could use any of the templates or tools below.
The idea is to create a concrete character that anyone in your company can use to better understand your target customers.
Buyer Persona Templates & Tools
There are tons of buyer persona templates, tools, and generators freely available on the internet, but here is a curated list of all the best ones…
1. Xtensio’s User Persona Creator
Xtensio’s User Persona Creator is a neat app that allows you to enter your buyer persona’s demographics, goals, frustrations, bio, motivations, preferred channels, and brands. You can even add modules to the avatar as you see fit. Register for a free account to get started with the tool.
2. Digital Marketer’s Customer Avatar Worksheet
Digital Marketer’s Customer Avatar Worksheet is the buyer persona template we use here at OptinMonster. It includes all of the important areas to nail down, in a simple PDF format that you can fill in on your computer.
3. Demand Metric’s Buyer Persona Template
Demand Metric’s Buyer Persona Template is an Excel spreadsheet that includes multiple tabs for multiple personas. It’s a great way to view all of your target customers at a glance, with all relevant information. They’ve even included a video with helpful instructions for filling it out.
4. HubSpot’s Buyer Persona Template
HubSpot’s Buyer Persona Template includes 4 sections for answering the important questions: who, what, why and how. This template also includes a guide for creating buyer personas.
5. Marketo’s Marketing Persona Cheat Sheet
Marketo’s Marketing Persona Cheat Sheet is unique in that it includes a fill-in-the-blank map for creating your buyer persona journeys. It also includes instructions for how to create a buyer persona and journey, along with a buyer journey template.
6. Filestage’s Buyer Persona Template
Filestage’s Buyer Persona Template is simple and elegant. Some unique features of this template are sections for a tag cloud, archetype and product adoption group. It also comes with a PowerPoint version, as well as a PDF version.
7. “MakeMyPersona” Buyer Persona Generator
MakeMyPersona is a buyer persona generator by HubSpot. All you have to do is click on the “Start Making My Persona” button, and it will ask you a series of questions about your ideal customer. Once you’re done, they will send you a PDF complete with a headshot for your customer avatar.
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188 Buyer Persona Questions
While the above buyer persona templates are excellent starting points, sometimes you’ll want to go more in-depth than the questions covered by any generic template.
Depending on your industry and your products, there are certain “niche” buyer persona questions which are important for your business to answer.
To help you discover these questions, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of every possible question we could think of that you would want to ask about your target customer. The list is broken down into categories, so just focus on the categories and questions which are relevant to your business, and ignore the rest…
- What is your name?
- What is your age?
- What is your gender?
- Where do you live?
- What is your racial/ethnic heritage?
- What is your annual income?
- What is your highest level of education?
- What is your occupation?
- What is your birthplace?
- Where did you grow up?
- Was it a rural, suburban, or urban area?
- What kind of house did you grow up in?
- Who raised you?
- What did your parents (or primary caregivers) do for a living?
- Are your parents still married?
- Did your parents have a permissive or authoritarian parenting style?
- Do you have any siblings?
- What is your birth order?
- What are your favorite childhood memories?
- What were your favorite childhood activities?
- What was your favorite subject in school?
- What was your least favorite subject?
- What grades did you get in school?
- Do you enjoy learning new things?
- Did you have a lot of friends, a few close friends, or no friends?
- Did you get in trouble at school?
- Did you attend college?
- If so, what did you major in?
- What college did you attend?
- Did you enjoy your college experience?
- What did you do after high school if you didn’t attend college?
- What stopped you from going to college?
- What was your first job?
- What is your marital status?
- Are you happy about your current marital status?
- Do you have any children?
- If so, how many and how old are they?
- Are they boys or girls?
- Do your children live with you?
- If you don’t have children, do you want to have children in the future?
- Are you likely to have children in the future?
- Do you have any pets?
- If yes, how many and what are they?
- What type of housing do you currently live in?
- Who lives in the house with you?
- Are you happy with your current situation, or do you wish it was different?
- How close are you to your extended family?
- Do you currently have many friends, a few friends, or no friends at all?
- Do you see your friends often?
- Who are the most important people in your life?
- Are you religious?
- What is your political orientation?
- Are you actively involved in politics?
- Do you make an effort to stay fit and healthy?
- What type of exercise do you do?
- If you don’t exercise, why not?
- Do you play any sports?
- Do you care about your personal appearance?
- What hobbies do you currently pursue?
- What do you like to do in your free time?
- What social groups/activities do you participate in?
- Are you environmentally conscious?
- What is your favorite TV show?
- What is your favorite movie?
- What type of music do you listen to?
- Do you enjoy reading?
- Are you a morning person or a night owl?
- What do you do first thing in the morning?
- Do you cook at home or eat out?
- Are you a neat freak, or are you OK with messes?
- How much time do you spend at work and at home?
- How do you spend your weekends?
- Where do you shop?
- What do you read for fun?
- Do you drink?
- Do you smoke?
- Do you experiment with recreational substances?
- What do you wish was different about your weekly routine?
- Are you tech-savvy?
- What news sources do you read?
- Do you enjoy traveling?
- Do you regularly go on vacation?
- If so, where do you go?
- Have you ever been backpacking?
- What is your current literacy level?
- Do you prefer baths or showers?
- What is your industry?
- What is your job title?
- What are your responsibilities?
- Who do you report to?
- What is the size of your company?
- What skills are required for your job?
- What metrics are you responsible for/how is your job measured?
- What does a typical workday look like?
- What knowledge and tools do you use in your job?
- What are your challenges at work?
- How do you learn new information about your job?
- How do you prefer to interact with vendors?
- How did you arrive at your current position?
- What is your salary?
- Do you feel like you are compensated fairly?
- Do you like your boss?
- Do you like your coworkers?
- Do you like the work you are assigned to?
- What would you change about your job, if you could?
- What does your career path look like?
- Are you considering a career change?
- What is your dream job?
- Do you have plans to pursue your dream job?
- What work-related associations do you participate in?
- When do you plan to retire?
- How would you describe your personality?
- Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
- Are you optimistic or pessimistic?
- Are you more right-brained or left-brained?
- Are you quiet or boisterous?
- Are you practical or prone to flights of fancy?
- Do you prefer to follow the rules or challenge boundaries?
- Do you like to take risks or play it safe?
- Are you an innovator, or someone who tends to go with the flow?
- Are you flexible or rigid in your thought patterns?
- Are you spontaneous or do you prefer pre-determined plans?
- Are you motivated by your own achievements or by what others think of your efforts?
- How affected are you emotionally by other people’s judgments?
- What would it take for you to deem your life a success?
- What would make you think your life was a failure?
- What social media sites do you use?
- How do you use the internet to search for products or vendors?
- Could you describe a recent purchase?
- How do you prefer to make online payments?
- Are you concerned about online privacy?
- How adept are you at using technology?
- Do you tend to embrace new technologies or prefer to stick with systems you know?
- Are you a fluent internet user?
- What operating system do you use?
- What internet browser do you use?
- What mobile devices do you use?
- What is your preferred search engine?
- What is your preferred method of communication?
- What sites do you usually shop on?
- Do you use your cell phone to make purchases?
- Where do you go to learn about a product or service?
- How important is it for you to get a good deal?
- What indulgent or luxurious purchases do you make?
- What is your net worth?
- Do you have debt?
- If so, what type?
- Do you make purchase decisions carefully, or are you loose with your money?
- How do you feel about your current spending habits?
- What factors drive you to make a purchase?
- Are you the main bread-winner in your household?
- Are you the financial/purchase decision-maker?
Goals, Challenges & Pain Points
- What are your goals in life?
- What are your career goals?
- What do you hope to gain from using our product?
- What accomplishments are you proudest of?
- What are the top three things on your bucket list?
- What is the most frustrating part of your day?
- What regular activities do you find stressful?
- What makes you nervous?
- What do you worry about?
- What makes you feel scared?
- What is the fastest way for someone to make you angry?
- What is the least favorite part of your job?
- What is the worst job you can imagine?
- What is the worst customer service experience you’ve ever had?
- What purchase did you most regret?
Product Insight/Objections to the Sale
- What objections do you have for our product?
- What factors might make you choose a competitor’s product over ours?
- How can we help you to solve your unique challenges?
- How does our product help you become your ideal self?
- How do you prefer to communicate?
- How can we meet your needs through onboarding?
- What questions would you ask yourself before buying a product?
- What is your number one concern when deciding whether or not to make a purchase?
- How do you prefer to make a purchase (online, over the phone, or in-person)?
- When making a purchase online, what is your preferred payment method?
Questions to Ask Your Marketing & Sales Teams
- What technical and demographic information do you have about our website visitors?
- How are you currently marketing to our target customers?
- What marketing campaigns have been the most successful?
- What marketing campaigns have been the least successful?
- Which blog posts have received the most traffic/social shares/comments/etc.?
- What are the most frequently asked questions on the blog or from customers?
- Which pages on our website receive the most impressions?
- What types of customers do you typically meet?
- Why do different types of customers typically make a purchase?
- What reasons do customers cite for selecting us over our competitors?
- What are the most common objections you hear?
Buyer Persona Examples
So far, we’ve shown you how to create a buyer persona, buyer persona templates and tools, and a comprehensive list of buyer persona questions. Now, let’s take a look at some concrete examples…
That’s it! We’ve shown you what is a buyer persona, and how to create a buyer persona for your business. We also shared some buyer persona templates and tools, a comprehensive list of questions to ask about your target customer, and some examples of buyer personas.
Now it’s your turn. Go ahead and follow the steps above to create your own buyer persona, and get crystal clear on the individuals you are serving. You may also want to check out our Definitive Guide to Email Marketing.