Want to know how you find your target market? Start by walking a mile in their shoes and create a buyer persona.
In this post, we’ll discuss what a buyer persona is and why you need one, how to create one, and give you a free template on us to help get you started!
With that said…
What is a Buyer Persona – And Why Do You Need One?
Buyer personas (also known as marketing or customer personas) are fictional representations of the customers you want. By creating these personas, you will have a better understanding of how to market to your target audience.
Buyer personas are helpful for any company that needs to create content, develop products, and pretty much every aspect of customer service. The more descriptive you get, the more you’ll get to know and relate to your customers, their needs, how you can help them, and how best to reach them.
This blog currently uses four customer personas. All four of these personas share a few traits of past clients, and all but one (Nikki Vasquez) are entrepreneurs in niches that I frequently work with. These personas are:
- Dr. Shelby Starr – a family medicine practitioner who runs a private practice
- Brady Posen – a real estate agent
- Damien Rose – a cannabis cultivator
- Nikki Vasquez – a fashion designer
Today, we’re going to talk about Brady’s ideal client and how he can find them.
Step 1: Who Are Your Customers
It’s not enough to say that Brady is a real estate agent. There are tens of thousands of real estate agents in the US – and probably thousands in his city of Seattle. In order for Brady to reach his customers, he needs to know what he specializes in so that he knows who he can help. There are two easy ways to figure this out:
- Determine key aspects of your job that you excel at (buying, selling, customer service, etc.)
- Analyze past jobs and life experiences and determine what you excelled/excel at
Brady helps sell homes. He also used to be an interior designer.
These are two key competitive differentiators that are going to help Brady find his customers. Not only does he work primarily with sellers, but because he’s mastered the art of staging a home, he tends to sell homes for well above market rate.
As an agent, Brady has built a portfolio. Each sold home is full of data that allows him to figure out who his customers are. Here is a graph depicting one aspect of information – Homes Sold:
Brady can tell right away that the vast majority of the homes he’s sold have an initial market price in the $600,000-$800,000 range. He can also derive other important information from his portfolio such as the type of homes (condos, townhouses, etc.) and the neighborhoods he’s sold in.
Most importantly, if he’s kept a roster of his past clients, he can begin to make notes on who he’s enjoyed working with, as well as the kinds of clients that he’s not looking for. For example, he got also great with Janet when he was staging her $825,000 townhouse. She was a chill doctor who talked a mile a minute and could never get enough coffee. However, he didn’t like Helen, who was hypercritical of him when he staged her $695,000 condo and sent him daily emails demanding updates.
Now Brady knows:
- He specializes in selling homes in the $600,000-$800,000 price range
- He knows the types of homes he’s mostly sold and what neighborhoods he works in
- He knows that he likes working with “Janets” and doesn’t like working with “Helens”
*Important note – if Brady is happy in this market (he is), he should keep these filters in mind. If he were to aspire to enter different categories, he should create a buyer persona that best fits those categories.
Creating a Customer Persona
Brady wants to work with more customers like Janet. Well, what are the “Janets” of the world like? Here are a few things to consider:
And then a few extra specifically tailored to your occupation. For Brady, some of these would be:
- Type of home
- Market price
- Education-level of seller
That said, let’s create our Janet:
Location: Downtown Seattle
Occupation: Doctor – Pediatrician
Relationship status: Single
Best friend: Ellie, an artist/dog walker
Close friends: Caleb and Trish – a couple who live on the Eastside
Family: Close with her parents; does dinner with them once a month. Has a sister, Claire, who moved to Philadelphia. They talk on the phone once a week.
Hobbies and activities: Double dates with Caleb and Trish (sometimes Ellie is her date unless she’s seeing someone), yoga, wine tasting,
Education: Ph.D. from Brown University
Religious affiliation: Dairy
Favorite shows: Scrubs, The Good Doctor
Favorite books: Michele Obama’s Becoming, Harry Potter
Real Estate Related (Mostly):
Pain Points: Her job is very important to her. She will stop everything at the drop of a hat if one of her patients is in need. Janet does a lot of research before making decisions – choosing the right real estate agent was no exception. She doesn’t know what she doesn’t know about the real estate market.
Goals: Janet wants to sell her townhouse in less than 90 days and relocate closer to work. She wants to sell her home for at least $10k above market price. She wants to open up her own practice in the next 5 years.
Fears: Not being able to sell her home for a decent return. Losing a patient. Growing older and getting judged for not having a husband and family of her own. Disappointing someone – anyone!
Education of seller: Some, but not much
Content and Engagement:
Facebook: 1-2x a day
Instagram: 1-2x a day
YouTube: Watches how-tos, music videos, and things that make her laugh
Pinterest: Uses on weekends
News content: Janet has CNN push notifications and occasionally reads the Seattle Times
Right away you have a lot of information about your buyer persona. Even so, this is just a surface-level depiction of who Janet is. Many of these categories – particularly hobbies and activities or content engagement – can be explored further to give you a better idea of what Janet does and how you can reach her. Inversely, Brady can also use this template for “Helen” to figure out where he shouldn’t be looking for clients.
From this information, Brady can also derive more generalizations such as “income level” and “age range” to help him understand who his customers are. This will help him begin to develop a strategy to best connect with his audience. To learn more about how to reach your buyer personas, check out our buyer personas: a day in the life post.