What is a Buyer Persona and How Do I Use it for My Small Business?

Today’s world of technology can either make or break a small business, especially those who are just starting up. Whereas old-school small business owners were able to open their doors, hang a sign and get listed in the phone book, small businesses of today have more complex challenges for getting in front of their target audience.

That’s why it’s important to understand exactly WHO your customers are, what makes them tick and motivates them to purchase from you. You can then use this information to strategically market to new potential customers for incredible growth possibilities.

What is a Buyer Persona?

woman_head_silhouette_2t2z1__One way is to learn and understand your customers needs by creating a buyer persona. Creating a buyer persona sounds confusing, but basically it is who you want to market to and who you want to make potential buyers/customers. You may have an idea of who this may be, but creating an actual persona often reveals facts about your target audience that you may have never thought of.

How do I create a Buyer Persona?

To begin, simply set up surveys for your current customers, and set up review/rating areas on your website. Getting to know your customers’ preferences can help you market to them more efficiently. You can include:

*Demographics-age, location, income, current job

*Family-including possible kids

*What their idea of great business experience is

*Interests, hobbies, motivations

You may already have an ideal consumer in mind for your service/product, and if so you then need a marketing strategy geared towards them. If you don’t you should create one, then you can develop a marketing strategy towards that specific type of buyer. When you use surveys and reviews/ratings to establish a buyer persona, it can help with both marketing and be used to promote your business to show others what current customers are saying about you.

Use Of Survey Sites

Whether you’re just starting or an established business, knowing how to create a buyer persona and using the information is essential. Learning about what your customers think of your service/products overall can help you know if you need to improve on something and/or what is working for them. Surveys are the most popular way to start creating your buyer persona.

My favorite free survey site is SurveyMonkey, they make it easy to create surveys and guide you through the process of posting your survey to your website, how to analyze information collected, and many other helpful guides. Another great survey site is  kwikSurveys, they’re free but have the option for upgrading their survey service for a small fee.

Customer Ratings/Reviews

Once you have customers, good reviews/ratings can help sell other potential customers. For example, I worked for a company who’s favorite quote was “word of mouth goes a long way,” they did great on this alone without spending much money on advertising. If one customer has a great experience and tells their friends it creates several more customers and so on. Problem with this is I have found that those who leave online reviews/ratings aren’t usually satisfied causing lower ratings, and satisfied customers don’t think about leaving feedback. To help get good reviews/ratings from satisfied customers you can do many things such as:

*Add reminders throughout your website.

*Making it simple-allow them to rate the service/products and/or leave a comment.

*Email customers for feedback for service/products.

*Offering something in return for reviews can be used, but can cost your business as well-may want to try others first.

If you add areas for customer feedback on your website you must allow both good and bad. People who look at reviews/ratings to help them choose expect to see both, but want to see more good than bad. A couple free review/rating websites include Rating-widget and Re-Vu. Reviews/ratings can set you apart from your competition, but without enough good reviews/ratings to offset the bad can harm your business.

These aren’t the only things you can do to create a buyer persona, you can also view similar services/products, use customer advisory boards, among many other things. However you decide, it could be essential for you staying in business.

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