Posted by Kristine Jacobson

A marketer’s dream is knowing exactly who they are trying to reach with their efforts in the most effective way possible. This is possible by building buyer personas. 

An ideal buyer persona will turn faceless customer data into 3D human portraits—humans who have a specific need for your product/service and are your core customers.  

These personas are unique from industry to industry and business to business and will ensure marketing efforts are not wasted on an audience that is unlikely to use your product/service. 

Persona Prep-Work 

The information you need to start building a buyer persona is generally right at your fingertips. Your current customers and prospects are an excellent place to start. Clean up your contact list and determine how they could be encouraged to answer some questions about themselves. Consider personal interviews, polls on social media, gathering feedback from the sales team or studying your analytics and data trends. 

Once you know how you are going to present your questions, you need to decide exactly what those questions should be. Think in terms of their user experience—what information will tell me how they will best connect with our marketing efforts? What specific problems or needs can we focus on solving? 

In the beginning, it’s best to start with basic questions that won’t overwhelm you with unnecessary information as a result.

15 Basic Questions to Start Building a Buyer Persona 

These basic questions will help you identify your target customer’s demographics, their needs and how you can solve them, how they best communicate and engage, and how to make a personal connection. 

  1. What is their age range? 
  2. Where are (and where aren’t) they located?  
  3. What is their level of education? 
  4. What is their job title? 
  5. What is their seniority level (entry-level, management, c-suite)? 
  6. What company KPIs or measurables are they focused on? 
  7. What are their biggest challenges? 
  8. How can you resolve problems or help reach goals? 
  9. Why do they buy your product/service? 
  10. What are their concerns about buying your product/service? 
  11. Where do they work (size, sector)? 
  12. How do they prefer to communicate? 
  13. What social media do they engage on? 
  14. Where do they get their favorite information (podcasts, blogs, etc)? 
  15. What are their dominant personality traits? 

Now you can go from targeting a vague “forty-something mom” to knowing your ideal customer is “Baker Brandi” — a 35-year-old entrepreneur who owns a bakery, has three school-aged children, drives a foreign-model SUV, and shops at Costco. 

Evolve With Your Customer Personas 

And this is just the beginning with very basic questions. Your business will evolve, and so will your customers. As you learn more about them, you will develop additional specific and relevant questions—resulting in actionable personas used to produce relatable marketing campaigns that drive buyers to you over the competition. 

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Kristine Jacobson

Kristine Jacobson

Kristine Jacobson has more than 25 years of marketing and communications experience with notable corporate leaders as well as emerging market contenders. She offers expert marketing strategy with a touch of creative flair. Her extensive knowledge of strategic marketing, marketing plan execution, and branding illuminate the big picture without losing sight of the details.