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How to create – and use – a buyer persona (+ Free Persona Template)

How to create – and use – a buyer persona (+ Free Persona Template)

buyer persona, six heads graphically representing different client types

There are a LOT of different ways to figure out who your ideal client is…. aaaand to be frank, a lot of them are pretty useless.

Case in point:

king charles buyer persona example
ozzy ozborne buyer persona example

Personas can’t be flat, static or simple. And as evidenced above, list of attributes does not a persona make! 

But stay with me, cause there’s a way I’ve found to create them so they’re actually helpful.

Today I'm going to take you through:

1. Why does my business need a buyer persona, again?

A buyer persona might sound like a wanky marketing idea (cause yeah, there are a lot of them out there!).

But when done correctly they can be a super useful tool for understanding what your ideal customers look like and how to target them.

The reason they’re so useful is because according to recent research, one of the biggest missing pieces in every business marketing playbook is detailed information about their target market – which makes personalising their marketing content really damn difficult.

How does a buyer persona actually help?

A buyer persona can do whole bunch of things but the most important ones in my estimation are:

  • Helping you to build product and service roadmaps based on what your customers *actually* want and need
  • Helping you to know what channels you should be prioritising in your marketing 
  • Helping you to personalise the content you put out on those channels
  • Helping your sales guys and gals to relate better to the specific problems your potential clients are having
  • Helping your project delivery and support teams to serve better because they know what matters most to your clients

OK.. but what IS a buyer persona? Like really??

Said simply, (which is my favourite way to say things) a buyer persona is a detailed, research-based profile of the ideal customer you want your business to work with. 

In the approach I take, this profile includes demographic information as well as pain point information, summed up with a dream outcome statement that pains a compelling and – most importantly – usable, picture.

Also worth noting – depending on the size of your business, how many services you have, and how many decision makes there might be in your sales process, you could have more than one. 

A quick note on the name ‘buyer persona’..

It’s worth mentioning our use of language here before we carry on.

You might have heard people call these audience persona’s, client avatars, ideal customer profile’s or (as we’ll mostly call them) buyer persona’s.

These are all slightly different ways and names for figuring out the same thing: who is actually going to buy your stuff.

As for figuring that out – the best place you can go is to people who actually have bought your stuff!

Enter: customer research.

customer research, so hot right now, meme from zoolander

2. Customer research and why it should be the basis of your buyer persona

A good buyer persona starts with good insights.

Insights could come from a brand audit, stakeholder interviews, online surveys, traffic analysis.. the list could go on.

But I believe that one of the best places to start is with some basic customer research.

Here’s your super easy, 3 step guide to conducting customer research if you have no budget, no time and have no idea what you’re doing.

Call 5 of your best customers and ask them these three questions:

Depending on your circumstances or capability, even that might not be on the cards for you.

So it can be enough to focus on the anecdotal information you have collected from the most consistent type of clients you’ve actually converted over the last 12 months.

Think of your 3-5 best clients and the conversations you’ve had with them and use that to aim to fill in the blanks.

2. The 8 parameters of a (good) buyer persona

With all that said and done, here’s my 8 parameters that will help you come up with a meaningful and comprehensive picture of your ideal client:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Education
  • Likes/Dislikes
  • What drives them at work (think EGO)
  • How is their performance measured (think KPI’s)
  • What keeps them up at night (think deep dark fears)
  • What is their dream outcome in relation to your service?

If you feel ready to dive in, you can grab a copy of our free buyer persona template here!  

3. Demographic based buyer persona’s

If you start at the top, the first 3 items on this list are demographic based. 

Demographics are only half the story and definitely not the most useful half.

BUT they’re still worth bringing in, as they help to create a full picture of who you’re targeting and give you some insights in to where you might be able to find your ideal client.


What age are the people who typically buy from you?

This would typically be a range like 25-40 or 30-60

If the age range is small, this will give you some ideas about generational influences that might be at play

If the age range is large, it will help you to understand just how broad your appeal might need to be – think things like language etc.

For example: 69.3% of TikTok users are under 35 – so if your target marketing is 40-60 year olds, this might not be the most relevant platform for you.


Is your ideal client usually male, usually female or an even split of both?

Knowing if your typical client is male or female can (and should) influence things like what platforms you use for your marketing, what language and tone you might employ for your brand voice, what colour choices you might make

For example: 76% of Pinterest’s user base is female. So if you’ve got a predominately male target client, this might not be the smartest platform for you to be on, ya feel?

If it’s an even split then note that down too! It’s important to know to ensure an even keel across your marketing choices.


What’s the education level of the people you’re targeting ?

For this parameter we’re tying to figure out if we’re were dealing with a blue collar, salt of the earth working class guy or gal – or a PHD educated individual.

Once again, this will undoubtedly influence many choices you make along your branding, website and marketing journey.

The turning point arrives
Up till now we’ve been painting a picture of your target client using basic demographic markers.
We’re about to go a bit deeper though.
This is where that customer research is really going to come into play – and be the most useful tool in your persona creating arsenal!
For service based businesses, you’ll of course want to answer all of the following in relation to the work that your ideal client does – rather than say, their family life or skiing hobby.
dawson crying meme about buyer persona pain points

5. Pain point based buyer persona’s


What does this person loathe or love with a passion at work?

What annoys the crap out of them?

What lights them the heck up?

For example:

  • Do pretty graphs in reports do it for them?
  • Are key cool visuals something that delight? Or does that crap do their head in?
  • Is it data, nuts and bolts info, nitty gritty details that really gets them going – the real no nonsense stuff.

What drives them at work?

For this one, you want to think about ego.

Because there’s the stuff people will say matters to them – the PR version of their priorities.

Then there’s the stuff that really matters – the less pretty, but ultimately more important stuff.

By focusing on what motivates them in their role, you can really get down into the psyche of what would sway them to make a purchase.

  • Is it status?
  • Is it title?
  • Is it remuneration and bonuses?
  • Is it recognition?
  • Is it legacy?
  • Is it respect?

How is their performance measured?

For this you want to be thinking about KPI’s

Do they report to a board? Or to shareholders? Or to a director, or CEO or manager?

What are they measured on in their role and what do their superiors use to deem them a success or a failure in it?

What keeps them up at night

For this, you need to be tapping into their deep dark fears.

What do they think about when they can’t sleep?

What do they vent to their partner about over a wine or whiskey at the end of a long week?

What stories do the they write in their private journal about their biggest problems and pitfalls?

What is their dream outcome in relation to your service?

Now that we’ve figured out what matters you your ideal client, the final step is to come up with a succinct statement of the dream outcome they’re looking for.

The entire rest of the buyer persona process up till now should have given you a heap of good ideas about what is most important to them.

You want to use THAT as your launch pad for coming up with the right dream outcome.

6. A buyer persona in the wild – how to actually use them

If you’ve got this far, you’re likely to have a pretty compelling picture of your target persona, what they look like, what their problems are and what matters most to them.

Now we’re at the pointy end – how to actually use the damn thing so it’s helpful and functional as a tool in your marketing toolkit.

Cause lets be real if you do all this then proceed to do sweet FA with your persona then what was even the point?!

There are 2 main things I like to use persona’s to help with in particular:

  1. A brand’s personality (or archetype)
  2. A brand’s core offer

Each of these items are entire subjects unto themselves but as a quick rundown.

Brand personality

Your brand personality is exactly what it sounds like – what your brand would be like if it were a person.

I like to use something called Brand Archetypes to help figure this out as they provide lovely overarching frameworks through which to think about your brand as if it were a character in a story (hint: it is, and hint: so are you for your personal brand).

A brand personality without anything informing it is a bit of a dumb idea though – cause how will you know if the characteristics and quirks you’ve chosen will resonate?

That’s where your buyer persona comes in – the answers to all the pain point questions should give you heaps of ideas about what sort of ‘character’ or ‘personality’ will match the best with the things that are getting your potential clients down.

The tone of voice and language you use will also come from your personality which one again, should be aligned with what resonates with your buyer persona.

Offer Creation

Your core offer is the foundation upon which every other piece of your marketing – and business really – is built.

It should be the main thing you sell/ship/provide as a service.

Most businesses have offers but they’ve evolved randomly and organically without much strategic or creative thought.

When you take the learnings from your buyer persona and use them as the basis of your core offer – that’s where marketing magic really happens.

By applying the right value drivers, packaging it up the right way, naming it something sexy and then presenting it in the right places, your offer can become your biggest asset.

Done right, it will basically sell itself.

And done right means using a buyer persona based on a targeted niche and customer research.

Getting started with your first buyer persona

If you’re going to the trouble of creating buyer personas you’re obviously the sort of person who cares if your branding, website and marketing actually work.

And as branding, website and marketing peeps – we salute you! Cause this is the stuff we froth over.

So if you are going to go to the trouble, here’s a free buyer persona template you can use.

We’ve also got a Brand Archetype quiz and a whole lot of info on creating a core offer you might find helpful too.

And if you’re rather just have someone else do it for you, we’d love to help. Get in touch with us and we’ll see if we can make your life any easier (hint: it’s our speciality and one of our favourite things to do).

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What are you waiting for? Let’s do this thing! Either get in touch, or fill out our FREE brand evaluation.