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Buyer persona templates

3 templates to better understand your ideal customer

Double down on your segments based on the marketing data you already know. Create buyer personas that emphasize what makes your target market unique.

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Last updated

26 May 2023


Dovetail Editorial Team

Reviewed by

Hugh Good


Marketing departments are trying to do more with less. The aim of today’s marketing game is to streamline your efforts to target the customers who are most likely to buy from you.

The days of undirected marketing—targeting as many people as possible in the hope of converting one or two—are over. Companies are now hyper-focusing their marketing budget and seeing significant returns on their ROI for their efforts.

A key element in hyper-focusing your marketing efforts is knowing whom you’re marketing to in the first place. An effective way of doing this is through buyer personas. Companies use buyer personas to help guide their marketing and sales efforts, establishing them as a central point in their marketing narrative.

But what are buyer personas? How do you use them? And what's the best way to create one?

Let's explore what they are, why they matter, and how your marketing team can create and use them to improve sales.

What is a buyer persona?

A buyer persona is a detailed profile of a hypothetical ideal customer. The persona comes from information about your target customer, which may be based on:

  • Internal data

  • Customer interviews

  • Employee feedback

You may have multiple personas representing different segments of your target audience.

The persona can help you understand your customers' needs, motivations, behaviors, and pain points, providing a semi-fictional character around which you can tailor your marketing strategies.

What's the difference between a buyer persona and a user persona?

A user persona is a profile of the person using your product or service. A buyer persona focuses on someone who will purchase your product or service. Sometimes, the buyer and the user might be different from one another. For example, a buyer persona for a software company might be for a C-suite manager. The user persona might be the mid-level employee who uses the software daily to perform their job.

Both types of personas have value, but a buyer persona is particularly valuable for marketing and sales departments.

What's a negative buyer persona?

A negative buyer persona represents a market segment that isn't right for your products and services. They are the customers you want to avoid engaging in your marketing and sales messages.

Creating a negative buyer persona can help you understand who isn’t your ideal customer and help you avoid spending resources on attracting the wrong people. They may not be a proper fit, have low profitability, don't align with your company values, or require a lot of internal resources to manage.

Why create a buyer persona?

Creating a buyer persona can help you develop a successful marketing strategy. You'll be able to craft your messaging in a way that creates a meaningful connection with your target audience.

A buyer persona can help you:

Understand your customers

By digging into your customer data and creating a profile, you'll better understand your customers’ needs, preferences, and behaviors. You’ll see patterns emerge in the data and gain insights into what motivates your core audience and how they decide to buy from you.

This knowledge helps you tailor your marketing efforts to be more effective.

Target your marketing message

Buyer personas allow you to carefully focus your marketing efforts on the right people, in the right places, and at the right times. You refine the messaging and the channels to reach those most likely to become your customers.

It's a targeted approach designed to optimize your marketing budget.

Personalize your messaging

When you know whom you are talking to, you can make your marketing material more personalized to their needs, desires, pain points, and goals. Personalization creates an emotional connection and increases engagement with your audience, which is essential in driving conversions.

Gain a competitive advantage

Creating comprehensive buyer personas can give you a competitive edge. You can position your company in a more effective, powerful way that attracts high-value customers and drives business growth.

Understanding your target audience and creating marketing messages that appeal specifically to them can make you stand out in a crowded market.

What is a buyer persona template?

A buyer persona template is a framework for creating detailed, accurate profiles of your ideal customer.

The template may include key information about demographics, needs, pain points, and marketing and sales strategies. It may also have questions or prompts that guide your persona research and help you organize your information.

What are the key elements of a good buyer persona template?

There is no one-size-fits-all buyer persona template. You may need to tweak a template that you love to reflect your company's needs or to include information required by your sales and marketing departments.

However, there are a few key things a basic buyer persona template should include:

  • Demographic information

  • Job title and responsibilities

  • Goals and motivations

  • Pain points and challenges

  • Preferred communication channels

You can get more detailed with your template by including information about content preferences and their decision-making process. You can humanize the persona and make it easier to empathize by having quotes from real customers who fit that profile and giving the profile a fictional name and image.

Example of a buyer persona

Buyer persona: Sarah Anderson – Small business owner

Demographic information

  • Age: 35–45

  • Gender: Female

  • Location: Urban or suburban areas

  • Education: Bachelor's degree or higher

  • Income: Moderate to high-income bracket

Job title and responsibilities

  • Small business owner

  • Sarah oversees all business operations, including employees, financial planning, marketing and sales, and customer relationship management

Goals and motivations

  • Sarah wants to increase profitability and grow her business

  • She's seeking cost-effective solutions to streamline operations, attract new customers, and improve overall business efficiency

Pain points and challenges

  • Sarah has a limited budget and even less time

  • She needs help to compete in a crowded market and worries about staying current with industry trends

  • Finding affordable marketing solutions is something she wants to do, but she struggles to find the time to research them

  • She's worried about her cash flow and balancing her work–life responsibilities

Preferred communication channels

  • Sarah responds well to emails because she's regularly checking her mail client for important updates and offers.

  • She's also active on Instagram, regularly engaging with small business content.

How to build a buyer persona in 5 steps

1. Start with research

You'll need to gather as much information as possible about your existing customers. The customers you already have are your ideal customers because they've already bought your product or service. You want to find more people like them, so find out who they are.

Dig into data from your website, CRM software, and social media to build data-informed profiles of your current customers.

2. Segment your personas

Once you have your basic demographic information, you should see some different personas emerge. Segment these into different buyer personas.

For example, your most common customers may be women aged 30–55 in mid- to upper-level management positions. But your second-most-common buyer might be their partners. Create profiles for both of these market segments.

3. Obtain details about your personas

Build on your data using information from your customers and your customer-facing team members. Talking to your customers and employees can give you more insight into the non-quantitative data of the buyer persona, including:

  • Motivations

  • Pain points

  • Challenges

You'll also learn about their preferred communication channels and what they think about your brand.

4. Humanize your profile

At this point, you have a lot of data about your customer segments. This is valuable information, but it's more helpful if you humanize it.

Assign your persona a name, image (an appropriate stock image), and narrative. Instead of the profile being "women aged 30–55 in mid- to upper-level management positions," it's now Colette. Colette is 40 and works as a manager in a manufacturing company.

Crafting a marketing strategy around someone you can empathize with is much easier than using an anonymous data set.

5. Practice creating a marketing strategy for each persona

Once you have a well-thought-out persona, use it to create a marketing or sales strategy. Putting the persona to use can help you identify more information you need about your buyer or discover areas of weakness in your current marketing plan.

Practicing with the buyer personas will make your team more comfortable using them and ultimately make the personas a more successful resource within your company.

How to use buyer persona templates

Once you've created your buyer personas, put them to use.

They are powerful tools for the marketing department, who can help craft messaging around key customer profiles. Buyer personas can help the marketing and sales departments determine the best channels to spend financial resources on to reach customers effectively. Personas can be especially useful in content creation because they inform what pain points and challenges you address and tell you the customers’ goals.

They aren't just for marketing and sales efforts, however. Buyer personas are also incredibly useful for product development. Understanding the features and functions desired by your buyer personas can help you tailor your products and services and make them more appealing to your target audience.

Using buyer personas across your organization can help messaging feel cohesive and make it more effective. Encourage your departments to familiarize themselves with the buyer personas to understand the customer and how they can help them.

Make sure you update your buyer persona regularly. Revisiting your information can help you ensure it's accurately reflecting your customers and that you are paying attention to changes in the market.

3 buyer persona templates you can use (with DIY design tips)

Dovetail's Persona Tag Board

This tag board from Dovetail is an interactive way to capture and organize customer information visually. The board allows you to create customized personas using tags in categories such as job roles, behaviors, and goals. You can add images, tags, and quotes collaboratively.

The template is a great way to link your buyer persona to real-world qualitative data because you can tag the personas in research, such as customer interviews and surveys, from within the Dovetail app.

HubSpot's Buyer Persona Templates

HubSpot offers six free buyer persona templates available for download. The templates have customizable sections, including:

  • Demographic information

  • Job titles

  • Goals

  • Preferred communication channels

The templates guide you through each step of the persona creation process, helping you gather insight to create a well-rounded profile. With six profiles to choose from, you should be able to find a template that works for your organization.

Hootsuite's Buyer Persona Template

Hootsuite's buyer persona template is a practical and straightforward tool for developing a customer profile. The template focuses on gathering key information about the ideal customer and using it to fill out the profile to create an organized dossier of their characteristics and behaviors.

The template focuses on social media channels and preferences, so it's a good option if you’re looking to increase your reach on social media.

...Or design your own

You can also design your own buyer persona template. If you do, keep the template concise and easy to read. It should only be one page. Use short paragraphs and bullet points so it's scannable. Use visuals to make the information appealing and memorable so it sticks in your marketing team's minds when creating content.

In summary

Efficient, targeted strategies are essential in today's marketing. You need to reach more high-value customers with fewer resources. Buyer personas can help you do that.

Put your existing customer data to work by mining it for information about your target audience. You can use that information to develop your buyer personas. Using buyer personas can help you understand your customers and tailor your marketing efforts to them.

By developing a deeper understanding of your customers, you can create a more focused, impactful message that delivers better results for your business.

Buyer persona templates

3 templates to better understand your ideal customer

Use template

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