May 31, 2017

Business personas

Let’s say you’ve decided to start your own small business; you’ve been passionate about candles for a long time, and your new business is making and selling candles. As part of your business plan, you’ve found a workspace, purchased the supplies to get your first batch going, filed all necessary paperwork and even found a designer to design and print the labels for your candles. Next on the “to do” list is to get business cards printed and your own website launched. You’re feeling great about your plans, but a month later you’re struggling to find customers. What went wrong?


One of the most common mistakes business owners make is to assume their target audience is “everyone.” After all, who wouldn’t want to buy a candle? But in terms of finding your niche in an incredibly crowded marketplace, choosing just one audience could help your business find its core buying group.

That’s where personas come in.

A persona is essentially a template of the buyer you’re looking for. To get started, think of a type of person who might consider buying your product. For this example, we’re going to pretend a common candle buyer is a professional woman in her 20s. This hypothetical woman lives in an apartment in an urban area, lighting candles on a nightly basis as part of her relaxation routine. This woman, who you name Natalie, makes between $40-50,000 a year and loves to walk around farmers’ markets. She’s also interested in traveling, but wants to buy a house in the next 5-7 years so she’s focused on being financially frugal. Her favorite social media sites are Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Now, let’s think about what this persona can teach us about our marketing strategy. Natalie is frugal, but likes to light candles to help her relax. Does your business model include a line of calming scents at reasonable prices? Do you highlight the fact that your candles emit low levels of smoke, which makes them ideal for apartment dwellers? If not, there’s a business opportunity. Also, is your business running accounts on her favorite social media sites? Pinterest allows you to link pins directly to product pages on a website, which obviously creates a huge opportunity for your business. Additionally, if you know many of your target buyers frequently go to farmers’ markets, perhaps it’s time to invest in a weekly booth.

Creating individual personas for each of your target buying groups helps inform where your business needs to be. If you still think your product is for everyone, consider creating 4-5 personas for each different age demographic and see if that teaches you anything about reaching a more diverse audience. Also, consider creating a formal personal profile (complete with a photo) and posting it in your office. That way when you’re executing your various campaigns, you can review personas to make sure your ideas line up with your target audiences.

Have you had success in using personas to grow your business? Or are you still not sure what they are? Let us know in the comments below!

About the author: Sydney Smith

Sydney Smith has been the Dynamic Social Innovator at 6AM Marketing since March 2017. She has a Master's degree in Interactive Media from Quinnipiac University and extensive experience creating content and social media campaigns. 

Post tags:Strategy

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