Activating empathy: Buyer personas that drive business growth

According to research conducted by Relevance, a whopping 85% of marketers have constructed at least one buyer persona for their companies/clients, if not multiple personas. Yet, that same study found that only 15% of marketers felt that their buyer personas were effective. What accounts for the gap between the volume of generated personas and the small number of satisfied marketers?

One Word: Empathy

Or to be more precise, lack of empathy. While company leaders and executives typically understand the vital importance of crafting persuasive buyer personas, very few of them take the most effective approach. Which approach would that be? Focusing first and foremost on what the customer needs and wants, instead of what the company offers.

Consider this: when making a purchasing decision, how much weight do you give to the trustworthiness of a brand? While some may put more emphasis on this factor than others, most consumers want to have dealings with companies that they know and trust. In that case, how do businesses gain trust? By demonstrating that they understand and empathize with the customer’s concerns. Only after that connection has been established can the conversation between company and customer be effectively pursued.

In short, empathy-driven buyer personas can help you stay squarely focused on your customers’ needs.

The Key to Empathy: Asking Questions

The most important way to activate empathy when crafting your target persona(s) is also the simplest: ask these 15 questions about your target customers. Where should you start?

Of course, you’ll need to be mindful of basic demographic information. This could include things such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Number of children
  • Marital status
  • Location
  • Income
  • Education level
  • Hobbies and interests

However, these considerations are just the bare bones of a persuasive buyer persona, not the meat. For example, if you’re targeting consumers over 60 years old, with a net worth of over $30 million, who like to play golf, your target persona could conceivably include both Bill Gates and Alice Cooper...those two might not have a ton of overlapping interests.

You’ll need to dig deeper in order to uncover not only the specifics of your target demographic but also why your product or service would appeal to them. For instance, ask questions such as:

  • What goals and fears do my target customers have? How can my product/service help them achieve their goals or cope with their fears?
  • What problems are foremost on my target customer’s mind? How would my product help to solve those problems?
  • Why would consumers prioritize my products/services?
  • What criteria do my target customers use to make their purchasing decisions?

For example, when I began persona work for one client, they knew their target was a mom in a meat-eating household. It wasn’t until we dug into her real concerns (precious time and the health of her family) and her digital behavior (a split between those who aimlessly scroll through Facebook in order to wind down at the end of the day, and those that religiously revisit blogs for inspiration) that we were able to lock down a content strategy that catapulted their social growth.

It may take some time to flesh out the answers to questions like these. However, doing so is well worth the effort, because a persuasive buyer persona is the key to differentiating your brand from the competition.

Using Empathy to Drive Business Growth

Are there any examples of effective buyer personas that are available for examination? This article from HubSpot analyzes 3 buyer personas from their clients and digs into why they are so effective.

According to Business Grown, persuasive personas typically account for over 90% of a company’s sales. That’s wild! But the key word in that sentence is persuasive. Activating empathy to truly understand where your customers are coming from is the first step to crafting a persuasive buyer persona, and in turn, driving sustainable business growth.

Learn More About Activating Empathy to Drive Business Growth

If you need some assistance, let me know. We can help you activate the empathy you need to unlock the growth you’re looking for.

In your corner,

KW Content is a global content and social media marketing agency that develops and launches content and social media programs for purpose-driven brands. Strong Brand Social is our favorite place to hang out! That’s where we provide the absolute best (and most accessible) social media marketing education that empowers small brands to develop their own high-performing marketing programs that are guaranteed to drive growth. Teaching from our proven agency methodologies, we simplify the process and demystify the art of social media marketing to offer focus, efficiency, and measurable results to small business owners, brand directors, and social media marketers. [Learn more.]

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