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Researching the 4 buyer persona types.

What are the 4 Buyer Persona Types?


Your buyer persona isn’t summed up in a fake avatar with 2.5 kids who love shopping at Whole Foods. Surprised? I sure hope not because common sense says otherwise. 

Your buyer persona is a living, breathing human with their own needs, wants, and desires. So for a while, I wasn’t a huge fan of the tacky customer avatar sheets you find online that assume your ideal client might as well be named Flat Stanley.

However, I will say this: if you have yet to know your audience, a framework to riff off of is a great way to know your audience better. Therefore, why I’ve come to appreciate the Buyer Persona Types Framework. 

Granted, it’s not nuanced. It’s not going to address your ideal client’s hyper-specific buying patterns, either. But it does serve as a strong starting point for understanding your audience. And if you want your copy to sell, you’ve got to sell in a way that residents 

So by the time you want to conduct market research, you’ve already got a strong hold on who your ideal client is. 

If you want your copy to sell, you have to sell in a way that resonates with your audience *the most*.

That being said, let’s cover 4 different buyer persona types so you can understand your ideal client better when writing for your brand. It’ll also help you understand yourself as a buyer too. (Btw, prepare for the “oh my gosh, this is totally my habit when buying things” loop about to happen in your brain. Because it’ll happen).

The Buyer Persona Types Framework

To understand the Buyer Persona Types Framework, you have to know the 4 variables behind every purchase: 

  • Internal vs. External  Pain Points + Desires
  • Slow vs. Fast Decision-Making
  • Emotional vs. Logical Decision-Making

You’re probably familiar with Buyer Types which compare slow vs. fast and emotional vs. logic in purchasing decisions.

But I take it a step further by also looking at internal vs. external triggers.

A quick synopsis of internal vs. external for you — that just means whether someone is driven by the mindsets + emotions happening in their head vs. situations happening around them. 

Each combination has four buyer persona types: The Empath, The Realist, The Visionary, and The Trailblazer. 

If you’re feeling slightly called out already, I promise this framework isn’t meant to put you in a box quadrant. Depending on what you’re buying you can at any time fall into any of these categories. Take a closer look though, and I guarantee you’d prefer to be cozied up in one of its four corners. 

The top row represents whether the buyer is driven by emotion or logic, internal pain points, or external pain points.

The column on the left represents whether an audience is a slower or fast buyer, driven by internal or external desires.

Emotional // Internal Pain PointsLogical // External Pain Points

Slow //Internal Desires

The Empath

Will you help me become more of who I want to be?”

The Realist

“I want to believe you, but what about this?”

Fast // External Desires

The Visionary

There’s this vision in my gut, can you make it possible?”

The Trailblazer

“I want to do this. How can you get me there?”

Okay, enough theory. Let’s do a brief overview of each so you can see exactly how they play out. 

The Visionary

[Emotional/Fast Buyer] +  [Internal Pain Points/External Desires] 

“There’s a vision in my gut, can you make it possible?”

The Visionary has this conviction that they need to share their ideas with the world.

They want someone to understand their vision, take it, and run with it — but ultimately they want it done in a way that reflects them.

There’s this inner angst in their chest about getting something out there (their dream wedding, their website, launching a new program), but they want to walk away accomplishing something at the end of an experience. They’re also willing to wait for the right creative partner to come alongside them who just *gets* it.

Common Industries: High-ticket creative service providers, consultants, brand photographers, designers, copywriters, etc. Read this pretend inquiry from a business owner looking for a web designer to see the Visionary in action:

Ex. Hi! My name is Sarah and I’m finally ready to move in a new direction for my business. I’ve run my yoga studio for the past four years and I love my work. But the branding is outdated and it’s time for something fresh that will bring me into my next season.

I want to attract more premium 1:1 clients but I’ve also got a vision for launching a place where I can help people at all stages of their health journey. I know this will be a long process (and well worth it). I just want to do it right. Would love to start as soon as next quarter. Hope to talk with you soon!

Notice how a lot of Sarah’s problems are internal — but what she’s really looking for is a brand that will help her launch something new.

She’s also looking for someone pretty quickly. Visionaries have bursts of creative energy they quickly want to act on, which means it’s your job to keep up. 

Let’s move on to the Realist.

The Realist

[Slow/Logical Buyer] +  [External Pain Points/Internal Desires]

“I want to believe in you, but what about this?”

Everyone has a“planner” in their friend group. 

They’re the one who covers all logistics for get-togethers (complete with an hour-by-hour itinerary) and triple checks a restaurant review to make sure the menu is up to par. 

That person is your classic Realist.

The Realist wants to make sure the job will be done and will be done right so they can ultimately feel safe, secure, or fulfilled in their decision. They’re realistic with their expectations, and err more on the side of cautious than hopeful. Hence the name, Realist. 

It’s likely that they’ve been burned before with a bad investment. If they haven’t, they definitely don’t want to know how it feels. 

So out of the four buyer persona types, The Realist cares more that the person (or thing) they’re investing in has a proven track record. 

Common Industries: Practical, lifestyle-based products and service providers (ex. parenting or child-based products + services, finance, systems/automation, nonprofit organizations, meal services, home appliances + technology, etc.) 

Check out this short and sweet inquiry from a business owner looking for a bookkeeper: 

“Hi, my name is Kate and I’ve been managing my books on my own for the past few years. I’m wanting to get this off my plate so I don’t feel stressed about not knowing my numbers. I’ve read your reviews online after some colleagues recommended you and read your entire website. I have a few questions about how the process works, specifically with onboarding. Appreciate your help!”

Kate started off by describing the pain of doing books on her own. She also mentioned that even though she’s been given recommendations, she’s made it clear that she wants her questions answered. 

Two buyer persona types down. Two to go. Next up is the Trailblazer.

The Trailblazer

[Fast/Logical Buyer] +  [External Pain Points/External Desires]

“I want to do this. How can you get me there?”

If the Trailblazer were a vehicle, they’d be a freight train in the sense that they’re carrying a ton of weight and responsibility. They’re only coming to you to make their life easier. 

The Trailblazer certainly doesn’t care about the details. They simply want to get the thing DONE because they already have a lot on their long laundry list of to-dos. They enter a situation hard and fast, expecting immediate results. 

Now don’t get me wrong — they do care about people and the brands they invest in. But above all, their greatest priority is the end goal, that’s it. 

If this is you, then know thyself and own it! If you’re scoffing at the idea of being a straight shooter, then think about the last time you went to the DMV to renew your driver’s license (because yes, that’s considered a purchasing decision, too).

It’s safe to say we’d all be all Trailblazers in that scenario 

Common Industries: Real estate, investing, B2B, & SAAS + tech, healthcare industry, outdoor home repair (ex. lawn care, tree trimming), etc. 

Here’s what an inquiry from a Trailblazer could look like who’s looking for an advisor to help him invest in real estate: 

“Jim here. I want to invest in multi-family homes in the Seattle area and found you through a quick Google search. Let’s chat soon to go over what this support would look like. Thanks.” 

See? Jim is short, sweet, and to the point. He’s direct, too. He prefers to skip the pleasantries and get straight to the problem getting solved. Classic Trailblazer move. 

The last of the four buyer persona types is The Empath (my favorite because it’s me in a nutshell). 

The Empath

[Slow/Emotional Buyer] +  [Internal Pain Points/Internal Desires]

“Will you help me become more of who I want to be?”

The Empath is someone who is very in tune with their internal compass. 

With most of their investments, they’re looking for something that will make them feel safe and secure in themselves. Very rarely are they willing to sacrifice that. 

And if something feels “off” or like it’s pushing against their natural intuition, they’ll be firm in their convictions and not move forward with an investment — even if it looks good on the outside. 

This person could care LESS about the facts + figures. As long as in the end, they feel like the version of themselves they’ve always wanted to be. 

Common Industries: Health + physical/mental wellness, spiritual directors and practitioners, consultants with a more intuitive approach

“Hi my name is Carla, I’ve been struggling with pelvic floor pain after giving birth to my first son. I’ve been postpartum for a few months now but I still feel uncomfortable and unlike myself. I’m looking for a pelvic floor doctor who can make me feel normal again so I can get back to my regular routines and rhythms. I’m also looking for someone with an intuitive approach who doesn’t push certain medications or prescriptions on me and instead encourages me to listen to my body. Look forward to hearing from you.

For Carla, even though she’s feeling physical pain, she is more concerned about how her physical state is impacting her emotional state. 

Words like “feel” are a great indicator that you’re dealing with an Empath too, because often, Empaths lead with their emotions. 

It may be hard to earn their trust at first, but get them on your good side and you’ve got a brand advocate for the long haul. 

Curious about which of the four buyer persona types your brand is selling to?  

Knowing your brand’s buyer persona types plays a huge role in selling to them. But it’s not the only aspect of your brand. For more on how to create a brand that your people say “yes” to, read on the 5 brand messaging pillars every brand needs. Better yet, learn more about your brand’s buyer persona types by discovering how a brand messaging strategist can help your business grow.

Keep reading to dig up even more golden nuggets

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5 Tips to Instantly Improve Your Website Copy in An Afternoon

Action-packed methods so your website can spark connections swiftly. Around the same time it takes to finish a leisurely afternoon stroll with a good friend — we should really do those more often.

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