Welcome to the chat “customer” or “consumer personas”. These are semi-fictional depictions of your exact buyer based on data and market research of your previous clients, your present clients, and your ideal future clients. It should cover their demographics, motivations, objectives and behavioural patterns. Or if you’re beginning your business journey, it would be a list of these ideal characteristics the “perfect” customer would possess. So, just like when I’m listing everything I want in my semi-fictional boyfriend (call me Jason Mamoa!). Manifest them and they will come!
Defining your consumer or customer persona is different from establishing your target market. Not to lecture you about your questionable life choices, but you should have an idea of who your target market is before launching your business. Customer personas, break that target market down and define them further. It gives these customers a name, an age. An occupation. It defines what they like, what they are looking for, and what influences their purchasing decisions.
Why Customer Personas Are The Holy Grail To Online Marketing Strategies
I have recently been shocked and upset to find out I am not always right about everything. However, I know that customer personas are key to a successful marketing strategy, and if you don’t believe me you’re wrong. By knowing who your target customers are, you know what their needs are. Then you can provide solutions to these. For this alone, personas provide enormous value. This insight can take your business from getting Randoms on the internet to your site who are never going to commit to your service, to qualified traffic that converts.
Not only that, but in an already saturated market where the average person is flooded with over 10000 marketing messages every single day, customer personas allow you to stand out in the crowd and market directly to your intended audience. By tailoring personalised content to your leads, they are more likely to become loyal customers. Failure to create personas results in generic brand messaging that won’t attract who you want.
Whether you have a small team or a large organisation. All members of your outfit benefit from knowing who your customers are. From your customer service or marketing department. To your sales and your product development team. Even your CEO. If everyone understands your ideal or exact customer, all your decisions across the board are targeted towards them.
The Other Main Benefits of Customer Personas
- Help create a detailed guide and deeper understanding of what your customer wants.
- Help understand the issue that your customer needs to solve.
- Will help guide your product development tailored to your customers’ needs.
- Give you behavioural insight into your customer
- Help you create targeted content specifically for your customers
- Allow you to understand what initiatives your company should invest time, resources, and money in.
- Create a customer-centric vision across your organisation
- Help your list segmentation by sending the right people to your site at the best time
How Do You Define Your Customer Persona’s
The best customer personas you develop are based on market research and information from your actual customer base. Depending on your product or service, you could have several personas or only a few. Each one of these semi-fictional archetypes should have their individual set of traits, unique behaviours, and reasons for wanting to purchase your product or service defined. You’ll give this customer persona a name and use a stock photo or illustration so it becomes authentic for your team.
Customer personas aren’t a stereotype of your customer, they are your customer. They take the guesswork out of who you market to because that’s the whole point. It might sound challenging to group your customers into specific types of people. However, when you start identifying these personas you’ll find most of your current and future customers share significant characteristics, making it more simple than it seems.
Easy Steps On Creating Customer Personas
Do Your Research
There’s no point populating your personas with data that doesn’t reflect your actual customers. You need to thoroughly research your current or future customer base and get it right! Going off a gut instinct, good intentions, and what mercury is doing in retrograde is not going to give you what you need. Creating the most accurate personas will take an investment of your resources. But the long-term benefits are tremendous. This is the information you want for each persona.
What Information Are You Looking For?
The following is a list of what data you want to collect for each persona.
- What is their family situation?
- Gender identify?
- What social media platforms are they on?
- Do they have device preferences?
- Are they technologically savvy?
- Are they outgoing? Introverted?
- Are they likely to stick to the one brand, or will they try new things?
- Did they finish school? University?
- What industry are they in?
- What is their profession?
- What are their responsibilities?
- How much do they earn?
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES
- What are the roadblocks they face while trying to meet their goals?
- What are their struggles?
HOW CAN YOUR BUSINESS HELP THESE CHALLENGES
- What solutions can your business provide to help these challenges?
- What would stop them from purchasing your product or service?
- About their goals and challenges
- How can you describe your solution to have the biggest impact on your persona? What resonates most with your persona?
- What is your 30-second elevator pitch that makes your brand interesting, exciting, and memorable? Why are you unique?
How Do You Find This Information?
I know what you’re thinking. That’s all great, but where do you start? If your business is established most of what you need will already be at your disposal. It’s a simple matter of segmenting the data that you receive through interviewing and analysing your typical customer. And if it’s not, this is where it gets fun. You get to “create” your perfect customer.
6 Ways To Get Started On Your Customer Personas
1. Conduct interviews
Why not go straight to the source and conduct face-to-face surveys with your customers or people you want to be your potential customers? Find out exactly who they are and what they think of you. Aim to talk to at least 5-20 different people. Because we’re human you’ll need to dangle a product or a mighty discount to incentivize them. Nothing is free in this world.
2. Talk To Your Team
The members of your team who talk directly with your consumer base like your support or sales team are marketing gold to your business. They know them on a personal level. They hear about the problems they are having before anyone else. They understand what this customer needs from you to solve these problems. Also aim to speak to several members of these teams to get as many observations as possible.
3. Social media
The best and worst thing about social media? It’s the perfect platform for people to have opinions and share these unfiltered thoughts with the world. Instead of grabbing the popcorn just to watch your relatives overshare and strangers fight over who’s using correct grammar. There are several ways your business can benefit instead.
With so many discussions happening online in real-time, you can tap directly into what people are saying about your niche today. Because people are super passionate when they can hide behind a keyboard, you find out what triggers these customers and why they are triggered. As well as what makes them happy in the first place. And exactly what they think of your competitors.
You don’t need to spread yourself thinly on all social media channels, just those that suit your brand. If you are in the food industry, Instagram and Facebook are perfect. For career-related industries- LinkedIn is your best friend. Products aimed at the younger generation (what are they even called these days, Generation XYC Million?). Snapchat is where it’s at!
You can use a hashtag tool to find conversations and spend time on people’s profiles learning more about them. Also, many social channels provide analytics tools you can get data from, too!
4. Google Analytics
Underestimate the value of Google Analytics at your peril. Google’s free software gives you so much data about your customer it’s freaky. Some data you can find;
- Geographic locations
- What device people they are using,
- Where they came from (how they found the website) and more.
- Lifestyle interests ((Audience > Interests > Affinity Categories)
- What you had for breakfast and every embarrassing thing you’ve said since you could talk (Joking. I hope!).
If you’re inexperienced Google Analytics provides Beginner courses up to advanced on their academy site here – https://analytics.google.com/analytics/academy/course/.
5. Use Your Competitors To Your Advantage
Who am I to argue with Oscar Wilde? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. You can just copy what your competitors are doing with their customer personas for your own. There are no laws against it, I checked. You can review their website to see if they are developing content tailored to a specific audience.
Or a simple Google search can show if your competitors have published anything on who they are targeting. Your brand can learn a lot about those ideal buyer personas you haven’t discovered yet by seeing what makes your competition successful.
6. Let Your Email Subscribers Do The Work For You
Work smarter not harder. Your current email subscribers can help your customer persona creation for you by self-segmenting. Instead of only asking for your subscriber’s info like a name and email address when they are signing up to subscribe to your database – you can add questions like what specific sort of content they want to receive, and other information you’re looking to include.
Take for example, if you are signing up to a sportswear store like Rebel. If Rebel asks you on your sign-up form what sports you play or what sports you’re interested in. The marketing team then takes that data to add to the marketing persona it relates to. And then the future content it sends to you will be based on that knowledge.
Now You Have To Create A Negative Persona
Because nothing is straightforward, we’re now going to play a game of opposites and create a negative persona – a description of the type of customer your business does not want. Why? Just as it’s important to tailor your customer marketing strategies to your future customer. You don’t want to waste resources, time, and money on a person who is unlikely to convert. Identifying these “negative” personas early on means you can weed out the bad apples at the beginning.
Just like my dating life, there will always be the type of person that leads you on. Their actions make you think that they want your goodies but then they won’t commit. They might be on your social media channels, sharing, liking, and engaging with your content. They could be a total tease and be on your website putting things in the cart, but bouncing off before the purchase. And exactly like my dating life, the more they play hard to get, the more you’re trying to get them to stay.
At some point, we all need to stop stinking of desperation and accept it isn’t going to happen. Some leads are never going to purchase from you. And even if they do, their cost per acquisition is so high, it’s not worth it for your business. Maybe they then give you a bad google review or give your support team hell. You want to avoid these customers like I avoid my adult responsibilities 99% of the time.
Other Traits of A Negative Persona
- They simply can’t afford your product or service. There’s no point in marketing to someone who doesn’t have the resources to buy from you.
- They are using you by using your content and website for info, then purchasing from your competitor.
- They are not the decision-maker for this purchase.
- They can’t use your product or service because of where they live it’s not available.
- They are simply not your target market because of their age, culture, or gender.
- They are problematic during the sales process with red flag after red flag (I get it -red’s my favourite coloured flag too!).
Just like developing your key customer personas, creating your negative personas also require time, effort, and resources. However, knowing your negative persona provides valuable insights for your team. Understanding the motivations, attributes and behaviours of the type of customers you don’t want are critical to your marketing success as well. Once you’ve developed a couple of these you’re ready to rock n roll and put them into action.
Now, What? How To Use These Personas.
These customer personas are now the most valuable marketing tool your business has. You’ve put all the hard work into creating these, now let them work for you. Use these archetypes to segment your content every place you have content. You can tailor blog articles, social media posts, videos, guides, and more. You can send each one different email campaigns that lead them to their personalised landing page on your site, and a call-to-action on that page that speaks directly to them.
Customer Personas are essential to your business because understanding your customers is critical for your business to thrive. These personas allow you to ensure all your marketing strategies to acquire new customers and serve your current customers are personalised to their needs. Without it, you’re messaging everyone and targeting no-one. And what’s the point of that?
Starting to create your own customer personas? We’ve created these easy-to-use templates to get you started. Simply download them today to start tailoring your content to your exact customer!
Sharney has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, A Certification in Business Management from Harvard Business School as well as over 20 years of experience in the marketing industry. She is an expert in Marketing Strategy, Planning, Branding, Websites & Lead Generation. Her passion is working with small to medium businesses to help them grow through strategic & successful online marketing.