How to Create Customer Personas for Your Business
On the surface, it seems there isn’t much that goes into knowing your customers. If you’re a manufacturer of running shoes, your target customers are runners, right? But the thing is, runners could be pro athletes or executive competitors with a collection of running shoes; or hobbyists who may have one or two pairs on rotation for their casual morning jog.
For the purpose of this article, let’s put the spotlight on executive competitors. These people don’t use their running shoes as often as pro athletes do and might go for runs as much as hobbyists do but with a defined training regimen. How about giving them a name? Robert.
Robert, the executive competitor, holds a supervisory position at work but manages to slip in 2-3 days of training per week. If possible, he doubles the effort when there’s an upcoming race.
What we just did was we created a customer persona, but a lot more simplified.
What is a customer persona?
A customer persona (also called buyer persona, user persona or business persona) is a research-backed representation of a brand’s ideal customers. It’s fictional but highly realistic. By creating personas, you’ll better understand your target customers and make informed marketing decisions.
Customer personas have a strong influence on content creation, which is why the task of creating them is often delegated to content marketers. Think how much easier keyword research or content writing can be if everyone involved in the content flow fully understands their customer base.
But the benefits of customer personas go beyond marketing. Having a solid understanding of the challenges their target customers face, customer support teams are in a better position to handle customer concerns. And with knowledge of their target customers’ pain points, sales teams can craft a sales pitch in a way that’s more empathetic to them.
As to how many personas to create depends on your business. Note that it’s common for brands to have multiple customer personas.
Steps to creating a customer persona
1. Research and define the traits of your customer persona.
Think of your ideal customer. What are their traits and characteristics? These are often expressed in demographics (e.g., age, gender, location, job role, income) and psychographics (e.g., values and interests, motivations, pain points, buying behaviour). To get all these pieces of information, you can:
- Conduct interviews, which could be in-person or over the phone.
- Check existing data (e.g., customer database and Google Analytics).
- Ask your existing customers by conducting surveys.
- Ask your customer-facing employees (e.g., sales and customer support).
2. Group customer profiles into segments
Organise all the raw data you gathered into documents. Identify patterns or shared traits that will allow you to group these potential customers into segments. Using our example earlier, you can segment them into pro athletes, executive competitors and hobbyists. You can also segment them by way of purchasing behaviour, goals, challenges, etc.—it’s totally up to your organisation. Lastly, decide how many personas you’ll create.
3. Build customer personas out of the segments.
At this point, you are now ready to create buyer personas and document them in a profile format (there are persona templates available online). Think of a name for each persona. Put a face into them using free images you can source online. Breathe life into them by adding fictional details based on the info you discovered from your research.
So apart from all the factual data, you can mention something like ‘Robert the executive competitor makes it a point to join at least two events per year. On both occasions, he buys a new pair of running shoes at the venue where they are often discounted’.
4. Devise sales and marketing strategies tailored to each persona.
Once you have your detailed customer personas documented, it’s time to share them with everyone in the organisation. From these profiles, you’ll be able to develop unique, effective sales and marketing strategies for the purpose of generating leads and converting them into actual customers. Check out these examples:
- If the customer persona isn’t tech-savvy, you can create content about how easy and convenient it is to purchase shoes online.
- If the customer persona travels a lot, you can include a handy shoe bag for every purchase.
- If the customer persona often brings their family to every race, you can sign up as an exhibitor and have a family-oriented booth.
Understanding your customers allows you to be as targeted as possible with your sales and marketing strategies. The way to do it is to create detailed customer personas. If you know how Robert thinks and acts, you’ll get insights on where to find him, tailor customer experiences for him and find effective ways to address his needs. The more your business knows about him, the more you know about your market.
Remember, there are thousands of Roberts out there. If you’re focusing all your organisation’s efforts—marketing, sales, product development, etc.—on your most qualified leads, expect to see some significant growth.
If you have the time and resources, you can have your content marketers create user personas. Or, take the smarter route and get expert guidance from digital marketing agencies like G Squared. Contact us today to get started.
December 26, 2022