Creating a customer persona is one of the most important things you can do to help you market your business well.
Why? Because it’s almost impossible to effectively get your message across if you don’t understand who you’re talking to.
Let’s start by getting clear on what customer personas are.
Customer personas (also known as customer avatars) pinpoint who you’re selling to, so you can better communicate with them.
They help you see your customers as people, not data, bringing a focus on the human side of your leads and prospects. And that’s important, not just for your marketing communications, but also to align your whole company towards thinking about the people you exist to serve.
But let’s take that further.
Your customer persona/avatar helps you focus on selling to just one person. Do this, and you’ll be able to appeal to many other people similar to the person you describe…. and that’s what your customer persona is. A hypothetical person that represents the ideal audience you’re looking to attract.
Before we dive into how to create your ideal customer persona, let’s think about the value they unlock.
What are the benefits of developing a customer persona for your business?
When you have a deep understanding of your customer, the pay-offs are clear. Not just for your marketing department but your business as a whole. As a blueprint to your customers’ hearts and minds, they help you create:
- Better product development
- More relevant content
- More meaningful sales conversations
- Better follow up, acquisition and retention
So now you know WHY they are important, how do you create them?
How do you create a customer persona?
Even today, most customer personas fall short of the information that marketers need. Having said that, creating a customer avatar is not an exercise that should take you days. With a little focus, this should take you less than an hour to get this done. And it’s time well spent. The benefits you’ll reap will be huge.
So what do you start with?
Begin with some basic details: Age, sex, income, education, location, relationship status, job role…
E.g. Jane (yes, you need to give your avatar a name) is a 33yr old and university-educated mother of two earning £70k a year and living in Birmingham.
This is a great start, but that doesn’t mean you can stop here. Demographic information like that helps you form an overall picture but will do very little to inform your marketing efforts, I’m afraid.
You need to dig deeper than that.
Let’s move on to psychographics.
These are the psychological and emotional factors that affect who this person is
Some questions you need to answer when creating a customer persona include:
a. What are their needs and wants?
b. How do they feel about the problem you solve?
c. What are their fears and motivations?
d. What are their backgrounds and experiences?
e. What do they value? I.e. what are the things they work hard to get?
f. What do they believe in?
g. What are some things your customer persona has said that matter to you?
h. What are their secret desires?
It’s these psychographic details you need to be thinking about. Spend 3 minutes writing down everything you can think of to answer these questions.
But you’re not done yet.
Now you need to know a bit more about where who influences them and where they get their knowledge.
- Where do they get their information
a. What papers/blogs do they read?
b. What influencers do they follow?
c. What are their interests?
Again spend 3 minutes writing down the answers to these.
5. Key purchase drivers
- What are their budget expectations?
- What are their objections?
- Are there any other decision-makers/gatekeepers that you should know about?
Again spend just 3 minutes brainstorming each.
If you complete the questions above, in 42 minutes, you’ll have created a really clear picture of the person you are trying to attract.
If you want to go even deeper – do the next exercise too. Yes, it’ll take you beyond the 42 minutes I promised, but trust me, it’ll take your understanding to a whole new level…
4. BONUS exercise
The Empathy Exercise.
Ray Edwards, master copywriter recommends what he calls the Empathy Exercise. Imagine walking a day in your customers’ shoes from the moment they wake up in the morning to when they go to bed. What’s the first thing they do in the morning? Do they reach for their phone or saunter downstairs for a cup of coffee? Do they eat breakfast at the table with the family or grab something on their way to work. What occupies their thoughts on their commute (if they have one)?
Write down every step your customer takes in as much detail as possible.
A word of encouragement you don’t need to obsess with getting everything right for this exercise. Your intuition will be good enough to get you in tune with your avatar, so you don’t just attract them, but you’ll also attract people like them.
Your intuition will move to the next level, and the marketing you write will suddenly start working more effectively than ever before, almost like magic. But it’s not magic because you’ve done the work.
Now 95% of marketers won’t do this. If you’re one of the 5%, you’ll have a level of understanding that’s a real competitive advantage which means you’ll always be one step ahead.
Congratulations, if you’ve followed every step (and I hope you have), you’ve created a customer persona that you can use in your business for years to come.
How are you going to put all your good work to use?
Here are some practical uses:
- Focus on where your customers spend their time.
Do your customers hang out on Facebook, Instagram or TikTok? Great – now you know where to focus your communication efforts. Spend your time and budget in the areas where your customers are.
- Speak the language going on in your customers’ heads.
Are your customers more likely to use casual language? Are they lovers of emojis or rhyming slang? What are their buzzwords? Use this insight to dial up the likeability factor by speaking the way they speak.
- Audit your existing content
Look at the content you’ve already created and check if it aligns with your customer persona. If it doesn’t, consider updating it.
- Sense-checking future campaigns. Does your campaign target the needs and wants of at least one of your ideal customer personas? If not, you may want to reconsider. Remember, you’ll only attract the right people if you create the right content.
- Joint promotions with other companies that attract the same audience
As humans, we’re often judged by the company we keep. The same is true for business. Working with other companies that appeal to the same target market is a great way to increase reach and reduce costs whilst boosting credibility.
- Develop a negative customer persona
Once you’ve built your customer persona, it can be helpful to create a negative one.
So that you can quickly recognise the people/businesses that are less likely to buy: The ones that are too small, too large, have high acquisition costs or who won’t find your product or service helpful.
Don’t get me wrong here. This doesn’t mean you won’t sell to these people, that you’re going to block them entirely. I’m just saying that you won’t want to focus your efforts on your negative personas because it makes more sense to concentrate your efforts on the people most likely to buy.
Want some help creating a customer persona that will transform your business? Book a free discovery call today and start getting better marketing results tomorrow.