Customers are critical for the success of any business. It doesn’t matter if your venture is old or relatively new, you need to offer a positive buying experience. It is the only way to ensure business growth and awareness.
In fact, brands that focus on customer experience bring in approximately six times more revenue than their competitors.
You need to quite literally put yourself in your buyers’ shoes if you want to stand out from millions of other companies offering the same solutions.
This makes it all the more important to create personas that represent your target audience.
Customer personas go beyond basic demographic data, delving deep into the interests, needs, and pain points of your buyers. Read along to discover how they can help fine-tune your marketing efforts, tailor your messages, and create a smooth customer journey.
A customer persona is a semi-fictional archetype that depicts a particular segment of your audience and gives you a holistic view of your consumers based on the commonalities they share.
These similarities can be in terms of their goals, pain points, motivations, frustrations, and expectations.
Built with data collected from market research, website analytics, and CRM systems, personas enable you to understand your buyers and discover the way in which they use your products and services.
An ideal customer profile (ICP) is sort of like a buyer persona, but only encompassing those consumers who would be the perfect fit for your solution and give you the highest ROI.
Think of it this way.
If consumer personas give you a version of your buyers that you must fit your products around, ICPs give you the version that fits around your products.
Instead of marketing to everybody and diluting your efforts, they allow you to concentrate on buyers who are already inclined to buy from you. You can easily address their problems, offer incentives, and craft marketing campaigns around them.
Ideal customer personas don’t require much effort but will give you high value customers that will stick around for years to come.
Audience personas are mostly based on qualitative and quantitative data about your existing consumers and prospects.
Here are some of the main components that describe your target customer:
Demographics (the who)
A detailed persona will give you demographic information like age range, gender, income level, location, education, and family status.
Psychographics (the why)
Psychographics focus on the emotional aspect of your buyer, such as their passions, interests, pain points, challenges, motivations, values, and communication preferences.
Behavior (the what)
This attribute describes the crux of customer behavior, ranging from which of your products/services they are interested in and how they came across your solution to the mode of payment used to purchase your product or service.
All of these components, when combined together, give you the complete picture of your ideal customers. You can also include more details and customize your personas for better targeting.
A customer persona (also called buyer persona) is a representation of your ideal customers based on people who have already made a purchase. User personas, on the other hand, focus on the end-users of a product.
One seeks to improve our understanding of how buyers behave as well as the decision-making process, while the other lets us relate to those who will actually use the product.
Take for example, the B2B industry. A sales manager might be the one who purchases a CRM software but it will be her employees who will be the ones to finally use it.
The manager will be primarily concerned about factors like cost and benefits, however the employees (users) will mostly worry about things like product usability and efficiency.
Although they sound similar, please keep in mind that they are completely different with each persona playing a unique role in your marketing strategies.
Consumer personas can be the knight in shining armor to not only your marketing teams, but also your sales, product development, and customer support teams.
After all, it helps to know different aspects of your audience in order to personalize your business strategies. According to an Epsilon research, 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that offers personalized experiences and recommendations.
Similarly, 63% of users will only respond to customized marketing messages.
Bottomline: If you don’t know who your target audience is, you will never be able to engage with prospects and identify marketing trends, product improvements, and sales opportunities.
Here are a few more reasons why businesses like yours should create personas:
Create different audience segments
Segmentation is important in the sense that it lets you provide the right services to the right buyers. Without it, you might offer solution A to a consumer who is looking for solution B.
This is disastrous for any brand that wants to get in the good graces of its buyers. When your market is segmented, you will be fit to create data-driven content and marketing plans catering to different types of customers.
Understand their needs and motivations
Marketing personas help you spot the needs and motivations of different people. This can help marketers develop the right tone of voice to attract buyers and select keywords that speak out to audience pain points.
Know where they are
Businesses can greatly improve their marketing performance if they know where their users are. Personas aid this process by pinpointing the channels users are most active on, the kind of content they consume, and the people they follow.
You can eventually learn how to communicate with them, develop the content they like, and distribute it in places where they are found.
Uncover buying behavior and patterns
Uncovering the ways in which your buyers make purchasing decisions and go though the buyer journey will help you present and position your brand better.
For instance, a certain segment might want a product demo while others might be looking for a free trial. When you know their expectations, you will be open to accepting their needs and identify problems that require a solution, thereby increasing conversion rates.
We know that customer personas empower you to understand existing customers and deliver a great customer experience.
However, you need to optimize your personas for different types of people. Not all individuals will follow the same path and have the same mindset when they make a decision.
That said, there are many psychographic segments one can create based on the personality of the buyer. But these are the four main types of personas that brands should consider.
To put it simply, they want the best that money can buy. These buyers are driven by a desire to find the best solution in a sea of competitors. If you want them, you will have to tell them exactly why you are better than the rest.
You need to give them concrete evidence to highlight your competitive advantages.
Once they are convinced that your products can quickly solve their problems, they will happily convert into loyal customers and promote your business.
They prioritize speed, efficiency, and simplicity. Spontaneous personas don't want to be overwhelmed by unnecessary information, numbers, and statistics.
Instead, they will quickly make a purchase based on their instincts and how well your product aligns with their interests. Great option if you want to move prospects up the funnel and generate quick sales.
Humanistic personas are empathetic and value the human side of your business. They want to know the story behind your brand.
These are the same people who will visit your ‘About Us’ page and social media accounts before they even consider your products. Their buying triggers are emotional, since they seek a personal connection with those they support.
Customers who rely on hard evidence. Methodical personas delve into customer testimonials and conduct in-depth searches to learn how your product solves their problems.
They are logical, deliberate, and will obsess over the most miniscule of details.
Making them the most challenging group to convert, since they need to be carefully nurtured throughout the sales process. You have to be careful because they are as good as gone if they spot any discrepancies in your story.
There are many ways to create a customer segment, most of them hard. Take a look at the step-by-step guide we have created that largely simplifies the persona development process.
There are many data sources you can use to collect information about different customers. The methodologies listed below are some of the best ones.
Surveys and phone interviews. One of the easiest ways to gather feedback is with the help of online surveys and one-to-one phone calls.
You can ask the people being surveyed different questions depending on the industry you inhabit, but here are some that will help.
Exit surveys further allow you to be specific about your questions and will give you more clarity on actions committed by users.
Focus groups. An important aspect of qualitative research, focus groups are in-person interviews conducted with a set of people sharing similar attributes that allow you to ask follow-up questions.
Third-party services. You can hire consumer interview consultants to carry out a thorough survey with willing participants if you don’t have the time or the people for it.
Online user data. Using online data sourced from Google Analytics, CRM, and social media listening tools add a validity to personas not offered by qualitative insights.
Its quantitative research at its finest.
Not only will you know everything you need to know about your website visitors, you’ll also have access to customer contact information. Listening tools further let you track social conversations centered around your brand.
Go through the data you have been able to gather and identify customers with similar pain points and challenges. These similarities will help you group people into different segments.
Ensure that you have not missed out on anything since every bit can make or break your final personas. Ask yourself these questions just to be sure:
Try and talk to your sales and customer success teams since they would know more about the pains and motivations of your prospects than anyone else.
Before you embark on a mission as important as creating a persona, you need to be clear about your goals. Your objectives will be directly proportionate to the number of personas you generate as well as how detailed they will be.
Here are some of the reasons (but not all) why businesses can develop consumer personas:
Once you have gathered all the data available and sorted out your priorities, it’s time to create personas.
However, ensure that the personas you develop only reflect the people you want to target. They should give you insights into customer goals, the jobs they want to get done, the expectations they have, and their journeys.
When you have rough customer sketches, give them a name and a face. Viola, your personas are ready to go!
There are two ways to do things: the easy way and the hard way.
Manually creating personas falls into the latter category. It takes up time and resources that could be better used elsewhere. You further have to constantly refine them by adding any new data that comes your way.
An easier solution is using automatic persona generator tools like Customer Persona by Delve AI that create AI personas using your CRM data.
Our platform usually generates between three to six audience personas depending on your business. One of the key features of these personas is that they show you the personality traits and emotions of your buyers.
You also get sources of influence, the websites they visit, the podcasts they listen to, and the YouTube channels they follow along with themes of interest, hashtags, and resonating topics.
Everything that you could possibly ask for in a persona.
Audience personas are important if you want to know your customers. But that's not all. They come with many other advantages and benefits, some of which are outlined in this section.
Personas give you the ability to provide personalized experiences. Experiences are all that matter these days. When you know what your buyers want, you can tailor your products and interactions in a way that meets their expectations.
Finding prospective customers who want to endorse your products becomes easier. Furthermore, adding a personal touch leads to better customer satisfaction, retention, loyalty, and sales.
Customer profiles were primarily made to be used in the marketing process. They are currently employed to identify key traits of those being marketed to and develop a content strategy that attracts and wows the target market.
You can go through the customer interviews conducted during the building process and develop a messaging style that appeals to different segments of your audience.
Communication is key in any business. Everything you say, including the words and tone you choose to use, will have a big impact on your users and consequently your ROI.
If your ad copy does not incite any emotional response in your buyers, they won’t take the action your words are telling them to.
Personas empower you to refine your words by gaining a deeper understanding of your customer’s emotions. By understanding their language, you can create ad campaigns that resonate, increasing the chances of conversions.
Have you ever wondered why you’re not getting buyers even though you spend a lot of money on acquiring them? Or why is the quality of leads from various campaigns so bad?
Creating personas will give you answers to these questions, mainly by helping you identify negative personas.
They depict people who are unlikely to convert and may even have a negative impact on your business. The bad fish in the sea, basically. When you know who they are, you can avoid wasting resources on unfruitful efforts and focus on retaining the right customers.
Just like a GPS that directs you on a road trip, personas help you understand your customers' behavior throughout their buying journey. They create a detailed roadmap from the awareness stage to the decision-making stage.
Making it easier to develop a customer’s journey map and spot areas for improvement.
It goes without saying that personas will be different for B2C and B2B businesses due to the distinct nature of their audience as well as the purchasing process.
In one case you are directly selling to consumers, while in the other you have to pitch to businesses that have different decision makers and stakeholders. Everything from the marketing channels to the content you use will vary.
Given below are two persona examples (for B2B and B2C) to help you get you started.
John Dirke is a B2B persona that works as a Supply Manager for an online fashion retail company in Austin, Texas. His main job is to ensure that there is a steady supply of materials besides handling different vendors.
However, he faces a challenge with vendors who lack organization and delay consignments.
As you can see, the persona values recommendations from trusted peers and vendors to streamline communication and foster better vendor relationships.
He believes in the power of networking and seeks reliable partners to optimize the supply chain. John stays in the know with industry trends and insights through platforms like Reddit, Quora, and Facebook.
Sarah Burns is a B2C ecommerce persona for an online fashion retail company. She is a style-conscious individual, residing in Los Angeles, California, who strives to stay ahead in the fashion game.
Fashion is more than just clothing to Sarah; it's an expression of her personality and creativity. Thus she actively engages with fashion influencers and followers on Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok for style inspiration.
That being said, Sarah values brands that offer a seamless shopping experience along with loyalty programs, exclusive discounts, and personalized recommendations based on her shopping history.
There are many other tools that help you create effective customer persona templates for your brand, which can be customized and used to address various kinds of users.
Gone are the days when you could rely on gut feelings to create campaigns that worked. The present era calls for data-driven efforts, where leveraging personas becomes crucial for a successful business strategy.
From saving resources to smoothing out issues to creating unforgettable buying experiences, customer personas can help you in ways that are unimaginable!