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How to create accurate customer personas

Buyer personas, Marketing ideas | 9 MIN READ
How to create accurate customer personas

In the world of marketers, customers are sacred. They are the ones whose attention marketers want. From wanting to get more sales to connecting with them on a deeper level, there are so many things that marketers want to do. This is where creating customer personas become important. Let us understand what customer persona is, and also discuss how you can create accurate customer personas.

What is a customer persona?

The simplest explanation for customer persona is that it is the fictional representation of your target audience which is created based on data that you have collected from different sources. Personas will help you identify and make changes to your product offerings based on what your customers require the most.

You can create customer personas by incorporating the needs, goals, and behavioral patterns of your target audience. If there are no customer personas, your marketing will have to be based on your intuition, and that’s certainly not the hallmark of a good marketer. Personas are highly effective because they are based on research that is backed by solid data.

Why is it important to find customer personas for your brand?

When it comes to marketing, if you do not segment your customers based on different characteristics, you will never be able to reach the ones who are a part of your target market. Apart from that, without segmentation, you might offer solution A for a prospective customer who is looking for your solution B. That’s disastrous for any brand. Here are a few reasons why you should create customer personas.

  1. When you know the motivations and needs of your target market, you can tailor your offer accordingly. With customer personas, you will know the kind of voice to use to attract your prospective buyers. You will unearth the right keywords to pique their interest.
  2. By understanding where your personas spend time, you will know how to communicate with them, the kind of content they like to consume, the channels that you need to distribute it on and so on.
  3. Customer personas will help you with your email marketing as it helps you segment your audience in the right manner. When your leads are segmented based on the personas, you will be in a position to create specific content that is tailored to exactly what each of them are looking for.
  4. Knowing how your customers make purchasing decisions will help you understand where and when you should get in front of them. A certain segment of customers might want a product demo while others are looking for a free trial, when you know the different expectations, you will be more open to accommodate all of their needs, thereby increasing the chance of conversions.

How to craft accurate customer personas

There are many ways to create customer personas, and most of them involve asking a series of questions which will help you understand them better. Let us look at how you can create one that is backed by data and other reliable sources of information.

How to craft accurate customer personas

1. Be clear about your objectives:

Before you embark on a mission as important as finding customer personas, you need to be sure about your objectives. While you can have more than one reason behind finding customer personas, having clarity is important.

Below are some of the objectives for finding personas:

  • Understanding customer journey
  • Knowing more about the needs, preferences, motivations and purchasing behavior of customers
  • Find out the most effective channels to reach more people
  • Discovering new segments of customers
  • Refining your content marketing efforts

2. Gather as much customer data as possible:

If you can get the part about collecting customer data correctly, your customer personas will be so much more refined and effective. There are a number of sources that you can use to collect information about your target audience, let us look at some of the most effective ones.

a. Customer surveys:

One of the easiest ways to gather feedback these days is with the help of online surveys. By drafting the right questions, you will be able to understand what your customers want. Do remember that your final personas are actually representations of people who think and act in a certain way.

Ask them questions about how and why they choose a particular vendor. The questions can vary depending on the industry that you are in, but here are a few good ones that will help.

  • What made you choose our product?
  • When did you realize you wanted a product like ours?
  • What are the doubts that you had before purchasing from us?

b. Focus Groups:

A focus group is an in-person interview technique which involves bringing a select set of people who are either demographically similar or have similar preferences. It usually consists of 5 to 10 people and is used to provide feedback about a service, product or share their opinions about a brand. Based on whether they are your existing customers or prospective ones, you can ask the questions accordingly. Since it is an in-person interview, you can even ask follow-up questions which will help you understand them even more.

c. Get on a phone call:

If you want to find out more details about your existing customers to refine your personas, then getting on a phone call will do a world of good for your business. Ask them about their buying habits, why did they choose you, what were the comparisons they made between you and your competitors, how do they describe your product, are they happy with the results, and so on.

d. Exit surveys:

Exit surveys usually ask only one question when the prospect is leaving the website or app. The question that you should ask in exit surveys depends on which interaction touchpoint they were. If they leave your app on the checkout page without purchasing, you can ask them why they aren’t completing the purchase. The best part about exit surveys is that they give you a clear answer for a particular action.

e. Third-party services:

To widen your base, you can hire the services of a third-party to help with user understanding. Some of them might have willing participants who will be interested to take part in surveys/questionnaires. While there is no guarantee that they will be your target audience, you can always hire a company like this for a quick survey of people to understand where your brand stands.

f. Talk to your sales team:

Your sales team is the one that has long conversations with your target audience. They would know about the pain points and motivations of your prospects more than anyone else. Ask them about the kind of generalizations that they can make about the different types of customers they talk to.

g. Use online data:

While the above methods will give you deep insights into your customers, using the data that is available online will add a lot of value to this mix. Here are some of the sources:

  1. Google Analytics (GA): It tells you everything that you need to know about your website visitors. GA data provides you information about who visited your profile, how they found you, and which are the pages they spent a lot of time on.
  2. CRM: Your customer relationship management (CRM) tool gives pivotal information about your customers, including buyer journey and other information.
  3. Social listening tools: Monitor conversations on social media about what people speak of your brand. You can gather a goldmine of information as they are coming directly from your potential and existing customers.

3. Collate the responses:

The next step is to collate all the responses in a single place. Be on the lookout for patterns and common pieces of data using which you can create different segments of people. Ensure that you have not missed out on data from even a single source as any of them could carry a lot of weight when it comes to the final personas. The more sources you use to collect customer data, the more refined your personas will be.

4. Write your customer personas:

Once all the information is available in the right order, you can write down your personas. How? Find out a few personalities who look like your ideal customers based on common characteristics. You can write anywhere from three to seven customer personas, anything more than that number is an overkill.

Write a one-pager for each persona with information that will help you get closer to your ideal audience. Keep refining your customer persona by adding more information as and when you come across any commonalities.

5. Create marketing campaigns based on the personas:

Based on the customer personas that you have come up with, you should create content catering to each customer persona. If you have five customer personas for your brand, then each of them require different types of content. Thanks to personas, you know what they prefer, whether it be the channels they use, the content they typically consume or what they need. Therefore, creating content for each personas isn’t difficult. The efficacy of your marketing campaigns will increase too when you create them surrounding your personas.

What does a good customer persona look like?

The value of customer personas lie in how much they provide insights into different types of buyers. Here are some of the things that a good customer persona should provide.

  1. Should be reflective of the majority of people that it is representing. It should not be about just one person and must represent a segment of your target market, and not the whole of it.
  2. Customer personas should include your customer’s goals, what they intend to do with your product, and trace their journey in finding you.
  3. It should also give an insight into the kind of expectations that customers have when they are looking for a product similar to yours.
  4. A good customer persona should tell you how they look at your product and how it impacts during their decision making process.
  5. It should tell the kind of hesitation and questions that they have before making the purchase.

How to use customer personas in your business

There is no doubt about the efficacy of creating customer personas for your brand. Let us see how you can use customer personas in your business.

How to use customer personas in your business

1. Provide customized experiences:

With the help of customer personas, you will be in a position to offer customized experiences to each type of customer. Instead of a one-size-fits-all offering, you will be able to go a step higher with solutions that are based on the persona’s preferences, background, expectations, needs and so on. You will be able to make changes in the marketing copy, user journeys and even in how you create marketing campaigns.

2. Share understanding of your customers:

Gone is the time when companies could work successfully in silos. You cannot afford to keep information about customers with just one department. By sharing understanding of your customers based on inferences gathered from personas, you can make sure all the stakeholders know who your customers are and what they expect from you.

3. Refine your copy:

The way you communicate with your customers, including the choice of words and the tone that you use, have a huge bearing on your bottom line. With the help of personas, you will be able to refine your sales copy, gain a deeper understanding of your customer’s perception about your brand, and even qualify your leads. If the copy you write has nothing in it which emotionally appeals to them, they will leave your website.

4. Helps develop an effective customer journey map:

One of the best advantages of creating customer personas is that it helps you develop a customer journey map. Customer personas give you a greater understanding of your customer’s behavior throughout the journey. It will help you create a detailed guide through all the stages of the buying cycle, right from the awareness stage to the decision making stage.

Customer persona templates and examples

For example, in the B2B scenario, here are some of the details that you should include in your customer persona template.

  • Name
  • Designation
  • Industry
  • Area
  • Business goals
  • Pain points
  • Buying preference
  • Consumption habits

Let us use the above templates to create two examples of customer personas.

Example 1:

  • Name: John Dirke
  • Designation: Manager, Supply department
  • Industry: Retail
  • Area: Austin, Texas
  • Business goals: Has to ensure that the materials are always available. Is also the in-charge when it comes to handling different vendors.
  • Pain points: Some of the vendors who he deals with are unorganized.
  • Buying preference: Previous relationships and recommendations from peers and other vendors.
  • Consumption habits: Reddit, Quora, Facebook and news channels

“John is a Supply Manager in an online fashion retail business and wants to make sure that there is easy passage of communication with vendors.”

Example 2:

  • Name: Kathy Burns
  • Designation: Marketing Manager
  • Industry: Food Tech
  • Area: Munich, Germany
  • Business goals: Wants to find effective email marketing automation tools
  • Pain points: Email tools that allow for a longer trial period and provide budget options for startups.
  • Buying preference: Wants to experiment with a bunch of tools before deciding on one.
  • Consumption habits: Active on platforms such as LinkedIn, Reddit and other startup publications

By using the above template, you can create your own personas for your brand.

Conclusion

Developing accurate customer personas is crucial for your business. From not wasting your resources on audiences that might not be interested in you to finding the right mix of content to distribute to them, you will get a lot of things right if you have personas by your side. It is imperative that you spend ample time and effort in finding the customer personas for your brand. The last thing you want is incomplete customer personas which are founded on unclear data and gut feelings, it will certainly not help your case.

If you are looking for a tool to create data-driven customer personas from web/mobile analytics data, Delve AI’s Live Persona generator tool automatically extracts personas and journeys, segment-wise from your Google Analytics data. It uses aggregated and anonymized analytics data from Google Analytics, adds industry specific insights, automatically segments users based on their behavior, and leverages advances in machine learning to abstract personas for each segment. You can gain clarity on your best-performing segment(s), refine your customer experiences and get targeting ideas to grow your business.

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