Building Personas: How Well Do You Know Your Target Customer?
When you’re trying to promote your business and reach new customers, digital marketing offers a wide range of possibilities. Through channels such as social media, search advertising, and SEO, businesses have access to a broader range of prospective customers. The potential to reach a huge audience online can lead to the temptation to try and reach as many people as possible, but when it comes to choosing your audience, bigger isn’t always better.
In our last blog, we discussed the importance of knowing your audience before starting a new marketing campaign, and using a persona to define that audience. Now, we’ll explore the process of creating a customer persona a bit more in depth.
What is A Persona?
A persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer that helps you develop messaging that captures his or her attention. Though fictional, your persona should be supported by real data, typically collected through researching your current customers. In general, personas include information such as:
- Demographic Information such as age, income, and geographic location
- Goals and Challenges that your customer might have, and how you can help them achieve their goals or overcome their challenges
- Obstacles that may stand between them and a purchase decision, such as concerns about cost or misconceptions about your product or industry
The Basics of Creating a Persona.
To create the most effective persona, it’s important to start with some real research. Often, there can be a huge difference between who we think our core customer is and who our core customer actually is. Before you start developing customer personas, spend time learning more about your existing customers. Through resources, such as your website analytics, social media, and customer surveys, you can gather crucial information about your customer base.
To help guide the process, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Feel like you need to get carried away. If you know your customers well, it can be all too easy to get caught up in crafting an in-depth persona. While it’s good to be fairly specific, you also don’t want to include irrelevant information that gets you off track. Make sure you are focusing on the core traits that matter, and leave out any extra details you don’t need. Ultimately, a persona should be a generalization of your ideal customer rather than an exact snapshot of one specific customer.
- Forget to develop messaging. The ultimate purpose of a persona is to help you craft more effective messaging. Nearly every component of your persona should also identify the ways in which your business can help your customers. For example, as you list out your persona’s challenges, you may also want to mention how your product or service can address their concerns.
- Talk to your customers. Your existing customers can be an excellent resource for creating a persona. You may want to consider reaching out to your core customers to learn more about them. Through surveys or interviews, you can gain valuable insight into their values, goals, and challenges and use that information to develop a highly-tailored persona.
- Brainstorm with your team. In addition to reaching out to customers, you can also tap into your team’s knowledge. Team members who regularly interact with your customers can provide important insight into who your customers are and what influences their decision-making process.
- Be realistic. It’s possible that the “dream” customer you would love to work with is very different from the actual customer you currently work with. While there is nothing wrong with thinking long term about who you want as a customer, focusing on who you currently serve will typically put you in a better position to eventually connect with your dream customer.
Armed with a deeper understanding of who your customers are, you can start developing a marketing campaign that’s designed to reach them.
Creating a customer persona doesn’t need to be a long, complicated process, and the end result can be well worth any time you invest. Well-defined customer personas can guide all elements of your marketing strategy and help you attract the right customers to your business.
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