What is a customer persona?
A customer persona (or buyer persona) is a fictitious character that embodies the traits of a segment of your audience. Customer personas are based on research and data from within your business. By humanising your target market, it’s possible to gain a deeper understanding of the people you’re hoping to engage with.
Developing customer personas is an effective way to avoid the trap of treating all your customers in the same way, especially when it comes to marketing messages.
Conduct the research
It’s important to remember that the process of assembling a customer persona is part art, part science. Quantitative data drawn from web analytics and company data will give you the cold, hard facts. Qualitative feedback such as customer interviews, focus groups and surveys will help you to flesh out the customer’s personality. Keyword research is a common tool used to discover what customers are searching for in relation to your business.
Make sure to speak to real people. Use your current customer base if you have one, or reach out to prospective customers if not. Both groups can provide you with referrals, and don’t be afraid to use third-party networks.
Develop the personas
The challenge now is to identify common factors across your target audiences. Groupings will emerge and it can be helpful to give each an identity. One approach is to give each persona a name and to then flesh out their personal details. How old are they, where do they live, what media do they consume? Identify their key concerns, likes and dislikes when it comes to problem your business is solving, as well as their preferred forms of communication.
The way you develop personas should depend on your business need. Product developers or sales teams may have different perspectives on how the audience should be segmented. For marketers, the key thing is to understand what will engage these people and move them to the point of purchase or conversion to become a qualified lead.
How to get the most from marketing personas
Once you have your personas it’s important to put them to work. First audit your current marketing activity and see which personas it is focused on. Be open to reallocating spend to channels and activity according to key personas, their behaviours and pain points. Understand which personas are driving the most revenue and what it is costing of reaching them. Keep using and evolving your customer personas to ensure your marketing stays focused, relevant and effective.
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