Personas: Getting Personal with Your Customer

People are complex creatures, they’re not binary and shouldn’t be categorized that way. With all of the data available to us in modern times it’s hard to imagine your customer a flesh person with motivations and desires, but that is exactly what you should be doing: defining your customer’s persona.

What Exactly is a Persona?

Personas are fictionalized archetypes of your target customer, created from research, surveys and other insights1. Personas aren’t as simple as defining a target audience from demographics. A persona combines demographics and psychographics in order to explain who your target audience is, what they do, why they do it, and what they are looking for.

Marketing personas should make your company think of the customer as someone that they are trying to satisfy. According to HubSpot the use of personas made websites 2–5 times easier to use by targeted users, improved click-through rates of emails by 14% and conversion rates by 10%. It’s important to note that a company can have several different buyer personas.

Big companies like Amazon and Experian make sure their employees are constantly thinking of their customer persona, by leaving a seat for them at meetings or placing them on banners throughout the office2. Personas should always be the focus of marketing initiatives.

Are Personas really that Important?

Without a doubt, the answer is yes. The more real the customer is to you the more specific you can be with your marketing efforts. Personas are segmentation taken to the next level.

Let’s say that your target audience is working mothers over the age of forty that make over $60,000 a year. That is about is defined as segmentation gets, but what does that really tell you about your customer? Imagine that your customer is a mother over the age of forty that makes over $60,000 a year, has two kids who play sports, drives a mini-van, teaches elementary school, and whose goal for her kids is to get them both into Ivy League schools; this is a persona.

The more information embedded within your buyer persona the better; this is because you will begin to understand what motivates your customer, what their daily life is like, what challenges they face, and what they are trying achieve. All of this allows for you to create more targeted and compelling marketing material for your customers3.

You can even go a step further and develop a negative persona. Negative personas are useful because they help you to understand what type of people are unlikely to purchase your product or service1. This will prevent you from wasting valuable resources in the future.

How do I Create Personas?

Personas are not something you simply come-up with based on your perception of your ideal customer. Although that is a factor, personas must be developed through research.

The best way to learn more about your customer is to ask the customers themselves. You can do surveys over the phone or use tools such as Survey Monkey to ask key questions that will help you develop buyer personas.

Pro Tip: Interview a variety of customers, not just those that have had positive experiences with your company; you want to keep your research as unbiased as possible.

Ask the Right Questions

The questions should be focused on developing a persona. You’ll want to ask questions about their job, industry, goals, challenges, habits, and their background. Keep questions simple but always follow up and have customers explain themselves. You’ll gain more knowledge if you avoid asking superficial questions. Here are some example questions:

What is your job title?

What responsibilities do you have?

How would you define success in your role?

What publications do you read frequently?

What level of education did you complete?

After the research the next step is compiling and sorting through the date. Identify trends and similarities in order to develop at least one persona. Name your persona, maybe even give it a face, in order to personalize it and make it seem more real.

Putting Personas to Use

Once your persona is finished always keep it mind, after all you don’t want all that work to go to waste. Use the persona to keep your marketing material on track. Personas will help to understand and create marketing material for current customers, and, if done correctly, should also help you convert prospective customers.

Want More Help Developing Personas?

Contact CS Designworks, we’ll help you develop buyer personas and market your company successfully.

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Originally published at www.csdesignworks.com.