How much do you really know about your customers? If you’re like most businesses, chances are not enough. It’s important to understand your customers, so you can segment them and create stronger marketing campaigns. And it all starts with creating customer personas.
Customer personas are the individual and identifiable groups of people who buy your products.
Moz states that personas are specific archetypes of people in the target audience. The attributes identified across the group are collected to give birth to a single entity that represents these users. A persona has a descriptive name and is meant to be thought of like someone that actually exists. They are generally a composite of people that do exist.
Why create detailed buyer personas?
According to Krux, with personas, businesses can be more strategic in catering to each audience, internalise the customer that they are trying to attract, and relate to them as human beings.
You want to find out where the people in your target market are and how to reach them. You probably already have some idea of where to find them but in order to cover all bases, you should sit down and profile each of your typical customer types in detail including the places and mediums where they can be reached. You can also add to these profiles over time as you discover more information.
A lot of people fail by not identifying what leads are, and where the right leads are for their business. And so, with the lead, a lot of people might say, it’s just having someone’s contact details but you go a bit further than that. Most of the time, the leads don’t convert because they’re not good to begin with – and they probably shouldn’t have tried to convert them at all. It’s about talking to the right people from day one.
Let’s take a step back for a second and look at the lead generation process as a whole. When you’re collecting leads/prospects and preparing to sell to them you should be segmenting them into four groups:
- Those that are interested and they’re ready to buy
- Those that are interested in buying but they’re not ready to buy
- Those that are sort of apathetic about the whole thing
- Those that have no chance of buying and will never be interested
When you’re creating your customer personas, you want to focus on those that are in either the first or second group. The last section of our template has questions to help you identify which group your persona is in and how you can move them from group 2 to group 1.
The key is to really understand your customer target. When you have this lead list in front of you, it’s just those ones on the top group that you’re going for, so you can eliminate about 80% of the bad leads and just focus on the 20% that are good.
Getting clear about who your customers are
Think about the kind of customer that would be interested in your business, and really dig down. Don’t just say “women aged 30 or 40.” What kind of taste and preferences do they have? What other things are they looking for that you could tap into?
The better you get to know your customers the greater the chance of them actually buying from you. You need to really, truly understand your customers. Take the time to work out who exactly is going to buy your product or service and then really hone in on that.
How to create your buyer personas?
Buffer recommends that you make three to five personas to represent your audience – this number is big enough to cover the majority of your customers yet small enough to still carry the value of specificity.
There are many different ways to learn more about your customers – from analysing social media and Google Analytics metrics to real-life conversations. If you’re just starting out in business and you haven’t collected any customer data yet, there are strategies you can follow to create your customer personas.
Here’s what you want to do.
Give them a name
Make up a name so you view the persona as an actual person. If you’re creating four personas, give two male names and two female names.
Identify a job title
As you’re constructing each persona, you want to give them each a job title. You could visit websites such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics and run a search. You could also talk to people – friends, family and colleagues – to gain insight. Once your business is running for a few months, you can run customer surveys to give your persona a job title, key information about their company (size, type etc.) and details about their role.
Dig down into key demographics
If you don’t have customers yet, you can learn about potential buyers by talking to people who do talk to real users – or have a job that means they have to empathise with them. People like customer support, sales specialists and product managers can often give useful insight. You could also run a search on competitors to learn about their customers – chances are your customer demographics are going to be similar. You will need to develop provisional personas based on the knowledge of stakeholders within your company, and the secondary research discussed above.
Google Analytics and Facebook metrics will be important sources once your business is running. Fine tune the personas you’ve already created with this data. You can give your persona an age, gender, salary, location, education and family, find out about their interests and what they like to do in their spare time.
Get to know their goals and values
Once you’ve got the basic details sorted, you want to start getting to know their goals and challenges so you can better connect with them. A good way to do this is by actually talking to them. You can ask these questions to the general public to get an idea of any common trends that people find important. Once you’ve got actionable data, you can connect it together these gut feelings to get to know their goals and values.
Here are some example questions to ask.
- What’s important to you?
- What would you like to change about yourself?
- How do you approach change?
- Who do you turn to for advice?
Understand their fears and challenges
The same goes for your personas fears and challenges. Talk to the public, visit forums and explore discussions on social media to see what’s at the centre of conversation in your target market. When looking at a customer’s problem, it’s important to pay attention to the language they use to describe the problem. Knowing their thought process will allow you to connect with them better, so it feels like they’re nodding as you talk to them.
Humanise your marketing data
Once you’ve got your three to five personas, use them in your marketing by tailoring specific messaging with your content. Understanding your customer allows you to get a clear picture on their value and help solve their problems.
For more information, listen to Episode 1 of the Lead Generation Podcast, where we touch on creating customer personas.