Customer personas are semi-fictional representations of individual customers that help you understand your customers and the challenges they face. Smart, well-researched customer personas help you develop product features and functionality that speak directly to customer needs. It also informs your customer journey, marketing strategy, and customer service initiatives.
When you clearly understand your customers, including their values and motivations, you can anticipate their challenges, needs, and objections. That understanding will help you develop messaging that gains their attention, earns their trust, and inspires them to work with you. It will also save you a lot of time and money.
Five Steps to Creating Customer Personas that Matter.
The more accurate and detailed your customer personas, the more useful they will be to your marketing, product development, and customer service teams. Your customer personas will evolve as you get to know your customers. So it’s important to review and update your customer personas at least once a year. To create your initial customer personas, follow these five steps:
1. Analyze the data. Who are your current customers? What do you know about their values, motivations, and buying habits? How did you connect with them, and what did you learn about how they see the problem you can help them solve? What do your current customers have in common? How would you categorize them?
2. Create a demographic profile. When considering your target market, think about any demographic features they have in common. Do your customers fall within a certain age or income bracket? Do they live in a particular region? Do they have a specific profession, degree, or certification?
3. Understand their motivations. What keeps your customers up at night? What pain do they want to avoid or bring to an end that your company can help them with? How do they describe the problem you solve, and how important is it that they solve it?
4. Get to know them as people, not targets. What matters to your customers? What values do they share? What gets them excited? How do they like to spend their free time? What social media sites do they use regularly? What blogs do they read? Who do they look to for advice and inspiration?
5. Interview your customers. While it’s fine to start with educated guesses, the best customer personas are based on real people. Talk to your customers and get to know them. Record your conversations so you can capture the words your customers use to describe their challenges, needs, and desires. Empathize with their story, and connect with them on an emotional level. These interviews allow you to capture how they talk about the solution you provide and how you’ve helped them, and are incredibly valuable for your messaging.
Take the Time to do Your Research
Customer personas are semi-fictional. In other words, they are based on real people. Take the time to create personas that reflect your very best customers, and use those personas to guide your product development, customer service, marketing, branding, and messaging. A poorly-developed persona will result in products, services, and messaging that miss the mark, while a well-developed persona will help you create products, services, and messaging that attract the right clients and brings them back again and again.
In many cases, you will need to develop more than one persona to capture your customer segments accurately. To determine how many personas you need to create, consider how different types of customers will interact with the product or service. For example, can you categorize your customers by their challenges or the pain they experience? Think about how different customer segments will respond to various messages and offers. It’s better to have two or three detailed, specific, and in-depth personas than to develop one generic persona.
Connect with Your Customers on a Personal Level
When you know precisely who you are speaking to, how you can connect with them, and what solutions you can offer that solve a specific problem, you will be able to create messaging that resonates with your perfect customers. When you connect with your customer emotionally, you inspire customer loyalty and ensure that they see you as the best solution to their problems. You earn their trust by speaking their language and offering real solutions to their most significant problems.
Creating a customer persona is an essential part of developing a customer-centric strategy. By understanding who your customers are and what motivates them, you can create products and services relevant to them. By understanding what drives them, you can better understand how to serve them through a customer experience that pleases them. If you can show your customers that you know who they are and what is most important to them, they will reward you with their business, loyalty, and referrals.
Maybe it is Time to Revisit your Customer Personas
If your products, services, or messaging isn’t resonating with your audience, you may need to revisit your customer personas. As a brand strategist, I can help you develop clear, precise, and powerful personas that allow you to create products, services, and messaging that will make it much easier to grow your business. To learn more, schedule a 30-minute consultation.
About the Author: Jillfrances Gray
I am a creative director, brand strategist and visual designer with 20+ years of experience helping clients innovate and execute their marketing initiatives. Services include brand strategy, brand identity, website design, graphic design, social media marketing, and email marketing. I am obsessively detailed oriented and have a passion for solid, stunning aesthetics. Plus, I’ve been told I am a lot of fun to work with.