Have you ever heard of a customer or buyer persona? According to Premium member, Anne Mehla, it’s the future of target audience marketing.
While market data is an excellent way to discover the demographic details of your target audience – age, gender, location and income – it doesn’t reveal your customers motivations, needs and perceived barriers.
That’s where the Customer Persona steps in. It offers a detailed profile of your ideal customer, the person to whom you direct all of your marketing communications and advertising dollars.
A Customer Persona:
- Is fictitious – created by you!
- Represents the key traits of a large segment of your audience
- Is developed using your knowledge of real customers
Why spend your time researching a Customer Persona?
It ensures you aren’t making any uneducated guesses about the best ways to connect and engage with your potential customers – one of today’s biggest challenges is how to create engaging content. By developing your Customer Personal, you can save both time and money by targeting and focusing your marketing efforts. For example, if your persona spends the majority of their time on Instagram, developing a paid social media campaign will be a lot more effective than creating newspaper adverts.
By understanding what your customer is looking for, what motivates them, and how they make their decisions, the marketing communications that you create will make your future client feel as though “Wow, this blog/ad/post was written just for me!”.
How many Customer Personas should you develop?
It’s likely that your business will have more than one ideal customer – especially if you offer a wide range of services or sell a variety of products (though that doesn’t mean you need a different persona for every single product).
Whilst there is no magic number, a professional digital agency will suggest creating only a select few. Too many personas will reveal little in the way of insights, and your team will find it difficult to focus. After all, how will you have the time and resources to advertise to all of your different personas?
A diverse, yet manageable set of between three to five personas will allow you to communicate with the needs of many users without spreading yourself too thin.
How do you create a Persona?
Conducting research into your persona(s) can be achieved in a number of ways:
- Surveys: Use online survey software like Survey Monkey or ask questions through your social media channels.
- Interviews: When interacting with current customers, ask open ended questions. Whilst we all love a glowing report about our products and services, it’s also important that you learn how you can improve.
- Feedback: Speak with the staff who interact with your customers on a daily basis, either through answering the phone or in person. This will help you understand the challenges they face, allowing you to develop a realistic persona.
As we’ve said, it’s important that you make your personas as real as possible. Spend your time researching, and you can be confident your Customer Persona won’t just be a reflection of yourself!
How can you ensure the process is practical – and not a theoretical, academic exercise?
Make it fun! You aren’t writing an essay, so make sure you write in a way that can be easily shared with your team. It should be clear and concise, allowing them to quickly understand and get on board with the concept.
- Put on a morning tea and brainstorm with your employees who frequently interact with your customers.
- Take some of your customers out to coffee and casually ask questions.
- Create a mood board for your personas. Pin information including their name, profile photo, images of where they like to shop, what social media platforms they prefer, etc.
- Write bullet points about your personas, rather than as a narrative.
Keep each Customer Persona between one to two pages in length – that way it can be a quick reference point for you to use in meetings about content creation and advertising.
Does understanding your persona affect your choice of social media platform?
A key part in getting to know your Customer Personas is learning how to best reach them.
- Ask your customers directly (either in interviews or surveys) which social media platforms they are most active on.
- Match your persona demographics with the demographic data of each social media platform to find the best fit. For example, Instagram is most popular with women aged between 18 – 29 years.
Consider for a moment that your Customer Persona occasionally uses Facebook but spends the majority of their time on Instagram. Should you engage with them using both platforms? Whilst the answer is yes, you need to priorities which accounts to create, and which conversations to participate in. You can’t be an expert in every platform!
What if you set up an account and find that your persona isn’t active on that platform? It happens – sometimes we don’t get it right the first time. Sit down with your notes and review your persona, and think about alternative ways you can reach your customers and where you should redirect your efforts.
Anne Mehla is the Creative Director at Zeemo, a digital agency in Melbourne that is committed to delivering engaging and measurable experiences.
Connect with Anne here.