First things first, what’s a customer persona and why do you need it in your life?
Customer personas aren’t the same thing as creating a segmentation to tailor your marketing, as they go a step beyond simple demographics data etc. With the use of customer personas, you’ll try and evaluate which behaviors your customers exhibit and how their actions and needs will drive their path to purchase.
The primary goal of this article is to be able to tailor your communication to your personas in order to make them more engaged with your brand. But how do you go about creating a customer persona?
Creating Customer Personas
1. Keyword research
A great way to start understanding your customer base is by examining the keywords used to find your brand. Use the Google search terms report: what keywords do people use? Say you sell tea online, do people find you by typing in “loose-leaf”, or “cheap”, or “easy”, or “teaware”? These search terms can give a great indication what type of customer you attract.
2. Social media
If you’re using social media, then be aware that most platforms already have a lot of useful analytics built in. For example, running an ad on Facebook will give you pretty detailed results into who’s clicking on your ad. By gathering this readily available info, you’re again one step closer to creating your customer persona!
3. Your own contact database
There’s no information as accurate as the insights you’ll find by looking at your own contact database. How do people find you? Is it mostly online or by walking through your door? Do people come in via ads or by searching for your website directly? Which ads are they clicking? What does that tell you about their online habits?
4. Website forms
Your website is nothing if not an amazing tool to uncover more details about the people interested in your brand. Say you’re hosting an event and people need to register in order to attend: what information are you going to ask of them? Name and email are a given, but are there any details you think would be useful and they won’t mind handing out? Like their type of business? Industry? Family status?
Think it through but be careful not to overdo it! You don’t want to scare away any interested parties by asking for too much.
5. Listen to your sales team
If you’re wondering what type of leads are interested in your business and why, you can rest assured that your sales team will be able to tell you a lot of in-depth details about who your customer is. Especially in B2B environments, your sales team will be essential in bringing new insights to light as to why one type of customer is easily ready to partner, and another will need to think it over before an agreement can be made.
6. Surveys, interviews etc.
While not always as easy to get results, why not simply ask? A great and effective way of getting insights would be by adding quick forms on your website in strategic places. For example, near the check-out, why not add a form that pops up automatically after some time has gone by and the checkout has not been completed? The form could ask for reasons why the customer hasn’t checked out yet. By adding quick answers like “I need more info on the product” or “Price is too high” you’ll gain valuable insights into why someone chooses you (or not).
Now that you know how to create customer personas, it’s important not just to map out your customers who are right for your brand, but to also understand who you don’t want to target. By again working through the steps outlined above, you need to ask the same questions as before, but now as a negative: “What kind of characteristics do you not want in your customer? What types of businesses would you want to avoid? …?”
In putting together a list of customer personas you’d rather not target, you can avoid wasted resources and spending your budget on people who are unlikely to convert to your brand anyways. So, get smart about your marketing and ensure you know who your customers should be as well as who shouldn’t.
Turn your Insights into Actions
Ok, you’ve created your customer personas. Awesome! But now what? How to turn that information into actions that will help you reach your goals? How to tailor your communication to address your customers? Try these simple steps:
- Focus your efforts on where customers spend their time
Now that you have your customer personas, what have you learned about where they spend their time? Are they mostly browsing the web? Do they use social media often? Which platforms hold their preference? Do they like snappy, quick messages or do they have the time to sit down and read lengthy emails?
Make sure that wherever you choose to communicate and in what form, it’s simply tailored to the preferences of your customer.
- Speak a language they’ll understand
Say one of your customer personas is Ben, a middle-aged small business owner who enjoys reading quality newspapers online. It seems apt that you would address him appropriately and not with something along the lines of “Yo dude, wanna get in one of our new deals this month?”
I mean, I might be wrong, but it seems logical that Ben won’t feel like your brand is trustworthy if you were to address him like that. Personalize your communication to match your customers’ interests and intelligence level.
- Create specific content for each customer persona
By creating specific content, you are more likely to engage your customer on a more personal level. For example: say you owned a B2B-business that sold different types of IT-solutions that improved computer performance with some being more energy efficient than others. You might have several customer personas, but customer persona Steven might care more about energy efficiency than customer persona Brian, who needs performance above all.
So what do you do? Well, you could tailor your monthly newsletter through dynamic content: your newsletter to Steven will highlight your more energy-efficient products, whereas your newsletter to Brian will explain more about the different performance levels of your products. The newsletter can still feature the same products for both, but the communication is personalized to match your audience’s interests!
- Strengthen your brand image by choosing the right partners
Brand partnerships or brand endorsements by influencers, authorities, famous people… they’re great ways to strengthen your brand image and engage your customers in a new and exciting way. But to go back to our Ben-persona, the middle-aged small-business owner from earlier, maybe it’s not a good idea to partner with Britney Spears? The chances that he’ll be induced to engage more with your brand are extremely low and it’s likely the opposite will actually happen.
Instead, think about running a partnership with a reputable opinionmaker from one of his favorite newspapers – odds are that will get his attention!
And there you have it: your new-and-improved communication based on your actionable insights into your customer personas.