Creating customer personas is one of the most successful ways to get your brand in front of the right audience. But what exactly is a customer persona? Should you be using them, and when? How do you create them? In this article, we’ll answer all these questions as we explore the importance of crafting these tailored, business-specific profiles to attract high-value leads and loyal customers.
Why are customer personas important?
Customer personas are ‘semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on data and research’, according to Hubspot. They are a vital tool for growing and maintaining your customer base, yet some companies avoid creating them because it’s time-consuming, and they feel they already understand their customer appeal. However, it’s an assumption we’d recommend steering clear of, as it can cost you in the long-run.
For any successful marketing campaign, as well as other areas of business development, you need to understand your audience. Persona development will allow you to connect with your audience and, in turn, your audience to connect with you. Curating these profiles will help you understand their decision-making throughout the customer journey so you can tailor your outreach accordingly.
Profiling is vital to customer acquisition and retention, and when done right it can directly help grow your business. Here are three top reasons why customer personas are so important:
1. Return on investment
Creating customer profiles ensures return on investment. The time spent on writing a blog post, for example, would be wasted unless it’s a topic your target audience is interested in, or promoted on a social media channel they use frequently. Customer personas help focus your efforts in the most effective and profitable way, resulting in optimal conversion rates.
Buyer personas enable businesses to cut through the noise in a crowded marketplace. By knowing your audience better than competitors who are vying for the same market, your brand will break any patterns of generic messaging thorough routine marketing channels, offering you a vital competitive edge.
Referring to customer profiles not only maintains branding within your marketing but also keeps company-wide efforts consistent. The buyer persona that’s envisioned by the marketing team can be shared with other departments, like sales and product development, to ensure the entirety of the business is focused on a shared end-goal.
How to create customer personas
The most successful customer personas are well-researched, insightful and detailed, taking into consideration things like demographics, lifestyle choices, motivations, challenges and aspirations. Bear in mind that your target market isn’t static, so your profiling shouldn’t be either. Here are a few practical steps you can take to better understand your future customers:
1. Interview your audience
A great first step is to interview your current customers and prospective buyers in your sales funnel. Hold one-to-one interviews where possible, as this allows you to be more precise and flexible with your questions, but online surveys can also do the trick. Ensure you ask open-ended questions, and really drill down into their buying motivations and brand experience.
2. Utilize your CRM data
Your CRM is a goldmine for rich data about existing customers. Analyze this data to spot correlations between company size, job title, industry and the type of content they most consume. Based on this data, you can look for trends in your existing customer base that can inform your inbound marketing efforts to ensure you're targetting high-quality leads.
3. Web forms
Web forms provide essential information about your potential customers and why they’re interacting with your brand. Make sure you use a broad range of questions when creating forms for your website and to analyze the data collected for useful insights and leads.
4. Internal consultations
Your sales and marketing team interact with your customers on a daily basis, making them a vital resource for understanding the different audiences engaging with your business and the factors that influence their decision-making. You can then take their insight into account for future lead generation and business development.
When to use your customer personas
Customer personas should come into play whenever you need to make an objective business decision involving your customers, be it logo design, website layout, content creation, social media marketing or influencer strategy - the list goes on! There’s no point executing a strategy that you think is effective if it doesn’t directly appeal to the people whose opinion ultimately matters - your audience. Rather than strategizing from guesswork, you’ll have the confidence that your future outreach is based on a well-founded understanding of the specific needs, wants and concerns of your target market.
Creating a customer persona positions your prospective buyers at the heart of everything you do, and your business will only benefit as a result.