Developing a customer persona

Understanding who you are marketing your services to (your customer) is everything. Everything you do should be based around what they want for your business. From your website design to your content marketing to your ads to the look and feel of your office or storefront. 

There’s a psychological term called ‘false consensus bias’ that posits people assume that they are pretty average in thoughts, opinions, values, and habits but that’s not true! There is less commonality than one would imagine and it’s understanding the commonalities of your customer that can up your marketing game and enable conversion-centered design on your website.

Let’s take a look at how to develop your customer persona.

What is a customer persona or buyer persona?

A customer persona or a buyer person is a fictionalized profile, if you will, of your ideal target customer. This ideal customer doesn’t just represent a single individual, though, but a set of individuals you wish to target. Your personas are multi-dimensional and understand your customer’s needs, wants, and goals.

How do you understand what your ideal customer looks like?

You can understand your ideal customer by conducting market research and gather real-time data about your existing and past customers. Keep in mind that your ideal customer could have changed over time. Maybe in the past, you targeted companies with a certain revenue but now you’ve grown and that demographic has changed and you want to target higher up in a business. But keep your persona realistic. It should be about the person who is your customer and not necessarily who you want to be your customer.

Customer personas (or buyer personas) provide structure and insight in your company. They create alignment in your branding, messaging, and marketing, and allow you to attract that ideal customer and turn them into leads.

So, why do I need to understand my customer persona?

Again, you want for everyone in your company to understand who they are speaking to when they write marketing material, emails, blogs, build your website, and so much more. It will dictate every communication. 

How do your customers spend time online? What time of day do they read the news, company blogs, get work done? Do they want to receive lighthearted, friendly emails or short, professional cut-to-the-chase emails? Will they scroll your Facebook page, your LinkedIn, or your Instagram? Do they use Snapchat or TikTok or do they leave those to their children or grandchildren? 

Just as you wouldn’t write the same letter about your fifth date to your grandma and your best friend (i.e. you might gloss over some details to your grandma), your marketing needs to be specific to the persona you’re targeting. 

How do I create customer persons?

First, identify who you are targeting through market research. You can do this by analyzing your website, sending out surveys to past and present customers, and conducting interviews with your users and potential users. Find out their pain points, a marketing buzzword for ‘problems they need to solve.’ Some people do make impulse purchases influenced by marketing (i.e. a new handbag or ski mask they saw advertised on Instagram) but most people buy products to solve a problem they have. 

For example, a customer might buy a drain-cleaning product when they need one or water-repellent windshield wash or even purchase an app to help them become more efficient or a new data-entry system for a business. Whatever product or service you’re selling, think about how your persona would want to be spoken to and marketed to. What language should you use with them? What are their hobbies? Can you incorporate their interests into your marketing? What would they find entertaining? What product or service do you have that would solve the issues they are having? 

Are you marketing to business owners and CEOs? Marketing managers or senior leaders? Or are you marketing to the everyday office worker? Or even a hobbyist painter or professional cyclist? Target personas can vary greatly, but your job is to understand who they are.

Second, document and develop your persona. You want to think about your ideal customer’s behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. Be as detailed as possible.

You can refine your buyer persona at any time, but you’ll want to imagine your personas demographics. What gender is your typical customer? Or if you have both male and female customers how do they differ? Do they differ in important ways where you need to write a persona for each? Consider their job responsibilities, their pay, what they need on the job to make their lives easier or what they need in their personal lives to combat the stresses of work, their pain points, their goals, their aspirations, and you can add a sample quote or a run-through of their imaginary day. You’ll want to give an idea of what kind of day this persona would have and how your product or service could help that person.

Finally, you want to refine and distribute your personas to those in your company since everything they do should revolve around these personas.

Need buyers personas to create your perfect website?

We don’t just create effortless branding, seamless user-friendly websites, and amazing design, we help you create your buyer personas to ensure that your marketing efforts pay off. Get in touch with Key Medium today.

Elaine, an SEO Specialist and Content Writer

Elaine Frieman holds a Master’s Degree and is a UK-based professional editor, educational writer, and former marketing agency content writer where she wrote articles for disparate clients using SEO best practice. She enjoys reading, writing, walking in the countryside, traveling, spending time with other people’s cats, and going for afternoon tea.