Your product or service is intended for a particular group of people, right? Whether your customers are commuters, busy moms, fashion bloggers, or families needing dental care, your business appeals to a target market. You may have a grasp on your customers, but how well do actually know them?

Digging into the depths of your target market by creating customer personas or profiles can help ensure your product and marketing efforts are strategic and on point. According to Wikipedia, personas are defined as fictional characters created to represent the different user types that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way.

How do you create customer personas? Some business owners go off a gut feeling, however, unless you have psychic powers, it’s best to conduct some simple research. There’s a lot of information on the topic, so we’ve narrowed it down to three simple steps to help you pull together the framework of personas for your business.

Step #1: Interview and/or survey your customers

Interviews and surveys can provide some of the most valuable feedback about your customers. One-on-one interviews provide the most in-depth infromation because you can get clarification or expand upon questions. Survey services like Survey Monkey allow you to sample a larger group given one-on-one interviews aren’t very scalable.

When interviewing or surveying customers, your questions will obviously vary depending on your industry (retail vs. service-based, or B2B). Here are some topics we explored when considering our customer personas:

  • How they found our company (referral, word-of-mouth, internet, an ad, social etc.)
  • Why they bought from us (good price, excellent service, unique offering, etc.)
  • Their level of technical experience (This, again, depends on your industry.)
  • Company information (size, type, industry, etc.)
  • Demographic information (age, gender, household income, etc.)
  • Location
  • What challenges they face
  • What problem our product or service solves for them
  • How our sales process was (easy, hard, middle of the road)

Asking these types of questions can help you start to see themes in your customer base as you move on to step 2.

Step #2: Dive into the data

Once you’ve gathered enough data from interviews and/or surveys, bucket your findings into different groupings. More than likely, you’ll start to see patterns. As certain characteristics start to bubble up, your personas will start to take shape.

Step #3: Develop the personas

You can start with around 3-5 personas. Use a persona template like the one found below from Orange Bus. Fill in the blanks with your data, create a name and even give your persona a picture to bring it to life.

There are several persona frameworks you can create or choose from – check out these examples.

For more information on creating customer personas, check out The Beginner’s Guide to Marketing Personas written by Kevan Lee of Buffer.

These three steps should help set you on a course to better understanding your customers’ motivations, challenges and the problems your business helps solve for them. Then you can take that information and create marketing content that best serves their needs.

© 2015 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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