How to Develop Customer Personas and Speak to Your Audience

Knowing how to develop customer personas is a key factor in designing your customers’ journey. By understanding the specific characteristics of your audience, you can develop a deeper understanding of your customer needs, and how to solve those needs.

It starts with research

When you’re starting out, you may not know what your customers are looking for. It can therefore be useful to gather data about your customers, as they discover your product or service. A very common way to do this is to build persona-specific fields into your online forms. For example, if you offer a B2B service, you can ask things like the size of the business, what industry it exists in, and the position of the person completing the form.

We live in the age of social media, and developing your customer personas can be guided by social media analytics. By monitoring the types of people who actively interact with your social media profiles, you can gain valuable insights into your customer base.

You can also try communicating directly with your customers. As you launch your product or service, make an effort to interact with your customers and do your best to understand their requirements. Often just finding out what specific pain points they have can help you determine not only who they are, but more importantly, why they’re buying from you.

Data, data, data

Depending on the type of product or service you provide, or the types of customer personas you’re developing, you will need to make sure that you’re researching and gathering the right data. Some characteristics, however, are common across all industries: age, location, and employment status.

Other characteristics might include things like:

  • Immediate family members

  • Personal goals

  • Sports activities

  • Hobbies

  • Areas of interest

For example, if your business is a restaurant, you may want to include the types of food your persona likes to eat or the type of restaurant ambiance they prefer.

Examples of customer personas

It’s important to remember that a simple list of characteristics does not create the full picture of a customer persona. Ideally, you would talk to a specific person, not a list of data points. It’s a good idea to give this persona a name, and specific characteristics, that help you understand their needs.

For example, one persona could be Jane, a married housewife:

  • She’s 37 years old.

  • She has two small children.

  • Her husband works at a large corporate firm.

  • She has her mornings to herself.

  • In the afternoon, she takes care of her children.

Another persona could be Mary, an up-and-coming lawyer:

  • Mary is 28.

  • She has just become a junior partner at her law firm.

  • She intends to become a full partner.

  • On the weekends, she and her friends have dinner together.

  • She is health-conscious and regularly works out in the gym.

By defining these personas, you can speak directly to each of these buyer types. And by understanding their specific needs, you can solve whatever problems they have related to your product or service.

By developing clear customer personas, when you build your marketing plan, you can clearly envision the person (or people) you want to speak to, instead of trying to communicate with a group of random facts. You can ask yourself, “What would Jane want,” or, “How would Mary use our product.” Doing this helps you prioritize Jane or Mary’s needs above your own.

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jonathan Bossenger

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