Creating A Strong Customer Persona
Is the key to building a highly effective marketing campaign
A customer persona includes information about your buyers such as who they are, what they want, how they think, what drives them to purchase, and even what they’re trying to accomplish. Moving past the charts and the surveys and into truly harnessing all that data about your ideal prospects and customers isn’t easy… but it’s the key to building a highly effective marketing campaign.
Last time, we talked about your customer persona (or ‘buyer persona’) and why it’s really the cornerstone of a successful marketing campaign. With that in mind, let’s move forward and put that knowledge to work to actually build a customer persona for your business.
5 Steps for Creating Customer Persona
1. Get the Right People Involved.
In order to arrive at an actionable plan for targeting your ideal customer the sales and marketing people at your company, if it is only you this is still very relevant, should be on board when creating your customer persona. This is important not only in the data-gathering stages but also in the execution.
This infographic from Curve Jump, which outlines the process of better understanding the customer, starts with getting everyone on board, too. They state that 18% of executives aren’t aware of any efforts at their company in this area.
2. Pull Out Your Existing Customer Database and Look for Patterns
One way to understand your ideal customer, of course, is to analyse the customers you already have. Focus on your repeat customers, and see if you can uncover similarities among them, such as:
- Company size
- Geographical location
- Channels used to arrive at the point of purchase – for example: social media? email campaigns? PPC ads?
- job title of decision makers
Now, for number 3, which is essentially the customer journey, you’ll probably need stronger data, like what you’d get from Google Analytics. But whatever the source, remember that you’re looking for information about your repeat customers that sheds light on how they buy, where they buy, and when they buy during the customer journey.
3. Create Your Company’s Website Forms to Aid in This Process
If you don’t have key information that you feel is essential to creating the customer persona for your business, get cracking and find a way to obtain what you need. When you know your customer and their pain points your content generation, path to purchase and customer centric marketing strategies will be refined and have a higher conversion rate.
One way is to add fields to your website forms asking for the crucial information. Company size is a common one- as is the job title of the buyer or decision maker.
Progressive client profiling is the best way to find out about your customers. Ensure each engagement, download or connection is designed in a way that won’t be too interrupting to their online experience, but along with the data in your CRM you can set this up so that they are asked a different question each time.
Asking in stages so you can identify more about your customers, whilst giving them content that is informative and useful so they are compelled to reveal more about themselves is the key to this strategy. It’s a relationship that you want to nurture so give them useful information, ask for a bit more about their habits in relation to your business or the problems your business solves.
4. Get Feedback on Your Most-Engaged Leads
Sales are one measure of your ideal customer, but customer service is another. By analysing the leads or customers you interact with the most, you’ll gain an understanding of the type of customer your business is particularly suited to serving.
If you have a sales team, ask them to give you feedback on the customers or leads they talk to the most. If you have a help desk or support ticket system, look through the data for customers who contact you more regularly. Can you generalise about them?
5. Talk to your customers!
Interviewing your actual customers will take you further than anything else insofar as understanding who they are and what makes them tick. Going offline to connect with your customers and prospects is critical to uncovering their motivations for choosing your brand.
When you understand your customers you can more clearly identify the key processes they go through to make a decision; the stages, goals and touch points = devices, friends, peers, websites etc.
Step 5 is probably your most important technique for developing the customer persona. It’s also the most involved, since it can take on several different forms.
- Interview customers, leads, or referrals.
- Use incentives to entice people to talk to you
- Educate the salespersons to ask the right questions – through scalable profiling questions = extra questions every time, so not 10 all at once.
- Ask questions around the different stages of the buyers phase
- awareness phase: what keywords or approach did they take to find your business
- decision phase: what content helped with their decision making process
- images, video or podcasts?
The key thing to remember here is this is an ongoing process, there should always be some kind of feedback or NPS tracking throughout your business life. Speaking and listening to your customers does come down to the right strategy and questions to ask. Like Henry Ford famously said “if I had asked them what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse”. But marketing today is more strategic and persona development is critical around the psychographic; their values, their dreams, their goals is a way to gather important information from your audience. Their values is a critical one to understand.
Finding a pattern from your research to help develop your customer persona will help you develop a better online/offline experience for you clients.
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