It’s a term you’ve probably heard bandied around marketing meetings a lot, but what is a customer persona and why are they so important to your marketing strategy?
A customer persona is a research-based profile that depicts your target customer. It’s common to have multiple personas for one business, after all you may be selling more than one product, or need to engage with multiple different people within one sales process. However, it’s important that the profiles narrow down where your marketing efforts are best placed and not over complicate them.
In this guide I will be looking at what makes up a customer persona, what the purpose of a customer persona is, and why it plays a bigger role than you may think in the success of your digital marketing efforts.
What information is needed to create a customer persona?
You, your team and the years of experience you have in your business are all you’ll need to put together your customer persona. Get all of your customer facing teams together and start pooling that knowledge. The people in sales will know all about what your customer needs to get that prospect over the line; the people in customer service will understand the pain points that customers run into and the people in marketing will know how your customers find you, and how they like to get in touch. Your team is your best resource, and you find out more about why customer success is a team effort in our blog here.
It’s important at the start of your persona workshop to narrow down the customers you are looking to target; are you trying to sell a specific product? Do you need to build out a profile for someone involved in the buying process to better target them and ease their pain points?
Whichever it is, always keep them in mind so that the profile is specific to the needs of that person or role. If there are multiple roles or product sales to make, split them out at the start so there is no confusion.
Top tip: Give your persona a name using one of their most important characteristics, for example Hesitant Henry or Confused Carrie. This way, you are able to easily remember them and always be focused on how your marketing efforts can help them to overcome the pain points that stand between you and a sale.
What is the purpose of a customer persona?
Customer personas are vital to the success of not just digital marketing, but also sales and customer service. Clear and targeted personas help to:
Align departments. In creating clear documents that outline your target customer, sales, marketing, customer service and even product development are able to work towards the same view of your ideal customer.
Empathise with and understand your customers. People increasingly buy from other people instead of company logos and tag-lines. This means that they want to know you understand their wants as well as their hesitations, and can address these at every step of their journey.
Target your marketing efforts. Digital marketing can be a vast job to undertake, and personas will mean that you are better able to understand where your efforts are best placed to get your business noticed by your customers.
Manage your budget. By helping you to understand where your customers are and how you can reach them (whether that’s paid ads, organic search, or more content) personas allow you to better manage your budget to give you a return on investment.
Why is a customer persona important?
Your company may be selling the best product in the world, but if you can’t find the people for whom it’s perfect you won’t make any sales. Customer personas are so important when it comes to finding, engaging and delivering for your customers because they help you to understand where they are and what they want, and therefore allow you to be the company that delivers that to them. Personas are the starting point for successful marketing, and subsequently successful businesses.
Because they play such an integral part in your marketing strategy, it is important to hold customer persona reviews that allow your personas to evolve along with your offerings and your customers desires. Just like your customers, your personas will never follow an exact mould but will serve as a blueprint for all your teams to work from, and these blueprints need to be updated as and when you get new information. If your personas keep evolving, you will be able to stay one step ahead of your customers wants and needs and make sure that your business is ready and waiting when your customer begins their journey.
HubSpot has put together this great guide containing examples of customer personas so you can see the must-have and nice-to-have information that it should include, as well as getting a starting point for how you want to present your personas.
At a glance: what is a customer persona?
Creating customer personas should be your first port of call when it comes to developing your marketing strategy because:
- Customer personas are the culmination of your company's knowledge, allowing you to build a detailed picture of who your customers are, where you can find them and what they want.
- Empathising with and understanding your customers, aligning your departments and targeting your marketing efforts rely on detailed customer personas.
- Customer personas allow your business to be found by your customers by placing you at the start of their journey, and supporting them successfully through to conversion.
- Your personas should evolve as you gain more insights about your customer, to ensure that your attract, engage and delight activities are always tailored to your customers needs.
If you would like some help with creating your personas, or want to have a chat about the direction of your digital marketing get in touch with FINALLY for a chat.