How to Make A Customer Persona for Your Business

How to make a customer persona by Trailway.co with collage of lady, florals and architecture

A critical concept in business strategy is the customer persona.

There are many ways to making a customer persona. A great product drives a business but the customer is the lifeblood. Having a customer persona will help you focus

This focuses on Pillar 2 of the 5 Pillars of Strategic Brands

What is a customer persona with apples in the background

What is a customer persona?

A customer persona (or buyer persona) is a fictitious identity that represents the majority of your target customer’s traits, demographics, and psychographics.

It describes your customer’s motivations, attitudes, and values they hold toward your product and gives insight into how they interact with your business. Customer personas provide insight into where target customers spend their time and what other products or platforms they use in their daily lives.

The Anti-Customer Persona:

Initially, I wouldn’t include anti-customer personas in discovery sessions with clients. After a while, it kept proving its worth and is now a part of the Trailway client workflow for brand strategy. The anti-persona is a person who looks like your target customer but is a bad fit. So, they are bad fits because they take too much time, cost too much in customer acquisition, or pull away from your brand in some way. We can welcome business from them, but we do not craft our brand voice or marketing materials for them.

An Example of the Anti-Customer Persona

An example would be the car dealer who spends his time and resources getting more “Lookyloo” customers. The car dealer runs marketing campaigns on the weekends by grilling burgers and hiring a moon bouncer for kids. These may result in a sale or two. However, it is not where marketing efforts should be focused. Because people show up doesn’t mean this is what is best for business. A grill-and-moonbounce tactic may seem outdated or irrelevant to your business but think about it for a moment. Now that we live in a highly saturated digital world, it’s become even more common.

We can get sidetracked by the Pinterest monthly viewer count or the number of Instagram likes. These vanity metrics make you feel like your business is growing when, in reality, it may not correlate to the health of your business. Viewers and likes are great, but there are better metrics to use when evaluating our marketing strategy.

Compile your analytics with a medical chart of the human head

1) Before you begin making a Customer Persona

Compile Your Analytics

Google Analytics, Pinterest, and Instagram all offer you analytics. Useful customer personas are based on real data. Big companies have the resources to hire design firms, pay for big data, or harness their pool of metrics. If you’re a new business, it can feel intimidating to begin making one.

Not to fear, the metrics from these platforms are already going to be of value to you. The gender, age, interests, and keywords used to reach your site should be compiled into an organized document.

For WordPress websites, Monster Insights is the best free analytics tool that’s out there. It connects to your Google Analytics accounts.

Tap into any other info you already have that isn’t from the previous metric sources.

If you’ve been running your business, you’ll likely know your customer’s addresses. You’ll know how much money they spend per visit and what they say to you about your brand.

Look at what your best-sellers are, what ads have performed the best, and anything else you have, with valuable insights.

What if I’m starting my business?

Making a customer persona will still be helpful, but you’ll use it as a springboard and not a compass. Meaning this will be a fluid concept in the beginning, and you’ll test your marketing against it.

But you should still make one. If you don’t have anything in place, it will never get measured, thus never be improved. Having a persona that you can evaluate, update, and develop will benefit your business for the short and long term.

Demographics Psychographics Geographics, with woman in background

2) Creating a Great Customer Persona?

Demographics: The Who

These are the broad strokes of who they are. The kind of things with which they quickly identify.

Example Questions:

• Where does your target customer live? 

• Where do they work? 

• How much money do they make? 

• What gender are they? 

• Are they married? Kids? How many? 

• What ethnicity? 

Some questions will be relevant, while others not so much. For instance, demographics will play a big part in a business targeting entrepreneurial women of color. An outdoor lifestyle brand won’t find demographics as helpful as the psychographics of its target customers.

Psychographics: The What + Why

This regards what motivates their life. What are their values, and why do they value them? Living in the moment. Strong families. A sense of belonging. These are all value statements toward which certain people have strong values.

Geographics: The Where

Big city or a rural town? Where do they shop? Where do they go out to eat? Where do they look for information? Where do they go for the weekend? Do they commute for work? What mode of transportation do they use to get there?

Make a Real Person from the Data:

At this point, empathetic skills are instrumental. Get into the heads of your customers. What are they feeling and what is motivating them. Consider their family, income, time constraints, or dreams. We have to wade deep into the analytics side of the pool. But after that point, we come up for air to see the real person to whom we are selling. How does this benefit them? And if it doesn’t, perhaps you need to rethink your product or business.

How to leverage a customer persona with picture of pillars behind it

3) How to leverage a customer persona for your business?

Brand Visuals

Often, business owners see their brand’s logo and visual identity as an aesthetic dilemma of whether “this looks good or not?” Your brand’s visuals will impact all your packaging, advertisements, and communications. When deciding on visual aesthetics, it’s not a time for subjective critiques but robust strategies.

Having a reliable customer persona suddenly makes artistic nuances part of the strategic design. Questions wording in a blog post or color choices for your logo is not as subjective as we first thought.

 

Content:

We keep hearing content is king. But what kind of content should I be posting?

Using a well-crafted customer persona will answer the question of what problems your customers are trying to figure out? And what is motivating them to interact with your brand?

 

Marketing:

Should I up my Instagram game? How about Pinterest? Is Facebook still a great place, or is it outdated? 

Look at the demographics of these social platforms and see if they line up with your demographics. Consider how customers use the platform, and if it lines up with how your business operates. It will show what you may need to change or adapt to the platform to drive better engagement and sales.

Can Snapchat be leveraged for my long-form content? Absolutely! But you need to be creative in your approach and make sure your message on those short little videos is an inspiring call to action.

Advertising:

Where should I advertise? Don’t just think online. The proliferation of online advertising has impacted businesses in 3 ways:

  1. Ease of use. Anyone can now run an ad campaign in little to no time.
  2. Competition: because of number one, there is a lot of noise and competition fighting for your customer’s attention.
  3. There is less competition for traditional advertising mediums like snail mail.

Looking at your geographics, start understanding where your customers are, and when they are most likely to be making decisions on your products. Or be open to hearing ideas about your product. That may be online. Or it may be at the car wash, daycare, or local eatery.

Future-Proof: Make Lemonade out of Lemons, with lemon illustration behind it

4) How to future-proof your business for getting more data?

Maybe you feel behind the gun because you haven’t been capturing all the data you need. The good news is, you have data! (It’s just not captured yet). So make lemonade from these lemons and start gathering the data from your business. Here are some ways:

Google Analytics + Website Analytics

Google Analytics is free to use, and it involves signing up to google analytics and adding some code to your website. These analytics are often better than any other free software out there.

Social Media Analytics

Set up your accounts for business on social media. If you want your personal life and business life to stay separate, start a new social media profile. If you don’t plan on using the analysis any time soon, it is still a good idea to start collecting data now. You will use this in the future.

Spreadsheets and Software

There is a lot of software that helps you make relevance from strings of data. You can also keep it in a good old-fashioned spreadsheet to look over from month to month. Whatever you do, start collecting relevant data now.

Self Portrait

Hey, I’m Sam. I help businesses develop and maintain their brand.

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