How to Create a Customer Persona to Capture Your Audience

February 5, 2018 Seth Spriggs

Developing a customer persona is a vital part of any marketing strategy. These representations of your ideal customers are based on market research and real customer data, such as demographics, behaviour and goals.

Marketers use personas to learn more about their customers and create messaging, content and offers that appeal to them on a personal level. ITSMA indicates that buyers are 48% more likely to consider solution providers that personalize their marketing to address their specific business issues. Yet, according to a survey by Relevance, 85% of businesses don’t take the time to develop effective customer personas.

If you want to capture your audience, you will need to rely on customer personas to do so. Use these tips to develop them:

1. Broadly define your customers

Start by drafting your personas in broad strokes, using the information you already have. For instance, if you sell solutions for sales teams, then one of your personas could be someone in charge, such as the vice president of sales.

Your next step should be to name one or two specifics that you already know. For instance, if you only operate within certain industries, you may want to classify your customers in the following manner:

  • Vice president of sales in the food industry
  • Vice president of sales in the oil industry

You may also throw in gender or any other applicable characteristic that you can name without doing any research.

2. Create a customer persona template

Once you have created your outlines, develop your persona template. The most basic version should include the following:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Job title
  • Salary / household income
  • Location
  • Education
  • Family
  • Language
  • Common issues / difficulties
  • Reason for buying
  • Buying concerns

If there are any specifics that apply to your particular industry or business, be sure to include them. Here are some examples:

  • Blogs they read
  • Level of computer expertise
  • Key job responsibilities
  • Information resources they trust

You can add as many characteristics as you want to flesh out your personas—but keep them aligned with your marketing objectives, so that they don’t become overstuffed. For instance, if computer expertise is not a trait you care about because you sell peaches, then exclude it from your template.

3. Conduct your research

After creating your persona template, you will need to find the actual information, which will require a little bit of research. You can get going with the following resources:

  • Site analytics: Use them to learn where your visitors come from, what keywords they use to find you, what their interests are and how much time they spend on your web pages.
  • Customer surveys and interviews: One of the most effective ways to learn more about your customers is by asking them questions through surveys, questionnaires and in-person interviews. Interviews are especially useful because they provide insight into specific pain points, objectives and issues.
  • Ask your co-workers: Get in touch with co-workers who interact with your customers on a daily basis, such as sales people, since they are likely to have heaps of information on the subject.

Finally, give your persona a believable name—to make it feel more real. Here are some ways you can name your personas:

  • Marketing Jane
  • Dave: Busy Professional
  • John Smith

Start by studying your audience

Learn more about your core audience by gathering up-to-date info on how people interact with your website, online business listings and marketing campaigns. If you don’t have the right tools to delve deeply into this kind of research, get in touch with the pros at Yellow Pages and let them help you out.

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