User Personas – Learn what they are and why you need them

Customer personas are building blocks of every brand and marketing strategy. They help to improve user experience and give insight into various problems across company departments that affect conversion. Without carefully crafted personas, achieving business goals is virtually impossible. You can’t just be selling, you need to know whom you are selling to, tailoring your brand and marketing message to fit your prospects best.

What are customer personas?

Your brand’s target audience isn’t a unified mass of people. Each segment of your audience has different needs, customs, and expectations that you have to take into account when designing your brand and marketing strategy.

Of course, you can’t have a detailed catalog of all members of your target audience, but having a persona each representing a different segment of it will do wonders to the message you want to get across. And this is what a customer persona essentially is – a fictional person representing your target audience. Keep in mind, however, that a persona is built on real customer data.

Creating a good marketing persona:

Research and analyze customer data

To make an effective persona, first gather and then analyze the data on your existing customers, prospects, as well as people outside of your available contacts. Utilizing data taken from such a broad spectrum of people makes your personas more business efficient.

Data sources:

  • Website analytics
    Use tools such as Google Analytics, KISSmetrics, or GoSquared, for example, to check how your customers and prospects find your site, what keywords they use during the process, and how long do they spend on each of your sites.
  • Surveys and interviews
    Surveys and interviews can turn up a lot of useful data for your personas. The point of conducting these interviews and surveys is to take a closer look into customer experience and buying behavior. You can start with interviewing your existing customers who already trust you, then extend your scope further to prospects.Also, interview customers whose experience with your company wasn’t always positive. This information will help you locate any problems and issues in your product, its delivery, or post-purchase experience.During an interview, make sure you are asking the “why” questions as these will provide you with most valuable data.Here’s a list of sample questions you should ask your customers (credit: Marketing Interactions):

    • What’s important to them and what’s driving the change?
    • What’s impeding or speeding their need to change?
    • How do they go about change?
    • What do they need to know to embrace change?
    • Who do they turn to for advice or information?
    • What’s the value they visualize once they make a decision?
    • Who do they have to sell change to in order to get it?
    • What could cause the need for this change to lose priority?

    Apps for surveys:

    SurveyMonkey, Google Forms

  • Lead generation forms
    Whereas it’s easy to discourage your prospects from clicking that “Register” button on your lead form when there are a lot of fields to fill in, lead generation forms, when crafted thoughtfully, can provide you with data galore. Just remember to ask essentials only.
  • Social mediaHow your audience interacts with different posts, tweets, ads, and fan page of your brand reveals a lot about behaviors and habits of your followers. Analyzing your customers’ engagement with your company on various social media channels will help you create more believable and effective personas.Useful tools: Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics.

Let your personas speak

For the marketing persona to work and bring results, you need to think of him or her as an actual human being rather than a template serving your business. To help you see your personas as people, give each of them a detailed background story.

How to do that:

  • Specify who they are? What is their age, occupation, education, income? Where do they live?
  • What do they need? What are their hobbies, their habits? Why do they need your product?
  • How will they see your brand in future? What could they expect from your business?
  • How their interaction with your brand looks across different channels?

Work across departments

Your personas should help your company reach the same objectives, across all departments. From the design team to development, everybody has to know exactly who the product is being made for and what effect various elements of production have on customer experience. Engage your customer service, design, sales department, etc. in the process of making your marketing persona. This will help your company work in unison with biggest focus on the customer.

You can use our free marketing persona template to create various personas for your brand.

Templates for personas:

Summary

Extending your market segmentation to marketing personas helps your brand be more responsive to the needs of your consumers. Creating personas based on actual customer data can shed a light on issues you didn’t know existed, thus helping you come up with appropriate solutions. Marketing personas are invaluable when aiming to increase customer experience, and should be used across all departments.

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