Determining your ideal customer can sometimes be a challenge. In some cases, you could end up wildly off the mark when it comes to the demographic; in others, you could be attracting a different type of customer than you expected. No matter the result, it’s always important to understand the customer’s identity, as factors such as age, gender, location, and household income can all play huge parts in customer attraction and retention. That’s why marketing personas come in handy — they allow you to get an overall view of what the ideal customer looks like, and hopefully help you understand who’s buying your product and why.

Let’s take a look at why you should be putting together personas, and how you can develop the most accurate customer sketch.

Why Personas Are Important

When you develop a persona, you’re essentially creating a fictional character — one that will help put you in the mind of the customer you want to attract. A good persona is a fully fleshed-out character, with a name, a family, hobbies, hopes and dreams, and other pieces of information. It may seem like a strange exercise, but when you’re thinking up a marketing persona, you’re also creating a gateway into how your customer thinks — which can pay off big when it comes to crafting content that targets your ideal customer specifically.

An article at Conversioner reasons that personas help you understand the mindset of your customer and how your product can fill a need for them: “Understanding your customer and the pain you’re solving will allow you to create a better user journey and product for them. Personas should be used as a tool to summarize and communicate research results, building personas can help improve the way you solve problems and speak to your customers.”

So if you’re finding that you’re not quite attracting the potential customers that you want, it might be a worthwhile exercise to brainstorm a marketing persona. Once you’re in the customer’s shoes, you could end up discovering some new and insightful knowledge about why they purchase the products they choose – and how to make your product even more enticing.

How To Create the Best Persona

You don’t need to be an author to create a fictional character — it just takes a little creative brainpower and the ability to put yourself in someone else’s position. Creating a persona doesn’t have to be a one-person effort, either — try to get a small team together, including people from marketing, customer service, product team managers, and stakeholders, in order to get the broadest perspective possible.

Once you’ve gathered your committee, here are some steps to take to further craft your persona:

Brainstorm. Each group should put together ideas on the ideal customer goals (what they want from your product or service), common activities (how they use your product or service), and problems with products (what barriers to purchase might exist). Put these lists up on a whiteboard and solicit feedback in order to get as clear a picture as possible.

Do Some Market Research. Take a look at your competitors and the customers they’re bringing in. Do these customers resemble the same ones you’d like to attract? If so, you can use those observations to help sketch out a marketing persona. Be sure to take note of their gender, age, income, and even buying habits if you can.

Examine and Survey Your Existing Customers. Social media is a great avenue for surveying your current customers. There are plenty of free survey creators online, and it’s easy to put together a quick few questions. For a more direct view of what your customers are saying, look at your company’s social media and check the feedback you’ve been receiving.

Create the template. Conversioner has a good outline for a persona template, and notes that you should be able to fill in the persona’s name, job, education level, goals and values, and challenges and fears. Once this is completed, your team should be able to tailor a marketing message towards this imaginary person, and then finally, put together a customer’s journey for this character.

What Are Your Customer Personas?

Putting together a persona is a prime example of creative thinking in the workplace, and it can serve as a valuable team-building exercise as well as helping you better understand your customers. By looking at similar customer bases alongside your current customers, you should be able to get a picture of your ideal customer, and this persona can be invaluable when it comes to refining your marketing efforts.

Have you ever created a marketing persona? Did you find it useful? Tell us about it in the comments.

Learn more about how to leverage your competitors strategy in your inbound marketing efforts by reading our whitepaper “Using the Digital  Marketing Discovery Process to Maximize Your Content.”

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