Customer Persona: A Quick And Easy Guide For Online Businesses
Customer personas help a business understand its target market effectively.
Every business is unique in its identity and the products and services it provides. The same goes for its customers.
That’s why relying on cookie-cutter customer personas is a bad idea. The 18-35 millennials shouldn’t be a fulcrum of your sales, marketing, and SEO strategy. The results of such a strategy would probably be as generic as the audience it is targetting.
Well researched customer personas act as an early fall in a domino effect of a successful marketing and sales campaign. It becomes that much easier to target a market once you know:
- How they spend,
- What they spend on,
- What their hobbies are and, most importantly,
- What’s valuable to them
For an online business, this also means figuring out how their ideal customer interacts with a certain website interface, how much help he/she needs in navigating through a website and even how receptive they are to online purchases.
The Importance Of Building Detailed Customer Persona
In this article, we list the macro-factors an online business must consider to create their online personas. Here are the things you should focus on:
1. The Numbers
Your business may have more than one customer persona if you sell multiple products that target different markets.
For example, Take Two Interactive’s Grand Theft Auto series of gaming is rated R, whereas its NBA 2k series is rated ‘E’- appropriate for all ages. This simply means that they cannot have the same persona for all their buyers.
Having multiple personas as a leading game publisher makes sense. The more offerings you have as an organization, the more customer personas you need. This is especially true if your offerings are diversified.
However, you can also have multiple customer personas for the same product. Taking an example from the same industry, the PlayStation targets hardcore gamers between the ages of 15 and 40.
Even though the ‘hardcore gamer’ tag aligns with this age range, a hardcore teenage gamer has completely different priorities to that of a 40-year-old nine to five corporate employee by day and gamer by night.
Creating multiple personas is important also because your product may be valuable in a different way to different groups of people.
A company needs to plan and do market research about who and how many target markets their product is valuable to.
This can be done through surveys, focus groups, and limited product launches. If your product is a website, this can mean region launches, and trials to early adopters and a select group of people.
This can help your company get information about the number of personas you may need to create.
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2. The Who
Speaking of who your product targets, the step that succeeds the identification of the number of personas is identifying the unique characteristics of your buyers.
Notice how Sony mentions ‘hardcore gamers’ along with the age range. A well-made customer persona will have characteristics that define it to the T.
Age is just the very first layer. Some other questions a customer persona can answer are:
- What kind of work does your customer do?
- Are they a school or college going individuals? If so, do they go to a private school or a public one?
- What do they like doing in their free time?
- What are their goals? Are they ambitious?
- What kind of music do they like listening to?
- Do they lean towards cats or dogs?
The last one may be a bit of a stretch, but your customer personas need to be as specific and detailed as possible.
This can be done by dividing your customer personas into two parts: Demographics and Psychographics. In the colloquium, this means getting both numerical data and data that is built upon the intangible values of a target market.
The same research that can help you identify numbers can help you get the data on which you can build the characteristics of an audience.
Along with focus groups and mass surveys, early access trials can come with micro-surveys and personal interviews that you can use to identify your audience better.
3. The ‘Bring Them To Life’
This means using data you’ve gotten to identify The Numbers and The Who and drawing insights from it.
This is the final step to creating your personas, the people who your sales team will most likely talk to when they try to get them to your online business.
This step involves collecting the data that most commonly matches to create one, or multiple, unique customer personas.
What does it mean if the biggest chunk of your consumer base works as a mid to high-level corporate employee? It could mean a large disposable income. It could also mean that they have unique managerial skills and work-related stress that other people their age may not have.
Finding multiple patterns within data will help you create stories for each of your individual personas, as well as helping you identify characteristics that bind them.
Customer personas don’t stay static. A company’s offerings change and grow with time. This could either be indicative of customer growth or catering to a different set of customers altogether.
IBM’s shift from focusing on hardware to consulting is a prime example of this.
Therefore, the marketing team of any organization needs to continually update its personas as its company’s offerings change.
A well-built customer persona can help streamline an organization’s marketing and sales processes. It starts with identifying who your audience is and what its unique characteristics are.
The more detailed a customer persona, the easier it is for your internal team and potential external agencies to understand who they are catering to.
A detailed persona gives them insights to formulate their digital marketing strategy and shares talking points for sales pitches.
Furthermore, a well made and continually evolving customer persona can help your research and development team create products and service offerings better suited to your consumers than it did before.
This article is a good place to start to create a customer persona.