How well do you know your clients? There is a lot to consider when creating a customer persona, but once completed a good persona allows you to visualize your ideal customer and helps you make better business decisions.
5 Steps to get your customer persona right the first time
1. Be specific
When describing your ideal customer if you use words like “anybody” (for example, “anybody/everybody/someone who wants to lose weight”) stop, your customer persona is not specific enough. Go back, do more research, and identify what makes your target clients unique.
2. Embrace curiosity
Creating a customer persona may feel uncomfortable, especially when it comes to identifying specific views. Judgment doesn’t come into play just about religious or political differences. Consider fans of football vs. NASCAR, there are opinions made about different types of fans. Instead of judging others, which means putting your values above theirs, replace judgment with curiosity. Ask questions and listen. Respect where others are coming from. It’s important to understand your customer’s perspective (understanding doesn’t mean you have to agree.) You may not need to assign a political or religious stance to your ideal customer, but know there are situations where it is important. For example, a simple request to meet for coffee with a client whose religious beliefs don’t allow caffeine isn’t appropriate.
3. Identify your niche
Business owners have a difficult time “niche-ing” because it requires you to get very specific. Obviously, you don’t want to turn away business. The reality is that selecting a niche doesn’t mean you won’t do business with someone. It simply means that you are focusing on a specific persona and understand them so well that you can serve them better. Make sure this unique understanding comes through in your marketing, your pricing, content, etc.
4. Consider the future
Keep in mind that what a customer comes to you for might not always be what they truly need. It’s important to provide what they need right now (what they have come seeking) since that’s why you are on their radar. But, it’s also important to keep in mind what they need beyond today. For example, someone might hire a coach to help with time management and organization (what they need right now.) As the coach talks with them, it becomes a trickier conversation about priorities and belief systems and relationships (what they need deep down, beyond today.) It’s important to offer a solution for the problem and to lead them down the path to offering services to solve a deeper need.
5. Expand your audience
It’s common to have multiple customer personas. The key is to have separate persona for each type of ideal customer, not one that tries to encompass everyone. What comes to mind when you think of Aldi’s vs. Trader Joe’s? The same corporation owns both grocery chains, but clearly they are targeting different customer personas. It might get tricky when you are dealing with social media. If you have one Facebook page associated with your business, but have multiple customer personas, it can be a bit of a balancing act to share content that doesn’t exclude one persona or another, but also doesn’t feel irrelevant to an entire group. Strive to find a common thread that links the two (or more) personas and use that as a starting point to build content.
Update your customer personas as your business changes
At times you’ll shift your marketing strategy. Maybe a new opportunity presents itself, or you’re launching a new service/product to grow your business, and/or you want to serve a new demographic. By going back to the customer persona, and identifying the niche or the group of customers you want to reach, you will better understand the market. This will give you a better idea of where to advertise, what type of content is most appropriate, and help you make better business decisions.
Looking for more information? Download our How to Create Your Ideal Customer Persona worksheet to start the process of creating an ideal customer persona for your business.