A customer persona is a detailed description of your target customer. The goal for creating customer personas is to deeply understand the audience you’re targeting so you can deliver effective, personalized and meaningful communications in the manner and tone they want to receive it. All of this to achieve your one goal: deliver the marketing message that is most persuasive to a particular buyer’s specific situation.
- Develop a list of your “best” customers. It could be the top 10% of your most profitable, highest paying, most satisfied, or some other criteria you decide. Be sure to include the customers that you “aspire” to acquire, as well.
- Find out who the key contacts and the decision makers are for each company. Often, it’s as simple as checking CRM for the account.
- Lookup each contact on LinkedIn. You should be able to find them with a simple people search, though you may need to use LinkedIn’s filters (e.g. country, company, etc) to find the exact person.
- Lookup each company on LinkedIn. You’ll be able to consider the types of companies you should write for as well.
- Log details in a spreadsheet. From here you can easily understand the who you should write for, just be sure to keep user and decision maker separate. Some items that may be worth jotting in the spreadsheet:
- TitleYears of experience (by looking at when they graduated from college)
- Skills in current or previous job/role descriptions
- Actual location (which may be different than company location)
- Number of employees
More detailed information for the personas can also be gathered with help from your sellers. Meet with them to discuss some of these top customers and ask questions like:
- With this job title, what are typically their biggest challenges at work?
- How would they define success in the workplace?
- What are their career goals?
- What are their biggest pain points?
- What are their most common objections?
- How do they research or evaluate partners or vendors? How do they prefer to be reached?
- How can your product or service help solve the buyer’s challenges?
Supplement this target persona with a more qualitative or behavioral information to develop a comprehensive view of your persona. Some examples of qualitative information to include are:
- Where do these people live online? Example: Social profiles such as Twitter, Facebook
- What types of content do they like? Example: What groups have they joined in LinkedIn
- What type of content are they drawn to? Example: “likes” or forward of posts
- To the extent you are tracking response information, what emails have they open, clicked?What events/webinars have they attended?
Research your competition to help you differentiate your company. Look at the tone and attitude of competitive marketing content and product descriptions to discover how their audience differs from yours.
Bring this persona to life. Build out a full-blown profile with a name, title, and image. It helps your teams differentiate among personas and visualize for messaging and content development.
Persona development is an ongoing process of definition and refinement. It is important to get started with the basics (typically demographics), and begin to add relevant behavior or qualitative attributes over time. It is also important that your Marketing/CRM solution is able to capture the relevant attributes that support your persona definition.