How Creating Personas can Improve your Business

By Christine B. Whittemore

If looking for better customer engagement to drive more sales, personas should be part of your marketing efforts.

But what is a persona?

A persona consists of a fictional, generalized representation of your ideal customers based on what you know about them. This can include quantitative and qualitative research, observation and personal experience, all of which help to build a picture so that you can determine how best to meet their needs.

Personas also enable you to establish if some customers are wrong for your business. This allows you to be thoughtful and deliberate about prospects so you can efficiently improve the likelihood of successful relationships.

Creating a Persona
There are three steps involved in creating a persona.

To begin, conduct user research and listen intensely to existing customers — good customers, so-so ones and those that are less ideal. Listen through in-person interviews, casual interactions, written communications, online comments, and via your sales and customer service representatives.

Also, review available analytics data and market research. Look for clues to help determine prospective customers’ problems and possible solutions. For instance, what words do they use? What are their frustrations? And how will they benefit from a solution?

Next, use what you’ve gleaned to build a picture of your customer groupings. Detail any relevant demographics, describe the role they might hold at an organization and document the pains your prospects face. Find out what they’re trying to solve and what they value, as well as how your product or service fits into their life. List specific questions they might ask. You can even personalize the picture with a representational photo of that customer segment. This picture establishes who your customers are and how they make decisions. The more you understand the world of your customer prospects and personas, the better you will be able to meet their needs throughout the purchase process.

Once complete, it’s time to name your individual personas. In doing so, whenever you use that name, everyone in your company will understand the reference. Allocating a name to each persona allows you to focus your business on a specific group very quickly.

Value of Personas
Personas play an important role in promoting your company and developing a marketing strategy for your business. Knowing who your target customers are means that you can be precise and specific in your communications and actions, which allows you to improve the customer experience. By zeroing in on your target audience and understanding every aspect of the customer journey, you can develop educational content for your specific personas, remove roadblocks, answer relevant questions and generally delivery a friction-less process.

This is particularly valuable given the important role that your digital marketing presence plays. After all, your website, blog and social media channels are your 24-7 sales and marketing associates, enabling prospects to educate themselves about your company, people and solutions. From a marketing perspective, this means having content that answers your primary personas’ questions. For your sales team, an educated prospect means a better qualified real person who is likely to become an actual customer that is ready to make a purchasing decision.

Business Case
In creating personas, you will come to accept your business cannot be all things to every customer. This allows you to focus consistently on who’s important without being distracted by ‘minor players’ and, subsequently, commit resources to fully understanding your personas’ relevant pain points and needs. In turn, you will find that sales staff can better engage with ideal prospects, enabling your business to develop stronger bonds.

Christine B. Whittemore is founder and chief simplifier of Simple Marketing Now, which helps businesses get found online with social media and content marketing. Christine can be reached at 973-283-2424 or [email protected].

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