So now you’ve happily agreed with the powers that be to find a way to connect with your existing and potential customers by creating customer personas. There’s just one problem…you have no idea what that even is, let alone how to make one. Before you break out into a cold sweat and start rethinking turning down your brother-in-law’s offer to pack it all in and start that catfish farm in who knows where, take a break and relax. It’s not as hard as you think.
A customer persona is just a composite sketch of your target audience. You already know content marketing is all about speaking to the individual instead of casting a net and trying to be everything for everybody. That composite sketch, or customer persona, lets you know exactly who it is you’re trying to reach. You know, the things that people who are into your company have in common. It takes the guesswork out of understanding what kind of content your audience is looking for.
So now that you know what a customer persona is, the next step is creating one. To do that, you need to do some thinking.
Think about your ideal customer
- How old are they?
- What’s their educational background?
- What’s their annual income range?
- What kind of community and what region do they live in?
- What’s their job title and function?
- What industry do they work in?
- How long have they been doing this kind of work and how does their contribution relate to others in their organization?
- What are their interests outside of work?
- What’s their marital status and the size of their family?
- Do they have pets?
- What kind of lifestyle do they lead? Do they like going to sports events, trekking in the great outdoors, or getting creative at home?
By thinking about these questions, you begin to get a picture of who your target audience is. From there, you can sharpen that picture with just a little more thought.
Think about your ideal customer’s goals, responsibilities, and challenges
- What do they need to do to be successful in their endeavors?
- What work-related challenges do they find most frustrating?
- What do they need to alleviate that frustration?
- What might prevent them from ending that frustration?
By thinking about your ideal customer’s goals, responsibilities, and challenges, you begin to develop ideas for content topic ideas that address them. When you do that, you set your company apart as an industry authority that builds loyalty in your existing customers and is extremely attractive to potential customers.
Think about how your ideal customer likes to communicate
- Where do they find their content? A website? A particular social media platform? Email?
- How often do they like to receive updates on the content that interests them?
- Do they spend most of their time on a computer? A tablet? Their smartphone?
- What part of the day do they like to get content?
- What social media platforms do they use most and how often?
- What influences their decision-making? Friends? Colleagues? Peers? Industry authorities?
- Do holidays or outside events affect their behavior or activity?
By considering the ways your ideal customer likes to communicate, you can then use those platforms to reach him or her, cultivate a relationship, and ultimate improve your conversion.
Think about the role your ideal customer plays in your company’s operating cycles
Giving this some consideration sheds light on how your company can best approach him or her with your content.
- What information do they need in order to comfortably make a purchase?
- What keywords do they use when searching for that information?
- What stage of information gathering for a purchase are they in? Initial research? Comparison?
- What might prevent them from finding the information they need or from making a purchase?
Think about getting accurate customer data
In order to accurately answer all these questions, you want the best data you can find. You can get it in several ways.
- Talk with your sales team: They’re interacting with customers every day and keep a record of them. Those records and insights from your sales team are valuable intel.
- Talk with your customer service team: This group is your company’s first line of defense for handling problems customers may have. Talking with them can both answer questions about customer challenges and give you ideas for content.
- Survey customers: Who better to give you the information you need about customers than customers, themselves? You can talk with them via social media or email with polls and surveys for your mission.
Once you have all your information, put it together to create your company persona. And voila! This is usually a one-page document containing a “picture” of the customer. You can five them a name, too. Summarize your findings in a way that makes it clear to the reader what they’re all about, what makes them “tick,” what problems they’re trying to solve and how they want to solve them, how they want to engage, etc. Whatever is most relevant to your marketing and sales team. And your content copywriters, too!
But once you have that persona, share it with other departments in your company to make sure you’re all on the same page with your goals.
And don’t forget that people change over time, for various reasons. That’s why it’s vital to periodically update your persona to keep it relevant to your company’s needs.
There, isn’t that better? After just a few minutes you now know what a company persona is and how to create one. Now get out of here and get to work.
Think about getting some expert help!
Not so sure you’re up for going it alone? Consider working with a Content Strategist on WriterAccess to help create your personas. Reach out to our Talent Management team when you’re ready to get started!
Cathy H has years of well-rounded experience in the writing field. Since transitioning from the newspaper industry, she has written countless pieces for clients that include content for blogs/articles, website landing pages, apps, press releases, and email newsletters. While her versatility enables Cathy to adapt her tone to the need, her favorite projects are those that add a dash of fun.