Your customers are living, breathing human beings (probably not cartoon canines) with real wants and needs. To understand your real customers, though, you have to make up some fake ones.
In other words, you need to create customer personas.
What’s a Customer Persona?
Customer personas are somewhat like a group of fictional cartoon characters (yes, even canines) that really love the products and services that you provide. The process of putting a name and background to your customers helps you understand them and meet their needs. Developing the characters causes you to think of your customers as unique individuals who hope to use your products or services to solve a problem or improve an experience. The process helps you interject the right personality into your website, social media posts, emails, and advertising.
The capable and colorful cast of the hit cartoon, Scooby Doo, may be one of the best examples of customer personas for the mystery-solving industry. No, really! More about this later. First, some boring stuff about customer personas.
Customer personas are different from market segmentation, also known as customer segmentation. Market segmentation is the process of determining details about your customers, such as where they live, their age range, and maybe even some information about their buying habits, and then dividing these customers into groups based on this information. Market segmentation provides raw data about the real people who buy your products.
Customer personas, on the other hand, are imaginary people created from the data provided by market segmentation. The process of creating customer personas helps you see your customers as real people who want to solve the real problems they face every day. You can then use those insights to create highly targeted social media ads, blogs and posts that really resonate with your customer base.
Creating Customer Personas to Sell Mystery Machines and Other Valuable Products
Look at it this way. Let’s say your business sells mystery-solving products and services. Your market segmentation data may tell you that your customer base is teenagers, split evenly between males and females, and may include the occasional snack-loving dog who can speak broken English. Your base tends to be college students, slackers, heiresses, and scientists. About half of your customers dress very well but the other half tend to wear sloppy v-neck t-shirts or oversized orange sweaters. The market segmentation report suggests that your customers most frequently drive colorful, custom-painted vans to solve mysteries.
You would use this information to create specific customer personas. Your customer personas might include a good-looking amateur sleuth, a cowardly slacker, a shapely heiresses with a propensity to get herself in trouble, and a bespeckled scientist who always solves the supernatural mysteries with a little help from your products or services. You might also want to create a customer persona for your canine customer base.
Developing the customer personas helps you understand the wants and needs of your most important customers.
Your amateur sleuth often acts as the lead of the mystery-solving group, for example, and therefore needs a good vehicle and equipment to transport the team to the scene of the mystery and set up traps. The fashion-forward heiress may be the main purchaser of the group, so this persona is in need of the proper attire at a good deal. Your scientist is in perpetual need of the latest, greatest mystery-solving equipment available. The slacker is typically responsible for ferreting out the monsters and ghosts, so he loves how easily your products work.
How to Create Customer Personas
Start with a proper market segmentation to analyze your customer base. Find out basic information about the people who buy from you. Determine their age, profession, location and perhaps even their mystery-solving abilities and van preferences.
Use the information gained from your market segmentation to make up three to five customer personas. (This checklist might help!) The number of personas should be large enough to cover most of your customers but small enough to be specific about their wants and needs.
Look for a template that lets you create customer personas online. Most of the templates call for the same basic information, such as the imaginary customer’s job, gender, age, location and income. Many templates ask for a back-story, such as the individual’s goals and challenges.
Create several customer personas that each represents the various types of customers using your products or services. Try to make them as distinctly different from one another as possible while remaining true to information in the market segmentation. Address specific problems each may have, such as constantly losing one’s glasses or persistent hunger.
Reflect on the specific nature of your customer’s interests, such as catching ghosts, developing nifty catch phrases, and crowding into the front seat of a van with three other people and a dog despite having plenty of room in the back.
Creating customer personas is one of the most important things you can do to understand and connect with your customers. Having plenty of Scooby snacks on hand is pretty important, too.
Lynn H has been a professional writer, providing exceptional content online and offline, for nearly 20 years. In that time, she has penned thousands of articles for doctors, universities, researchers, small businesses, nursing organizations, sole proprietors and more. She writes everything from blogs to white papers; her specialty is putting complex scientific concepts in simple terms. She specializes in medical writing, creating informative and engaging content for professionals in medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, medical manufacturing, chiropractics, optometry, emergency care, plastic surgery and others.