Creating a customer persona is one of the most understated essentials in marketing and is necessary for marketing, especially in a digital setting.
Personas help us identify and personalise campaigns to suit the customer base we are trying to reach, from altering offers to the messaging we project and the USPs we aim to highlight, ensuring brands are likely to resonate with the intended audience.
This helps determine which platform suits your audience best and the tone you will use in your messaging to better create a relationship.
So, it is most definitely worth investing in. However, it can be a struggle to know where to start and how to go about it. If you have the chance, it is well worth shopping around to see how some of the best marketing agencies London will create an effective campaign and persona for you.
To help get you started, though, here are a few ways to go about making your customer persona.
How to create a customer persona
For many businesses, especially SMEs, there is a strong misconception that "I know my target audience, why do I need to create a persona?" "Is it not just a waste of time if I am making sales?"
Truthfully, it is a lot of work, but the rewards are worth it. Did you know from a recent Linkedin article that most businesses need to have 3-8 different personas for their product?
So for a large number of small businesses, they are likely excluding at least 66% of their potential customer base by only creating messaging and targeting only one group of people.
Use Data-Driven Metrics
Now, the first step is how do you even go about creating a customer persona. Luckily, as the digital marketing world has evolved, the ways we can interact with it, such as creating a customer persona, have become vastly more accessible.
Several programs such as HubSpot will help build and create a basic level of a customer persona, from understanding your customer's habits and what they may or may not resonate with.
Despite several accessible programs that will start pushing you in the right direction, to this day, the most effective way to build a customer persona is only through data and quantifying previous sales data.
Many businesses make one mistake when creating a customer persona: they use a gut feeling about what they "believe" their customer is doing and how they are likely to react to a campaign. This is like building a house without a strong foundation; it will not end well and is weak from the offset.
According to Forbes, 41% of businesses saw an increase in sales when they got a marketing agency to create a data-driven persona for them rather than off of, essentially, guesswork.
This cuts down on labour as many agencies have found a formula that works for them, and they understand the market better than most. As they should!
Why is it essential to create a customer persona?
There are an endless amount of reasons why you need to create a customer persona, from building stronger relationships with clients to expanding your customer base and understanding a primary target market as well as your secondary markets.
Most of the top-performing companies have mapped at least 90% of their customer base by persona. This creates a more refined campaign for products and a greater understanding of how to talk to them.
This is essential for digital marketing. Otherwise, it can just feel like pointless ad spending without seeing the return on investment. Businesses rely on creating relationships with their audience, and without this, any brand can fall flat.
More Accurate Targeting
Creating a customer persona helps build up an actual person who a brand can target: who they are, what they do, and their likes/dislikes. At first glance, this might seem pretty straightforward, even obvious, but it is one of the most effective ways to build a campaign that generates tangible results. If you're speaking the same language as your customers, they're going to want to engage.
Understanding a target audience at a granular level means it's possible to preempt what socials they will most likely use. The campaign, copy and content can be evolved through this understanding, as it's clearer where the product or service fits into this audiences' life and how it solves their pain points.
Specific, Relatable Messaging
Messaging is one of the most crucial parts of creating a conversion. Understanding the likes and interests gets you in the door, but the messaging is the sales pitch; it is the essential part that will convince people to part with their money for your product/service.
So this is why you need to know who it is you are trying to speak to. Like in everyday life, we alter our tone, language, and demeanour based on who we are talking to and our relationship with them. The same concept should be applied when making a sale.
36% of companies have reported a shorter sales cycle after creating a customer persona by refining their messaging to suit each persona and knowing where to target.
This means less ad spend and reduces cost, and creates a more positive customer journey as it was quick and efficient for them, likely resulting in return sales and a genuine customer relationship built and recommendation.
Understanding the consumer and buyer
One other aspect that a customer persona will help define is whether your consumer is the same as your buyer. These are commonly mistaken as the same, but that is not always the case.
So your messaging and placement can alter significantly based on who will be using the product or service compared to the people potentially buying it.
A simple way of discussing this is children's toys. Your primary consumer will be children likely aged 5-11; it is unlikely that they will be the people buying the product.
So your messaging might alter from "Enjoy this fun-filled product" to targeting how it can benefit the actual buyer as well as the user so you have "A fun-filled product that will keep the kids entertained for hours".
You're promoting the product and incentivising the actual buyer, as it benefits them, rather than the actual consumer - or user - of the product or service. Naturally, this varies depending on the product or service offered, but this is one reason it's so important to have a solid understanding of who will be engaging, buying and consuming what your brand is offering.
Overall, customer personas are no easy task, but it is worth investing in. More likely than not, you will see far greater rewards and understand potential markets you might have otherwise overlooked.
A marketing agency is one of the best routes to take when creating these personas, simply based on years of experience alone. So not only will they interpret your data, but they can input their expertise to elevate your data-driven campaigns.