Customer Personas: Unlocking Your Audiences Online
8 June 2020
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Do you know who your customers are? Where are they online?
Are you confident that you are reaching the ‘best’ customers online with your marketing?
These are all basic questions we should be asking ourselves when we want to sell a product or service online. Why? Unless you define WHO you want to sell to you won’t know HOW to reach your customers.
In this article we’ll show you why it’s important to define your customers personas. Read on to start your journey towards effectively targeting and reaching the best customers for your business.
We live in an age where customers have so many ways to find products and services online. Customers are bombarded with marketing messages everyday.
In fact, marketing experts estimate that a person sees between 4000-10,000 marketing messages in a single day! Search engines, social media channels, YouTube ads…there are so many ways to broadcast a sales message. Whether a customer is on a Smartphone, tablet, laptop or home PC we are all subconsciously being exposed to marketing messages ALL DAY LONG.
How can a business or brand be heard above all that marketing noise? This question is precisely the reason why you should start to define your customers.
If you want to effectively reach customers who might be interested in your product you’ll need to learn about them first. This will help you to ‘target’ them.
Targeting your customers will involve you understanding who they are, what they like, what they want, where they are, how they behave and much much more.
Targeting the best customers and how you go about doing that will help you to write an extremely important document – Your marketing strategy.
There are 3 big reasons why it makes sense to spend time learning about your customers before you start to market your product.
Instead of sending out a blanket marketing message to everyone, a targeted approach will enable you to only reach the people that are actually interested in what you have to offer. It’s all about the old adage of ‘quality of quantity’. Quality = high value. The truth is that the quality of your customer is so much more important than having lots of customers that aren’t really interested in what you do.
Learn about your customers to attract the best and most suitable customers.
With a ‘targeted’ approach to marketing you’ll be able to create marketing messages that appeal to your customers. In-turn this means that you won’t waste time, effort and money in creating marketing campaigns that don’t work. Again, this is all about the efficiency of your marketing efforts.
Learn about your customers to create marketing messages that will return on your investment.
Learning about your customers will involve collecting data about them. This data will help you to evolve your marketing as user behaviours change in the future.
As the internet is an ever changing digital environment you’ll want to keep on evolving your marketing messages so that you don’t get left behind. If you haven’t really taken the time to learn about your audience you won’t have a baseline to build from.
Learn about your customers to gain valuable insight into how to adapt and evolve your marketing over time.
Each of the above points are powerful reasons why you shouldn’t skip the strategy side of marketing your product. Skipping the thinking in favour of marketing creation is one of the biggest mistakes made by businesses and brands.
A vital part of developing a marketing strategy is discovering who your customers are. This will enable you to apply what you have learnt to how you approach marketing now and in the future.
As-well as missing out the strategy step to marketing a product, here are some other big mistakes that business make:
It’s never too late to start learning about your customers. You can start to define your customers right now. If you want to cut through the marketing noise online start with this easy exercise. You don’t need to access any data at this point. Grab a pen and paper and go through the following steps:
Answer these 3 big questions:
Now that you have some ideas about your customers it’s important to sort them into groups. Once groups of customers have been identified and ‘sorted’ into groups, marketing ideas and messages can be devised for each group.
Using this targeted approach to marketing is often referred to as ‘persona marketing’.
For most businesses, the customer is more than just one type of person or business. Understanding the different elements to these customers will help refine your targeting across all channels to effectively capture their business.
Personas in marketing describes groups of customers that businesses can define and target with messaging that is attractive to that group. In marketing, the term ‘customer persona’ is most often used to describe a group of customers.
Imagine a person sorting different types of shells on the beach. They may have different buckets that they use to ‘sort’ the shells they find based on their size, colour and any other defining feature. In this analogy, each bucket represents a different marketing persona.
When learning about your customers you will inevitably uncover several groups of customers that you will want to reach. These groups are characterised using personas.
Marketing personas are representations that describe characteristics or behaviours of a group of customers. They define different ways that customers behave in relation to who they are. A customer persona (also known as a buyer persona) is a theoretical idea that represents the key traits of those customers.
Essentially, a persona is a list of different characteristics about a group of customers. Without data you may make assumptions about them. This isn’t a bad thing at all. But data will help you to shape your personas further.
A marketing persona for a set or group of customers could look a little like this:
Persona title: Retired People in Yorkshire
Another example could be:
Persona title: Small business owner in South Wales
There isn’t a perfect number of customer personas to use. This is because every business is different. The uniqueness of your product or service will dictate how many different groups of customers you may have.
However, defining at least three customer personas to start with will help you to start marketing your product.
Developing customer personas is a task that can be achieved using a combination of your own experiences as a business owner and gathering the most useful data insights.
If you want to learn how to create a marketing persona it’s first important to understand that there are two versions of who your customers are.
Persona development is a cyclical process of learning, tweaking and evolving the different personas you identify. The lessons you learn over time will help you to define and redefine your personas as your business grows.
Creating customer personas will help you to create a strategy to reach each group. Profiling or characterising each customer group will give you two helpful sets of insights into reaching them, practical insights and conceptual insights.
Practical Insights could include:
Conceptual Insight could include:
Both practical and conceptual insights will teach you many things about your customers. Those learnings should inform the different marketing tasks you do to reach them.
Essentially, using persona insights to teach you how to market to that group of customers will show you:
There you have it, a basic introduction to customer personas and why it’s important to learn about your customer before you start to market.
At Nivo we help businesses to define their audience personas in a ‘messaging workshop’. We can help you to learn about your customers online.
If you are interested in learning about our messaging workshops, get in touch today!