November 10, 2015

Tips on Creating Customer Personas

Businesswomen, Software developers, medical practitioners, computer analysts? MetLife, Anthem, Boeing, IBM? Do you know who your customers are and what motivates them to buy? Customer Personas can optimize your business processes and development and give insight into your target audience. Read on for tips on researching and creating customer persona profiles.

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What are Customer Personas?           

Definition

Buyer Personas are fictional representations of your ideal customer. They help answer the question of who buyers are, what they are looking to accomplish, what goals drive them, how they think and why they are choosing to buy. Also worth considering is where customers buy and when they are motivated to buy. In short, personas seek out the stories of buyers. It has little to do with profiling, but everything to do with buying behavior.

Why Personas Help

Knowing what types of personas are behind your product or service helps in almost all areas of business including marketing, sales, product development and customer services. Having a detailed understanding about who your customer is will help tailor your product and create content that best serves your customer’s needs and ensures a long standing relationship.

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How can I Create Personas?

Buyer personas cannot be defined unless researched! It’s critical to know where to look to find the information you need, and also be able to reach out to people who can provide you with the data for you to be able to draw conclusions about target customers.

Strategize who to reach out to and where to get information from…

  1. Customers
    Your customers are your golden point of contact as they have experience with your product or service. Get feedback from your sales team in terms of whom they are interacting with the most and look through your contacts database to reach out and conduct interviews. Aim to have a wide range of different customers, considering not only your happy customers, but also the ones that aren’t completely satisfied. This will show you various patterns and lead you to have a solid ground in understanding your personas.
    Customer interviews may also have the advantage of not necessarily needing a gift card incentive as customers often like being heard, and interviewing them gives them a chance to feel important.
  1. Prospects
    People who have not purchased your product yet, but show interest can give great business insight in optimizing your product or services. Scan lead generation forms, website analytics or other sources to find out who your potential customers are and get an idea of target personas.
  1. Referrals
    There will probably be few interviews you can get through referrals, but it might be well worth it if you are taking on new markets where you don’t have customers or leads. Aim for quality interviews to get insider information in your new terrains. Reach out in your existing network to get contacts.
    Bonus: Try usertesting.com for interviewers who are removed from your network.Here just a few pointers on when going about asking for interviews:

    1. Create incentives for your target group of interviewees to participate in your research. Bare in mind that your incentives may vary depending on who you’re talking to. Generally, gift cards always work great, but they might not always be necessary.
    2. Make sure that whoever you contact knows that you’re not doing a sales call, or you won’t get very far!
    3. Make it easy for your interviewees. Be flexible for your interviewees to choose a time and date and remind them of their appointment with you. You want to make their experience with you as pleasant as possible.

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    What’s the Point of Creating Negative Personas?

    Customers you don’t want or are not worth your time are negative or exclusionary personas. This may include for example one time buyers like students looking to do research, professionals who are too advanced for your product, customers who are too expensive to acquire (because of their unlikeliness to purchase again or inclination to churn etc.). There may be a handful of negative personas to your product that will also benefit you to take not of and create a profile. Essentially you are segregating the bad apples in order to minimize ineffectively spent energy and increase sales productivity and marketing strategies.

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    Using Customer Personas

    After tedious research and interviews you will have a collection of raw data about current and potential customers. What to do with it? First, try to recognize patterns and similarities amongst your pool of data and then create fictional personas that represent your findings. A great way to organize your information is by using persona templates. For help with creating profiles see PresentationLoad’s multifaceted persona templates – over 70 templates with various images, fill in the blank questions and persona definitions.

    Customer personas can have great results, not only in furthering a better understanding of who your customers are, but also in improving value prepositions. This can assist better tailored products and marketing messages translating to higher conversion rates, more leads and a better sales cycle. So why not put a name to your buyers – make it personal and professional.

    Here is a video to our templates:

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