You think your latest blog post our product idea is brilliant, but will your customers? Rather than shooting fish in a barrel, feel confident in your efforts by relying on a customer persona (also called an avatar).
What’s a Customer Persona?
Designed to eliminate assumptions and to provide perspective, a customer persona is a very detailed imagining of your ideal client or core audience. It includes specific demographics and psychographics that paint a vivid picture of one hypothetical person.
Done well, the persona provides such a clear vision that it functions as another person in the room with you. It’s as if your customer is sitting next to you answering questions, pointing out flaws, and guiding decisions.
A customer persona is a no-cost way to test assumptions and avoid wasting time, effort, or money on flawed messaging or products.
Where to Start?
Before you dive into writing a customer persona, you must first identify your ideal customer or audience. Then, you need to understand them well enough to answer some very specific questions.
If you aren’t certain on the who part, use these tips to get clarity:
- Reflect on your clients. Who has hired you in the past? Or, who do you want as clients but aren’t yet attracting?
- Look at Google analytics. A deep dive into the reporting can help you learn a lot about who is visiting your website.
- Ask questions. Send a simple questionnaire (Survey Monkey is an easy-to-use and free tool) to your email list or social media followers to learn more about them.
A great persona is one that includes a mix of statistical/market research and evidence from your actual client base.
Once you have an understanding of who you are targeting, it’s time to personify them. For many niche businesses or blogs, one persona is enough to capture the essence of their entire client base. Others may find, however, they need to create several avatars for each of their various products and services. The best bet is to start with one—you can always add more later as you better understand how to create and use them.
What to Include?
A typical persona includes the following information:
- Demographics: Create a fictional customer that includes specifics about gender, age, marital and family status, occupation, income, region, etc.
- Psychographics: Identify other relevant information about the person’s interests, like hobbies, favorite social media channels and blogs, and experts they trust.
- Goals: What does she hope to accomplish (as it relates to your niche)?
- Challenges: What roadblocks keep her from meeting those goals?
- Solution: How do you help solve the problems so she can meet her goals?
- Objections: Why might she not buy your product/service or why might she choose your competitors?
- Messaging: What is your elevator pitch or marketing message for her? How do you sell her on your offering?
A completed persona should look something like this:
How to Use It?
After you’ve written your customer persona, don’t just put it up on the shelf and forget about it. Keep it handy and review it every time you are creating content or messaging, or a new product or service.
Talk to your avatar. Does this person care about what you’re creating? How could you tailor it more to suit the person’s specific needs and interests? If you have multiple personas, how could you re-tool your product/service or segment your messaging to address each one?
Your goal is to use the avatars to create highly targeted (and therefore highly valuable) products or content.