How to Identify Your ‘Ideal Customer Persona’

Ghost don’t make purchases. Your customers and clients are real, breathing people—with real wants and needs that run deeper than simply requiring your services. In your efforts to better reach these potential leads, you not only have to identify these needs, but you need to get a better handle on exactly what kind of persona might lead them to you in the first place. In any strong marketing effort, experts will start by identifying the target: that is, identifying the kind of person who might be interested in your business in the first place. With this information in hand, you can construct everything: your brand, your strategy, the way you reach out to clients…everything. Without it…well, you’re just guessing. In this post, I’m going to do something a little different. Rather than explain it all to you, I’m going to give you a taste of a unique download you can check out. I’ll explain the customer persona—and what it means to figure it out. At the end of the post, you’ll find a downloadable guide to identifying your customer persona that you can immediately use to change your brand and improve your marketing efforts. Defining the Ideal Customer Persona To define the ideal customer persona, we first have to start with this word “persona.” You might know what it means. It’s a familiar word. But what does it mean in this specific context? Think of the ideal customer persona as a snapshot of your customer’s silhouette, a window of insight into what’s going on in their psyche. No, you can’t read their mind—but you should identify a number of needs and desires this customer will have. Without that, you’ll have no idea how to fill them. A customer persona is a tool marketers use to get specific about their marketing efforts. If you think of marketing as throwing darts at the board, a customer persona is a way of defining the color of the bull’s eye. Without that, you’re lost. Why is this important? Consider:
  • Good marketing is built for a specific audience. Remember that famous Coca-Cola commercial featuring Mean Joe Greene? The story of a “Mean” football player breaking into a smile was targeted to a wholesome audience—people who wanted to share a Coca-Cola with a friend. Without that persona at the heart of the commercial, it wouldn’t have the same impact it did. Your marketing has to be the same way. Writing a headline for a landing page? Consider your customer’s persona. Coming up with email marketing subject lines? Consider what your customer wants and needs. That’s the difference between effective marketing and marketing that’s simply spinning its wheels.
  • Creating the image of your customer’s success. Ever wonder why commercials show people around a Happy Meal, enjoying the French fries like their life depends on it? It’s because the commercial is looking to visually fill the need of its customers. You should use your own research of a customer’s specific persona to demonstrate that you can help them achieve their own goals as well. That simple research will inform the colors you choose, the visuals you employ—everything.
Now that you know what it means to define a customer’s persona, let’s talk about what it means to actually achieve an accurate representation of your ideal customers. Finding Your Customer Persona Although you can find more information about researching your customer persona in the download available at the bottom of this post, we’ll hit some key points here. First, you want to turn yourself into an information-gathering machine. That means you should use any of the tools you have at your disposal to collect information about what your actual best customers are like. Don’t hypothesize just yet. Don’t brainstorm. Instead, get real data about their behaviors and their likes and dislikes. Here are some of the tools you can use:
  • Surveys. This isn’t exactly “hard” data—instead, it includes customers’ opinions rather than their behaviors. But that doesn’t mean you should dismiss this information out of hand, either. Send out the occasional client survey to find out what it is that your clients need most.
  • CRM data. If you use Client/Customer Relationship Management software, you’ll likely have tools at your disposal to view the data from these interactions. This will give you a better hold on what customers best respond to.
  • Feedback. Sales team feedback, email feedback—whatever feedback you can get, make sure that you make full use of it.
  • Website forms. It’s always a good idea to post website forms online so your customers and clients can reach out to you. A general feedback form is great and easy to incorporate. Simply use email management software or even sort by subject line in your usual email inbox to find quick access to these forms.
The more research here, the better. You want to make an educated guess as to your customer’s persona, not simply hope you get it right. Think in Terms of Personality When we think of big groups of people, we often don’t picture individuals with personalities. The odd thing is, every one of us has a personality. And a good marketer understands that. That’s why it’s so essential to use good data to get a sense of who your customer’s persona truly is. It’s not just about their demographics—it’s about the way these customers view the world. A customer’s attitudes will affect their buying behaviors and their business patterns, which is why it’s your duty to understand a customer’s personality, even if from a broad perspective. It’s important to think about their demographics, sure. But it’s also important to understand a customer’s goals and wants. What drives them? What kind of solutions in their life might satisfy them? Get to the heart of what motivates your customers and you’ll understand why it’s so critical to get a clear view of a customer’s persona. For example, consider your own desires. Don’t your own desires have an impact on the way you live? Where you vacation? The gifts you buy? The insurance you purchase? Every one of us has certain beliefs and goals that help determine our behaviors. To understand ourselves, we have to understand what drives us. It’s the same way with your customers. How to Create a Specific Customer Persona with a Customer Persona Toolkit You’ve seen some hints in this post about building a definition of your customer persona. You’ve also seen some tools you can use to gather data about these customers. But until you understand what it is you’re looking for, you aren’t quite ready yet. That’s why I’ve put together something special for you. Creating Your Ideal Customer Persona is now available for download! When you read it, you’ll receive many insights like the ones you’ve read here—only in further detail. It breaks down everything you need to know about your customers, not to mention the strategies and tactics for discovering these key insights. What’s more, you’ll find a handy toolkit for defining your own customer persona to get a better handle on what your customers are looking for. And because your grasp of your customer persona is essential for driving effective marketing, there’s no time like the presence to start reading—and start discovering.

How to Identify Your ‘Ideal Customer Persona’

Andrew Pawlak

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