Are you a mind reader? You might feel like you need one (or should be one) to get into the minds of your customers.
Let us introduce you to the benefits of customer profiling and personas.
Customer profiling is the process of creating personas for your customers. It’s not fictionalizing them, it’s bringing them to life. Characters that represent different segments of your audience can support your strategies, your journeys, your UX and your understanding. The better you know your customer, the more successful your business.
A persona is a hypothetical user, but one that is firmly based in research, data and direct customer feedback.
So, why do you need a customer persona? Well, no one likes to think they’re average; part of the crowd; a drop in the ocean. We are looking for personal interactions with businesses. A persona puts the personal back into your audience.
Audience personas identify key needs and characteristics that can help you communicate authentically. And they are incredibly effective.
In fact, 71% of companies that exceed their revenue and lead goals have dedicated customer profiles and, according to HubSpot, using marketing profiles creates websites that are more effective and easier to use.
The benefits of a persona are far and wide reaching. To start with, they can help mold abstract data – those reams of numbers and confusing charts – into a tangible ‘customer’. They help you see just what your audience is comprised of, so you can create better engagement, both through design and marketing.
When you have the right persona you can tell a great story.
Customer personas are hinged around a framework of simple questions:
- How do they think?
- How do they behave?
- What motivates them?
- What do they want?
- What do they not want?
Don’t forget, there’s no limit to how many personas you create. It makes sense to segment by demographic, by region, or by age, for example, but you can create multiple personas within each segment. This approach only works if you have the right knowledge and insights.
The key to creating effective personas is to base them on as much research as you can possibly gather. The answers to the above questions should be based in real, tangible data. These will form the framework on which you can build up a character. The more research you have, the more accurate your persona, and the better informed your business. Use surveys, reviews, Google Analytics, A-B testing methods, studies, observations, and feedback.
Psychographic data is where your real insights are. These are the interests, activities, and opinions of your audience – your IAO data. Think of the demographics as what will give you a 2D character, a line drawing, while psychographics will bring them to life. It’s the equivalent of a 3D animated character.
Don’t leave out your difficult customers. Often those who have had a poor experience left negative feedback or who never buy from you will tell you the most about your business and the obstacles to conversion. You can then identify your buyer’s challenges and goals, and how you can best meet their needs.
(If you have limited access or resource for research, you can instead craft provisional personas, based on basic assumptions. These are not going to work as well as a fully fleshed out character, but it’s a good start that you can revisit further down the line.)
Creating identities keeps your business truly customer-centric. When you’ve got clear aims mapped out to work from, and a ‘real’ customer to speak to, you’ll find that your business becomes more personal and more engaging.
A persona will:
- Give your copywriters a specific audience to write to, meaning you get more engaged and targeted copy.
- Help you convert more visitors, subscribers, followers and, ultimately, customers.
- Sell better products. As you get to know your customers better, you can develop and sell them better and better products.
- Utilize and optimize omnichannel marketing.
It’s worth remembering that, just like your business, your audience is flexible and changeable. Keep checking in with them. Keep looking at the data. Keep asking questions (not too many, don’t go overboard). Keep relevant and up-to-date and stay authentic.
Talk to us about creating the best website for your customer personas.