There is a temptation for a business owner to want their business to be all things to all people. We can't tell you how many times we ask a business owner who their target customer is, and they say things like "Everyone!" and "Anyone with money." The problem with that response is that it simply isn't true. Every business has an ideal customer profile and knowing what that is - without guessing - will add focus, efficiency, and effectiveness to your marketing strategy.
What is a Target Persona?
First things first, it’s important to understand what the term target persona even means before you move further through the material. A target persona is simply a fictional representation you use to help focus on your ideal customer. It isn’t a real person, but it represents hundreds or thousands of real people who all have certain characteristics in common, including their desire to purchase a product or service for your brand.
A target persona, or buyer persona, is a data-driven profile that tells you about your ideal customer's buying habits, demographic information, interests, concerns, and reasons for purchasing. It gives you the ability to pinpoint and zero in on your ideal audience without guessing. This information fuels your overall marketing strategy. It informs your ad campaign, media selection, writing style, and more. Everything is crafted with this target consumer in mind. This way, you get the most bang for your advertising buck because your efforts will not be not aimlessly flying arrows that never hit their intended mark.
Why is it Important to Develop a Target Persona?
It's important to create a target persona so your business can better understand your target audience's needs, wants, and interests and then tailor your advertising campaigns to reach and engage them most effectively. Consequently, your advertising campaigns will increase your ROI and your resources will be used more effectively.
How Do You Create a Target Persona?
Now, it’s time to look at the nuts and bolts of the process, creating a target persona that can be used for various purposes throughout your advertising efforts. Here are 6 specific actionable steps that will get you started in this process:
1. Collect Data
The first step in creating an accurate target persona is to collect data on your current customers. This should include demographics, behavior patterns, pain points, and goals.
2. Analyze the Data
After you have gone through the process of collecting information, now it’s time to analyze this data. Do this by looking for patterns or commonalities among your customers. It could be that most of your clientele are men, or most are women, or most are between the ages of 30 and 40, or some other factor. Make note of these characteristics they have in common.
3. Create a Persona
Once you have gathered the data from your customer base and analyzed it showcasing common traits among your customers, it is now time to create your persona. Create this target persona based on the information and commonalities you just gathered. For example, based on your data, your target persona might be aged 35 and male.
4. Put a Face and Name to It
Again, this is a fictional person. It doesn’t really matter what you choose to name or design your person to look like, just so it's a persona that your employees can learn about, and your advertising efforts can be geared towards.
For example, if we are going with the data from above, you might create a persona who is a young male with brown hair named Matt. Of course, if you want to get extra clever, you can come up with a name that rhymes with your brand or is in some way related - something like "Business Owner Bob." This isn’t a requirement, although having a cleverly paired name, persona and brand can make remembering details about your persona a bit easier.
5. Review and Refine
Creating a target persona is not a one-time task you complete and never revisit. Instead, your persona should be updated regularly as your business grows or your customers’ data changes. After all, everything changes and your target persona will likely evolve as well over time. Therefore, it’s important to continue gathering data on your customers, so you can update your target persona as your customers change and grow. When it comes to how often you should be doing this, according to a Nielsen Norman Group Survey, around 28% of businesses surveyed updated their personas either quarterly or even more frequently. Around 46% of those asked said they instead update their personas every one to four years. It’s interesting to note that the brands who claim to update their personas more regularly also have experienced a more positive impact on their business overall.
6. Use The Persona
After going through all the work of gathering data and looking through it to find commonalities among your client base, make sure you put your target persona to good use. Keep this fictional representation of your average customer in mind to guide your marketing, use in product development, and aid you in customer service strategies.
Reach Out, We Can Help
The creation of target personas is an ongoing process, so it is essential to keep revisiting and refining your understanding of what your average customer looks like. It’s also important to keep in mind that you can have multiple target personas, not just one, as your business might offer products and services that appeal to a range of people groups, and demographics. If you would like help either creating your target persona in the first place or updating your current one, contact us to learn more. We are happy to help!