As a small business, marketing can be particularly tricky.
If you’re going at it yourself with a small budget, it’s critically important that your resources are used as effectively as possible. One of the most helpful tools that we use every day in marketing for our clients is the customer persona.
We use customer personas to focus our attention on the perfect client. Knowing where they are, what they do, and what interests them (besides your business) helps to get the right type of ads in the right place. This helps businesses of all sizes create effective ads and reduce wasted ad spend.
What is a customer persona?
The customer persona is a document that compiles everything you need to know about your ideal client. Think of it as your customer’s life story on one page. You can build out as many customer personas as you like, however, we only recommend creating three to five personas for most small businesses.
A customer persona should be crafted as close as possible to a real person. This person could be an idealized version of a real customer, or they can be fictional, but most importantly it should be a realistic person who would actually shop for your product or service. For instance, if you are a high-end engagement ring designer, a good person to focus on in this exercise would be a 30-year-old upper-middle-class male who is about to propose to his girlfriend.
If you could boil down your clientele into just three or four people, who would they be? Where do they work? What websites do they visit? This is the stuff that makes your marketing much more effective. Having this information helps to target ads in the right place, and use the most effective messaging. This way the real, actual potential clients will see your ads and act.
Start with research
Begin your customer persona creation with some brainstorming. You can jot down actual clients that you know, or just the gist of people who buy from you. You can also do a customer persona for a relevant influencer. In our jeweler’s scenario, this would be the girlfriend. Just make sure if you’re spending the time crafting customer personas that these people are the decision makers or heavily influence the decision maker. Get down as many people that you can think of then start to cull out until you have five or fewer people to work with.
Then it’s time to start researching them. Start with people you really know that may fit the description. Check out their Facebook and see what they like and what they share. From there you can find friends (or on LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter, related profiles) and look for the same things. You’ll start to notice trends in what they like or don’t like, sites they use or don’t use. All of this is valuable information for your customer persona. Look for as many of these example people as possible to really get a solid idea of who they are.
If you already have a dedicated clientele, you can interview your clients for this information. Just make sure that it’s quick and easy for them. You can do in-person interviews but it may be easier if you send an email blast with a short anonymous survey. If you want to it more enticing for the customer you can offer them a benefit like a 10% off coupon for their time.
How to use our worksheet
While you’re doing your research, jot down some notes on what you find, it will be useful when it comes to building the customer persona. We have this handy free customer persona worksheet that has all the basics you need to have for each persona. Simply download the worksheet and print to use while crafting your customer persona.
Start by giving your persona a name. It’s much easier to think in the concrete for choosing ads (“what would Michael like?” versus “what would Customer A like?”). Give them a specific age, gender (or GNC), where they live and what do they do.
We like to gather as much information as possible on our marketing personas, getting into the nitty-gritty details of where they would have gone to school, and how do they get their news, if they have a spouse, kids, pets. This guides us to their interests and what social media platforms they use and how often.
From there we like to think about our goals versus their goals. Depending on your business this could be totally different for you and the persona. You could sell the most beautiful jewelry, but the customer’s goal is the proposal, not buying the ring.
Once you know everything relevant there is to know about your ideal customer, you can put it all into action. Your research will guide you to which platform or website will be the best place to reach your client. It will even let you know what kind of wording or marketing voice they may listen to. From there you can decide what content you’ll post or what advertisements would be intriguing to your persona.
Don’t have the time to craft five new customer personas? At Get Online NOLA we can do the legwork for you. Let’s start with a free strategy session to learn more!