Every successful company has developed a method through which they identify, target, and capture their preferred customers. In the digital age, studying buyer personas has become widespread practice in the most forward-thinking companies.
Whether you are in the FMG business, the IT industry or the cycling market, formulating different buyer personas for your target market will help your sales and marketing teams quickly figure out who they are selling to and how they should approach each target.
What is User Persona?
Simply put, a 'user persona' is the virtual yet realistic representation of your ideal client. It is the comprehensive image of what a real user of your products or services would be.
To come up with the right kind of user persona, you need to incorporate extensive research into your typical customer. What are:
- Their needs?
- Their typical online behaviour?
- Their goals?
- Their spending power and habits?
- Where they hang out online?
- Who they go to for advice on what to buy?
The data gathered from this research will give you a clear direction on how to market to this audience. It could also help with future product development strategies, usability, and coming up with a user-centered design during the design process.
Why do you need 'User Persona' research?
The simple answer to this question is: so, you can make more sales. However, as is the norm with almost everything on this planet, the reality of the situations runs a little deeper than what you get on the surface.
Therefore, when it comes to defining the actual reasons why your business will need to develop proper customer personas for your target clientele, those mentioned below will suffice:
- Create good user experience: By developing the right kind of user personas you stand a better chance to adapt user-centric designs when it comes to product development. Once you start thinking of what your products or services can do for your clients as opposed to how much money they can make you, there is a good chance that you will come up with something that provides them with excellent user experience and as such, amazing returns on your investment.
- It improves efficiency: Once you have the right kind of user personas, every department in your organisation can get behind that and work efficiently to attract and retain those specific types of clientele.
- Helps you reach an agreement quickly: As soon as every department is on board and behind the right user persona profiles for your business, reaching an agreement on how to approach the marketing, branding and sales aspect of your business will be much easier.
Coming up with the right user personas for your target audience actually makes it easier for you to run your business as well as make a profit.
Coming up with buyer personas for your business
While it is true that you need excellently researched and formulated user personas for your business, the process involved in creating these personas is not exactly a walk in the park.
As mentioned earlier, it will take a great deal of research into your desired customers. To do that, you could either hire a big data company or you could take the task on yourself.
If you choose to go it yourself, as most small business owners would, then there are several things you need to know.
What kind of questions would your user person questionnaire contain?
There is a simple rule of thumb to observe when coming up with the right kind of questionnaire for the development of your user personas: every question should be practically applicable to your customer's lifecycle.
Meaning, even if the question seems great, but you cannot figure out how it applies to your customers vis-a-vis your product or service, then you shouldn't ask it.
Refrain from coming up with 'small talk - water cooler' questions. Every question asked should add value and shed a brighter light on the targets traits, habits and actual personality.
Some examples of questions that you should ask include:
- How would you describe your personal demographic?
- Describe your career path?
- What is your educational background?
- Describe your typical day?
Of course, you are going to need things like their names, an image and maybe even their residence. All this will give you a good overview of their kind of lifestyle and their purchasing power.
However, just because someone has strong purchasing power does not mean that they are a good target; they might not spend that money easily. You need to know whether or not they can actually use some of that money to buy what you are selling.
Usually, the best way to go about this is to get a template that comprehensively guides you on how to create the best kind of user personas. While you can very well create your own, there is something to be said about not reinventing the wheel.
There are already some excellent free User Persona templates that can help you define your target customers. All you have to do is choose one that works for you, the industry in which you are, and the size of your organisation.
After that, it is up to you to stay the course and follow up on the questions asked and fill out all the sections to make sure that you get a complete persona profile of your target audience.