Identifying your target audience is essential for any business. In order to implement strong and successful marketing goals, you need to know who you are marketing your services or products to.
Once you make sure you’re targeting the right people, you’re likely to see an increase in brand engagement and conversions. In order to really identify and understand your customers, it’s important to create customer personas. HubSpot defines a customer persona as, ‘a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers’. These personas can be created at any time, and can be constantly evolved as you learn more about your customers or if their habits and characteristics change.
It can be hard to know where to begin when creating customer personas. There are a number of paths to follow, which can make the process lengthy, but it’s worth the time and effort. Follow our guide…
The first challenge of creating customer personas is knowing where to look for information about your audience. There are a few ways that you can source information – it’s always good to look in more than one place in order to get a really firm grasp of your customers.
Interviewing your existing customers is a good place to begin. Build a survey they can conduct online, and send this out to your database of email contacts. You may be able to interview customers directly through individual phone calls, face-to-face meetings or focus groups – use that same database of contacts to get in touch with your existing customers and organise these interviews.
Your website’s analytics system can tell you a lot about your customers. You’ll be able to see demographics such as gender, age and location. You can also find out how your customers came to your website – what keywords brought them to you, what paid ads attracted them, and what websites referred them. You can use this information to form ideas about your customers’ behaviours and interests, as well as their primary desires or problems.
If you’re setting up a new business, you can search for potential customers by using social media listening tools. Find people asking questions or raising queries about things that your products or services can help with.
For example, if you sell running shoes designed for cross-country running, you might search for people looking for more hard-wearing, supportive and resilient shoes, rather than your average trainers. Typing queries such as ‘terrain running shoes’ or ‘off-road running trainers’ into social media search engines will show you the conversation around this topic and may give valuable insight into the kind of people involved. Social channels such as Twitter and Facebook have search filters of their own too, so you can narrow searches by criteria such as location.
Also, think about topics related to what your business offers. People interested in off-road running might also be talking about off-road marathons and trail events, or raising questions such as how to avoid injuries when running.
There are a number of useful things you should glean from your customers to create strong customer personas. As well as potentially narrowing down your customer demographic by simple criteria such as gender, age and location, there are wider questions you should hope to answer, which will give you a better picture of exactly who you should be pushing your marketing efforts towards.
Depending on your type of business, learning more about your customers’ careers and education backgrounds can be essential. If you are in the B2B market, this information can be especially useful; for example, you may find that the vast majority of your customers are business owners or managers looking for solutions that can help their companies.
Even if your business does not operate within the B2B realm and is more B2C, you may still find similarities between your customers’ work lives and education – you might be able to narrow down your audience to broader types such as ‘busy housewives’, ‘recent graduates’ or ‘young professionals working in the city’.
In a similar sense as careers and education, learning about your customers’ incomes can better help you create marketing and sales strategies that reach the right people. Your customers’ disposable incomes should directly influence the prices you set for your services or products.
Gathering information about your audience’s interests is an integral part of building personas. You’ll want to find out what they enjoy, and how you might be able to tie this back to your products or services. It is good to be able to attach labels to your customer personas. Think about adjectives that best describe them. Are they fashionable? Athletic? Creative? Busy? Sociable? Adventurous?
If you’re marketing to a fashion-conscious audience of young women and you know that the vast majority are also interested in pop music, you might be able to merge fashion and music in your marketing efforts – for example, lookbooks or blogs offering style advice based on what chart singers are wearing.
Whatever your company, your number-one goal should be to solve a problem for your customers through your products or services. Assigning your customer personas with key problems or goals will let you find ways to help them overcome or reach these.
A pain point might be that they don’t have time to visit physical stores, so think about how you could adapt your eCommerce system to make it as quick as possible for them to buy your products and achieve their goal of hassle-free checkouts.
The most effective marketing strategies are often the result of really thinking about your customers and putting yourself in their shoes – taking time to create customer personas lets you harness this practice.
With our specialist eCommerce software, you can ensure that your customers receive a good online experience and increase the likelihood of conversions. Get in touch with our team by calling us on 01772 455052, or fill out our online form and we’ll get back to you shortly.