Buyer persona guide

How to Create Customer Personas

Creating great customer experiences starts by understanding your customers

All good marketing strategies and great customer experiences start with your customers, or guests, students, stakeholders, citizens, donors, whoever your ‘customer’ is.

Creating buyer / customer personas helps to better understand your customers and prospects in order to tailor your content – and your entire marketing – to their specific needs.

What is a customer Persona

Customer personas are semi-fictional characters representing your ideal customer. They are based on real data and some educated speculation about customer demographics, pain points, behaviour patterns, motivations, and goals.

Personas are relevant to any business or organisation, whether B2B, B2C, educational, not-for-profit, and can be called a Customer persona, Donor persona, Student persona.

Here’s an example of a travel persona that I put together for a travel marketing event that I was invited to speak to.

Travel customer persona example

Why you need to create customer personas

Researching and building detailed profiles of your customers is essential to create personalised and targeted messages and align your positioning, messaging and content with your customers’ expectations. From your keyword strategy, to your content, ads copy, Landing pages, lead nurturing content and customer communications, buyer personas dictate every marketing activity and asset you create.

How to research personas

To gain useful insights in your audience, you’re looking for examples of the pains, problems, goals and desires, as well as  thought processes, the exact language used, and what problems they need help with solving.

Interview or survey your current customers

Use email surveys, online surveys and customer interviews to gather information about who are they, what is their location, gender, occupation, education, income, interests, familial status, age range, language.

You’ll want to find out about their pain points, their goals, what do they value most, where do they go online for information, what type of content they consume, where do they spend time online, what influencers they follow, what search terms they use to search for information, what are their shopping preferences.

Seek insights from many sources in your company

Within your company, involve any customer-facing teams, online or off, such as the sales team, customer service, tech support staff, /support, call centre representatives . They know the customer first hand and may have a wealth of information to share.

Identify behavioural trends with web analytics

Use tools such as Google Analytics to understand:

  • Topics they are reading
  • Demographic and behavioural data
  • Types of content they prefer
Ask questions on social media
  • Search for industry keywords and hashtags on social networks.
  • Check out discussions in the Comments section on relevant blog posts.
  • Search Facebook Groups.
  • Research LinkedIn profiles.
Seek relevant information on diverse sources
  • Use Facebook Insights to gather detailed information about Facebook users.
  • Do online research on Google, forums, publications and relevant websites.
  • Look for questions and answers on Quora and Reddit (search subreddits).
  • Look in Amazon book reviews for the top books in your industry, these reviews often contain information questions and pain points.
Organise customer interviews

You’ll want to interview between 5 to 15 customers to understand about their goals, frustrations, professional and personal background and the required information you’ve previously identified.

Now that you get a clear understanding of your customers’ pain points and goals, you’ll be in a better position to develop targeted key messages on how you solve their challenges and help them achieve their goals, as well as create targeted content that speaks to their specific needs.

Buyer Persona template