The creation of marketing personas fits well within the context of a relationship marketing strategy, especially when the goal is to create an effective and profitable web strategy. Defining personas has as its goal getting to know your client base very thoroughly by developing a certain empathy for your clients and prospects. This will eventually let you meet their every need according to their way of thinking and acting. This whole process will allow you to create offers and content that are truly suited to your target customer and segment your databases in order to effectively personalize your emails or your AdWords campaigns. Even if you can easily understand the appeal of such a move, creating personas is still not an obvious thing. The process requires you to take a step back and, a fortiori, follow a clear and precise methodology.
What does a persona consist of?
Creating a persona is a bit like drafting an investigation report – or rather, a surveillance report – on Customer X, who represents a target group of your customers. This is obviously a fictional character, but they’re no less valuable to the search for information on the target group to which they belong. It’s therefore a matter of having a clear mental picture of your persona in order to draw useful conclusions for your business from them.
The steps involved in creating your personas
- Before you start defining your personas, make a list of the answers you’re looking for; this will let you achieve a relevant, results-oriented approach. You should also determine a budget for this operation in order to determine which sources you’ll be able to use to conduct your research. We recommend, if your budget permits it, carrying out market research by yourself, whether it’s through discussion groups to obtain qualitative responses or by creating and distributing detailed questionnaires to achieve satisfactory quantitative sampling. It all depends on the size of your company and, of course, on the structure of your target customers.
- Base your personas on concrete facts and not on your own assumptions or personal experiences. Nothing beats fact-based conclusions, so don’t hesitate to cross-check your theories with market studies in your field or your CRM tools. Validate your personas with your team members, in particular your sales representatives, who have that field experience that’s so valuable when it comes to gathering information. The goal here is to have an objective view, and not to base your strategy on false beliefs.
- Limit your personas to 3 profiles to start with. Of course, you can aim broadly and sell to anyone who’s interested in your products, but remember that the goal here is to create “typical” profiles in order to better understand your customers and guide your strategy. The only way to do that is to focus on your priority targets, and especially not to get too scattershot in your approach! Less is more. Afterward, once you’ve fully mastered the process, you’ll of course be able to expand your base of personas.
2. Creating your persona
- Begin by creating a detailed ID card for your persona and providing the following information on it:
- Their first and last name as well as a photo, to personalize your persona as much as possible, thereby creating a reference point that will be recognized by all members of your team;
- Their sex;
- Their age;
- Their profession and socio-professional category;
- Their marital status;
- Their place of residence;
- Their areas of interest;
- What does a typical day look like for them?
- If they’re a professional client, you should indicate other information, such as their role within the company, or what skills they possess, or the size of the company in which they work, etc.
- Other personalized criteria can be included depending on your line of business: adjust them based on what seems relevant to you.
- Once the ID card step has been finalized, you should identify the exact needs of your persona: understanding their needs and objectives is essential to successfully defining the persona. Ask yourself what solution they’re looking for and how they intend to find it. What are their purchasing preferences? What type of salesperson do they prefer to deal with?
- All the questions mentioned above are important, but the most essential one concerns the “why.” If you’re leading discussion groups or studies involving questionnaires, the “why” questions will let you identify the deeper motivations of the buyers. You’ll therefore be able to detach yourself from their statements to identify their underlying motivations.
- Next, take a look at the feelings the persona has toward your products or services. Would they be spontaneously interested? What would they think of your products? Above all, what would their objections be vis-à-vis the arguments of your products? Having this type of information will let you integrate it into your content and your conversion tunnel in order to be more efficient.
3. What to do with the personas you’ve created now
- Once your personas have been established, the first thing to do is to distribute them en masse to your entire team. It would be a pity to have worked on all these profiles and then not put them to use! Your employees will be able to benefit from them in all their activities.
- Adjust your operations based on the results of your research; create your email campaigns, your content on your blog or social networks, or your website based on the needs that you’ve identified in your study.
- Don’t hesitate to go back to your persona cards after 6 to 12 months based on feedback from your employees or generated by the changes in your actions. You can also create “negative” personas that will let you remove certain profiles from your target client base and save money, especially on your AdWords campaigns.