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Creating Customer Personas: 4 Simple Steps

Understanding your target customers is essential for success. Learning their preferences, their likes and dislikes and purchasing motivations will enable you to better develop your products and services, and target your marketing strategies.

Developing concise customer personas can help you and your team get to grips with who your customers really are. Here's how you can create them, in four simple steps:

1. Group every customer persona
Group each customer type and assign them a 'catchy' name. For example, you could use alliteration to make the names more memorable. This is purely to help you identify and easily remember which persona is which and ideally should be related to the attributes within each that make up the customer type.

2. Outline the demographics
For each group, outline the demographic information that could affect their buying decisions, such as: age, gender, marital status, income, hobbies and geographical location. The more 'in-the-know' you are, the easier it will be to create effective marketing campaigns, produce engaging content and improve your branding.

For business to business companies, you should consider cluster them by the job titles they would typically have as one option. As an example, what employee level or title generally makes the decisions about buying your product/service?

Who tend to be the influencers? Once you know this you can group your contacts and adapt your marketing messages based on whether they are the ones doing the purchasing, or whether they have a say, or whether they are in fact going to be the users of the product. Understanding this much about your customers can be invaluable, and can then help you to better understand their motivations and priorities.

3. Understand customer priorities
Think about your customers' priorities when buying a product. Do they prefer standard, low price products over quality, high price goods? Do they prioritise easy returns when purchasing online? If you work in a service-based industry without a tangible product, what is your unique selling point? Group your customers based on the reasons they keep coming back to you. Answering these questions will ensure that your business plan isn�t based solely on guesswork.

Think about possible customer objections and how you can respond to them. For example, if a customer notices that a competitor sells a similar, but cheaper product or service, how can you communicate the value of your product to the customer?

4. Know where your customers are
You need to know exactly where your customers are. They will no doubt be present on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but also find out if there are any smaller, more niche sites where your target customers go to learn and talk about your industry. Take time to learn how they interact on those sites, so that you can target your communications accordingly.

Next, pinpoint where your customers seek information about your industry. This will allow you to identify the places where you need to be active; it will grant you insight into your customers' other interests, which in turn will help you develop better content.

In summary

The more you know about your customers, and spend time understanding their motivations and needs, the better able you will be at converting prospects, and the more customers you will retain over time because you will be better able to speak to them in the manner that they prefer, on the medium that they most use, and about the things that they really care about.

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