Understanding your brand’s audience is business 101. After all, your customers are the ultimate driving force behind your success – so knowing how best to engage them is paramount to the sustainable growth of your business.
With this in mind, more and more brands are turning to the creation of customer personas to better understand their customers’ behaviours and interests. By doing so, businesses are able to ensure they communicate more effectively with their audience, improving consumer-brand relations while driving engagement and, ultimately, conversions.
But how do you create a buyer persona for your brand? It may sound like a daunting task, but it’s not as hard as you might think – with the right know-how and some simple yet smart application, a deeper understanding of your customer base is just six steps away.
Look at the data
To ensure an accurate and effective consumer persona, your profile needs to be based on hard data.
Remember that your persona won’t necessarily be the same as your target audience, and it’s important to be able to differentiate between the two from the off. To put it simply, your target audience are the customers you’d like to engage, while your consumer persona represents the customers who are already engaging with your brand.
While, in an ideal world, these two might perfectly align (and in these instances, you should pat yourself on the back for a super-focused marketing strategy!), this won’t always be the case. As such, ensure you don’t let your target audience influence the way in which your buyer persona is constructed – instead, let the data do the talking.
Start with the basics
Begin by gathering the basic data on your typical user – age and gender are good places to start here.
Of course, it’s highly unlikely that your audience will exclusively fall into one demographic, so look to build the foundations of your persona on the most dominant user or customer type. This doesn’t mean the others should be ignored – on the contrary, this data can form the basis of a new consumer persona further down the line.
Dig a little deeper
With the basic information collected, look to dig deeper into your data to build a more comprehensive profile – think bounce rates, user interests, new vs returning users, landing pages and average pages per session here.
By doing this, you’ll begin to better understand your customers’ behaviour patterns, helping your persona to evolve from one based purely on objective characteristics. This will come together to create an overview of your typical user based on how they interact with your site and, as we’ll explore now, what they’re looking to achieve.
Identify the goal
Use the data you’ve collected to inform common customer goals – what is the user’s intent when browsing your site?
Having hard data to hand is all well and good, but, without an understanding of how this data translates to user objectives, you’re barely scratching the surface when it comes to getting to know your audience. So, spend time thinking about what this data actually represents, and build a more detailed persona around your findings.
For example, let’s say a business owner runs a popular interior design company with a website that ranks well organically. Following her basic data gathering, she has concluded that her audience is predominantly female and in the 25-34-year-old age bracket. After delving into the browsing activity of these users, she can see they average around 6 pages per session and generally browse on mobile rather than desktop. So what?
Well, this actually tells us a whole lot about user intent. From the data above, we can build a persona built on assumptions but rooted in evidence. The fact that the user is browsing multiple pages per session, for example, may suggest the user doesn’t yet have a clear indication of the product they want and they’re in the navigational rather than transactional stage of the sales funnel.
This can be taken further still when looking at landing pages and user interests. By studying where your users are finding your site and even utilising Google Analytics’ handy user interests tool to see where else they’re browsing, you’ll be able to better gauge your user’s intent. In this way, you can come to understand why your users are here and what they’re looking for.
Personify the persona
Get creative and personify your buyer persona by assigning characteristics and attributes based on the data gathered.
To do this successfully, think outside the box to build a fictional character around your data. By adding this human element to your data, you’re reminded that your audience consists of real life buyers as opposed to numbers on a screen. This helps you to better tailor your strategies for maximum engagement.
Returning to the data collected by our interior design business owner, for example, we could create a persona we’ll call Susie. As Susie is aged between 25 and 34 and browsing interior design related topics, we can conclude that Susie is likely a first-time home owner. Since she’s browsing on her phone for an average of 6 pages per session, it’s likely she’s looking for interior inspiration rather than a specific product – and perhaps pushed for time as a result of being a first-time mother. Already, you can begin to see how a little creative interpretation of data can go a long way.
Apply to your strategy
With your consumer persona complete, it’s time to start tailoring your marketing strategies accordingly.
Remember: the point of creating a buyer persona is to better understand your audience, helping you adapt your marketing strategies to meet their unique needs. So, use your persona to highlight what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong, adapting as necessary.
Ask yourself what problems your fictional persona is likely to face and create content that resolves these problems. Alternatively, consider whether your fictional persona would positively engage with your existing brand voice and content style. If not, your brand voice might need some more work.
Creating a buyer persona is a fun and creative way to understand your customers in a new light. With the right application, this persona can help you build an authentic and focused brand identity that meets the wants and needs of your audience. With this weapon in your marketing arsenal, engagement is a done deal.
Now you know your audience that little bit better, it’s time to build a thriving community of engaged customers. Get in touch with us today to book your free online demo of our community engagement platform.