This article will look at creating customer personas, to help you understand and define your marketing communications strategy and delivery and ultimately attract your target customers to your business.
Marketing your business is often seen as a minefield of overcrowded, ineffective and costly (of both your time and money) activity. You need to be a researcher, behaviourist, creative, innovator, linguist and data analyst to name but a few…but without marketing your business, you can’t attract new customers. Here I try and break this into a simple and achievable starting point from a practitioner perspective.
So, here’s a few ideas to get you started:
Know your customer or customers
In a previous blog I wrote about storytelling, well this is the part where you get to create your characters – your target customer or customers. What are they called? What do they enjoy doing? What challenges do they face? How and where do they spend their time? What do they relate to?
Harry, 15, enjoys skateboarding with his group of friends from school. He’s constantly on snapchat and posts short videos of himself and his mates doing tricks on TikTok. He’s very conscious of his self image and will choose brands that his mates wear and his favourite artist from Wireless.
Michelle, 43, works full time at a local business. She enjoys walks in the park and coffee and cake with a close knit group of friends. She’s on Facebook, but rarely posts unless it’s a special occasion. She shops online with Ocado, but does enjoy the makers markets at the local town centre. She likes the feeling of community and a personal touch.
You can get creative and find pictures that illustrate your customer personas and key words.
How you would market to Harry would be very different to Michelle. They have different interests, different places they go to, different social media platforms and would have a different tone of voice to appeal to them. How they make decisions on purchases is different.
Don’t have too many persona’s, one or two is great unless you have a diverse business portfolio, keep it clear and simple so that your marketing can be segmented and targeted.
Research is key
How would you know this about your customer persona? By undertaking market research! Ask people who meet your customer type what they like about your business, what problems it solves, where they would go to find you, why they would buy from you. Look at similar profiles online – who do they follow, what do they post about, what language to they use, how do they interact with people and businesses.
Always have your eyes and ears open (and a notebook to hand!) as there is so much information out there to gather and sometimes all it takes is a quick drop of information that aligns to your values and those of your target customer.
Design your campaign
How will your business offering appeal to your target customer or customers? What language would make them feel connected to your product or service and so make a decision? How would your offering solve an issue or problem for them or benefit their sense of belonging, wellbeing, and value? Which channels (email, social media, print, radio, outdoor) are relevant to your customer? What visuals will resonate? What Harry would click on is going to be different to what Michelle would choose.
You should have this from your research, so now you need to apply it to your communications.
Feedback, Measure and Learn
I personally use Canva to mock up ideas, designs and storyboards and then come back and re-work with a fresh pair of eyes, get feedback (from people who match my customer persona) and re-work again.
Trial it, measure response and conversions and yes, learn and re-work again.
From a branding perspective, once you have a chosen brand theme, colour, font etc it’s important to keep it consistent throughout everything (website, social media, any print ads.) Absolutely change your strapline or message to keep it relevant. I personally think aligning to events that are current, in the public eye (think Bake-off, Wimbledon, World Cup final) and that are aligned to your customer persona helps keep a campaign fresh, relevant, and alive.