How To Create Customer Personas That Forge Emotional Connections
How well do you know your customer? Perhaps you know roughly how old they are, or even where they live. But you need to understand them on a deeper level if you want to create an emotional connection with your brand. This is where customer personas can help.
What is a customer persona?
Think of a customer persona (also known as a buyer persona, or a marketing persona) as a conceptual portrait of your target audience. Based on both quantitative data and qualitative research, it brings together demographic and psychographic insights into a semi-fictional character that represents your ideal customer. (In fact, many brands have several customer personas – each representing a different subset of their target audience.)
The aim is to get inside the mind of your ideal customer. You want to get to know their pain points, so you can address them. You want to understand their aspirations, so you can help achieve them. You want to recognise how they see themselves, so you can speak to them in a way they relate to.
Why do I need a customer persona?
Customer personas help you develop in-depth knowledge of who your ideal customer is and how they think, which is crucial for creating an emotional connection with your brand. They encourage you to consider your target audience as a real person, rather than a spreadsheet of data or random names on a database. This shift in perspective helps your team become more customer-centric. When thinking in human terms, you’re more likely to consider your product or service in terms of the benefits you offer, rather than getting caught up in the features.
Dividing your target audience into distinct customer personas allows you to better personalise your marketing for different segments. Because let’s face it: targeting your audience by demographics alone is not enough to make an emotional impact. How much does everyone aged 25 to 35 really have in common? Just because a person is female, does that mean they want the same thing as the next woman? Customer personas offer a more holistic view of a target audience, so you can craft a marketing message that really speaks to them.
Properly defined customer personas also keep your internal efforts more aligned, because there’s less room for interpretation or confusion. All the more crucial if you have several teams within your company, or even your marketing department. For each product launch or sales promotion, ask yourself: does it meet the needs of at least one customer persona? If not, start over. Empowering your team with the intelligence to best-serve your ideal customer not only saves time and resources, it also increases individual agency and morale
Ultimately, customer personas help you engage consumers and improve conversion rates, boosting sales while increasing brand loyalty. What marketer doesn’t want that?
Ultimately, customer personas help you engage consumers and improve conversion rates, boosting sales while increasing brand loyalty.
What should I include in a customer persona?
The needs of every business are different, so consider what information is most useful for you. Selling headphones? Understanding what your customers listen to is invaluable (but would probably be irrelevant for a kitchenware brand). Marketing phone contracts? Thinking about your customers’ personal relationships could be a good place to start (but might be less interesting if you’re selling headphones).
It might be helpful to break your persona down into demographics, psychographics and purchasing decisions. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Spending power and patterns
Personality – the five-factor model:
- Occupation and seniority
- Living location and situation
- Stage of life
- Social habits
- Content consumption
- Communication preferences
Opinions, attitudes and beliefs:
- Goals (extra points if you consider Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs)
- Challenges or pain points
- Political stance
- Real quotes
Values – a person’s sense of right and wrong:
- What are the benefits of your product or service to them?
- What are their motivations to purchase from you?
- What obstacles stop them purchasing from you?
- Where are they in the buyer journey?
- What marketing message is most relevant to them?
- What’s your elevator pitch to this person?
How do I create a customer persona?
1. Look at the information you’ve got
We bet you’ve already got data you can inspect for trends. Who’s on your brand’s email list? Who visits your website? Who follows your social media accounts? Start by gathering everything you already know about your customers and prospects – you’ll be surprised at how much insight you have.
Next, talk to your customer-facing team members. What do your salespeople know about your target audience that you may not have considered? How does your customer service team adapt their communication based on who they’re talking to? Conducting internal interviews is not only great for insight-gathering, it also gets the buy-in of your team.
2. Carry out additional research
Now you’ve sketched an outline of your customer persona (or personas), identify gaps in your knowledge that need filling. Focus on engaging with a mix of existing and prospective customers, along with people outside your database who fit your target audience.
There are lots of ways to gather insights: Ask your customer-facing teams to conduct short interviews. Run an email survey, offering discounts or entry into a prize drawer as a reward for completion. Add fields to existing email sign-up forms to capture useful personal information. Create polls on social media. The opportunities are endless.
3. Bring your persona to life
There’s no right way to present your customer persona, but in our experience the more effort you put in, the more likely your team is to use it. To make the information easy to absorb and remember, bring in your creative marketing skills. Give your customer persona a name, and even an image or custom illustration. Make sure it’s written in your brand tone of voice, and in-line with your visual guidelines. If you want the information to stick, put as much effort into developing this internal tool as you would any external communications.
4. Socialize your persona
Finally, make sure everyone in your business is introduced to your persona(s). If possible, present it to your whole company. Make sure it’s included in new-starter inductions. You could even put a cardboard cutout in your office. The better your whole team gets to know each customer persona, the more useful it’ll be.
When it comes to consumer-centric selling that creates an emotional connection with your brand, the more you know about your ideal customer, the better. So, if you’re considering creative campaign ideas for a consumer-oriented sales promotion, start by creating customer personas.
At RIX, we do the hard work for you. We’ll create customer personas for your brand as part of our proposal, to make sure we deliver truly customer-centric reward solutions.
Want to see creative reward ideas tailored to your ideal customer? Get in touch to find out more.