Most businesses think they know their customers, but the reality ends up surprising them. Persona mapping is the process of identifying who your clients are and how they make decisions and applying this information to the development of more effective marketing strategies.
While very few businesses have purely one type of customer, identifying traits that are more or less common to your clients will allow you to tailor your messaging to resonate with your customers better.
How to Develop a Customer Persona
The first step in persona mapping is research. Many businesses outsource this to marketing firms, but there’s no reason it can’t be done in-house. In fact, you probably already have a wealth of tools at your disposal that will make the process easier. These can include past survey results, demographic data and previous communication through social media. You can also take advantage of traditional persona mapping techniques such as holding focus groups and one-on-one interviews with past and prospective customers.
Many businesses find it useful to develop separate personas for each of the different types of customers they hope to attract. If it helps you think more clearly, you can create a fictional profile for each persona — think of these as mini-biographies that different segments of your customer base will be able to relate to.
Identifying Needs and Buying Style
The next part of developing a customer persona creation toolkit is to take this biographical data and analyze it. What do you think a customer of this background is looking for when they visit your website or online store? What are the factors that will motivate them to make a purchase? Will they be more swayed by an emotional appeal, or by cold hard facts? These are the types of questions that will guide your content creation and help you effectively market your product or service.
Perhaps the most important question to answer is “When is my customer most likely to make a purchase decision?” In order to effectively map content to the buying cycle, you’ll need to know what your customers’ pain points are, where they turn for help solving these problems, and when they are most receptive to a sales pitch. This information is an invaluable addition to any buyer persona toolkit that will play a large role in how you market yourself online.
Sharing and Refining a Buyer Persona Toolkit
Persona mapping is only effective if your whole company is on board. Persona toolkits should be shared not only with your sales department but also with your development team — they can use it to further refine product offerings.
.So, what does a successful, actionable segmentations look like? A successful persona segmentation effort is first and foremost one that is adopted. Fortunately, there is a checklist that marketers and market researchers can follow to protect against the risk of a six-month segmentation effort ending with a thud (literally, the 100-page PowerPoint hitting the bottom of the shredder bin).