What information should I include in a useful client/customer persona?

The information you include in your personas will depend on your business and your sector, but here I’ve shared 8 Top Tips that should help you.  Don’t forget the last one – to give them a name and allocate them an image so you feel as if they’re human – it makes using them in great ways so much easier.

Lots of my clients have created lots of client/customer personas in their time.  Few of them however have really referred to them, used them or found them useful in their sales or communication strategies.  For me, that’s a real missed opportunity.  It’s mainly because they’ve kind of gone through the steps when creating the personas, not really gone deep.

When creating a useful client/customer persona, it’s essential to gather relevant information that helps you understand/describe your ideal clients or customers.

At a very basic level, your persona should include information about demographics. Include basic demographic information such as age, gender, location, income level, education, occupation, and marital status. These details provide a foundation for understanding your target audience.

It’s also useful to include some psychographics.  To do this, dive into the psychological and lifestyle aspects of your customers. Include information about their interests, hobbies, values, attitudes, motivations, and aspirations. This helps you understand their mindset and what drives their decision-making process.

Beyond these basics there are other, more factual things you should include.  And while the specific details may vary depending on your industry and business, here are some key elements to consider including when you’re creating a client/customer persona:

1. Business Information: If your client/customer is B2B, include details about the business or organisation your client/customer represents, such as industry, company size, annual revenue, and geographic location. This information helps you understand their context and specific business needs.

2. Role and Responsibilities: Identify the specific roles and responsibilities of your target clients/customers within their organisations/in their day to day life. Understand their job titles, decision-making authority, and areas of focus – this could include life roles eg.  being a mum, a dad or a school kid. This helps you tailor your offerings and messages to address their specific challenges and objectives.

3. Goals and Objectives: Determine the goals and objectives your clients/customers are trying to achieve in their business or lives. This could include increasing revenue, reducing costs, improving efficiency, expanding market share, or enhancing customer satisfaction in a B2B setting and some B2C settings.  But it could also be to be happier, healthier, more satisfied, more successful or a whole host of other things.  Spending time on this one and how it makes them tick enables you to position your products or services as solutions that help them achieve those objectives.

4. Pain Points and Challenges: Identify the pain points, challenges, or obstacles that your clients/customers face in their business/lives. This could include industry-specific challenges, regulatory issues, competition, or operational inefficiencies as well as relationships, personal development and so on. Understanding their pain points enables you to demonstrate how your offerings address those specific challenges.

5. Preferred Solutions and Expectations: Determine what solutions or attributes your clients/customers prefer in a product or service. Consider their expectations regarding features, quality, pricing, customer support, or delivery timelines. This helps you align your offerings with their preferences and deliver a better customer experience.

6. Buying Process: Understand the decision-making process your clients/customers go through when considering a purchase. Identify the key stakeholders involved, the evaluation criteria they use, and the typical steps in their buying journey. This helps you tailor your sales and marketing strategies to effectively guide them through the decision-making process.  Remember the person who ultimately makes the decision mightn’t be the person you’re speaking to, so give the person you’re speaking to all the information they need to feel powerful while influencing the ultimate decision-maker.

7. Communication Preferences: Consider how your clients/customers prefer to communicate and engage with vendors or service providers. This could include their preferred communication channels (email, phone, in-person meetings), preferred frequency and timing of communication, and their expectations regarding responsiveness and follow-up. Aligning your communication approach with their preferences strengthens your relationship and enhances customer satisfaction.

8. Budget and Financial Considerations: Understand the budgeting process and financial considerations your clients/customers have. This includes their budget allocation, decision-making authority regarding expenditures, and any specific financial constraints they face. Tailoring your offerings to fit within their budgetary parameters increases the likelihood of a successful fit.

Remember to base your client/customer personas on research, data, and insights from existing clients, market research, and industry knowledge. Regularly update and refine your personas as you gather more information and insights to ensure their accuracy and relevance.

And finally, I encourage my clients to go all out and give each persona a name and allocate an image to them.  This way they become really easy to visualise.

How good are your personas?  Top drawer or needing a bit of work?

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