Are you and your customers BFFs?

A wedding dress hanging in front of a large window covered in windowpanes.

Do you know your customers? Like really, really know them? Are you in the know with their interests, challenges, goals, family make up, financial standing, likes and dislikes? 
Audience personas are meant to take the mystery out of who your customers are.
Making mass generalizations based on what you think you know about your customers will only hurt your sales and marketing. It’ll be completely and utterly unsuccessful.
An audience persona is a deep dive into your target audience. It is a fictional person who represents the characteristics of your ideal customer. It seems silly when you are creating them, but they’re incredibly important to aligning marketing and sales. 
They’re also really fun to build. We’ll share a totally made up one at the end of the blog.

Why they’re important

How do you sell to someone you don’t know? If you don’t understand what motivates them, then how can you create content, messaging, products or services to meet their specific needs? Without personas, you’re left guessing what your customers want, which means you are developing marketing based on what you know, instead of what your audience actually needs.
All your personas should be built on market research as well as insight from your existing customer base. Think surveys and interviews. 
Personas allow you to personalize your marketing for the different segments of your audience.

Crafting a Persona

This is the fun part, we promise. You literally get to invent people. For example, you could name the customer you absolutely don’t want Karen. Kind of perfect, are we right?
We break it down by the who, what, why and how. There’s a bit more to it, but we’re not gonna give away all of our secrets.

  1. Who: Map out their basic demographic information. This includes job title, gender, age, family composition, location and overall demeanor.
  2. What: Identify what motivates them. What are their goals and challenges? What can your company do to help them meet their goals and eliminate those challenges?
  3. Why: What are all the reasons they can come up with to not work with you? Identify the objections they would have to hiring you or working with your company.
  4. How: You now know the who, what and why; now you need to identify how you talk about your products and services. What is your pitch to this persona? What messaging is going to resonate?

The last part? Give them a name. Check out our example below for an event company.

The Persona

Bride: AlexisA visual of the bride persona for Alpine Events.
Alexis is a manager at a fashion boutique in downtown Grand Rapids. She is originally from the area but went out to UCLA for school. After a year of traditional education, she decided she would prefer fashion school and transferred to FCI Fashion School.
After graduating, Alexis had a couple of internships and entry-level positions with designers but couldn’t find a position to support a lifestyle in L.A. She decided to move back home. She is very active on Instagram and has gotten a few small influencer opportunities by utilizing the network she built out west and to supplement her income and love for fashion. She would like to see how she could do this more.
Upon moving back to Michigan, she met a nice man through mutual friends. After dating for a couple of years, he asked her to marry him. She said yes and has been Pinteresting all of her aspirations for her wedding ever since.
 

CategoryDescription
Age28
OccupationManager in a Fashion Boutique and Aspiring Influencer
FamilyEngaged and has a dog
GoalsAlexis wants an Instagrammable wedding that she will never forget
ChallengesThere are so many options and providers that she doesn’t know who is going to be the best fit for her special day.
Pain PointsAlexis doesn’t want to do a lot of research. She knows exactly what she wants out of her wedding, but she needs to find a company that can provide that dream and work with her budget.
Information ChannelsInstagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, blogs and vlogs, podcasts
InfluencersFamily, friends, pop culture news/trends, social media influencers
Desired Content TypesVideo, graphics, real testimonials, and before-and-after images
Desired Messaging ToneCasual, accommodating and personalized
OpportunityThe events company can demonstrate to Alexis that they are capable of creating a unique, personalized experience that exceeds her expectations.

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