Once you start promoting your business, the first piece of advice you get is: Define your target audience. But how to do that? In today’s article, we’ll tell you what customer personas are and how to use them effectively.
Target audience: what is it anyway?
Few businesses are so versatile that they sell to absolutely everyone. The target audience is the customers to whom you sell your products. Examples of a target group might be women on maternity leave or men aged 65–75 who like books.
Why is knowing your target group so important?
If you don’t know who you are selling to, it will be very difficult to sell to them. You’ll waste time and spend money trying to attract customers who have no interest in your product, while customers who are interested will buy from your competitors in the meantime. You need to know who you’re selling to in the first place, and only then decide when, where how and how much to sell it for.
What do you need to know about your target audience?
The target group can consist of various parameters. These include:
- place of residence,
- income level,
- marital status,
- and other specifics.
The target group can be both narrow (small business owners aged 30–40 who are interested in technology) and broad (women with children). But how do you determine a specific marketing strategy and tone of communication based on your knowledge of your target audience? Customer personas can help you do that.
Customer personas: Find out who you’re talking to
A customer persona is a personification of your typical customer. It contains information that characterizes them, but also their goals or motivations. Depending on how big your business is and what products you offer, you may have one customer persona, but you may also have dozens of them. For example, if you run a hotel, you may have young couples in love staying there as well as business travellers.
How to create a customer persona: Analyse customer data
Sometimes customer personas emerge automatically. But what to do if you don’t know who your customers are? You probably already have the data. Just look at the analytics tools on your website or social networks. You’ll probably soon discover recurring patterns: for example, that men use your products differently than women. So, based on the data, you can create one customer persona for men and one for women.
Take the customer persona out for a beer
Imagine you’re talking to a customer persona – let’s call him Tom, for example – in person. How would you talk to Tom if you were sitting with him over a beer? What problems might he be solving? How is he financially? Which arguments apply to him? What do you use to get his attention and how long can he keep it? And if you didn’t know Tom at all, where would you likely run into him? All these questions will give you the answer to how to set up your communication strategy.
What do you need to adapt to customer personas?
It is not enough to define the target group. You also need to adapt your entire communication strategy to it. What does the customer persona influence?
1. The tone of the texts
A good copywriter knows who he or she is writing to and tailors his or her copy accordingly. Again, think of Jaroslav and the conversation you are having with him.
- Is it better to tact him or shout at him?
- Does he appreciate shorter sentences or longer sentences?
- Does he understand the subject matter and technical terms, or is he more of a layman?
- Is he interested in the topic you are writing about, or is he just trying to get the information he needs?
- Does he or she have a sense of humour?
- Does he or she enjoy formalities?
- Is he persuaded by rational or emotional arguments?
- Does he or she like emoticons in the text?
Different customer personas appreciate different graphics. In general, the older generation will welcome more sober visuals, while with younger customers you can experiment with wild colours and try moving gifs or popular memes, for example.
It’s also very often the case that men are more likely to be appealed to by sharp angles and bold colours, while women like rounded shapes and softer colours.
The psychology of colour can give you another clue. For example, if you know that Tom values confidence above all else, choose a colour that evokes that feeling.
3. Marketing channel
Where can you meet Tom? Does he go to trade fairs and conferences, where you can attract him with an imaginative stand, or does he sit at home and browse the internet, where an ad pops up every now and then?
Tip: Apply the consideration of where your customers are when deciding which social networks to be active on. Does Tom browse Instagram to admire beautifully photographed products, follow celebrities on Twitter, or is he more likely to build a network of professional contacts on LinkedIn?
4. Sales arguments
What will Tom appreciate the most and what will be the main reason why he will buy your product? Is it quality, social status or environmental friendliness? Is he more impressed by emotional arguments or by cold logic?
5. Time for posting on networks and sending emails
If you post on social media or send out newsletters, you’ll want to know when the best time is. You can find out in two ways:
- Think about when Tom will be most active. Does he read his emails at work or in the evening in front of the TV? Does he check social media in the morning or before he goes to bed?
- If you have a large enough audience, you’ll find all the data you need about when your customers are active in analytics tools. For example, Eclincher is a useful tool for social media analytics.
What social class does Tom belong to? What is his income? What price can he afford? What would convince him to buy a more expensive product?
Do you have more customer personas? Segment
As we mentioned, it’s likely that you’ll have more customer personas. But what to do when each target group requires a completely different approach? Segment your content, plain and simple. Create a separate site for each target group or break your site into multiple sections like we did at myTimi.
Segment your ad targeting in the same way. Target business travellers with a post about your hotel being well-equipped, cheap and in an affordable location, and couples in love with a post describing the charming and romantic atmosphere they’ll experience at your hotel. Create a few different audiences for your newsletters too and send slightly different text to each. There’s no point in trying to appeal to everyone at once.
Do you need help with creating your target audience?
Don’t know how to do it, lack the necessary data or simply don’t have the time? We’ll be happy to help you with creating a target group and identifying customer personas. Look at what we can do for you in the field of marketing and don’t hesitate to contact us.