There’s an excellent exercise for getting into the mind of your customer.  It’s called creating your Customer Persona.

Customer Personas

Here’s the gist…your target customer or client has all sorts of characteristics that describe them.  If you know and understand that information, then you can use it to create a fundamental strategy on how you communicate with them, better serve their needs, and keep them (and your market segment) loyal to you and your services and widgets.

This is (at least) a two-part process, so stick with me.

Start by gathering information.  And ideally, this is REAL information based on your ACTUAL prospects and customers/clients…not just speculation by what you think defines them.

You can gather demographic information, like:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Education level
  • Income
  • Location
  • Marital/family status
  • Sexual preference
  • Religious beliefs
  • Etc.

You can (and should) also gather psychographic information on your market segment, which includes info that’s less quantifiable.  It’s more about preferences and habits.  Stuff like:

  • Needs
  • Concerns
  • Wants
  • Fears
  • Frustrations
  • Pressures
  • Drivers (cost vs. benefit)
  • Etc.

You can gather this information to build your Customer Persona in several ways.

The most accurate method is to ask directly — talk to several of your customers and get a sense of the similarities and ties among them.

You can also look into social media.  Using social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., you can get a sense of who they are and what they need.

And if you’re not a fan of social media, another option is to put a survey on your website or out to your email list.  A great free resource to create surveys and polls SurveyMonkey.

Once you have that information, you can then create a “customer persona,” or general archetype of your customer and market segment.  One of the best ways to do this is to actually create a (semi) fictitious profile of that person.

Write it like you were writing a biography — talk about what their day is like when they wake up, go to work, go shopping, come home, etc.  What are their frustrations?  What makes them happy?  Talk about their lifestyle and habits.  And finally, find a (real looking) picture that looks how you think they would, and place it along with the bio.

Use that customer persona bio whenever you’re getting ready to create marketing materials or tailor your new product line to the market segment you’re after.  Reference it every day so that you’re REALLY getting into your customer’s head.

You can even stop and ask, “Would ‘Steve’ be into this?”  “How would ‘Michelle’ feel about this new direction?  Would it speak to her and answer her needs?”

The more energy you can devote towards truly answering wants, needs, and desires of your market segment by understanding them, the more success you likely find.  Researching and writing a customer persona is well worth the time if it’s going to mean a bigger bottom line for you.  social media

* Special thanks to Jenny Magic and Clay Delk for their contributions about creating a Customer Persona.  Damn smart folks.