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6 Steps to Develop Personas for Your Target Clients

Business owners learning about marketing may stumble across the idea of creating personas for their current or target clients. While creating personas sounds like a good idea, many entrepreneurs struggle with how to get started. Here is a step-by-step guide to personas.

What is a Persona?

In marketing, a persona is a fictional representation of a group of your customers or target customers, often with the goal of making sure their needs are met by your company’s services, products, content, or advertising.

Why Use Personas?

When you create them, you create a dossier, a one-page document listing this person’s fictional name, photo, and information about him or her. That information includes his or her pain points, goals, attitudes, reasons he/she might choose your company, and more. A content writer will use personas to figure out the audience for whom a piece is written. Your salesperson might use them to narrow down people he talks to at a networking event. These dossiers put everyone on the same page and help you and your team focus your efforts.

How to Create Your Personas in 6 Steps

Creating personas takes some time and effort. You can see that in this in-depth guide to personas. For many small business owners, that’s overkill. Here are the steps for a small-scale approach:

1. Interview or observe your clientele. If you have a large number of clients, you can choose a subset. Ask customers/clients open-ended questions based on what you want to know about them. You might be trying to fill a gap in your knowledge, for example, or you may be trying to get a bead on what people like about your company. Some common things to put into a persona include:

a. Location
b. Household income
c. Gender
d. Job role
e. What bothers them (related to your product/service)
f. Why they chose you above others
g. What information they find helpful that you can provide
h. Challenges
i. Hobbies and/or his/her third place
j. Marital/child status
k. Values
l. What they read/watch

2. Look at other data. If you work with an SEO or web team, ask for any other information they can provide from analytics to help add to knowledge base. Ask the sales team to weigh in on what they hear from people.

3. Compile the information in a way that lets you see the same answers in a group. That way you can analyze it.

4. Look for patterns. Does a trend emerge? That trend might be in the gender, with 80% of your clients being female. Or maybe you hear from 64% of those interviewed that their pain point is something specific. Maybe you notice the males have one complaint while females have another. Maybe those in one location have a different reason for choosing you than those in another.

5. Create dossiers. Each one is an archetype of the group. Each dossier shows the name, photo (use stock photography), and description of that person. These don’t have to be works of art but should be something you can look at easily or print to hang on the wall.

6. Share those dossiers with team members and discuss how and if this changes your marketing and/or sales approach.

We skimmed the surface here to give you an overview. If you have more questions about personas, why they work, and how to create them, contact us for help.

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