How To Create The Perfect Audience Personas For Your Business

What does your business bring to the table? Maybe you sell products through brick-and-mortar stores, ecommerce sites, or both. Perhaps you offer a service of some kind. You could even provide consultancy, dispensing advice to steer people through challenging times. Regardless of the specifics, one thing is vital if you have grand aspirations: understanding your audience.


The less you know about the people you’re trying to reach and convince, the harder you’ll find it to win them over. The biggest brands in the world invest massively in audience research for this exact reason. In war, you must know your enemy. In business, you must know your customer, and stand ready to use that information to generate hype.

Exhaustive real-world research is extremely useful, obviously, and provides incredible insight: but it’s also exceptionally expensive, time-consuming, and impractical. Running a smaller business, you will never have the resources required to make it work — so what’s the alternative? What can you do to improve your targeting without racking up a huge bill?


The answer is simple: create audience personas. An audience persona consists of a set of traits, characteristics and preferences that belongs to a specific type of person you’re hoping to reach.Here are some tips for making them as useful as possible:

Carefully study your digital analytics

You still need research to create excellent personas, but thankfully it’s on a relatively small scale, and you don’t need to be hugely proactive to achieve it because your everyday operations already generate rich analytics data. Whenever someone visits your website, they leave behind relevant details through Google Analytics — and every mainstream social media platform makes it easy for a user to get insight into their followers.


Now, you can be proactive if you have the time and resources, and it’s certainly justified if you’re serious about making the perfect audience personas. If that’s the route you want to take, you should focus on reaching out to your existing customers with a combination of surveys and interviews: it’s a key part of the retail buyer persona formula for a reason, which is that analytics data alone doesn’t provide the necessary context to understand why visitors do what they do.


Regardless of your exact approach, you should seek to amass as much data as you can on everything from where people live to what jobs they work (Facebook is particularly great for the latter, so take full advantage). Remember to leave the data as anonymous as you can: you’re not looking to learn anything about specific real-world people. 

Discard anything that isn’t relevant

Once you have all of that data, you must immediately start getting rid of it by stripping away anything that isn’t relevant — and you can likely tell what’s relevant by looking at the correlations with success and profitability. If it’s clear that age makes little difference to how people view you and respond to your marketing, then there’s no point in targeting age groups.


The goal of an audience persona isn’t to be utterly comprehensive: it’s to be an effective guide when you’re doing everything from outlining your marketing to choosing new products for your range, and a hundred-point list isn’t going to work for that. Aim for a cap of just ten points for each persona, sticking to things that matter like “Has a lot of money to spend” or “Likes to be given a lot of customization options”.


If you do choose to carry out some customer surveys and interviews, use those to steer your efforts here. For example, a customer who consistently mentions their kids when providing feedback no doubt takes them into account with every purchase they make.

Focus on what each persona wants

Not every point you can jot down for each persona will directly concern their wants or needs, but those are the things you ultimately need to focus on. Always remember that your ultimate goal is to sell, no matter what you need to do along the way: if you provide free expert advice, it’s to convince the shopper of the quality of your brand and win their support. It’s the conversions that pay your bills and cover your marketing costs — don’t forget that.


If the persona likes a lot of customization options, provide those options. If they have a lot of money to spend, offer them luxury items with costly extras so they can splash out. If they’re mainly concerned with their kids, build your marketing materials for them around benefits for parents: how will product X make life easier for them?


Having a small set of finely-honed audience personas — and referring back to them as a matter of course — will make it much easier for you to market your business. These tips should help you achieve just that, so make a commitment and get started today.


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