How to Create Customer Personas That Actually Work

Are you creating the right buyer or client personas?

Many businesses are not. Are you one of the businesses operating with eyes wide shut?

Picture this.

To truly build a solid foundation for your business, you need to figure out your target market. But markets everywhere are highly dynamic. And market shares are fickle.

Markets change. Customers change their preferences.

Or maybe you fail to change your marketing strategy to sync with your market segment, and can no longer identify your target market needs.

For you to retain customers, remain competitive and secure your target market, you need to have a deep understanding of what motivates your buyers. And therein lies the disconnect.

The Disconnect Explained

Many business owners and marketers commit mega blunders by going on and on about their product’s features. They forget the most important thing—and why those features exist in the first place.

They forget to speak to the customer. To demonstrate how their product or service’s features will help solve the buyer’s problem. They do not understand their customers’ needs—their buyer personas.

How to Create a Strong Buyer Persona

Yet, to truly understand the customer, hence their problem, and how to help them crush it, you need to routinely create and analyze buyer personas in your business.

What is a Buyer Persona?

We’ve talked a lot about customer and buyer personas in The Ultimate Small Business Branding Guide. But to refresh:

A buyer persona is a character representing your ideal customer. Contrary to popular thinking, buyer personas are not fictional and generalized characters of your target customer.

You’ll want to base each persona’s character in your existing target market.

Safa Khudeira, Intechnic’s Creative Project Manager, has some insights to help you create killer client personas.

She advises:

“Assign personas the demographic traits of the members of the user group they represent in order to identify each group, creating client persona templates and examples helps you to understand what drives your clients.”

If you are staring at that whiteboard stunned and wondering where on earth to begin, here’s some good news.

Creating client personas is not that challenging if you know the right questions to ask. The right answers should help connect the dots and give you your buyer personas. So, how do you know what to ask?

Profile Your Customer

Learn and understand your actual customers. Avoid crafting a persona based on what you suppose your customers are.

Conduct primary and secondary research to inform your decision. Strong client personas are built with the help of actual market data.

Look at your existing customer base first, and think about;

Demographics traits such as their:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Occupation
  • Education level, etc

Psychographic characteristics such as:

  • Personality
  • Attitude
  • Lifestyle
  • Situations
  • Values/Beliefs
  • Environment, etc

And my favourite, and often most insightful, personal questions:

  • What does their family structure look like?
  • What type of car they drive?
  • Are they a pet owner?
  • What newspaper/magazines do they read?
  • Which websites do they visit? And for what purpose?

From there, start to highlight your ideal customers and run through the above points again.

When branding a company or working on a digital marketing campaign, these personal questions add an extra level of depth.

By knowing about their favourite websites, we can use that to research visual styles they’re familiar with.

And, we can create similar content to peak their interesting when we’re working on a digital marketing campaign.

Defining your target audience like this will only strengthen your brand or marketing activities.

Ask the Right In-Depth Questions

Now, you have a sneak peek of who buys your products or into your service. It is time to get it—to understand what they need.

The aim here is to truly understand your target market’s story.

To help understand their struggle, what problem(s) they challenge on a regular basis, and what you can do to help lift off their suffering. After all, products and services solve problems—not people.

You’ll want to get this type of information directly from the customers.

How to Collect Insights to Craft a Strong Client Persona

CannyHQ’s Andrew Rasmussen and Sarah Hum, ran a survey and found that almost half of customers who encounter frustration with your product or service, do nothing about it although they feel motivated to act.

And while about 90% of the frustrated population said they have suggestions on how the company can improve, as many as 61% did not, or rarely, reached out to the company with their suggestions. So you have to go get it.

To ensure you get the real story, use a third-party researcher. That way, customers feel free to give their honest opinions and not pressured to give half the story.

Your researcher can conduct interviews, and interact with actual customers in focus group setups, trade shows and other one-on-one events relating to your area of business.

Still, you can use online tools such as SurveyMonkey to gather up insights from volunteers. Some people prefer disclosing some forms of information anonymously through online surveys.

You might have to use incentives to attract and appreciate interviewees for their time and honest feedback. Still, you’ll want to set up a convenient place and time for them.

Also, ensure they feel comfortable that you are not trying to get them to sign on to a purchase commitment.

Now Create the Buyer Personas for your Business

You’ve nailed the intricate part already. You have the statistics.

Why not go on and categorize it; similar characteristics together and differences separately?

Typically, each persona profile includes a chart indicating a score for certain factors relating to what you offer. These factors include their openness to change, technical savvy and industry knowledge.

Then consider the ‘Who’, ‘What’, and ‘Why’ for each persona.

Enter this data and information correspondingly.

You want to add as much ‘personality’ to the persona that it becomes easier for your marketers to visualize precisely who they are marketing to, and your salespeople to know who they are selling to. Feel free to give the personas names of actual people too.

That way, you can all personalize your marketing strategy to innately address the pain-points suffered consistently by actual people—your target customers.

Here are three of our favourite articles about creating buyer personas and making your marketing appeal to the right customer.

Conclusion: How to Create Killer Client Personas That Actually Work

Creating killer client personas is all to do with creating strong buyer personas. And strong buyer personas are made from taking into account the actual demographics and psychographic factors of your target market.

When you have strong buyer personas, you stand to benefit in several ways. Those include helping you to conduct more targeted marketing drives, attracting quality leads, and creating better ROI.

Feel free to seek expert counsel to create killer buyer personas.

Do you have buyer personas outlined for your business? Are they working for you? Let us know in the comments below!


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