Five Questions To Create Your Client Persona
How well do you know your client persona?
It can be tempting to skip this step a little. To say, well, I don’t want to rule anybody out, so I am selling to people aged 8-80 and their dogs.
It’s great to want inclusivity! But unfortunately, when it comes to your business, you have a lot of decisions to make. Often, decisions demand the specifics, and this is where your client persona really needs to come to life and guide you through the tough ones.
This blog will explain how to create your client persona, how to know which questions to ask now to get started, and how to ensure that your persona is serving you and helping you make those important decisions.
Even if it all seems a bit wooly and unnecessary now, it certainly won’t by the end, I promise!
1. How Old Is Your Client Persona? (And Why You Are Not Being Rude for Asking!)
First up, is that question that you never really want to ask anyone in real life without feeling rude. Picking an age for your ideal client is not going to rule out everyone who isn’t that age. It’s partly to do with the mentality and mindset of your target market, and only a wee bit to do with the technicalities of marketing online.
A person aged 25 might be expected to have a little less disposable income than a person aged 35, but they are also likely to have less dependents so what they do have is being spent very differently. This is not an exercise in making generalisations about people, so much as it is an exercise in getting to grips with what your target client really cares about. If this is your first foray into creating personas, then let’s get some examples on the go to help with visualising why we are doing this.
Example: Why a Specific Client Persona is Important
Let’s say that you are a a sustainable, vegan candlemaker. Deciding that your target market is aged 25-40 is not going to prevent awareness of your candles from ever reaching Carol, a 60 year old life-long vegan who cares about how environmentally sound their shopping is. Carol will find your content when it is shared by her like-minded colleague, Martin, who is 32.
Martin sees it and clicks on it not just because it was written with him in mind (it was all about responsible ways to re-use your candle jars other than recycling them). He sees it because it was marketed to him using Facebook targeted promotions to people in his area and age group, AND it was relevant to his interests AND it was titled in a way that piqued his interest with a striking image.
So many small decisions are made in marketing that you are doing yourself a huge favour by being brave, and being specific in your creation of your ideal clients. You would not have been able to write that post in such a way had you been trying write for several client personas, all with different ages and experiences.
The point of all this? Targeting in marketing actually helps you to grow organically within a niche. It sounds backwards, but it’s true. By aiming specific, organic growth helps you reach all the people within your niche. You then become known in that area, and as your business grows up, there’s no reason why your client persona can’t too.
Although marketing is a very target-driving industry, it is very rarely as simple as we would like it to be. At the end of the day, client personas are unique to you, for your business activity. You are not going to be publishing them on your website. Don’t be afraid to be specific, even if the questions you are posing seem to be generalising or excluding.
Right! Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we hope you are feeling more confident at creating your dream client persona. Heck, make a couple! No more than three to five for now, though. The point of all this is to give you less work to do, not more.
Let’s keep whittling down the questions, and watch your client persona come to life.
2. What Do They Do For A Living?
Let’s say you have just started your own business running mini yoga and fitness retreats - 3-4 hour events designed to motivate and educate people to take control of their own fitness and make the most of the limited time they have in a week to work out. How can you market your business to make your dream client stop scrolling when they see your content and think to themselves: ‘that is what I need right now’?
Let’s think now about what your client persona does for work. Do they work full time? Are they retired? Are they part-timers with kids to manage?
Let’s try this for our imaginary yoga retreat business.
What is the benefit of attending your retreats, and how do they serve your clients specifically?
Well, they are always on the weekend, for a start. This is because a lot of your clients are full-time workers and trying to schedule midweek, even for a 3 hr mini retreat, is just too hectic.
Secondly, a lot of your existing clients ask for exercises to combat stiff backs and shoulders from sitting at a computer. So they work in an office environment, and they are looking not only for the motivation to move, but also to educate themselves so they can sustain their own exercise routines at a time that suits them.
Finally, they are generally full-time workers, who are tired but keen to work out at the end of a long week. Perhaps they just don’t quite know where to start. They might have a gym membership but they aren’t going as much as they’d like.
Once you have created this client persona, it becomes far more straightforward to come up with content to market with online.
This helps you decide whether to write your next marketing campaign about ‘6 Yoga Postures You Can Do At Your Desk’ or ‘How to Become a Yoga Teacher’. The first of these could be relevant to all office workers. The second? Only really for a handful. This doesn’t make the second idea ‘wrong’, it just makes it not quite right for this time in your business.
3. What Do They Need to Succeed in Their Day?
Now, this is where it starts to get interesting.
Let’s pop back to Carol and Martin, our client personas for the sustainable candle business.
How do they measure their success?
For Carol, it’s scheduling in down-time and managing stress. For Martin, it’s feeling accomplished and working creatively.
Once you understand what motivates a person, it becomes a lot easier to recognise whether or not they are a potential customer.
4. Where Do They Live?
Are they a city-dweller who enjoys visiting markets and thrift shops, or are they online shoppers because they live out in the country?
This question is important not only for the technicalities of social media marketing or search engine optimisation for location, but also simply so that you understand what their typical day looks like.
If they check their phone on their commute, then you can place your brand there at the right time.
5. Where Do They Look For Advice?
Since the advent of the internet, it’s not the principle behind marketing that has changed. It’s merely the execution, the way that we are reaching people.
50 years ago, people would buy from brands they trust, respect and feel like they know. That is still true today.
You are asking your client persona this question, because you need to position yourself as an expert in your field. Make yourself useful, and earn their respect and interest by taking the time to know them.
Creating your client persona can seem like a time-consuming exercise, but it is actually an essential part of your marketing strategy, no matter how large or small your business or your goals.
By defining who it is you are looking for, you are defining your business in your own mind as much as you are placing it out in the market. Take the time to get to know your dream clients, and they will repay your time investment tenfold when your efforts materialise into real, passionate and returning customers.
Any of these tips got you feeling muddled? Get in touch for a Free 30 minute consultation call to how I can help! Book here.