How to create a buyer persona for your ideal customer
This way you can create a persona of your ideal customer in 10 steps
- Improve your customer focus by using personas.
Have you already defined your ideal customer? Then use personas for your organization.
A well-developed persona (or personas) for your organization improves your customer focus. Personas are detailed situation sketches, that describe your ideal customer. This is a great help in better understanding your customer (and your customer segments), and helps tremendously to think more from your customer’s point of view. When you hang the personas on display in the office, it also works well for your staff, to think: How would ‘(person name e.g.’ Peter ‘) feel?
Follow these 10 steps to create a good persona for your organization.
Step 1 – Your ideal customer, where are your A-customers?
View and review your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Database, where are your A-customers? What do they think is important? Make an excel export, count the number of A customers (20% top most revenue) and look at the matching profile and the order history (if possible). Have a talk with sales. Who among the salespeople knows who their best customer is? Ask them. Make a sketch in advance.
Step 2 – Give your customer a face
Find a suitable photo for your persona. If you don’t have one, try Google Images (royalty-free) to find a suitable image. Adding an image makes it vivid. To make it even more interesting, use a real photo of your customer, for example provided by one of your salespeople or service crew.
Step 3 – Name your ideal customer
Give your persona a catchy name which can resonate in your organization. For example: Peter Smith, Anne Lundquist or Robert Gonzales, or Liu Xu, Alexandrej Stochov, Frederic Delacroix, Mustafa Cengiz. Then it really comes to life. It is now no longer an abstract target group description, but rather a name for the person. This makes a persona way much more personal. It also makes it a lot easier to talk about it. Just think ‘Peter Smith, 42 years old, Entrepreneur’. instead of my ‘best customer of segment A’. Fill in all of what you know. This i your first draft version.
Step 4 – Let your staff complete the persona and have a go at it
Print the not so ready version of your persona on an A3 or A2 paper sheet (this facilitates easy feedback). Let everyone (especially service and sales) write comments here with post-its. This can be a very fun session with generates a lot of positive energy. Have your front office, sales staff provide feedback on the persona. This can be done through interviews (1-1) or in the group. This activates enormously as they see the people they interact everyday come to life. The experiences of daily contact with customers (“Quotes”) can be nicely incorporated here, making it a lot more lively. With this feedback you can add customer pain / vitamine elements, (which you didn’t know yourself) and it also acts as a storage element for customer issues later on. This also guides as a tool for creating a FAQ or creating communication materials.
Step 5 – Work it out further
Use any feedback you’ve received and supplement it where possible. This creates a ‘richer’ image. You will notice that the persona begins to live now. For example, create the elaboration in Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Indesign, so that you can make it even better visually, and also in your brand style. Then print out in fullcolor on an A3 in portrait format.
Step 6 – Test the second version
Show your detailed 2nd version to your sales staff again. You can get it a bit sharper this way. Update the persona (s). Also check with the service staff, they often have the most interesting ‘customer problems’. By talking to your sales force, service crew, and reception (which often sees most of the people), the persona acts as a trigger to discuss desired customer-oriented behavior. This immediately increases all customer focus awareness among your staff. Then update the latest feedback on your persona.
View some examples of personas or images of a customer here:
Download the Peter ‘Entrpreneur Persona (2 MB)’ as an example
Step 7 – Get nice frames for in office display
Get some A3 or A2 frames from IKEA, MediaMarkt, or a graphic specialist store in your area. (Art Supplies Stores might do the trick). We ourselves have good experiences with these lists. Beautiful color print insert and ready to hang.
Step 8 – Make a small presentation to management and staff
A small formal moment with a handover and a photo (perhaps for your social media, Facebook or Intranet) makes it complete. Your meeting will be enhanced by this. Include the digital version in your (online) marketing plan, business plan and service manual.
Step 9 – Hang the persona on your office wall
Take a look around your office. Say for yourself, really, what’s hanging on your office wall now.? Look around. A calendar? Project planning? Old notes on a whiteboard? An image of the business premises, or the real wishes of your customer? Enrich your office wall with a poster or framed image of your customer. A2 works slightly better than A3, because the viewing distance is often a bit further (a 2-4 meters distance).
Print it out on A2 or A3, in color, frame it, and attach it (at least) to your office or workplace. This way you can look at it every day and refer to it during discussions. We have often seen it work well and effectively this way. Like, what could Peter think of this proposal. This enables you to get more feel for customer decision making of your ideal customer.
Step 10 – And ready, enjoy!
Now your persona is on the wall. In your field of direct sight. Now, when you have a meeting and talk about your customer and customer satisfaction, walk over to it, show it, and use it directly in the conversation.
You might notice this effect:
- Slow impact, but better guidance for decisions.
- Improvement of marketing material with better customer insights
- A few ‘ok’ nods from service and sales reps (that’s’my customer, which I spoke to today!)
- Helpful briefing material for agencies to develop campaign (just send the persona as input for a website redesign session)
- After a year, it is still valid
When decisions are made, sometimes the customer is forgotten in the heat of the discussions. At that point, it can also be useful to think “What would our customer, Peter, think of this?” when making decisions. “Look here it hangs on the wall … Let’s walk over to it.” This makes the discussion a bit more pleasant, focused and lively.
A persona has a strengthening and time-saving effect during creative briefings.
When you have a persona, you can use it well in briefings for marketing campaigns. You have now described your target group well, and this helps to guide the briefing process in advance. You don’t have to search for what to tell the creative party every time, you can now just give them the persona. Handy for your website development or product development.
Your advertising agency will be happy with it, and it will certainly save you time having to tell it all the time. The creative party has a nice handle with a persona.
Improve your Customer Touch Points.
After creating a persona, you can begin tackling customer journeys and customer experience. How does the customer (or this persona) travel through your buying process? For example, is it easy to request a whitepaper via the website? Is the phone answered quickly when a mobile call is made? How is the customer helped with an e-mail to the service, what about Whatsapp? A persona makes it more pleasant and easier to make design decisions. It greatly helps to improve your customer insight. It is a useful means to further refine your business management process.
Looking at the customer journey or customer journey with different eyes.
When you have worked out the persona properly, you can now also see through the eyes of this persona, namely how he / she experiences your company in the different steps of the customer journey. The first contact, the search for solutions on the internet, your contact with service or sales, what preferences he / she has, in short, the entire customer journey or the customer journey. What does the contact with sales look like on a mobile phone, or the confirmation of your quotation by email? All contact points (touch points) that the customer has with your organization. This clear graphical display is called a Customer Journey analysis. With the persona you can empathize much better with the steps that your customer experiences.
Of course, all of your customers are different, but having one or more relevant personas helps greatly improve your customer focus. We did this for a few clients … it is now shining in their office.