Tony Zambito, one of the leading experts in buyer insights research, has defined customer, or buyer, personas as: “… research-based archetypal (modeled) representations of who buyers are, what they are trying to accomplish, what goals drive their behavior, how they think, how they buy, and why they make buying decisions.” (http://tonyzambito.com/buyer-persona-original-definition-matters/)

They are the best way to determine if you’re aiming your products and/or services at the right people, and a well-crafted persona can help you target your customers with products or services they need and want, as well as provide a roadmap for their likely buying behaviours.

Keep It Simple (Or Not)

Start with a high level view of what your customers do for a living, and why they’d choose your business over any others. Group your customers together until you have a broad description of a couple of customers. You can either stop there, or you can dig a little deeper. The more detail you can provide for your customer persona the easier it will be to ask who would buy this product.

Base Your Customer Personas On Real Research

It’s easy to come up with a customer you’d like to sell to, but if that person is based on fictional qualities that your current customer base doesn’t have, then your marketing messages are going to be pitched to the wrong audience. As MailChimp discovered, who you think buys your product or service may not really be the people who do (http://blog.mailchimp.com/new-mailchimp-user-persona-research/). Use the data collected from your website, customer surveys, social media and digital marketing databases to profile your customers into as many personas as you require, it’s not uncommon to have more than one or two, much more depending on your business.

Have an Emotional Connection to Your Personas

Using empathy to build personas works to your advantage because buying behaviours are often based on emotion. While demographics can be useful, emotion can and will trump logic in most situations that your everyday customers will find themselves in.

Emotional connection can also help you determine a product’s target persona by the emotion it brings to a customer: do they love it, will it make their day easier, will it bring a smile to their face? What are your customer’s pain points and how does your product or service fix that for them. It’s likely you’ll have different pain points for different personas.

Customer Behaviour, Mindset and Obstacles to Purchasing

Customers buy for many reasons, if you can figure out what their goals are for your product, what they want to accomplish, you can target buyers with the right messages to secure conversions. Mindset can have an impact on the customer buying experience as pre-conceived notions could mean your business doesn’t meet expectations, figure out what that mindset is and you can use those preconceptions to your advantage. A customer’s concern or hesitation may prompt them to walk away from your service; change how they view your product by learning how much information they require in order to purchase.

Make Them Human

Relatable customer personas work best, so give them a name and a face. Identify trends and patterns and assign them to each persona you’ve created, and share your personas with the rest of the business. The more you as a business can identify with your personas, the better your relationship with your customers will be.