While you may want to discount them as pure marketing-speak, user personas can actually be really beneficial to a small business.
By writing up a semi-fictitious description of your ideal customer(s), you can make your advertising spend more effective, improve the quality of new business leads, and mould your product or service to best fit your end-user.
Gathering insight for your user persona(s)
If you’re already in business, then chances are you know at least a little about the type of person who normally buys from you.
Let’s say you run a dry cleaning business in a well-to-do suburb of Manchester. All your business activity flows through your high street store, so it’s super easy to get a read on who is using your service — and who’s using it the most!
(That said, even if you’re an online-only company, it’s easy to keep track of customer data and build up a picture of your end-user over time.)
Your growth goal might be to increase the amount of customers coming in for dry cleaning each day. To do so, you want to launch a marketing campaign to engage those most likely to use your service on the regular — so who are they?
This is where your user persona comes in.
Armed with a profile of your most valuable customers, you’ll be able to craft the right promotional messages to tap into their wants and needs. Maybe you get a lot of office workers, dropping in suits for a quick midweek refresh. Or maybe you’re located right next to a bridal store, and there’s a steady stream of business from their rent-a-tux service!
So before you put pen to paper and write your user persona, consider the following questions:
- Who are my most valuable customers today?
- Who do I want my most valuable customers to be tomorrow? (This could be the same people, or it might be a different audience altogether)
- What does this person/do these people want and need from my product or service? What value do they get when buying from you?
Use any and all data you have to answer these questions — you may even choose to run some small scale market research, such as customer surveys, to build a clearer picture.
The anatomy of a great user persona
1. Name and gender
This may seem unnecessary at first, but names are essential to creating a realistic image in your mind.
Many use personas are also written with identifiers. For example, if you’re trying to get more office workers into your dry cleaning business, you might have: “Career driven Cecilia”.
It’s easy to see how something as simple as assigning a name can help bring a persona to life. And bonus points if you grab a photo off Google to represent them, too.
Of course, you can write several personas — with different names and genders — if that works for your business. Two or three is great; anything more than that may get confusing.
For most businesses, age will have an impact on the wants and needs of the customer — and therefore, how you’ll advertise to them, too.
If your ideal customer base spans an age range of 25-50, create a user persona for, say, a 25-year-old, a 40-year-old, and a 50-year-old. This way, you’re capturing the full breadth of motivations, and not missing anyone out.
Generally speaking, the amount of disposable income a customer has relates to the size of the opportunity for your business. If “Career Driven Cecilia” earns £40,000k a year, then she’s (probably) got more money to spend on dry cleaning than, say, “New Grad Greg”, who’s at the same company, but earning much less.
Including income in your user persona will help you identify who to send promotions to, and who you can try to up-sell to more premium offers.
Okay, what now?
Once you’ve written your user persona(s), you can really start to gain value.
It’s no coincidence that Facebook Ads lets you target customers by gender, age-range and income — that’s why we’ve prioritised these characteristics!
So go ahead and create a different Facebook campaign for each persona you’ve written up, with visuals and messaging that will resonate most with the individual(s) you’ve brought to life.
For extra marketing power, you can use Facebook Interests to make your ads even more targeted and specific.