How to Use Personas
Taking the time to create fictional characters to more effectively market your business is not only a helpful exercise, but it’s also good fun! Below I’ll look specifically at using personas to refresh your brand stories with some ideas and tips that are easy to implement.
Our migration from the physical world to the virtual world necessitates a new look at ourselves and how we can now do business. Creating personas is a creative exercise that will help you get a closer perspective on your business.
Creating buyer personas is something I come across with marketing agencies but not so much with smaller ventures, which is a shame. It’s an opportunity to think creatively about what you do. It’s fun, and you can either keep the outcome to yourself or turn it into marketing material.
A Buyer Persona Is a Fictionalised Representation of Your Ideal Client or Customer
I don’t know what the big agencies say, but it helps me visualise who I’m aiming for with my blogs and services.
And when you can visualise your audience, it makes it easier to speak directly to them, rather than shouting into the ether and hoping what you’ve said sticks with someone, anyone.
Now, with the virus grounding many of us, I’ve started to think of other ways we could use personas to improve our business.
Think of your customer journey as a story. It has a hero (client) who has a problem (pain point) and embarks on a quest to find a resolution (your service).
Now, while you’re in creative mode, use it to create fictional personas to help you reshape your business.
Here are five ideas for creating personas that could help you see your business opportunities in a brand new light, or at least throw out a few new content ideas, or at the very, very least be a fun creative experience that’s good for the soul.
Actual Customer Persona
Before a customer is a customer, they are a lead. Before that, they’re just a person in the ether. The more you can see this person, the more directly you can shape your content to speak to them. Without focusing on the needs of someone, you’re talking at them.
Sit in a chair with a pen and paper and create three customer personas who are linked by the need to use your service.
Write down their age, their demographic, and their pain point for your solution. Then start to fill in the character details. What’s their name, hair colour, eye colour, favourite author, etc. The more time you spend here, the more you’ll get out of your content creation. For example, what if all of your personas love the same book or have a customer issue in common; this is excellent blogging or product service content. Let your personas guide your messaging.
There’s a more detailed template on creating a customer persona in this blog by Hubspot.
I’ve included a list of psychological questions at the end of the blog.
Ideal Customer Persona
Do you ever hear about a project and punch the air screaming, “Yeah, baby, I want some of that?” Not saying I don’t love my current clients, but there’s always an ideal client or niche industry that you have your eye on. Isn’t there?
What pain points does your ideal customer have that your actual customer doesn’t? You can do some research here. There’ll be plenty of content online already about the industries that exist. Look for interviews with or websites of your ideal customer.
Create a list of pain points and then create a persona around this person.
Your Business Persona Today
Who are you? Where do you come from? What is your secret ingredient; the ones clients come back for time and time again? It’s an excellent opportunity for you to go back to your raison d’etre.
Pick 10 static but exciting things about yourself and what makes you who you are and turn it into a story. As a story reader, I expect an element of change. Make sure there’s a story in your business persona.
I bet you could turn those 10 static things into blog posts or an FAQ on your website. I bet you’ll also remember things you thought you’d forgotten long ago by just focusing on your story for an hour or so.
Include your favourite business book, favourite film nemesis, preferred relaxation method, favourite industry to work, favourite blogger, etc.
Make it specific to your business but different — no USPs — nothing you’d read out in a pitch. You’re accessing a different, more organic part of your being.
Your Collaborator Persona
Do the fictional exercises again, but this time focus on the strengths of someone you’d like to work with. What kind of people are you looking to collaborate with?
Designers? Directors? Producers? Business Coaches?
What personality elements do they have that attracts you to them? Skills, mindset? Maybe it’s a fantastic scarf that they adorn. Relax, have fun, and create your perfect collaborator.
If you find they’re turning out like you, go back to the drawing board. Your collaborator will have things to teach you and new outlooks and skills that you don’t have.
Can you tie your services in with a pain point of theirs?
Your Competitor Persona
Writing objectively, what would your most closely matched competitor have that you don’t have, or you want to learn?
Then go into the description.
This will help you identify skills that you can develop. I’m not talking about copying someone else’s style, but maybe you can identify things to learn from them.
Your Future Business Persona
Wind forward a year, or a month, or even a day if you’re planning a big one. What does your business persona look like once you’ve achieved a few of your goals? What successes would that entail and how would your outlook change?
This is a reverse version of that lesson to your former self exercise. What does the new business you look like when their ideal client is no longer a dream but a reality?
Now you can write your business pitch. What would it say that your old pitch wouldn’t?
What new skills can your business persona now boast of? What unique challenges lay ahead as you start to aim for your new ideal client?
I don’t know about you, but suddenly I’ve got a load more work to do.
Psychological Questions to Ask Your Personas
What’s your biggest triumph to date?
Who’s your favourite person in your life?
Who’s your favourite hero?
Why are they are hero?
What’s the biggest challenge in your business?
What’s your biggest fear in business?
What’s your biggest dream in life?
Good luck and thanks for reading. I’m a writer and copywriter fusing creative and technical content to help startups and SMEs market their business. If you’re interested in reading another blog on marketing check out this blog on Finding Your Business Hook.