Running a business without knowing your customers is like sailing without a compass.
Putting a lot of effort into your marketing won’t get you far if you don’t know who you are targeting, and exactly who your customers are.
That’s why customer personas are so valuable and why if you don’t have any, you should spend a little time creating some.
What is a customer persona?
A customer persona is a fictional character who represents your ideal customer and has key characteristics, wants and needs of your wider market of customers.
There are many definitions of a customer persona, but they all come down to the following – a customer persona is a fictional character who represents your ideal customer and has key characteristics, wants and needs of your wider market of customers.
You need to know how to create a customer persona so that you can set up and run a business that will be relevant and useful to your audience.
You might encounter other terms like customer avatar, ideal customer profile, buyer persona, and similar, but don’t let that confuse you, these are all just other ways you can refer to a customer persona.
The importance of customer personas
Investing time and energy into creating strong and accurate customer personas is important because you can use them to guide your marketing and the way you run your business.
These personas encapsulate and distil your audience. By knowing these personas well, you will be knowing your customers well, and serving them better.
You will know what new services and/or products they are likely to find relevant and interesting, allowing you to expand your offer, and you will know how you can modify your current offer to better meet their needs.
You will know what the optimal price range is that makes it profitable for you, and affordable for them, how to speak to them in a way that will attract their attention, and what are the best marketing channels that will engage your customers.
All that will lead you to higher customer satisfaction, higher ROI, more visitors and bookings and conclusively, more sales.
How to create a customer persona
Start with the framework
This will consist of a list of questions and information that you need to create a persona that will be optimal for your use. Think about age, occupation, family status, the reason for travel, job position, earnings, demographics, goals, challenges, values. This can go into as many details as you want to, but we recommend that you do the hard work here and set up the framework that will help you create the persona as realistic as possible and your entire future business will thank you for it.
If you want to save some time here, you can find plenty of customer persona templates that you can use instead of creating your framework, but make sure that you go through the templates carefully and alter them accordingly.
Find the information from your current customers
This might seem like a challenging task, but there are actually many places to look.
Start by looking at your website analytics to see from where your visitors come from, what keywords they used that led them to your website, what pages they checked and how much time they spent on your website.
Next on the list are social media insights and trends. Even if you’re not active on social media yet, with the help of keywords and hashtags you can find your audience and discover their more personal side – the questions they are asking, challenges they are facing, their lifestyle, interests, hobbies, and so on.
One of the perks of running a travel business is that you have the additional source of mostly demographic information from your previous bookings and what you don’t have – ask for it! Create a short survey to send out to your existing customers and kindly ask them to fill it in or ask them in person when they check-in or check-out.
You can offer a discount code on your services in return, for example, so you are at the same time encouraging new bookings.
Take advantage of the opportunities you have to reach your customers for additional information both ways, online and in person.
Shaping the customer persona profile(s)
If you have done thorough and diligent work so far, then at this stage you should have a good base for filling in the framework or the template and shaping your persona.
Everyone in your team needs to know who your customers are, so this step is not a task for one person but for the entire team.
Include all your team members from all departments here and start by giving the name to your persona – it can be any name – but that will help you think of it as a real person.
Examine the information you have gathered and start filling the template. Discuss with your team members who have daily interactions with your customers to share their thoughts, brainstorm your views on who is your ideal customer and create a persona together.
Using your personas
One of the most frequent questions is how many customer persona profiles do you need to create?
The answer is, as many as you want and need, but as a rule of thumb, three to five personas will usually be plenty to cover the majority of your audience.
Have in mind that this is just a recommendation, and you may just need one. But if you have a more diversified offer, you will need to create more personas to represent the majority of your ideal customers.
Once you have created them, don’t forget to use them in all departments of your business and share them with all your team members.
The personas you create now won’t be the same in the years to come – people change, and your persona will change too, so make sure you update the information there and keep the profile up to date as time passes.
We hope this will help you get to know your customers better. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or struggles and we will get back to you. Or even better, use this opportunity to schedule a free consultation call with us and let’s chat!
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Stay healthy and safe,
Until next time,