Customer personas, also sometimes called user or buyer personas, are semi-fictional depictions of your customers. Although they may be fictional people, they represent and are based on real data from actual customers. These customer persona examples can help you better understand what data you need to collect from customers and how to build personas for your company.
Why Are Customer Personas Important?
Customer personas aren’t just a marketing tool. They are invaluable company-wide resources.
For example, UX designers and product managers use customer personas to build products that solve customer problems. It may be called a user persona, but the principle is the same. You get to know your customers, so they are more likely to use or buy your product.
Customer personas help you put yourself in your audience’s shoes. You can use personas to strengthen your marketing strategy, understand your customers, and build a better website experience.
Here are some reasons why companies need to create customer personas.
Stricter Privacy Regulations
In the past, brands that advertised on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have gotten lucky, and maybe, a little lazy. Brands didn’t have to do much work to create detailed customer personas, because social media was able to find the ideal customers for you.
These platforms had an abundance of user data that made it easy to target audiences based on their demographics and interests. However, times have changed.
New privacy policies as well as the iOS 14 update have limited ad platforms’ ability to track and identify target audiences accurately for advertisers. For Facebook, the iOS update made it harder to track Apple users, because users need to give their permission. As a result, the customer data that ad platforms can provide is much more limited than it used to be.
For advertisers and companies, this means that you need to learn more about your customers through first-party data and detailed customer personas. Companies that don’t do this, will continue to see decreased sales on Facebook, Instagram, Google, and other paid marketing platforms.
The more you know about your customers’ needs and desires, the more effective your marketing will be. In addition, you can create more personalized experiences that turn first-time customers into lifelong buyers.
Personalized experiences are non-negotiable. According to the 2020 Consumer Culture Report by 5WPR, 83% of millennials say they would be willing to change brands if they could better understand them. Millennials drove a shift in consumer expectations, but Gen Z is following close behind. As they become power consumers, businesses must adapt their strategies to meet customer needs.
Consistency and Sales
With so many distractions, brands must continue to deliver consistent messaging across all channels. Sharing customer personas among your team, from sales and marketing to product development, creates consistency.
Customer personas can help you craft a message that resonates with your audience and helps them understand how your product or service will benefit them. It also allows you to identify new opportunities for growth by identifying customer pain points and brainstorming solutions.
For example, each customer should have a similar sales experience to increase conversions. Your team should share knowledge about what objections or questions they commonly hear in the sales process. Then, add that information to your customer data and create objection handling.
Objection handling identifies what concerns and hesitations potential customers have about purchasing your product. Then, it helps you respond to those objections in a way that helps alleviate concerns and move closer to a sale, without being pushy.
We’ll dive into this more in the customer persona examples below.
What Should You Include in a Customer Persona?
While some companies might think it’s best to create existing customer personas, others believe it makes more sense to develop personas based on potential customers—especially if those potential customers are similar to the existing ones.
In either case, several things are essential for all personas:
Demographics are the characteristics of an individual that you can use to segment your audience into different groups. Demographic information may include:
- Marital status
- Job title
However, demographics tend to be surface-level. You need to dig deeper to get better insights.
Values are the things that matter most to your target customer. It can be related to your products or their lifestyle. Examples of values include:
- Time – they want to get things done more quickly
- Quality – they are willing to spend more for high-quality products
- Diversity – they want to support businesses that represent them
- Sustainability – they care about the environment and your company’s role in it
Defining these values is important because it helps you understand what motivates your customers. Why do they do what they do? What impacts their buying decisions?
Customer quotes add a personal touch to your personas. They should be real quotes your customers have shared with you, whether that’s through a survey, interview, social media, or another medium.
Here’s a customer person example with a quote. Let’s say you sell organic produce to people who care about agriculture, sustainability, and the environment.
You might include a customer quote, “I want to know where my food comes from, and I don’t want it shipped in from across the country.”
This quote can help you understand what motivates a customer to shop at your store. When adding quotes, make sure to:
- Keep it short and sweet
- Use quotes from real customers
- Pull one to two quotes per customer persona
Pain Points and Challenges
Pain points or challenges, as they may be called in your customer persona, are the problems that your customers face. It should be focused on the pain points that your product or service can solve.
Let’s use a dog walking and training app as an example. One customer persona is described as a busy, 30-year-old lawyer with a new puppy. They work from the office at least three days a week. Some pain points may include:
- Time – I don’t have enough time to walk the puppy while I’m working in an office.
- Convenience – It’s hard to find regular dog walkers that I trust.
- Knowledge – I want to teach my puppy socialization, walking, and training skills but don’t know how.
As a dog walking and training app, you could solve all of these pain points. In your marketing, app, and site, you would acknowledge pain points and explain how you solve them. When you are able to speak to those specific problems, your customers feel like you are talking directly to them.
Goals and Aspirations
Goals are what your customers want to achieve, usually in the short term. Aspirations tend to be more long-term goals for your future. For example:
- Goal – I want to lose 20 pounds by the end of January.
- Aspiration – I want to be able to run a 5K without stopping by 2020.
Knowing your customer goals and aspirations will help you define your benefits. Instead of listing features, you’ll show customers how your product or service will improve their life and get them closer to their goals.
Factors That Influence Buying Decisions and Objection Handling
Although emotion plays a role in what a person decides to buy, there are other factors you’ll want to consider.
Many factors influence whether or not someone buys your product. The most common influences include:
Your customer personas may include a section that identifies why someone bought your product. In addition, you should be keeping records of why a potential customer didn’t buy.
For example, if you do not have as much brand awareness as a competitor, prospects may be hesitant to buy from you instead. In this case, you’ll need to build trust.
Objections are reasons why a potential customer hesitates or passed entirely on your product or service. They can reveal areas of improvement for your product, sales, and marketing teams. Also, they can help you create objection-handling statements. These help your sales and marketing team overcome objections, so you increase conversions and sales.
How to Create Customer Personas
Customer personas help you understand what customers want and why they buy. Here’s how you can create or improve your customer personas.
1. Identify Real Customers to Interview
These can range from power users to new users. You don’t have to interview everyone in your CRM. To get the most valuable feedback, you should interview a large and diverse pool of customers.
Once you have the right customers for interviews, ask about their experience using your product or service.
- What do they like?
- What do they wish was different?
- How did they come across your product or service?
- What would make it easier for them?
- What do they want to be available that isn’t yet?
Remember, don’t base your personas solely on a few customers’ feedback. To understand your customers, talk to as many of them as possible and look for patterns in their responses. You might be surprised by the answers you get. If specific themes emerge, you can develop personas based on those themes.
You may also want to include people who aren’t customers yet but could be ideal customers in the near future. It can help you identify areas of growth for your business.
2. Start With Basics, Then Get More Specific
Start by asking demographic questions like:
- How old are they?
- Are they married or single?
- Do they have kids?
- Where are they located?
- What kind of work do they do?
Once you’ve answered these questions about your customers (or potential customers), it’s time to start digging deeper into their pain points.
- What frustrates them about buying from other companies?
- Is there anything that stops them from buying at all?
- What is their lifestyle like?
You can use this information so that every interaction feels like it was designed just for them.
The goal of all this research is not to gather data. It’s about building relationships with your customers and learning more about them to serve them better.
3. Organize Your Findings Into Detailed Customer Personas
Visualize your research into detailed customer personas or profiles. The goal is to build personas that are as specific as possible. Include details about the customer’s needs, motivations, challenges, and behaviors.
You can use these personas to guide your marketing efforts by creating content that speaks directly to them. There are a few different ways to organize your findings into customer personas:
- Use an affinity diagram: This visual organizer allows you to group similar ideas and see how many different categories emerge from your data. You can use these categories as the basis for your personas.
- Create a persona profile: This is a one-page description of your personas, including their goals and behaviors. It should be written in the first person and include personal details that make it feel accurate (such as hobbies, pets, or hometown).
- Build a persona map: A persona map is a visual representation of one or more customer personas with critical attributes, including demographic information (age, gender), psychographic information (lifestyle, values), and behavioral information (how they shop for what they want).
4. Use customer segmentation
As part of Goodway’s Passport offering, we build customer personas and segment them for marketing purposes. The different customer segments we consider include:
- Demographic – age, occupation, gender, and other basic details mentioned above.
- Geographic – identify where your customers live and shop to deliver more localized messages.
- Behavioral – these are customer purchasing habits that help you better understand how, when, and why customers make purchases.
- Psychographic – this dives deeper into why customers make a purchase by looking at their lifestyle, beliefs, and values.
- Social media – analyze your customer’s social media posts and engagement to understand how to effectively communicate with them.
- Life stage – this segments customers by looking at their stage of life. For example, are they recently married, retired, or new parents?
- Transactional – this focuses on targeting customers based on transactions or purchase behaviors like when they make a purchase from your website or buy from a competitor.
By segmenting your customers, you can personalize marketing messages at scale.
Customer Persona Examples
A good customer persona will include demographics and detailed information.
These documents are for sharing internally, amongst your team, or with third parties. However, they should still follow your branding and style guide. Here are some customer persona examples:
B2C Customer Persona Example
- Female, age 35-45
- Married with three children
- Lives in a suburban neighborhood
- $50K – $75K household income per year or more
- She works as a marketing manager at a local business. Her husband works as an accountant at a different company.
Values: Family is essential to her—she’s always looking for ways to make her family’s lives easier and more enjoyable.
She loves to travel but doesn’t have the time or money to do so as often as she’d like. She’s always looking for ways to save money on travel and ensure that the trips she takes are unforgettable.
- “I hate having to go through all the trouble of booking flights and hotels for my family when we want to go on vacation together.”
- “It’s hard to find packages that work for our schedule and budget.”
- “It would be amazing if there were some kind of service that could save me time by putting everything together, so I don’t have to spend hours looking through websites.”
- She has to book flights and hotels on separate platforms
- It’s hard to tell which is the best deal and save money on travel
- Book flights, hotels, rental cars, etc. all at once
- Saving money while still making sure her family has a great vacation
- Making it easier to book travel for her family
B2B Customer Persona Example
- Male, 30-40 years old
- Job title: VP of Operations
Values: Secure, reliable, easy to use, quick to implement
Customer quotes: “I would be lost without [product or service].”
Pain points and challenges:
- I want to make sure my employees are safe
- Training can be time-consuming
Goals and challenges:
- Decrease turnover rate
- Improve employee safety
- Finding a tool that is easy for employees to use and requires minimal training
Needs/Wants: A secure new technology that can track employees’ actions in the field. It should be easy to use and quick to implement.
Factors influencing buying decision or objection handling:
- “My employees won’t like it.”
- “It’s too expensive.”
- “It doesn’t look professional enough.”
Customer personas help businesses create tailored experiences for their customers.
They can also be time-consuming to develop—especially if you don’t have an existing database with information on your customers.
However, customer personas are key to an effective marketing strategy. Brands can no longer rely on ad platforms alone for audience insights. To reach the right customers at the right time you need customer personas and other marketing tools. Learn how Goodway’s marketing agency can help you better understand your customers and develop marketing campaigns that resonate with them.