Using Customer Personas for Small Business Success

How small businesses can get to know their customers

Do you know your customers?

Naturally, you have some idea of who your customers might be. If you sell backpacks, you’re looking for buyers who need to carry something, probably on a regular basis. If you sell law software, you’re targeting lawyers.

This information only tells part of the story. Different people are looking for different styles, sizes, and features in a backpack. Solo lawyers are generally looking for different features than a lawyer at a large firm might need. In reality, there are a lot of customer elements to look at—including age, location, where they live (rural or suburban), specific needs, technology, the list goes on.

Customer personas (also known as buyer personas) are your opportunity to target exactly who your customers are, and what they’re looking for.

The Who, What, When, and Why of Buyer Personas

Who – A customer persona is a fictional, generalized representation of a real person. The people who fall within a persona description make up your target market. You can, of course, have multiple target markets made up of multiple personas.

What – A strong customer or buyer persona is made up of real data gathered through your own research, surveys, interviews, and market research. Your small business might have two customer personas, or you might need twenty. The actual information you gather will depend on the nature of the product or service you provide, but you generally want to focus on these broad elements:

  • Professional information
  • Demographics
  • Goals (why they want your product)
  • The challenge they’re trying to overcome and how you can help them overcome it
  • Common objections to buying your product
  • Marketing messaging that appeals to their specific needs

When – The earlier you are in you are in your production process when you start thinking about buyer personas, the better. If you don’t have personas for your small business yet, now’s always a good time to start!

Why – When you group people into persona categories, you can better design products, services, and marketing campaigns to reach them. A buyer persona gives you answers to all those things you vaguely wonder about your customers—or maybe forget to think about at all. Do your customers use smartphones? Are they working out of home offices, small offices, or coworking spaces? How are your customers using your products? What are they looking for?

Customer Personas for Small Businesses

While it may seem like customer personas are just for big businesses, they’re just as impactful for small or solo teams!

You can start putting together your personas today.

  • Check out Google Analytics – Google Analytics is full of valuable data. It can show you where your visitors are from, what keywords they used to find you, and what pages they’re visiting.
  • Call in the Calvary – Get your product, sales, development, leadership, and marketing teams all in one room. All of these groups interact with customers in a different capacity and can help shine some light on who they really are.
  • Use social media – Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook all offer quite a bit of analytic data that can help you dive into who’s following your business—helping you drill down on who your existing fans are. You can also use social media listening to find potential customers and learn more about them!
  • Ask your audience directly – Surveys and interviews oh my! Nobody will ever know your customers as well as they know themselves. If the opportunity arises, sitting down with your customer is the best way to get to know them.

Once you’ve created customer personas, distribute that information to your team. The more people who know more about your customer, the easier it will be for you to develop a product and market it to that persona!

What Does it Look Like

Customer personas will look different for different businesses. Here’s a simple example of a made up buyer persona: Lawyer Liam and Lawyer Lisa.

Small Business Buyer Personas

Buyer Personas are a powerful and often underestimated tool that can help you develop your product or service and market it effectively! Are you using them? Tweet us @callruby and let us know!

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