The better way to sell online

Customer personas and how to make them

Creating customer personas will help you target the right people with your products, and make sure your marketing strategy suits them. In this post, we’ll talk you through what exactly a customer persona is, and how you can make one for your own business.

So what is a customer persona? Whenever a product or service is made/planned, it’s done so for a consumer or customer. For example, lawn-mowing services might exist for people who don’t own their own lawnmowers, have properties too big to manage by themselves, or who simply don’t have the energy/time to manage their yards. In the same vein, bamboo straws might be made for people who are environmentally conscious and want to minimize their environmental impact.

Whenever you develop or sell a product, it’s essential to know who exactly you’re going to sell it to. This ‘who’ is what you’ll build a customer persona about: a fictional character, or characters, who you think would most benefit from your product.

Having this person in mind will then help you deliver marketing and messaging with the right tone, nail your design choices, and target the right customers with advertising.

It’s not uncommon to find business owners who have the attitude of ‘whoever likes my product will buy it’, but by not having a dedicated customer persona, you’ll miss out on taking over your niche and developing a true brand name.

It’s important to note that your persona or personas will change and develop over time; business which rebrand often shift their focus from a persona which isn’t working to a new one, and products often suit one kind of person better than another. Staying on top of trends and developments means your persona will need to stay changeable, but it’s still essential to develop one to guide your marketing and development plans.

Starting to develop buyer personas

In the beginning, developing a buyer persona, or personas, can seem somewhat overwhelming. The best way to start is by listing all the people who might be interested in your product. Say for example that you sell customized men’s t-shirts. Who might buy your products?

  • People for themselves
  • People for their friends
  • Other businesses for reselling

Already, you can identify that you have two main buckets: individuals, and businesses. Once you have those, you can start to examine them a little further. What kind of people will be buying custom t-shirts?

  • Party groups
  • Men for themselves
  • Men’s partners as gifts

Getting into the specifics of buyer personas

Let’s take the party group persona. It can be easy to create hundreds of personas, but in order to really develop a reputation as a business, it’s best to focus on just a handful. For instance, if you nail birthday presents for girls under the age of ten, then everyone looking for presents for girls under the age of ten will get to know your business. If you cast your net too widely, you run the risk of stock getting stuck on shelves and failing to spread your brand name. You also won’t be really relevant to anyone: it’s much better to pick a persona and then serve everyone who fits into it, even if it means missing out on a different demographic.

So, party group: which kind of party groups does your business want to serve? It’s worth having a look around at what other businesses are doing, and identifying if there are any niches they’ve missed. If so, consider whether those niches are large enough to be profitable.

Once you’ve found a niche that works, such as customized t-shirts for groups of friends going on party holidays together, start to map out a little more about what this customer might look like. Here are some of the things to consider:

  • Where does the person buying the t-shirts, or products, live?
  • How old are they?
  • What are their other interests?
  • How much money do they earn?
  • Is this person single, or in a relationship?
  • Why would they be motivated to buy your product?
  • What might prevent them from buying your product?

There are many other questions you could consider, but you also don’t have to answer all of them. The goal is to craft a realistic representation of group of people, and to then tailor your business to them.

Verifying your buyer personas

Once you’ve got an idea of who your buyer personas might be, give them names! For instance, a lot of fashion brands have different lines named after their buyer personas; by naming them you can more easily communicate them to your co-workers and create marketing and product targeted for them.

Then, it’s essential that you double check that your buyer personas are actually realistic. There’s a good chance you’ve built a few assumptions and educated guesses into your crafting of them, so now is the time to verify those guesses.

You can have a look at your current audience base and see if your personas are reflected in it, you can view your Google and Facebook, and you can send out surveys.

If you’re just starting out, use tools like SimilarWeb to find out who the demographics of your competitors are: this can also help validate and guide you in persona creation.

Then, when you’ve verified and named your personas, create one page documents which outline all the information about them. There are dozens of great templates you can use online; and once you’ve crafted your persona, they can become powerful assets.

Putting your personas to use

Once you’ve defined your personas, you’ll be better able to calculate who you should be marketing to, how you should communicate your brand, and what kind of products you should introduce to your store. By creating specific, tailored, relevant topic for this fictional person, any real life people represented by your persona will feel like your store was made just for them: meaning they’re more likely to convert into customers and recommend you to others with similar interests.


Let us know who are some of the personas you use to guide your business and communication decisions?

- Lena Klein

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