It is a fictitious model of an ideal customer. It generally includes demographics (age, gender, location, and occupation) as well as psychographics (motivations, likes, dislikes, and pain points).
“Some 90 percent of respondents to a 2017 survey said that they find personalization appealing, and 80 percent said that they would be more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences, according to "The Power of Me: The Impact of Personalization on Marketing Performance," a 2018 report from Irving, Texas-based digital marketing firm Epsilon. Moreover, consumers who believe personalized experiences are very appealing are 10 times more likely to be a brand's most valuable customer — those expected to make 15-plus transactions in one year. And those respondents who believe that companies are doing very well on offering personalized experiences shop more than 3x more frequently.”
You may already have data collected on your customers. Exercise caution in using data from platforms that can’t track whether a final purchase was made. While data on your audience, regardless of their purchase behavior is not useless, if you utilize e-commerce, online transactions, or record consumer sales in any way, this would be the best place to start.
You want to analyze the data with the intent of identifying different purchasing patterns (see examples below). Digital or not, you need to think of the people you (or your employees) can personally recognize from your current customer base and select individuals who would serve as the “representative” of a type of persona or group of potential customers. Some of these may technically be an estimate if you don’t have the reports to back your decisions up but they’ll likely still be a fair representation of a type of customer if the person choosing them has their finger on the pulse of your operation and sales.
Consider choosing customers based on the following behavior (try to create your own criteria to reflect your unique operation, too):
Now that you’ve identified the individuals who will serve as the best representatives of a whole customer persona, it’s time to contact them and extract data from their responses that will help to guide how you market and communicate to an entire customer group that would display similar behavior and characteristics as the representative. Again, depending on how you operate, this survey may be done in person, via mail, e-mail, social media, etc.
This can vary depending on many factors. You should really weave the uniqueness of your operation into every step of the customer persona process, including the survey or interview, especially at the psychographics portion. Demographics should be fairly standard, although you may choose to eliminate some for the sake of completion rate (longer survey = lower completion rate). To clarify, demographics explain “who” your buyer is, while psychographics explain “why” they buy. Here are some questions to consider and help get you started:
Behavior & Psychographics (consider going “off script” here in an interview format, as a more informal conversation)
Organize data and characteristics with one page or tab for each persona. Use this template. There are many more available on the internet. This article by Optinmonster is quite helpful: https://optinmonster.com/how-to-create-a-concrete-buyer-persona-with-templates-examples/#templates
Give names to each persona. Adding a name will humanize the persona. You can also use the name internally as organizational shorthand for this very specific target.
The first draft is NEVER the final draft. This is a living document that you will continuously update over time as you learn more about your customers.