A customer persona is the foundational concept of digital marketing.
Once you know who your customers are, you can predict how, when, and where to look for them online.
Customer persona benefits for content planning and creation are also immense.
You need to be able to properly speak to your potential customers & cover topics they care about.
Blogging without a customer persona (or a “reader persona” as we call it) is one of the most common mistakes small businesses make.
On the other hand, creating a buyer persona from excessive imaginary data is no good either.
This short practical customer persona guide will explain how to create a buyer persona and build an effective small business blog and a website around it.
We’re including an effective customer persona template as well.
Before you start your buyer persona research:
keep it simple and real.
The most important thing about creating a customer persona we’ve found from our experience is following these principles:
- Use only valid and relevant data
- Start with a general persona
- Don’t narrow down without data
Most small businesses make a mistake creating customer personas when they create ultra-detailed customer profiles with made-up names, hobbies, personal histories, families, and so on.
In reality though, most of that information is either a) taken elsewhere b) made up c) useless.
In fact, too many details in your customer portrait can serve as a distraction.
We’ve seen way too many small business owners use detailed customer persona builders, and try to fill them out with as many details as possible. And then get lost in them.
Truth is, you don’t necessarily have to invent name, age, or search for a stock photo.
Minor personal facts are irrelevant for most businesses, yet most marketers spend too much time trying to give their marketing personas a life full of fake details.
A much better idea is to work only with the real information, even if it seems scarce.
– if you have had just 4 customers and they were all small business owners looking to save money on advertising – that is your ideal customer persona for now.
As you plan and create content, keep it in mind and use it as a filter for your content ideas. Once you get more customers – expand your customer persona, but for a start work with what you have.
Now on to creating your customer persona.
Step 1: Get your data.
Once again, – sounds harsh, but there is little point in using third-party research data. You need to focus on your past customers.
Even if you’re just starting and only had a couple of clients – they will be enough to determine who you are writing for in the next couple of months and create a content plan.
Your first real customers are the filter that shapes your first batches of content.
Step 2: Understand their role.
Define your customer’s professional and personal roles.
What matters for your content marketing is the primary role of your reader.
Is he a decision maker? Is he an employee, or an entrepreneur, or a student, or a soccer mom?
This seems obvious for a b2b customer persona (ceo vs middle manager, tech vs resource, etc.) but b2c customer personas have clear roles that define them as well.
General roles shape everything about the person. Any societal or workplace role can be primary, just figure out what it is.
Step 3: Understand what drives them
People are driven by desires, goals, fears, and peer pressure. What drives someone that will read your blog?
List your persona’s driving forces: motivations, fears, and goals.
Step 4 – Understand what your customer personas are NOT
This is an extra little step that still proves to be helpful.
To keep your content efficient you need to make sure it’s free from unnecessary details, jargon, and imagery.
No need to cater to someone who’s not your ideal customer above all.
Example: if you selling to small businesses there is no need to use corporate lingo, large-scale CRM and ERP case studies – focus on the practical, DIY processes that are easy to understand and set up for 5-people operations.
Setting exclusive filters for your customer persona is extremely helpful for content planning because it tells you what topics to skip in order to save money on writers.
Those were the major customer persona research rules for small businesses looking to establish an effective online presence.
Based on these practice-based rules we’ve put together a universal buyer persona template for small businesses.
The template helps
- Create converting website pages
- Write traffic-baiting blog posts
- Save money on worthless content
Click here to view the template.
Contact us if you have any questions about the template.
Our buyer persona template is not like the other ones out there because it is
- focused on practical effectiveness rather than flashy marketing terms
- helps save money on writers
- is aimed at small business owners.
- stripped of distracting personal details.
How to use our buyer persona template
Once you fill out the template with just facts, proofread your content with those facts in mind.
Then audit your future blog post topics.
Will this persona find them useful?
What else would they likely be interested in reading?
Where is your customer persona looking for more information
Answer these questions, fill out the spreadsheed with great content ideas, move questionable content ideas further into the backlog – and you have a content plan better than that of 90% of small business owners.
Other customer persona templates and guides
Here’s a couple of other buyer persona creation guides and templates online, feel free to browse them.
→ Most of them are decent though not all are geared specifically towards small businesses online.
→ Also, not all of them are content marketing-oriented.
Here’s the list:
This is a lengthy and very detailed guide – one of the best online. The only thing about this guide – it serves large corporate environments way better, because small businesses usually have access to less data.
A general overview of buyer persona creation techniques, though a bit too rich in excessive detail for our taste
A detailed guide on creating multi-purpose customer persona profiles
This is a fun list with some solid templates on it, even though some parts of them may not be applicable to your business. Still worth taking a look.
If you know another buyer persona worth mentioning – contact us and let us know.
If you are stuck creating your customer persona or a content plan for your blog – get in touch with us and we’ll help you out like we helped hundreds of other business owners.