Who’s your target audience? How well do you know them? Have they got a name? Does everyone in your business know them? Do you know more about them than age and job title?

Do you have them in mind every time you communicate, create, produce and design?

Knowing your audience allows you to engage more quickly and authentically, hit targets sooner and increase growth at a more rapid rate. A detailed audience persona invokes your ideal customer instantly and, when used by everyone in the business, creates a shared vision of what your audience needs and wants, driving everyone in the same direction.

Fancy having a detailed persona to great business with? We’ve got 7 key areas to get you started…

1. Pick one

We know! It’s hard! And there’s conflicting advice on this one, but for us the rule is the fewer the better so, if you can, pick one persona. Why? Simply because one is easier and more effective to target. Think how honed your process, service and communication would be if you only had to deal with one person.

If you can’t pick one because e.g. you’re a business dealing with both B2B and B2C and your consumer is wildly different from your corporate contact then okay, you probably want to look at having two personas. But really consider how different they are. Despite different agendas, decision makers are decision makers, perhaps they have more in common than you think.

USE IT: Get the people in your business familiar with your one persona. The more people visualising who they are working for, the more cohesive a team is in approaching objectives.

2. Get to know them

Let’s start with the basics – where do they live? What do they like to wear? What do they do for a living? Where do they go for brunch? (Are they even brunch people?) Where do they do their shopping? There’s so much you can talk about here and it all adds to the insight. For this stage, do as much as gets you into the flow of painting the picture.

USE IT: The next time you find yourself at the drawing board (creating a product/writing a newsletter/crafting a tweet), visualise your persona and the kind of lifestyle they have. Is what you’re producing relevant to them right now? If you’re tweeting about going clubbing while your audience is probably brushing their teeth, they’re going to feel pretty unengaged.

3. Motivation

Are you providing a solution to someone who is operating through fear or through desire? Is your persona running towards, or away from something?

Operating through fear: Are they afraid of losing out? Of being last? Of getting old? Are they running away from debt, stress, poverty, ill health?

Operating through desire: They want the forever home, more money, more time and better quality time. They’re running towards retirement, promotion, marriage, family.

USE IT: Does your product or service serve your audience in a way that addresses an emotional, motivating factor in their life? Considering their basic fears and desires is certainly going to grab their attention and give you the edge.

4. Heaven and Hell

What bothers a person can tell you a lot about them. Picture your persona on a bad day. What’s irking them? Is it traffic? Is it tardiness? Poor quality goods, services, coffee? Rudeness or inflexibility?

And what sets their world on fire? Baking the perfect sourdough? An issue quickly resolved? Nailing the presentation? Time spent with family? Not having to answer emails all day?

USE IT: For example:

  • Hell: Your persona hates to wait, so you talk about how fast your delivery is or how quickly you resolve issues. And if your process isn’t speedy?! Flip it. Concentrate on how you take your time delivering the best outcome.
  • Heaven: Your audience loves a weekend of no screens, so think about how your offering contributes to a relaxed, more simple lifestyle. But it’s a mobile-based app?! Consider sending reminders on a Friday to get orders in so customers don’t have to worry about it over the weekend.

5. Why they’d walk on by

Listing why customers love you is easy, because you’ve worked on your USP, you know the benefits. But taking the time to think about why a prospect might pass you by is extremely revealing.

USE IT: Your persona chooses you because you offer great service. But they pass you by because e.g.

  • They don’t understand what you do
  • You’re too expensive for them
  • They’ve never considered how you fit into their lives

Now address those issues for them. Remember that you don’t have to change a thing about your offering, just the way you talk about it:

  • Show them what you do with video or case studies
  • Talk about the amazing value you offer, or how investing you get so much more – tell them your story or introduce them to your process
  • Demonstrate how their lives are made so much better by having you in it

6. Values

The values your ideal customer has match yours – that’s why they’re attracted to you. But it’s always good to think outside of your business in terms of what they hold dear. Values can include politics, faith, parenting, worldview etc. These are your customer’s core approach to life so worth considering; honour their values and you’re friends for life, shake them and they’ll reconsider the relationship.

USE IT: If your persona is driven by an ethical values system, they’ve probably chosen you because you are too – but what do they specifically care about? Is it organic farming? Carbon footprint? Animal welfare? Speak to these issues in your communications and demonstrate your passion for them. If their values lie in family, think about how what you do benefits harmonious living, or brings people together.

7. Talk to me about…

What does your person like to talk about? What’s their communication style? Think about what they’d spark a conversation with you about – golf? Their kids? Business? The news? Are they very formal or open when they talk? Do they reveal a lot to you or do they like to stick to facts? This is another layer of interest that tunes into the way your audience likes to be engaged.

USE IT: A person that gets straight to the point wants to be communicated with in the same way. Keep comms short, factual – get those stats up top. Someone who loves to get personal and talk openly and at length might prefer to hear your story, or watch a video about you and your team or your process. When writing emails, creating content, thinking about which subjects to cover on social – knowing the way your persona approaches communication is key to getting them hooked.

Hunting & gathering

Collecting this information might seem like a gargantuan task but you can make it as high-level or as deep as you need/want. We always think the more detailed a picture, the easier it is to engage a person, that’s why we take our time over the info gathering stage with our clients. But you can take these 7 areas and just write a couple of bullet points, or use the free Xtensio user persona generator, which is a great collation point. Whatever helps invoke the personality of your persona will help you create better content, products and services.

If you’re feeling completely in the dark, you can always ask. A short audience questionnaire or focus group/phone interviews will give you great insights (and you can incentivise with competitions or deals etc).

As always, we’re here to help and if you need a hand with getting to know your audience better, give us a shout.