How to write a customer persona: A step-by-step guide

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Marketing and selling your products online is easier when you can put a face to your customers. Without that in-person feel for how your customers think, feel, and act can sometimes make it a struggle to visualise the best way to speak to them. Here's where customer personas come in. As part of your marketing strategy, customer personas are a clever way to improve your communication with online shoppers.

What is a customer persona?

A customer persona, also known as a buyer persona, is a profile of the customers you want to target. It is based on information gathered from research and your customer base in real life. The details include more than just statistics, but ideas about the buyer's lifestyle and pain points that lead them to need your product.

Although a customer persona tries to identify clearly the key traits of your buyers, it is not meant to represent your entire audience. You can create a number of personas to illustrate the main types of people you aim to sell to.

There are multiple benefits for creating these profiles to help with marketing, product sourcing, and pricing.

The benefits of creating customer personas

Building buyer personas can streamline your business's sales and marketing efforts. It takes away the guesswork from deciding who you are talking to and how to reach them better. Investing some time into this part of your marketing plan is worth doing to steer your messaging in the right direction and secure more sales.

How customer personas are beneficial:

  • They give a visual idea and a face to your target audience
  • Focus your time on customers that are ready to buy
  • Give you direction during product sourcing to suit the needs of your preferred customer
  • Seamlessly customise your marketing content, messaging, and advertising campaigns to address the specific needs of your target audience
  • Attract high-value visitors to your dropshipping store who are likely to become repeat business
  • Best of all, building customer personas isn't difficult or expensive
  • How to build a customer persona

    1. Research

    If you don't have customers yet, collect information online. Look at the websites of your competitors and read the product reviews. What challenges do these customers face that lead them to buy these products and how can you help them better than your competitors?

    Reading product reviews can also give an idea of how your target customer thinks and behaves. Even by looking at the way they express their opinions, you can use this information to think about their possible education and lifestyle.

    Another great way to conduct research is to create customer surveys. This works well if you have a customer base already. Customer surveys can be sent periodically through the year and after a sale from your online shop. Ask customers questions that will help to build a profile such as age, location, and what they like the most about your services.

    Reviewing data from your social media platforms also adds to enrich your buyer personas. Facebook Insights, for example, gives you demographic statistics about those that interact with your posts.

    2. Customer desires and challenges

    To get to grips with the motives of your customer sales, try to pinpoint the challenges they face and why they need you. Are they renovating a home and need to work on a budget? Are they expecting a new baby and prefer the ease of buying online?

    Elevate this further by reviewing these pain points and needs with how they are met by your competitors. Think about how you can set yourself apart, what type of buyer would choose you rather than your competition, and how you excel above others in your market.

    Include this information in each of your customer persona profiles.

    3. Create the buyer profile

    Now that you have all the data collected, it's time to put the buyer persona together. Review the information gathered and look for patterns and trends. Piece together profiles to represent at least 2-3 buyer personas. Organise your data for each persona into the following categories:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Job
  • Highest level of education
  • Income
  • Marital status
  • Number of kids
  • Spending habits
  • Preferred social media platform
  • Interests and hobbies
  • Buying challenges and needs
  • This type of lifestyle profile helps you to see your target customers in a human way rather than just numbers.

    To make your personas more detailed, add:

  • Price sensitivity
  • Interest in new products
  • Brand loyalty
  • Interest in being health-conscious
  • Interest in environmentally-friendly brands
  • Brands they usually buy
  • Examples

    Here are some examples to give you an idea of the type of format to aim for.

    Young outdoor dad, Jacob

  • 37 years old
  • Married with a young family
  • Works in a management role in IT
  • Owns a Volvo SUV
  • Recently took out a mortgage on a small townhouse
  • Interested in the outdoors, camping, and cycling
  • Wants to kit out his kids with bicycles to enjoy the nearby countryside
  • Likes to find value for money products but willing to pay more for trusted brands
  • Usually buys from Levis, Calvin Klein, and Tommy Hilfiger for himself
  • He and his wife buy Zara and H&M clothing for the kids
  • Not willing to spend a great deal on his children's bicycles as they are growing
  • Uses Instagram and YouTube
  • Grandma-to-be, Victoria

  • 58 years old
  • Married for 30 years
  • Works as a head administrator in a hospital
  • Owns one home and has paid off the mortgage
  • Lives in the outskirts of a city
  • Drives a Toyota hybrid car
  • Travels with her husband three times a year abroad
  • Shopping for her first grandchild
  • Interested in gardening and horse riding
  • Doesn't like to drive into the city to go shopping and likes the convenience of buying online
  • Usually buys food at a premium supermarket once a week
  • Uses Facebook to keep in touch with family
  • To conclude

    Buyer personas are a handy tool to refer to when developing an advertising campaign, launching a new product, or making improvements to your dropshipping store. Your business and marketing decisions can benefit from this specific customer information you have organised. Make sure to keep these updated as you continue to collect customer data and expand your eCommerce products.

    Related articles:

  • How to write a dropshipping business plan
  • Tips for building your brand value
  • Copywriting tips for dropshippers
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