A Customer Persona is a commonly used term by marketers to create a ‘person’ behind a target market. In marketing research and in digital marketing, the key to developing a personalized journey or experience starts with segmentation. Marketing segmentation is basically grouping people together with common interests and needs and will respond similarly to a marketing action. Creating segments of customers helps marketers to ‘personalize’ marketing programs in order to create points of difference from competitors. Hopefully, by ‘personalizing’ the experience for the different segments, your brand will be considered superior to your competitors.
So how do you do this? Personalizing the experience for every unique customer that you have would be nearly impossible, this is why we create customer segments. Once you have created your customer segments, then you can create a ‘Persona.’ A persona is a collective picture of a key segment of your audience, which reflects the majority of individuals and is typically presented using a combination of text and visuals. For marketing purposes, personas help you deliver graphics, images, and content that will be most relevant and useful to a specific audience segment. It’s important to do your market research prior to creating personas for your business.
Personas, when created effectively, can help you to focus your messaging, find and fill gaps in your content and strategically work to solve your customer's pain points. Personas are NOT meant to represent an individual person, but a group of people who have similar interests, challenges, and frustrations. Effective personas generally include a short quote that represents their personality, a short bio, technologies, brands, and channels they use, goals and frustrations, and personality traits. The best practice is to use icons and imagery where you can substitute for text. Personas help to create a visual for members across departments in your company. Since 65% of the population are visual learners, the key is to create a visual piece of content that marketers and non-marketers alike can understand and build empathy for customers they interact with frequently. Oftentimes, the easiest way to develop personas is by using the software.
In 2019, there were over 7,000 marketing technology programs to help marketers position their brands for success. Navigating that landscape to search for the right program can be like Goldilocks lost in the forest trying to get home. For simplification and time purposes, there are 3 great marketing technologies to help you create personas for your company; Canva, HubSpot, and UXPressia. You can be like Goldilocks and choose the one that’s just right for you!
Canva. Canva is your simplest of tools. Canva is a web application that was designed for everyone. Their application offers millions of images, photo filters, shapes, icons, design templates, and hundreds of fonts. Canva is a tool that you can use to easily create your personas and customer journeys. Their drag-and-drop feature and help you to design professional layouts. When you log in you can search their templates for “customer journey” and see a variety of templates that you can customize for your business. For personas, an easy side hack is to search resumes and then customize the resume to represent your persona. Canva’s focus is on graphics so it can be your go-to tool for creating great designs.
HubSpot. HubSpot is a more robust application than Canva and offers more integrated marketing features. HubSpot offers free templates for personas or you can walk through a 19 questions to create customized personas. While in Canva you can create individual personas and customer journeys, HubSpot connects these two together. With HubSpot, you can use your personas in combination with other HubSpot software features to track buyer habits through the customer journey. HubSpot offers a robust application to integrate marketing, sales, and customer service with its free customer relationship management (CRM).
UXPressia. UXPressia is an application that provides one place for your customer experience assets and processes. It is a web-based application and creates a collaborative environment for the customer journey, persona, and impact map development. Since personas should result from research and inter-department collaboration, having a centralized application helps prevent siloed information. UXPressia offers over 50 journey mapping and persona templates to help you focus on the content of the persona rather than the design. To take it a step further, UXPressia offers integration of web analytics and embedded code from other applications to help build your customer journey with real-time data. So if you are ready to take a deep dive, UXPressia will help you get there with their Customer Journey Map Fundamentals Course.
Remember, buyer personas must be created based on data-driven research in order to see true ROI. Try to be as accurate as possible when creating the “personalities” and “experiences” of your customer. Customer personas and journey maps are an asset that is fluid. Just because you’ve found a technology that has made creating them “just right,” whenever your content offerings or demographic changes you can quickly and easily make adjustments to stay relevant.