Targeting customers accurately is no walk in the park, especially in these days of heightened competition. It takes keen business acumen to attract and convince the right customer to adopt your product or service.

But how can you know which strategy will work?

This question is quite important for formulating a winning strategy because you are not your user. Yet, you have to make strategic decisions that (you believe) will ultimately benefit them.

The solution lies in building customer personas. They allow your teams to know your customers on a deeper level, which helps improve conversion rates.

In this guide, you'll learn about how to achieve this and what tools are at your disposal to create customer personas accurately so that all your processes, from product development to mass marketing and targeted advertising to customer support and after-sales service, perform better.


What Are Customer Personas?

Personas are an important building block for successfully expanding your customer/user base.

Customer personas are representations of those people who can become long-term customers.

Think of the customer persona as a cheat sheet. A quick one-pager that you can use to fine-tune business decisions that impact customers. The best part is that a good customer persona will give you meaningful data about your target customers that you’ve been craving.

Composite sketch: Technically, customer personas are like a composite sketch that represents those key target demographic segments that make up the most lucrative customers of your product or service.

Audience segment: The persona is representative of a target market segment. For example, a target persona can be based on business size, or industry, or anything that’s important for your business.

Let’s begin the persona development process with a look at the significance of these personas.


Why Are Customer Personas Important?

Customer personas can help all your teams develop a shared understanding of the target consumer group and grasp their desires and behavioral patterns firmly, and as a result, make decisions strategically instead of just intuitively.

Check out these 33 mind-blowing stats about businesses that used customer personas!

Customer personas also help you minimize the risk of not understanding your target customers.

Difference Between Segments, Cohorts, and Personas?

While we’re on the topic, let’s see the differences between segments, cohorts, and personas.

Segments: The broadest categorical demarcation of customers. Basically, they could be huge if your target market is large (and hence unactionable) because they are based on generic factors like geographic, behavioral, or seasonal fluctuations in consumers’ preferences.

Cohorts: These are slightly more specific because they are groupings of customers based on their experiences (and therefore, their most likely preferences for products and services). Examples of such cohorts would be technologically adept millennials versus old-school baby boomers.

Personas: These are very particular (usually down to the individual level) representations that take into account the characteristics of the most lucrative kind of persons who have the highest chances of becoming valuable customers of your product or service. These are the ones we are creating.

What are negative buyer personas?

Basically, they are polar opposites of your ideal buyer persona. Odd though it may seem, any demographic segment that you would not like to sell your product or service to is represented by the negative customer persona.

These include prospects that were a part of the sales process almost till the end but didn’t close, red flags shown by problematic clients during the sales process but not caught, clients that were not profitable for your business for any reason and more.

Creating such a persona is important as it lets you focus on better quality leads that are part of your original buyer persona. This also helps streamline the marketing strategy and messaging.

Bonus Read: 11 SaaS Marketing Strategies & Techniques


Customer Persona Examples From Real-Life

Here are a few examples of well-developed customer personas created by real-world entities.

  • Sunburn Festival, an electronic dance music festival held annually:
    • Age 25/26 (median of 22 to 29) years; female
    • Active at least once a day on social media
    • Is in a new corporate job (hence has a disposable income)
    • Looks for early-bird discounts and prefers online purchases
    • Has previously attended Sunburn at least once
    • Makes group plans with friends
    • Likes meeting like-minded people
  • Manchester United, an English football team with a huge history:
    • Age 29 years; male
    • Tunes in to at least one match per month, either on TV or app
    • Wants to attend a live match at the Old Trafford stadium
    • Has followed the team performance for at least a few years
    • Tries to play actual football with family/friends once a week
    • Participates in fantasy football team selector competitions
    • Talks with fellow supporters and family members about the team
    • Is loyal to a fault and hence, invaluable for positive word-of-mouth
  • Visit Australia, the official government agency promoting Ozzie tourism:
    • Age 35 years; male
    • Makes holiday plans with wife or immediate family
    • Has traveled out of his/her native country at least once
    • I Want experiential tourism: hiking, glamping, safaris, etc.
    • Looks for world-class amenities during hotel stays
    • Does not like to go along a fixed itinerary

Modeling their ticketing offers, membership benefits, and marketing campaigns around such precise customer personas brings in more attendees, fans, and tourists for these businesses.

Case Studies: How Customer Personas Really Work

Here are a couple more examples of companies using customer personas to their benefit:

  • A travel company, Eindhoven365, conducted accurately targeted consumer surveys. They discovered that their most profitable customers fell into three categories:
    • Tech starters - entrepreneurs (both startup as well as experienced)
    • Bright talents - college students (who may have part-time jobs)
    • City explorers - temporary visitors from out of the city/country

The company rewrote website content, remodeled marketing collateral, revamped out-of-home media, and updated its new employee training program to educate employees about the kinds of things these prospective customers sought, thus driving up its revenues.

  • Brightspark created a visual representation of their most-likely B2B buyer, as shown.
Source: Brightspark

As these examples demonstrate, businesses that figure out how to build customer personas stand to profit from better ROI in their sales, marketing & advertising as well as other verticals.

The persona development process is about empathizing with your users, and most importantly, deepening your understanding of who your customers are, what they need, and how your organization can serve them.

If you’ve walked through a customer journey map exercise before, a lot of the same guidelines and benefits apply while figuring out how to build an accurate customer persona.


How to Create Customer Personas Accurately

A persona should be built on the basis of the following information:

  • Demographic data
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Estimated income bracket
    • Geography
    • Family size
  • Psychographic information
    • Goals
    • Challenges
    • Personality type
    • Motivations
  • Professional details (especially if you’re in the B2B market)
    • Job title and role level
    • Decision-making power
    • Tools used and budget for tools
    • Proximity to product or business objectives
  • Bonus info
    • A photo that represents your target user/customer
    • A fictional one-paragraph bio that tells their story
    • 1-2 quotes that reflect their desires
  • Personal tastes & interests
    • What publications, magazines, or journals they read
    • What blog posts or articles they read on your site
    • What trends or subcultures they may be part of

You can add (or subtract) other factors and methods depending on how deep you need your marketing personas to be. Also, like the negative buyer personas mentioned earlier, you might want to build different customer personas that let you identify how you deliver your sales pitch.

Examples of such personas are:

Detractors: For example, people in the decision-making process who might control the outcome of your B2B marketing

Influencers: For example, family members who may exercise the advantage of their purchasing power while making household purchases, etc.

Layering data or data overlapping: Once you have built your personas, you can validate (or invalidate) them using data-based research methods. One of the ways to do this is to check for overlapping data (called ‘layering’ the data) across your main customer segments to make sure that your persona covers the main characteristics that have a direct impact on the effectiveness of your marketing strategies.

In the next section, we give two examples of question sets that can guide the creation of customer personas. The answers to these questions are part of qualitative research.

These questions are best used in focus groups, in-context free-from response analysis, and one-to-one existing customer interviews (preferably long-term customers).

On the other hand, if you are looking to base your customer personas on quantitative research, you are better off employing multiple-choice questionnaires (MCQs) with weighted answers.


Customer Persona Interview Questions Templates

Creating a persona is a means to an end. The end goal is to have an accurate representation of your target customer so that your marketing efforts can be effective. Using a readymade customer persona template is an efficient way to collect the information for this purpose.

[Template 1]

  • What is your role?
  • What does your typical day look like?
  • What did you come here to do today?
  • What problem does our product solve for you?
  • What do you want to achieve by using our product?
  • What tools are you using?
  • How has this feature impacted your work?
  • What is your biggest pain point?
  • What frustrates you?
  • What keeps you awake at night?
  • What is your biggest desire in relation to your problem?
  • How often do you encounter your problem?
  • What devices are you normally using when encountering this problem?
  • How is your success in your role measured?

[Template 2]

  • What is your role?
  • What problem does our product solve for you?
  • What do you want to achieve by using our product?
  • What frustrates you (during your work)?
  • What is your biggest desire in relation to your problem?
  • What tools are you normally using when encountering that problem?
  • How is your success in your role measured?

More Question Guides For You:

Here's how you can develop accurate customer personas with Qualaroo


Steps to Build a Customer Persona Using a Survey Template

You can Create Customer Personas after you log in to Qualaroo by following these steps:

Step 1: Select ‘Create New’ on the top right of the dashboard, and on the next page, choose the type of Nudge you want to create:

Was the decision to create a customer journey map in response to a particular business need? If so, keep in mind the different types of customer journey maps and which one best fits this goal.

Now let’s have a look at a few use cases to get a better idea:

step-1 image

Step 2: Select one of the Build a Persona Templates from the list on the left.

step-2 image
step-2 image

We will continue with Template 1 to demonstrate how to create customer personas.

Step 3: Further settings can be adjusted while creating survey questions to build personas, depending upon how you plan to analyze the feedback, including:

  • Targeting a Nudge
  • Sentiment Analysis
  • Answer type
step-3 image

Case in point: Enabling Sentiment Analysis gives you the gist of the feedback from freeform responses without you having to sift through all the customers’ answers individually.

step-3 image

Step 4: The next step is Targeting, wherein you set the parameters of Where, Who, When, How Often, and How Long:

step-4 image

The target demographic could be all (100%) visitors or certain visitors who match your criteria of behavior, technology, and more factors, and the timing to display the Nudge can be preset as well:

step-4 image
step-4 image

Step 5: Next step is designing your NudgeTM, which includes deciding the look and feel of how the survey question for building a customer persona will appear to users, including the option to use your own logo.

If you want to tweak the look and feel of your NudgeTM further, make full use of our Design API!

step-5 image

Step 6: Once you have set your background image and logo, you can -

  • save and activate the Nudge, or
  • save and customize it further, or
  • preview it on site before exercising any of these two options
step-6 image

And there you have it! A customer persona that truly personifies your target audience.

**Customer Personas Cheat Sheet**

Ace the art of creating personas that truly reflect your target user’s tastes.

As mentioned above, personas will contain a variety of details about your core customer or target user. To build an accurately informed and data-driven persona, you will want to include both quantitative and qualitative insights.

1. Learn how to build actionable personas to improve conversions:

2. Check out the answers to these important questions about personas at a Qualaroo webinar, and ask your own in the comments!

Q: When do you know how to add a new persona?

Q: Do you recommend doing persona research before market segmentation research, or vice-versa?

Q: What happens if your segmentation/persona data is not aligned with the story of your company?

Q: How often do you recommend updating your personas?

3. Once you have created the perfect persona, you need to target customers accordingly.

See how Qualaroo helps you create advanced targeting in just 42 seconds!


Using Customer Personas for Improving Marketing Performance

Customer personas play an important role in marketing activities at various stages. Right from the pitching to even customer relationship management, customer personas can help things move along your sales funnel and open new avenues. Here’s how:

  • Give your most-suited pitch to prospects

Knowing the kinds of customers who approach you (or who you approach from the leads you generate) lets you tailor your sales pitch. Customer personas make sure that your sales agents and customer-facing employees know what people are looking for in general right from the beginning of the interaction so that they can follow up with appropriate strategies and actions.

  • Improve customer relationship management

If you are running a fairly sizable business, you might be using a CRM tool. Integrate it with your customer personas so that you can classify the leads according to their (expected) desires. Doing this will make your sales team better prepared to handle prospects and improve conversion rates. This is especially true if you sell a variety of products/services in the market.

  • Streamline your inbound marketing funnels

We have mentioned before how millennials are more likely to be technologically adept while baby boomers might prefer outmoded channels of communication. Your customer personas will help you create more streamlined sales funnels that will guide each customer segment towards the final purchase level in the way that speaks most to them, increasing conversion probability.

Bonus Read: 45+ Best Lead Generation Tools & Software

  • Expand your target audience efficiently

Knowing which social media channels are used by your most lucrative customer segments will help you reach more prospects through your marketing activities. Given today’s digitally influenced market that thrives on social media influencers and YouTubers, your customer persona might even lead you to the perfect Instagram influencer or vlogger for your brand!


Learn Customer Motivations, Desires, & Concerns Through Personas

In this guide, we've covered how building accurate personas offers unique insights and helps us make better strategic decisions. By targeting your questions, saving time with templates, and properly analyzing the results of your efforts, your business can learn within weeks what sometimes takes companies years to learn.

With its unobtrusive NudgesTM, Qualaroo offers a unique advantage to anyone trying to build highly accurate customer personas quickly, with minimum hassle, using our survey template.

Reach out to us pronto if you'd like to learn more & level up your persona development process.

Want to know what your customers think?

Qualaroo is the world's top customer feedback tool