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How Small Businesses Can Create Personas

small business mid-size business personas
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Personas aren't just for big companies!

In fact, if you have more than one customer "type" then Personas are for you, too.

The sooner you create Personas the sooner you will have a targeted content marketing strategy that increases lead quality and converts more high relevant leads to a sale.

Before we begin, what exactly is a Persona?

A Persona is:

  • A character in your brand's story

  • A representation of your customers

  • A targeting tool for attracting prospects more like your existing customers

While every customer is unique, they all have a common set of needs and expectations. One thing they will ALL agree on: "don't let us down".

By creating this fictional character we're calling a Persona, you're encompassing their overlapping pain points and delivering messages that speak to them and attract them to you and your solutions.

Competition who? Haha

When you take a deeper approach to understanding your ideal customers, you better understand who they are, what they need and where to find them.

As a small business, it's just as easy to create Personas than it is for big companies - in fact, it's probably easier! Here's how small businesses can build Personas (you can also listen to a podcast episode I recorded here and includes documents to download to assist you in this process):

  1. Research This is your most important step. Your persona develops based on the data and information you've gathered so your personas will be only as good as your research. Be thorough by digging deep into your customer data and ask a lot of questions such as: * What does my ideal customer do on a day-to-day basis? * What is asked of my ideal customer by their boss or their customers? * What negative experience is my ideal customer having every day they wish they weren't? * How does my ideal customer communicate with their ideal customers? * Why would my ideal customer start looking for my solution? * What's my ideal customer motivated by? * What emotions is my ideal customer going through when looking for a solution? Keep in mind that effective personas: * Represent a major user group for your website * Focus on the major needs and expectations * Give a clear view of what the user will experience * Help uncover the problem they are having * Describe real people

  2. Use a marketing tool Hubspot has a free tool with all you need to start - and as your company grows. This tool provides you with the fields you need to group customers into 'buckets' based on personas. You can create contacts and companies separately, run reports, create chatflows and shows you additional options available for a fee. I use this Hubspot CRM and it's great for my current needs.

  3. Write content for each persona Each blog article, each video, each piece of website content, each social media post should be in the language your ideal customer speaks and will be attracted to so don't use jargon or complicated terms that aren't easily understood and actionable. If you make the content too difficult, they will not stay on your website.

  4. Show up and be consistent Your ideal customers are difficult to attract. Once you do, have a consistent plan on when new content is going to be released, new product features will be available, updates launched, etc. As a small business, it's hard enough to get the attention you know you deserve so when your ideal customers are giving you that attention, give them a reason to stay and keep returning. By being consistent, showing up when promised and delivering on expectations and promises is THE best way to earn their trust and get them to do business with you.

Why are Personas so important?

Building personas helps you as a business owner or leader or decision maker create 'like' groups that drive the type of content they need, when they need it and for what they need it. You essentially are developing a word path to help your ideal customer go from point A (where they are now, with an issue, needing a solution) to point B (to you). When you develop content and a path that speaks directly to that ideal customer in a language they need and where they are looking, you will generate more qualified leads. Guess what happens with more qualified leads? They convert faster and at a higher rate!

If you need a template to guide you through this process, I created separate B2B and B2C versions to download as well as interview questions you can use as a starting point.

Need help identifying your ideal customers and creating personas? Send me a message and let's see how I can help you!

Vicki O'Neill is a fractional CMO in Ohio with over 20 years of marketing leadership experience. She's the founder of KenKay Marketing, a marketing solutions company founded in 2011. Vicki hosts Connect the Dots a marketing and sales educational podcast for entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes. She recently launched a new podcast with her Gen Z daughters, The Power of 3X, to help individuals who want to learn about the youngest generation. You will find Vicki on most social media platforms but you'll find her mostly on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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