To launch the right online business, you need a persona development strategy to figure out how you can solve their problems. A customer persona is a fictional character that represents the traits and behaviors of your ideal customer. Depending on your product offering and the size of your business, you can have one, ten, or maybe even more personas. That’s why figuring out exactly who to sell to and why is a KEY first step in starting a sustainable, profitable online business.
I’ve been in your situation before. I was trying to figure out how to be successful in a remote business. I ended up leaving my corporate job and making $250,000 in revenue in my first year in business, without an email list or selling products. And I can speak from experience that one of the first steps in business-building is landing those first few clients.
Before you start marketing your business, it’s a good idea to craft your customer personas. The process can help narrow your focus and help you stay on track from branding to content creation. And don’t guess what your customer persona is: Use data, interviews, and research to find out exactly who they are. Here’s the framework I use to create dozens of customer persona examples over the years for my clients and my own business ventures.
10 Exercises to Craft Your Ideal Customer Persona
1. Figure Out How Your Customers are Unique
Where do your ideal customers live? How old are they?
2. Determine Their Communication Preferences
Are your customers on Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, or another channel? Do they primarily use their work email or texting apps?
3. Where Do They Work?
Assigning a role and industry to your customer persona makes them more tangible and compelling. The more you can figure out where your customers work and what types of industries they serve, the easier it is to identify how you can help them.
4. Walk Through Their Typical Day
Think about what a typical day looks like for your customer and walk through it in your mind. You can also frequent their favorite haunts. Where are they going after work or on weekends?
5. Research Their Interests
From blogs to brands, research what your customers love to do with their time and what products they consume. When you understand their interests, you can also start to predict their buying behavior.
6. Think About Their Goals
Goals are a powerful way to get into the mindset of your customers. More importantly, the goals they set come with consequences, whether they fail to meet them or crush them. What are your customers’ goals, and how can you help them meet them? With this understanding, you can create a true-to-life customer persona that reflects real business values.
7. Collect Quotes
Collecting real quotes from researching customers and your network helps nail down real-world examples of who you’re serving. Are they Type A professionals who have trouble letting go of any tasks? Real quotes help you pinpoint your customer persona’s real pains.
8. What Can You Do to Help?
Once you’ve mastered what your customers want and their goals, brainstorm how you can help them overcome their obstacles and challenges.
9. Focus on Marketing
Your marketing is like a love language to your customers that reflects the information you’ve gathered. They’ll feel like you know them because you do. You just invested your time getting in their heads and figuring out exactly how you can serve them.
10. Consider Your Anti-Persona
If you have difficulty narrowing down your ideal customer personas, think about who you do not want to sell to (as anyone who’s been in business for a while can tell you: There’s a big difference between working with your ideal client versus your nightmare client!). Figuring out your anti-persona can offer more clarity to the process and give you more insights into your business. You can still welcome those anti-personas to read your content or try your services if they want. But they’re not your focus and are unlikely to value your products and services the same way your primary audience will.
Narrowing down your focus to the right customer personas can dramatically refine your marketing efforts, sales strategy, and make it easier to scale your business. Targeting the right customers also means a more fulfilling relationship for both of you. Why not serve the people who value your work the most? They could end up being your biggest fans.