womanIf you were asked to describe your key audience, what would you say? Do you know the heart of your demographic? Do you understand the details of the people you want to reach?

Using a technique called “customer personas” can really boost your ability, and your team’s ability, to discern who you can and want to reach, and how to do it with ease. Here’s the lowdown on what a customer persona is, and how to craft your own.

What is a customer persona and why should I use the idea?  Creating a customer persona centers around the idea that the persona is an “ideal customer”, and also a representation of the kinds of customers you already have. The best customer personas are founded in tangible data, which you can collect from the people at your company or brand who are in contact with the customer. In essence, you are combining all your demographic data into one fictional “customer”. The reason this is effective is because your team can become united around the target person to achieve your goals. Having a customer persona or personas for key target audiences brings focus while eliminating confusion, and will most often inspire better creative content with a specific target in mind. It can help launch and guide your entire content strategy for your web site, emails, social media, print materials and more.

How do I build a customer persona that works? Find the people on your team who are in contact with your customers, and begin looking at common demographics. (Here is a great template with the 6 categories that you should identify: name and title, basics, professional background, quote, technical background, and favorite website).

Let’s say you are have a Christian film or DVD and want to build your following and sell your film.  You go to your team, who gives you demographics about the people who are using your site or buying similar products. Maybe for this type of film you find out that your audience is primarily (for demonstration purposes only):

-40+ year old females
-Family oriented, generally conservative, Christians
-Parents of children
-Moderately familiar with social media, and favors Facebook 
-Part time working or stay at home mothers

So, you come up with Susan, a stay-at-home mom who loves to replace outside entertainment with Christian entertainment for her family and in the car while she drives her kids around to sports in their minivan. She used to be in business, and left when her children were born. She loves Facebook, and likes to write on her mommy blog. She struggles to find time to feel relevant to pop culture, so she likes to stay current via ChristianCinema.com to help her find what’s new and safe for her family to watch.  To grab a customer like Susan, you will need to find ways to help her save time or to save money (i.e.: sales, coupon codes, etc), and that what is important to her is the family-friendly aspect of your product and programming for her children.

By staying clued in to who is in your customer database and what their needs are, you will remain in tune with how to retain them as customers. You and your team will have ideas about who these customers are. Your Google Analytics will tell you information about them as well.  You can also survey them to get more detail about who these customers are and what they need/want.  They will also feel valued, and will likely continue coming back to you because they feel you respect and identify with them as people, not just consumers.

You can find the latest tips to boost your faith-based marketing strategy here on the FrontGate blog!