What is a client persona?
In the pre-digital age, businesses generally segmented their potential customers into target audiences based on demographics, eg women over fifty years old living in Sydney. They then created standard messaging and marketing activities that targeted these wide groups of people and reached them via mass-market communications channels such as radio, newspapers and TV shows that serviced that particular group of people.
Modern digital marketing enables you to identify potential clients and communicate with them in a significantly more direct, granular and personalised manner, and hence the concept of client personas was created.
A client persona is an imaginary representation of your ideal client. A firm that offers multiple types of services may have multiple client personas, but it is important to focus on a primary client persona for each service.
Personas help us articulate and understand our ideal clients’ characteristics. They help inform branding decisions, value proposition and development of messaging at each stage of the buying cycle. Client personas are based on research of existing clients, as well as educated assumptions relating to demographics, motivations, goals and buying behaviour.
Client personas are not real people.
Unlike the traditional definition of a target market which was generalised and described demographic characteristics common to many people, eg job title, age, gender, income etc, a client persona is a single fictional character that represents an ideal target client group, including their key problems, behaviour patterns, psychographics and demographics. It also
considers reasons behind why a particular client may behave in a particular way, for example their ambitions, goals, fears etc.
A client persona may include descriptions of actual media consumption by the ideal client. For example, a sports nutritionist may undertake copious amounts of research on the internet, whereas a neurosurgeon may only be guided by accredited university research
by highly qualified academic professors and distributed to practitioners through their relevant industry associations.
All your marketing content and messaging should be informed by and communicate directly to your client persona, paying particular attention to their problems. It is, however, important to remember that the client persona is an imaginary character representing a client group. It is not simply a description of one or two (or even three) actual people.
Creating a client persona?
Unlike a description of a general target market, the fine detail in a client persona is important.
1. Client personas are based on research results of current or proposed clients. The first step in creating a client persona is therefore to understand and identify what questions need to be asked.
2. Once the questions are identified, determine how best to research your personas.
3. When creating your personas, focus on one primary persona per category.
4. Document research results and create your client persona from these.
Best practices when developing client personas.
1. It is important to understand why a particular client may be interested in your services. One of the more common drivers is that they are encountering a problem that needs to be solved. By understanding their problem you are in a stronger position to communicate with them in a manner that directly address their needs.
2. Whilst client personas are not descriptions of actual people, they must accurately represent a group of people.
3. Once you have conducted your research, your client persona should be presented in a story format that describes that particular client persona.
4. The story that you create for each client persona can be broken into sections that address key considerations.
Main sections to address when developing a client persona.
1. Job details and background information
3. Demographic information
4. Key goals & objectives
5. Hobbies and interests
6. Key challenges, pain points and needs
7. What does a day in the life of your ideal client look like
8. Main places that your clients go to when researching or looking for information
9. Shopping preferences
10. Common objections to your services
For more information on creating personas, download “How To Create Client Personas For Your Business” and follow the step by step process, including sample sections and questions. Download Now
Gerald Chait Strategic Marketing/Grow My Law Firm provides strategic consulting and masterclass workshops on client personas, the client journey and 7-Step Growth Blueprint. More information on masterclass workshops can be found here.