The first step towards creating, marketing & selling your product
In layman words, a customer persona is data derived ideal identity of your prospective customer. This identity will filter out your customer’s characteristic from the rest of the world. There can be multiple personas based on different use cases.
Why is it the first step towards creating, marketing & selling your product?
If you’ve created something before, or currently creating, or just ideating to create, there is one thing common here: “The Root of The Creation”. This root stems from the pain point of somebody. And, this somebody could be you (having any problem that you’re trying to solve), your next-door neighbor, your commute colleague, your business client, or your child even.
One thing is clear that this somebody is a human being even if you’re creating the product for B2C or B2B. The ultimate user is somebody breathing and growing and operating. Now if this becomes crystal clear to you that who is this somebody and where can you find this somebody and how can you scale this somebody number from 1 to 100 to 1000 to a million, you’re game to grow your product.
I’ve worked across multiple startups (both B2B & B2C) and at every single place, it took months to create an ideal persona because, for a particular business , the persona keeps constantly growing according to the needs and challenges. After being into the digital marketing space for last 4 years, I’m compiling here 24 STANDARD, BASIC & REALISTIC QUESTIONS that will become your ultimate guide to create your customer persona.
First ask yourself, your team members, your peers, your boss about these questions. Encircle the common answers and narrow down to those answers post a good thoughtful discussion.
Next, reach out to prospective customers to find answers to these. You can conduct surveys, cold emails or cold calls. These questions will be your sticky notes. The moment you feel like diverting, get back to your sticky note.
1. Gender of your ideal customers?
Male/ Female/ Transgender/ All?
2. Age range of your ideal customers?
1–6 months, 6 months — 5 years, 5 years — 10 years, 10–20 years, 20–30 years, 30–40 years, 40–50 years, 50+
3. Is your product a global product or constrained to a certain geography?
Example: An E-commerce business can be location concentric as the there can be limitations on deliveries. Identify if there is any limitation to your product. If yes, in which geography can you find your ideal customer?
4. Does your ideal customer make money?
If your ideal customer earns money, then try to find out the average income level. If the income level varies, group them into budget, premium and luxury category.
5. What is his/her marital status?
This is important to include because this will reflect the capacity to opt-in for your product (in B2C) and this will reflect the
6. Ideal designation of your customers?
CXO, or Senior architect, or Business Manager, or Ph.D. Scholar, or SME business owner, or an entrepreneur
7. What is the typical team size and the company size they work for?
Example: Team size 1–5, Company size 1000 employees.
8. What could be their communication preference?
A phone call in their free time, or a phone call in business time, or an email addressed to work email, or an email addressed to personal email, or an Whatsapp text, or a SMS, or a Skype call, or a postcard, or a recommendation by somebody else, or a social channel
9. At present, what is your customer using as an alternative to your product?
Example: Before Whatsapp growth, people were mostly used to calls, SMS and FB messenger for quick communication.
10. Why would they prefer your product over the current one?
In other words, what is the ease you are offering? Is it with payments? Or, a better user experience? Or, a better product? Or, a better customer service? This will keep your customer and your offering aligned.
11. Is there any challenge they’re facing at present (in context to your product)?
Are they facing not on-time delivery issues? Are they facing a delay in communication? Are they facing safety challenges? Do they want to have a DIY version of what they are using currently?
12. If you pitch about your product, what would be their common worries?
Would there be trust issues? Would they be concerned about losing their data? Would they think that your offering would be time-consuming to switch to something new? Would they be hesitant about the pricing? Research on this hard. This will help you to do your homework in defending your USP.
13. What type of communication would resonate them?
Will storytelling work for them? Or, a simple Ad will work for them? Or, a simple re-targeting campaign will work for them? Or, a cold sales pitch email?
14. What is their typical social hangout platforms?
Which social channels do they spend most of their time — Facebook/ LinkedIn/ Twitter/ Instagram/ Snapchat/ Quora/ Medium/ Whatsapp? This will help you prioritize the top 3 channels to reach out to them. If they don’t use any of these, don’t waste your time and money on social media marketing just for the heck of doing it.
15. What is their typical digital activity pattern?
Do they read blogs? If yes, which sort of? Do they shop online? If yes, which shopping platforms they prefer? Do they listen to music online? If yes, which music platforms? This will help you to re-target your customer.
16. What is their typical offline hangout platforms?
Are they more into offline networking? Can you find them at co-working spaces? Can you find them at beauty salons? Can you find them at a specific grocery store?
17. What would be their typical google search (in context of your product)?
Short ones: Blue denim jacket, electric bike, e-commerce payment gateway
Long ones: How to plan digital marketing budget? Why should I choose A over B? Top 10 Beauty products. Best travel influencers. Good plumber in <this locality>.
If you can figure out ideal searches, you can narrow down these searches and group them in broad, broad match, exact match identifiers. This will help you to create more awareness with respect to what they are searching (and not what are you trying to sell). Remember pull marketing is always better than push marketing.
18. Which one would matter to them: Better quality with a rise in price? Same quality with lower pricing? Ease with a rise in price? Ease at the same price?
This is equally important. If you’re at a prototype stage, where you’re about to experiment, you will soon be going to craft pricing for your product. Or even if you are into business for years, but you’re about to launch a new product, or you making a better version of an existing one.
19. What could make them refer/ recommend your product?
Incentive? Discount? WOW factor? Extended subscription? New add-ons?
20. Which type of influencers do they follow?
If they’re on Instagram/ Facebook/ Twitter, figure out which sort of posts they like (travel/ beauty/ inspirational/ fitness/ fun etc). If they are on Quora, identify their typical upvotes- which sot of questions resonate them? If they are on LinkedIn, which sort of posts do they like or reply to. Go, be a real stalker here!
21. Did they recently upgrade or degrade their use (in context to your product)?
You might be developing a mobile app. Identify the uninstall rate or typical behavior of uninstalling the app. Did they recently uninstall a similar one? If yes, what could be the reason?
Did they recently downloaded or switch to another similar product? If yes, what was the benefit to them?
22. What would be your customer ideal choice?
Let’s say you’re offering hotel rooms. Identify the best 5 options for your customer and then narrow down to the best choice among these 5. That best choice will help you to refine your product and match up to your customer expectation in terms of quality/ pricing/ customer experience.
23. How long would they take to actually pay for your product?
Will they ask for a free trial? If yes, for how long. Will they ask for a free sample? If yes, can you afford as your CPA? Will they need to ask somebody else to make a buying decision? If yes, when should you follow up? Will they take 3 more demo discussions to reach out to buying decision? In short, this will help you to frame a timeline to nurture your leads into customers with sequential communications.
24. (Last and most important) Ask yourself — Will your product make them feel even 1% smarter than before?
If yes, how exactly? If no, then refine.