Creating an audience persona is one of the most important things you’ll do as part of your marketing campaigning.

Who are you selling your products and services to? These people should be so much more than just numbers on a spreadsheet – they should be living, breathing examples of your perfect customer.

To work out who they are, you need to get under their skin and nail down their likes, dislikes, personality traits and the ways they’re likely to spend their free time.

Here’s how to do just that.

1. Gather data (and use the right tools)

Before you start mapping out your audience persona, you need to gather some data, and to do that, you’ll need the right tools.

The good news? You won’t have to spend a penny – tools like Google Analytics are free and give you a wealth of data about your audience if you’re already receiving visitors to a website.

If you’re just starting up, go the old fashioned route and research the market both online and offline, by networking among people within the industry.

2. Put yourself in their shoes

The best way to create a persona for the perfect customer is to put yourself in their shoes; pretend to be that person.

What are they likely to do and feel while shopping within your niche? Write down what you’d expect to see and be engaged by if you were that person.

3. Create negative personas

Negative buyer personas are just as important as the people to whom you do want to sell your products and services.

Sniffing out the audience that you want to avoid will help immeasurably with your marketing campaigns. It’ll mean you can tune your content to only speak to the people who matter and avoid inadvertently drawing in the wrong crowd who will never buy from you.

4. Create more than one

We’ve been referring to your ‘audience’ persona for a reason; it has to be more than one type of person.

Even though the members of your audience are all capable of becoming valuable customers for your business, they’ll all have their own characteristics and will consequently all need selling to slightly differently.

Start by creating at least three personas. Categorising them by gender or the generation into which they fall are common examples of how to segment an audience.

5. Try a questionnaire

If you’ve already started to build a list of potential prospects via old-fashioned cold calling or content marketing, sending out a questionnaire is a great way to help you build a brilliant audience persona.

Ask them what their age is, their gender, how they spend their day, what they do for fun and what goals they have. This kinds of data is invaluable when it comes to creating personas that are a direct reflection of the people to whom you’re trying to sell your products and services.

6. Talk to your employees

The people who work for you probably have a direct line of contact with your potential customers, and it’s one they’ll use far more regularly than you.

With that in mind, one of the best things you can do when creating personas is to involve the whole team. Talk to employees and find out what they know about your audience; they should be able to provide key insight into the type of people to whom you need to tune your marketing output.

Wrapping up

Creating audience personas is a great deal of fun and a task which will make every marketing campaign you send incredibly effective – just don’t leave home without our tips above!