How to Build Personas for Lifelong Customer Retention

Once in a great while, it seems you find the perfect customer.

They work well with your company and appreciate your products and services alike. How many times do you think about them and wonder “How can I gain more of this type of client?”

It is possible to narrow your target clientele, but this process requires some analysis to identify the right behaviors and characteristics.  Here is a simple outline to use when creating a marketing strategy for optimal, lifelong customer retention.

Narrow your target clientele

A “good” client can fall under one of three categories: success, average, and the dream client.  Without a targeted persona, your marketing simply shoots a blank.  The conversion process is left to chance.

To target your marketing accurately, determine the type of person who is more likely to be interested in your business.

Many business owners think they need to market to the widest range of people possible.  In reality, only 10% of your perceived “everyone” is interested in your business.  Out of that 10%, only 2 – 3% are willing to engage in a transaction.

Rather than spend valuable marketing funds on “everyone,” start seeing greater ROI and business growth by focusing on the 10%…but who are they?

The 3 client personas

If your business has been up and running for some time, you have probably already connected with a few of the proverbial 10%.  Take time to hone in on who those are by identifying the three client personas:

  1. My most successful client
  2. My average client
  3. My dream client

The sweet target spot? The intersection of the three clients, indicated by a star in the Venn diagram.

To help identify what characteristics you need to hone in on, begin asking yourself the following questions:

What Do Your Customers Look Like?

1. The Most Successful Client:

Think about your most successful customers in the following framework:

  • How do they use your products or services?
  • What type of person/business are they? 
  • Do they have special needs that you can easily support? 
  • Are there any special characteristics that define this client?

These are the key customer defining characteristics that should be recorded and memorized.  Writing them down will enable you to run consistent campaigns as well as fine-tune your strategy as time goes by.

2. The Average Client:

Using the same questions as above, mark the similarities between the average and successful client genera. The average client characteristic will provide a framework to enable you to address a broader, larger targeted audience.  Any interested outliers will fall under this category.

3. The Dream Client:

After pinpointing the defining characteristics of the previous two clients, it is time to record just who your dream client is.  Do you have any products which are unused by the successful clients but loved by the average clients?  The dream client may be a hybrid between the two groups.  Asking the right questions about the dream client can help you determine where your vision needs additional work to become a practical, solid piece of a business strategy.

After building 3 unique client personas, you have the beginnings of a solid foundation to a successful strategy. The remaining question to answer is: how do I adjust my marketing to fit these clients?

How to build a loyal customer base

The answer to the question above lies within a second question: how do you bring greater value into their experiences with your company? It’s a question debated by many businesses. Some give away prizes, expensive trips, and extensive coupons. Others simply pray their customers will keep loving them until eternity.

Fortunately, there are strategic ways you can grow a culture of lifelong fans within your business. Try using the following tactics to build a valuable customer base:

  • Enhance the experience – What tangible deliverables do you supply to your clients to help them engage with your company on a daily basis? Is there anything you can do to enhance their experience with your business, like giving extra advice, recommendations, or a list of resources? (Example: if your business is a resort, you may keep several brochures with “area attractions” and a list of current events for your guests to attend.)
  • Answer common questions – Are there common questions your customers keep bringing up? Could you share that information on a wider basis? If your current customers are asking about something, then it’s likely a potential customer (or a current customer without loyalty to your business) is asking the same questions. (Example: create a pdf or brochure of FAQs to post on your website)
  • Be real – Transparency provides balance and honesty in a relationship. Don’t get so big-minded you forget the human component of your business. People respect the human factor and crave companies that openly share their human culture. (Example: admit any mistakes quickly, share personal news such as a birth in the family, and demonstrate an interest in the lives of your customers.)

In the end, success lies in…

Success in building a base of loyal customers lies first and foremost in defining the right customers, engaging them, and enriching their lives. This practice leads to a solid marketing strategy and a sustainable, steady business growth.

For help with identifying your client personas – or to learn more about an integrated approach to inbound marketing – contact our team at Art Unlimited.

Originally published: September 25, 2013
Information updated: December 11, 2018