Using customer personas for small business success.

Reading time:

Do you know your customers?

Naturally, you have some idea of who your customers might be. If you sell backpacks, you’re looking for buyers who need to carry something, probably on a regular basis. If you sell law software, you’re targeting lawyers.

This information only tells part of the story. Different people are looking for different styles, sizes, and features in a backpack. Solo lawyers are generally looking for different features than a lawyer at a large firm might need. In reality, there are a lot of customer elements to look at—including age, location, where they live (rural or suburban), specific needs, technology, the list goes on.

Customer personas (also known as buyer personas) are your opportunity to target exactly who your customers are, and what they’re looking for.

The Who, What, When, and Why of Buyer Personas

Who – A customer persona is a fictional, generalized representation of a real person. The people who fall within a persona description make up your target market. You can, of course, have multiple target markets made up of multiple personas.

What – A strong customer or buyer persona is made up of real data gathered through your own research, surveys, interviews, and market research. Your small business might have two customer personas, or you might need twenty. The actual information you gather will depend on the nature of the product or service you provide, but you generally want to focus on these broad elements:

  • Professional information
  • Demographics
  • Goals (why they want your product)
  • The challenge they’re trying to overcome and how you can help them overcome it
  • Common objections to buying your product
  • Marketing messaging that appeals to their specific needs

When – The earlier you are in you are in your production process when you start thinking about buyer personas, the better. If you don’t have personas for your small business yet, now’s always a good time to start!

Why – When you group people into persona categories, you can better design products, services, and marketing campaigns to reach them. A buyer persona gives you answers to all those things you vaguely wonder about your customers—or maybe forget to think about at all. Do your customers use smartphones? Are they working out of home offices, small offices, or coworking spaces? How are your customers using your products? What are they looking for?

Customer Personas for Small Businesses

While it may seem like customer personas are just for big businesses, they’re just as impactful for small or solo teams!

You can start putting together your personas today.

  • Check out Google Analytics – Google Analytics is full of valuable data. It can show you where your visitors are from, what keywords they used to find you, and what pages they’re visiting.
  • Call in the Calvary – Get your product, sales, development, leadership, and marketing teams all in one room. All of these groups interact with customers in a different capacity and can help shine some light on who they really are.
  • Use social media – Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook all offer quite a bit of analytic data that can help you dive into who’s following your business—helping you drill down on who your existing fans are. You can also use social media listening to find potential customers and learn more about them!
  • Ask your audience directly – Surveys and interviews oh my! Nobody will ever know your customers as well as they know themselves. If the opportunity arises, sitting down with your customer is the best way to get to know them.

Once you’ve created customer personas, distribute that information to your team. The more people who know more about your customer, the easier it will be for you to develop a product and market it to that persona!

What Does it Look Like

Customer personas will look different for different businesses. Here’s a simple example of a made up buyer persona: Lawyer Liam and Lawyer Lisa.

Small Business Buyer Personas

Buyer Personas are a powerful and often underestimated tool that can help you develop your product or service and market it effectively! Are you using them? Tweet us @callruby and let us know!

Additional reads you may find interesting...

View All
Virtual receptionist sitting at desk

Virtual receptionist pricing 101

Professional sitting at desk on computer, working on a law firm's website
Legal Practice Tips

What Google’s Core Web Vitals mean for your law firm’s website

A group of Ruby customers stand together, smiling and talking

Does your business need an answering service?

Screenshot of a YouTube channel's live videos

How to use YouTube Live to engage your clients & audience

Smiling woman standing in a bicycle workshop with a mobile device in her hands
Small Business Tips

3 ways virtual receptionists elevate customer experience (while making your life easier)

Circular cutout of Rebecca Grimes, Ruby's Chief Revenue Officer

A conversation with Ruby’s Chief Revenue Officer, Rebecca Grimes

Woman in yellow sweater working in front of open laptop, sitting in home office interior, drinking coffee
Small Business Tips

Happy customers, efficient businesses: How to supercharge growth with virtual receptionists 

Help wanted sign hung in reflective window
Small Business Tips

Using online presence platforms for recruitment

A man in silhouette looks out over a foggy mountain range
Small Business Tips

How to communicate with employees during times of tension

Close-up: professional with blonde pompadour has a conversation over the phone in a co-working space with red walls
Receptionist Tips

How to keep a conversation going

Title card: Leveraging Customer Service as a Value Proposition, with Melinda Emerson, Kate Winkler, and Sharie Hendricks
Small Business Tips

Customer service tips and more from Ruby + SmallBizLady

A white-bearded man looks beyond the frame with a happily surprised expression on his face
Small Business Tips

This is what wow-worthy customer service looks like.

A woman in yellow overalls sits on a hardwood floor among houseplants with a closed laptop, her hands behind her head
Small Business Tips

Achieve remote work bliss with Ruby.

Title card with Sam's headshot: Ruby customer feature series, Sam Hainey, Hilltop Law Firm
Customer Feature

Ruby customer feature: Sam Hainey, Hilltop Law Firm

A man in a blue and white-striped shirt looks through binoculars at the open sea
Small Business Tips

Sick of losing sales? How to find the perfect leads for your business

Try Ruby Risk Free

Call to talk to a live virtual receptionist and hear why 10,000+ companies Ruby.

Call Ruby Sign Up
Sales Support

Already a Ruby customer?

Let’s get started.

Ready to turn more callers into customers?

Missed connections translate to lost revenue. With Ruby, you have a partner in gaining and retaining customers. Plus, we’re so confident you’ll love our service, we offer a 21 day money-back guarantee*.

*Ruby is delighted to offer a money-back guarantee to first time users of both our virtual receptionist service and our chat service. To cancel your service and obtain a full refund for the cancelled service (less any multi-service discount), please notify us of the service you wish to cancel either within 21 days of your purchase of that service or before your usage exceeds 500 receptionist minutes/50 billable chats, as applicable, whichever occurs sooner.


The Secret to Successful Law Firms

The inside scoop on Clio’s latest legal trends report.

Phone Thumbnail 2

10 Questions to Ask a Virtual Reception Provider

Ask the right questions and rate virtual reception services with our handy guide and scorecard!