How to Update Your Customer Personas with Surveys

Jan 20, 2023 | Social Media

Don't have time for months of market research? Customer surveys are one way you can update your customer personas quickly and easily. Here's how to get started.

Customer Persona

We all know finding something in the dark is a lot easier with a flashlight, and it's true with your marketing, too. If you brand is operating without updated customer personas, you're launching ad campaigns, blogs, and social media posts into the equivalent of a dark room.

Your customer personas are key to understanding who your customers are and why they're doing business with your company (a topic we cover in more depth here). The research shows why these profiles are so fundamental to marketing success:

  • Marketers report 20% sales increases when implementing personalized experiences (Aberdeen)
  • Using marketing personas made websites 2-5 times more effective (HubSpot)
  • Behaviorally targeted ads are twice as effective as nontargeted ads (Network Advertising Initiative)

Most brands create personas at some point in their growth, but few continue to update them, even as their customer needs, behaviors, and priorities change.

If it’s been a few years since you’ve examined yours, you might be marketing in the dark. In other words, your messaging is targeting all the wrong people.

Fortunately, current client and customer surveys are one way you can freshen up your customer persona without months of intensive market research.

Creating a customer persona survey

filling out survey

While you may do business with a variety of different customer types, one thing they all have in common is that your business fulfills a need or solves a problem they had. Conducting a short survey can help you uncover some other commonalities that may be useful in updating your customer personas.

For example, your B2B clients could be most interested in a specific sub-specialty of your business, while your B2C clients span a wider range of interests. Your e-commerce shop may be most popular among parents, but a snooze for other demographics.

If you design your survey well enough, you'll uncover actionable insights that can move the needle for your marketing efforts. Here are three tips from our digital marketing experts on how to structure and design your next customer survey.

1) Ask the right questions

Remember that a customer persona is a narrative that includes demographic information, such as age, gender, income, and education level, as well as psychographic information, such as values, interests, and lifestyle. Evaluate the updates needed for your personas, and design your survey questions to target that data. Remember that your customers won't always respond or be in the mood to share information, so make it count!

Note that B2B and B2C customer surveys will look different. B2B businesses will want to collect company attributes (size, annual revenue, software used, etc), while B2C customer surveys should collect more information about the individual (salary, interests, social media habits, etc.).

2) Keep your customer survey focused

Survey Monkey recommends capping your survey questions at 30, which averages out to about 7-8 minutes to complete. Surveys longer than this see high drop-off rates, which means less potential data to build your persona and a negative experience for survey takers.

If you’re not sure which questions are a higher priority, speak with your sales, finance, or customer service teams. They may be able to answer some of the demographic questions so you can eliminate them from your survey.

3) Offer an incentive 

At the beginning of 2023, Wingstop offered their customers free fries for completing an online survey. Visitors just needed to enter some receipt info to verify their purchase.

Why did they do this? Because valuable customer insight is worth sacrificing a few bucks. If your company wants participation, you’ll need to offer an incentive (and it doesn't need to be food, although that's always nice).

Possible survey incentives for B2B companies include:

  • A free or discounted service
  • A chance to win useful items for the business
  • Branded swag

Survey incentives for B2C companies can include:

  • Free or discounted products
  • A chance to win items like trips, gift cards, vouchers, etc.
  • Money

Need help constructing or delivering your survey? The Digital Marketing team at Informatics can guide you through the steps needed to collect valuable, relevant information. While we’re at it, we can clean up your customer persona so it better reflects the survey data. Just reach out!

Ready to create a persona survey?

Our digital marketing experts will help you ask the right questions.

Get Started Today

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