What’s one method you use to keep your buyer/user personas up to date?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

1. Check Rapportive

Danny WongI use Rapportive to see if my customers have changed jobs, relocated, etc. I also make sure to scan through our new customers to see if our demographic has changed and then update our buyer/user personas accordingly. Also, when our customers are in the showroom, we always ask questions about who they are as a person, so we never have to make assumptions.
Danny Wong, Blank Label

2. Pick Up the Phone

Pete KennedyThe best thing we’ve done in the past year is schedule one-on-one phone calls with prospects and customers. Nothing beats a live dialogue. As a result of these conversations, we’ve learned about new customer segments, and we’re expanding into additional markets with new products and services. Don’t be afraid to line up calls. They don’t have to be long — typically our phone calls last 15 minutes.
Pete Kennedy, Main Street ROI

3. Send Post-purchase Surveys

Aaron SchwartzWe send surveys to customers three weeks after they buy our product. By automating this collection of data, we are able to immediately see how the makeup of our fans changes. As soon as you see a fundamental shift, invest the time to update your personas and serve your new customers better.
Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

4. Ask for Feedback

Neal TapariaA method we use to keep our buyer/user personas up to date is constantly asking for feedback on our products. Our products were created for educators, and without their feedback, our products can’t grow — and we can’t grow as a company.
Neal Taparia, Imagine Easy Solutions

5. Provide Monthly Reports

Phil-LaboonOur company runs campaigns that last for a half to a full year. To keep clients informed, we provide a monthly report of the status of their campaign and compile stats and charts from multiple monitoring tools. This tidily highlights what we’ve done, the effect our actions have had and the areas that can still be improved.
Phil Laboon, Clear Sky SEO

6. Regularly Attend In-person Conferences

Sarah SchuppConferences are an excellent way to connect with current customers and prospects. Because our customers are all over the country, being able to meet with many of them at one time in one place helps us reconnect and make sure we’re addressing their needs accordingly.
Sarah Schupp, UniversityParent

7. Have Constant Communication

John BerkowtizCommunication is the only way to keep buyer/user personas up to date. When starting Yodle, I took the opportunity to develop close relationships with a number of customers, and I use those relationships to understand the challenges that our larger audiences face. I also took a page from the Hair Club for Men handbook and ran a construction business for some time — a type of client Yodle serves.
John Berkowitz, Yodle

8. Keep Up With the People They Are Based On

Trevor SummersGreat user personas are often rooted in real people you know and have talked with to deeply understand their challenges and what they value. To keep your personas up to date, you need to keep up with them.
Trevor Sumner, LocalVox

9. Research

Daniel WesleyConstant market research and experimentation are key to staying up to date. Expectations and experience are always changing and need to be kept up with.
Daniel Wesley, Creditloan.com

10. Continually Survey Your Audience

Alyssa RappWhether we explicitly ask our consumers to complete surveys that provide insights into their demographic data and consumer behavior or implicitly address their preferences by analyzing their behavior on social media or at interactive events, we believe user personas are a moving target that must constantly be refined and adjusted. As consumers evolve, our understanding must too.
– Alyssa Rapp, Bottle Notes