Why Your Marketing Strategy Needs Personas

Written by  on Apr 06, 2018

If you’re in the business of selling hot dogs, you wouldn’t want to park your stand out in front of a vegetarian yoga retreat. Or if your brand sources the best organic catnip this side of the Pacific, you wouldn’t try to target dog lovers on Facebook. 

Averypersona

Get our point? Knowing your audience is key to getting your brand in front of the right people.

You can’t write content that will engage your site visitors if you don’t know what they’re interested in. And you can’t write effective ads to persuade your audience to buy your product if they’re not the right target.

Most companies think they’ve got a pretty good handle on who their target audience is. Chances are, you’ve probably looked through your customer demographics in Google Analytics, and know vaguely where your customers live, how old they are, which blogs of yours they like best, etc.

But demographics can only give you a macro view of your customers. They can’t tell you anything about the values, challenges and pain points of the real people visiting your site every day. That’s where marketing personas come in.

What is an Audience Persona?

An audience persona is a fictional character that help you personify your ideal customers. In other words, they’re descriptions that represent the type of people who are most likely to buy your products or services.

Here’s an example:

monica

A persona helps humanize your customers — right down to a name and face. So whenever you’re marketing to a specific audience segment —  like Monica the suburban mom, for example — you’ll know exactly who you’re talking to.

You’re not talking to some vague demographic. You’re talking to Monica, the 45-year-old mom who makes $200,000 as a CPA at a tax planning firm, and who wants to learn more about how much spending money her kids will need in college.

The Value of Personas 

Audience personas can mean the difference between shouting into the void and shouting at the people who care about your message (but without literally shouting, of course).

Personas help you do a better job of solving each persona’s problems. By understanding each audience segment’s pain points, challenges, and values, your marketing messaging will be much more effective.

Here are two specific reasons you should be using personas as the foundation for your marketing strategy:

1. Personas Put a Human Face on Your Sales Data

  • Personas put a personal, human face on the abstract data about your customers.
  • They help your customer feel like a real person (not just a blip on a computer screen).
  • They help you to see your company’s products and services from their perspective, rather than your own.
  • It can be hard to relate to abstract groups like “female millennials with an annual household income of $50,000-$150,000.” But it’s easy for us to relate to other humans — like Monica the suburban mom.
  • When you can relate to your customers, you’ll be able to create marketing campaigns that do a better job of speaking to their values, pain points, and challenges.

2. Personas Help You Discover & Speak to New Customer Segments

  • You may already know that your crazy sock company’s main demographic is 12-year-old girls
  • Once you start digging into the audience data, you could discover that your second largest audience is business men.

How Many Personas Should I Have?

When you start creating personas for the first time, you might discover there are entire segments of your customer base that you hadn’t been aware of. And as a result, you probably weren’t speaking to this customer group in any of your marketing messaging.

But every company has more than just one persona, because there is more than one kind of person buying your product or service.

Once you identify all of your brand’s audience personas, you can strategically speak to each persona through site copy, targeted ads, segmented email lists and more.

Developing Personas: An Example

Even if your product is somewhat specialized — like athletic shoes for student athletes — you still have a few different personas that make up your customer base:

First persona: Student athletes

  • Students buying football shoes are still different from students buying basketball shoes, or track & field shoes.
  • You may need a few different personas targeting student athletes of different sports.

Second persona: Student’s parents.

  • You need to speak to a parent differently than you speak to their teenage son or daughter.

Third persona: Coaches

  • Coaches are high-value customer for your company because you may discover that when a coach likes one of your shoes, they might require their whole team to buy a pair.
  • Once you discover that coaches are a high-value persona for your company, you can start creating content & marketing that speaks to them.

Because you’ll have a better understanding of the people buying your products, you’ll start to get more and more of those high-value customers.

What Should Be Included in an Audience Persona?

What sort of information should you include in your personas? The answer will vary from company to company.

For starters, you should always include basic demographic information such as:

  • Name
  • Job title
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Household income
  • Education
  • Family status

Next, think about what other information is relevant to your company.

If you’re in the health industry, think about your persona’s biggest health issues. If you’re in the financial services industry, dig deeper into each persona’s financial situation.

Flesh out your personas with information that’s important to your unique company. If family status or location or job title really doesn’t matter, then leave it out.

And finally, you’ll want to take some time thinking about the challenges each persona is facing:

  • Primary goals – what do they want?
  • Primary challenges – what’s stopping them from getting it?
  • Primary values – what do they care about?
  • Common sales objectives – what reasons would this person have for not purchasing your product or service?

By thinking through these questions, you’ll start to gain a much better understanding of where your customers are coming from. And that can help you to better speak to your customers’ true motivations and values.

How We Create Audience Personas

At BK Media Group, we use a data-driven approach to create detailed customer profiles that help us to produce more effective marketing campaigns for our clients.

The personas we create help our clients get a better understanding of their own customers, which helps guide their marketing strategy so it’s as effective as possible.

We grab out data from everywhere we can find it — from client interviews, existing email lists, Google Analytics, Facebook lead gen campaigns, customer surveys and industry research, and much more.

With data-driven insights about audience demographics, pain points, values and behaviors, we continue to fine-tune those personas over time to make them even more insightful and impactful.

And once your personas are created, we’ll use them to fill your marketing campaigns with tailored messaging and compelling calls-to-action that speak directly to your customer’s needs.

Your customer persona truly is the foundation that guides our strategy in creating an effective marketing campaign that’s tailor-made for your business.

If you’d like to hop on a call to discuss how we can help improve your company’s digital marketing & advertising just contact us to schedule a strategy session.

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