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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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 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:
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:
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.
At BKMedia 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.
As a Denver marketing agency, we've helped clients all over the country improve their conversions with persona development. See how we helped one client improve their quotes by almost 2,000% with persona development >
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