Have you ever created marketing personas for your business, or have you updated your existing personas?
If the answer is ‘no’ or ‘a long time ago’ respectively, then this is a great time for a refresher course on why personas are such a key aspect of properly targeting your audience and delivering the appropriate message.
Let’s take a look at what marketing personas are, and help you understand how to use them as part of your marketing toolbox.
What Are Marketing Personas?
At its most basic, marketing personas are thumbnail profiles of your targeted audience, people most likely to be interested in and to buy your products and services.
Using these profiles, you’ll see how your audience thinks about their wants and needs, what specific questions they want to be answered, and the challenges that make their lives harder.
Marketing personas help you understand that your success is about selling your audience the ‘why’ of your products and services as opposed to the ‘what.’
The ‘why’ is all about what your business does to improve the lives of your audience, and how it makes them feel connected to your brand.
A typical personal profile might include the following information:
- Who Is the Customer – This includes job title, time at a job, likes, dislikes, how that customer gets information (Internet, magazines, newspaper), and the customer’s goals.
- How Your Customer Finds You – Is it through a referral, website, or search query?
- Pain Points – ‘Pain points’ are the challenges and problems your customer faces on a daily basis. For example, a cosmetic customer’s pain points may include not being able o find the right makeup for her skin tone, or suffering from problem acne.
- Why Your Customer Buys From You – Does the customer purchase your products and services out of necessity? Because your prices are the lowest? Because they value the quality of your products and services?
- Photo of a Real Person – Conversion marketing expert Theresa Baiocco-Farr advised that you should always include a real photo with each persona, which “makes the persona feel real.”
What Personas Can Reveal About Your Audience
Robert Jones, an expert in customer insight and digital marketing said that marketing personas are valuable because “by understanding the challenges they face you’ll see how your service or product fits into their life and what they need from you.”
You can build personas through interviews and surveys with existing customers as well as through external research that focuses on their challenges, their desires, and the ways in which they want their problems solved.
Some business owners are surprised when they realize that marketing personas reveal things they never knew about their audience.
For example, if you own a dental practice, you may be convinced that you already know exactly what your audience wants and needs, but what if that isn’t true?
Let’s say you research your existing clients with surveys and interviews, and you realize that a majority of your clients tell you that their biggest pain point is the sound of the dental drill because it triggers fears of impending pain?
That information could inspire you to use drills that don’t make a sound, which not only solves a major pain point for your clients but also has the tangential effect of making them trust you more because you’ve resolved a huge psychological barrier.
More importantly, you can now market your silent drill as something that distinguishes your business from that of the competition.
And that actually leads us to the next benefit of creating marketing personas, namely, how they help you refine your content marketing strategy.
How Personas Impact Content Marketing
When you develop information about who your customers are and how they make decisions about your products and services, it directly affects how you shape your message to your audience.
Let’s take a quick look at how this could work in real terms with several content marketing methods:
- Landing Pages – Let’s go back to the example of the dental practice that discovers one of its clients’ biggest pain points is the sound of a dental drill. Once that practice begins using silent dental drills, it should change its website landing pages to highlight this market differentiator.
- Blogs – Let’s say you own a company that sells computer security software to customers who use their desktops and laptops for personal use, and you learn through research that one of your audience’s biggest pain points is that they don’t understand how viruses work? Use that information to shift the focus of your blog, so you’re writing informative, easy-to-understand pieces about various viruses, how they corrupt computer systems, and most importantly, how security software solves this problem.
- Email Marketing – We know email marketing is still a very effective marketing method, but how do you make it better? Well, with information gleaned from your personas, you can refine essential components of email marketing such as using the right language. Let’s say for example that you own a business that sells accessories for cats. Your email subject line could be something like: “We have the purrrrfect cat tower for your furry feline.” That may seem like a small thing, but remember that every single line in your email marketing has to communicate your brand, AND personalize your message. A subject line that personalizes your message by mimicking the ‘language’ of cats can go a long way toward connecting your business with your audience that loves cats.
Use Personas to Drive Your Marketing To New Heights
Whether you update your marketing personas, or you create them for a new business, the goal is the same: to target your audience and communicate a message that they find relevant.
If you need more marketing advice, please contact us today.