When you create content for your brand, are you speaking to Mark, Rachel, Sally or Justin? If you can’t answer this, who are you selling to?
These days, marketing is personal, and without a clear picture of your audience, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to provide the information potential customers are actively seeking. It’s more important than ever to understand who you’re talking to—even going so far as to put a name to them.
You can do all of this by creating a persona.
Your personas are mythical representations of your ideal customers. Think of it this way: who do you want to buy your products, visit your destination, or otherwise become a client? If the answer is everyone—well, you have a problem. Because not everyone is going to want what you’re selling.
A persona will help you narrow down the real live people who are most likely to convert—or, better yet, become lifelong fans of what you offer.
How will it help me?
In today’s increasingly hyper-targeted marketing world, you can find customers based on location, gender, income, marital status, whether or not they eat their Wheaties in the morning…you name it, and we can probably find a way to target it.
The more you know your audience, the closer you can get to your goals, and the better the return on your investment. You’ll be able to reach your customers in personalized ways that were not available before.
Best of all, having clearly defined personas gets your internal teams on the same page, and it gives new team members something to reference during their onboarding (hello, smoother transitions). Everyone loves consistent messaging—especially your customers.
What do I need to start?
Grab your team and head to the nearest conference room. A big ol’ white board is a handy thing to have around, too. Start by asking a few different questions about your audience, such as:
- how old are they?
- do they have a family?
- what’s their income?
- what do they do for fun on the weekends?
- what’s their work schedule?
- what social media platforms are they using?
- what do they do for a living?
It’s likely that different questions and conversations will pop up as you move along. You’ll also notice that some age groups or demographics are most likely to behave a certain way. Start to group these traits together into different columns.
That’s your rough baseline for your personas. After that, you can start to dive in with more specific questions targeted to your brand, service and industry. For a travel and tourism client, we may ask: “How far does this person have to travel to get here?” and “do they drive or fly?”
Once you have a few different ideas of the people you’re trying to reach, give them a name and write their story. Imagine their likes, dislikes, hobbies, values, life goals…they should have enough psychological detail to allow you to conveniently see your products and services from his or her perspective.
I’ve found my people. Now what?
Apply what you’ve learned to your marketing! From social posts to billboards, read or view everything through the lens of the folks you’re trying to target. Check into your digital campaigns and see if the targeting measures up. And, if you want to get really geeky, talk to your digital team about tracking specific personas to different conversion goals.
With personas in hand, you’ll have the power to finally put a name and face to the core audience for your brand. As a result, your content marketing strategies will improve, your messages will be more cohesive, and you will have the secret weapon of knowing exactly which ads resonate and why.
And better yet, you’ll be targeting someone.