In marketing, it is all about knowing the person who you are targeting. A basic understanding of who they are will only fetch you average results. If you can go deeper and understand the aspirations, motivations, and behavior of your target market, you will be able to strike gold, and how!
Marketing is communication and you need to know what to tell the person who is listening to you. Each person you are targeting has unique requirements which are defined by their needs, where they are, who they follow, what they consume, and so on.
This is where marketing personas gain precedence.
One of the most important parts of a well-oiled marketing machinery is personas. If the product or service that you are offering is not targeted to the right audience, you will gain nothing out of your marketing campaigns. Marketing personas will tell you the kind of content that you can use to get them interested in what you offer.
Questions to ask when creating a marketing persona:
You will need to revisit these questions over and over again since personas keep changing. The change could be caused by a lot of factors- market fluctuations, new trade laws, pivot in your business model, and so on.
While you need to know who exactly is your ideal customer, it is imperative that you are also aware of who you do not want as a customer. For example, you might not want to target entry-level associates in a blue collar job, but are only looking for those who are in managerial positions and above.
You should be sure about why you do not want to have a certain segment of people as your ideal audience. It will help you refrain from creating content that is to their liking. By doing so, you will also be able to reduce your cost of acquisition.
Finding the right research resources for narrowing down your marketing persona is pivotal. If you go after the wrong resources, you will end up finding an audience that doesn’t really care about your offerings.
Let us see how you can start with your research to finding your marketing personas:
The first step to starting your search for creating personas is to involve all the stakeholders involved in the process. Make sure you not only have people from the marketing team, but also include people from sales, finance, IT, operations, and support teams in the process. They will have their own perspectives to add which will provide more clarity.
With the help of analytics tools, you can gather a lot of intel regarding how your potential customers behave. Take account of all the customer touchpoints, and see how they have traveled so far. Facebook Insights and Google Analytics are great tools to understand your existing customers.
The best method, although resource-heavy and time-consuming, is to talk directly to your customers. If you have a long list of people, then send surveys to these people with questions on who they are, how they found your product, what are the features of your product that they value the most, and so on.
Conduct interviews and focus groups as it will give you a deeper idea into their psyche, ambitions, needs, purchasing behavior, etc.
If you are just starting out, and do not have a set of customers to talk to, the ideal step is to study your competitors. Find out who your biggest competitors are, use a tool like SimilarWeb to analyze your competitor’s traffic. Go through the different types of content that they create. Observe the people who are commenting on their posts, what they are commenting, and how your competitor is responding to them. You can even go a step ahead and look through their profiles.
A good marketing persona is one that gives you a clear idea of who your ideal customer is. It is as simple as that. It tells you why they buy a product, what are the pain points that they expect to get solved with it, what are the issues they face while buying, and so on. The insights gathered from a good persona will tell you how to communicate to your audience using the right copy and the right channel.
If your idea of creating marketing personas is just collecting name, age, and other demographic factors, then you couldn’t be more wrong. Even though marketing personas are an important factor in getting your communication and content right, many businesses do make mistakes. Here are some of them:
Do not be too worried about who you think your ideal customer should be. Concentrate on what entails to be one based on the research you have made. Make sure that they get what they want from you. Be true to your potential customer’s expectations from you.
If you think that your product will be used by a certain segment of customers just based on your instinct, then you stand to lose a lot. Numbers never paint a wrong picture. It tells as is. Make sure that you rely on data alone to create your marketing personas.
The ideal number of marketing personas is somewhere around 3 to 7. Anything more than seven or less than three can be detrimental to your needs.
It is totally fair to say that there will be an information overload once you collect all the data required to create marketing personas. But that doesn’t mean that you can negate certain information so that you can complete the process faster. You might miss out on adding crucial information.
There are customers who we do not want to target at all. It may be because they are too expensive to acquire or might not have the budget to buy your product. Reasons are aplenty. Make sure you find your negative personas, it will save your business from loads of problems.
One of the best things about buyer personas is that it forces you to think in the right direction regarding your customers. For creating a successful marketing persona, you need to ask the right questions to understand who they are.
When you create marketing personas, you are not just looking at data. You have people in front of you. Instead of a random image, you are marketing directly to a Mark or a Nancy. Although you know these are not real people, it doesn’t matter since you built this data based on inputs from your real customers. When you look at your customer as a person, you will be able to write meaningful copy.
When you have a few marketing personas which clearly describe each person, it gets everyone on the same page. Everyone who is involved in the process will know how exactly they need to contribute.
By using the characteristics of your marketing personas, you will be able to reach the right people. Marketing persona will show you who your audience is and who are the ones that are most likely to be your new customers.
You can align your marketing activities to a persona in a particular purchasing stage, identify new channels and even scout for new opportunities. You can carry well-planned experiments with personas to find business insights that have the ability to change how you function.
When you know where your customers spend most of their time, you will be able to focus your marketing efforts on those places. Such a strategy will increase the effectiveness of your campaigns. If your research says that your potential customers are active on Instagram more than the other social networking sites, then you can invest your time and efforts on the former instead of going after channels that will fetch you average results.
Personas are great for converting potential customers into followers, customers or subscribers. Improve the lead quality and how they perform by using personas for your lead generation strategies. By having a great understanding of your potential customers, your sales and marketing efforts will bear fruits.
There are a myriad of ways in which you can create marketing personas. While it can seem like a huge task, if you follow the right steps, you can end up creating good marketing personas. Let us look at a simple step-by-step method using which you can create marketing personas for your brand.
Remember, personas are all about people. As we have mentioned earlier in this article, collect as much information as possible. You can take interviews, send them surveys, put them in focus groups, and so on. If you do not have customers to talk to, then search for information that is already available in public sources.
Here is a sample persona template which you can use to create marketing personas.
While you can include more information, these are the core characteristics that will help you gain more understanding of your target audience. The next step is to document your findings and use the most accurate and relevant results.
Once you have collected the information, there is a sea of insight that you could gain from. After you have collected your responses, gather all the stakeholders to brainstorm and consolidate the findings in a single place. Categorize the people into different segments based on a bunch of similar characteristics.
You may even end up finding issues that your target audience is facing, but you might have missed out on. Segment people based on different attributes. If you had responses to an online survey, it could have been easier to segment them, thanks to the analytics dashboards which makes reporting pretty easy.
Your first objective in this exercise is to identify how many personas you are going to create. We recommend anywhere from 3 to 7 personas for each company. Here is how you can segment your audience.
Once you have all of them written down, the next step is to share it with your stakeholders after you have refined them. After everyone goes through the personas, it will undergo more refinement based on inputs from all. After it is finalized, you can put it in the form of a template.
Marketing personas are the basic foundation of your marketing exercise. You will find it difficult to understand what your customers want without identifying who exactly these customers are. Most marketers go with an assumption about who their customers could be, instead of relying on data to drive their decisions. By finding marketing personas, you are not only backing your decisions with data, but also based on their emotions.
We would advise you to take as much time as you want to refine your personas. Use a variety of research techniques, tools, and most importantly, talk to some of your real customers to get valuable insights.
If you want to create data-driven marketing personas with little effort, Delve’s Live Persona generator tool is what you need to try. Its AI-based technology automatically segments your customers (based on behavior, psychographics, geographies and transactions) and and creates detailed personas with the help of enriched data sources.
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