Far from being a useless exercise, creating marketing personas helps companies form an internalized and relatable version of their target audience members.
You might be asking, “What is a marketing persona?”
A marketing persona is a fictional character of a sort. Most personas are created using a template that includes demographic information such as the person’s name, job title, age, gender, educational level. In addition, the template will include personal information such as values, challenges, fears and goals.
A simple Google search will result in several examples and templates that you can use to create your own personas.
“Why create marketing personas?”
I’m sure you’ve heard this bit of advice about public speaking, “Choose a friendly-looking person in the audience and focus on giving your speech to that person.”
The reason this is such good advice is that we naturally relate more comfortably to one or two people at a time. By creating a handful of marketing personas, your target audience stops being a large, anonymous mass of data and becomes a handful of relatable people.
If you understand your audience in terms of three or four clearly defined types of people, you will find that it is much easier to create content and advertising that appeals directly to your audience. It’s just the way our minds work.
How to create a persona
There are a lot of potential sources of information that you can use to create your marketing personas. It is a good idea to create between three and five. These numbers will give you a variety of customer types without being so large that you lose focus.
Following are some ways to gather information:
Survey and interviews
Your customers themselves are the very best source of information. Interviews in particular will yield deep insights into the minds and emotional lives of your customers. You want to discover what causes them pain, what their fears and insecurities are and what they want.
Your customer service team speaks with your audience on a daily basis. These team members are likely to give you valuable insights into your customers and what makes them tick.
The analytic data on your website is another place to look for data about your audience. You can learn what keywords they used to locate your site and how long they were engaged once they got there. You can learn a lot about the habits and desires of your customers from the data in your website.
Your customers are likely to use social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest to express their preferences and frustrations. You can research the kinds of questions they are asking and look for problems that your products can solve. If you know what questions your audience is asking, you can offer answers through your products and services.
Filling out the template
Once you have gathered your data, it’s time to fill in your templates. For your persona to feel real to you, it will need a real name. Next, include the persona’s job description, company he or she works for and role within the company. Then add demographic information such as married or single, number of kids and educational level.
The last part deals with more deep and emotion-driven information such as the persona’s fears, insecurities, goals and challenges. To get a more complete understanding of marketing personas, do an online search and look at several sample personas.
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