It is not advisable for marketers to vet their marketing story ideas based on their own interests by asking, “Would I be interested in this?” Content marketing should focus on the interests of the target audience, not the brand or marketer’s personal preferences. Creating content without a clear understanding of the intended audience will likely result in the content being ignored.
To create effective content marketing that resonates with your audience, it’s essential to develop marketing personas. This will help you understand your audience’s demographics, current issues, and what solutions you can offer to address their problems.
What Are Marketing Personas?
Marketing personas consist of a person’s characteristics, such as age and gender, along with their psychographic information, which determines their behavior. They serve as a detailed overview of your audience’s interests and personalities, allowing you to understand their perspectives better. By consolidating these traits into various personas, you can create accurate profiles of the real people you wish to target.
How Do Marketing Personas Help Marketers?
Marketing personas are important because they help you understand your audience better. With this understanding, you can generate, evaluate, and customize your ideas to meet their needs, making your content engaging and valuable. This information can also affect the tone and design of your brand. When you produce high-quality content, you are more likely to attract a strong, loyal community that will support your brand over time.
Utilizing marketing personas can provide you with a competitive advantage.
What Makes a Good Marketing Persona?
There are many guides that discuss how to create effective marketing personas on the Internet. While each has its own value, we have discovered that there are three essential elements that make up a good persona.
- They’re accurate. This guide highlights the necessity of conducting thorough research for creating effective personas. Regardless of being in business for three decades and possessing what you think is comprehensive knowledge of your customers, obtaining information directly from them is the sole means of obtaining accurate data.
- They’re succinct. It’s important to create comprehensive personas, but getting too caught up in the data can be overwhelming. In the past, we’ve made this mistake by including every detail about the person, such as their favorite podcasts and pet’s name. Although these details provide insight into the person’s character, they don’t necessarily address their fundamental needs and how you can meet them.
- They’re useful. Creating clear and concise personas is crucial because it’s pointless to put in the effort to make them if they end up forgotten in a document. If you make brief and well-defined personas, you can easily integrate them into your content practice.
To make it easier for you, we have simplified our process and template for creating personas that are practical and useful.
How to Create Marketing Personas in 4 Steps
Creating marketing personas can be overwhelming and challenging, leading some marketers to either give up or create incomplete personas that fail to provide the necessary insights.
To make the process easier for you, we have divided it into simple steps. To begin, please download our free Brand Strategy Toolkit that includes the Personas Template which will assist you in communicating effectively with your customers and creating the final personas without any hassle.
Step 1: Chat with people.
To begin, you should conduct a research phase. This step is crucial even if you have established relationships with your clients. It involves directly interviewing them to gain insight into their identity and requirements.
Note: If you already have a customer base, you are in a great position. However, if you are a new business still figuring out the right product-market fit, consider researching surveys, studies, and other relevant sources that may provide similar insights.
First, you’ll identify the information you want to get from your customers. To do this, take a look at the inputs we’ve included in the template:
- Gender (if applicable)
- Job title (if applicable)
- Channels (where you can connect with them)
- Pain points (the barriers to what they want/need)
- How your product/service helps solve their problems (the messages you want your content to deliver)
To create personas, use these attributes as a base and formulate questions accordingly. You may modify or incorporate additional inputs depending on your business needs. For instance, if you sell a beverage, you may want to know the beverages your target audience prefers to buy. However, keep your queries concise.
Next, begin researching and reaching out to customers through in-person chats, calls, and emails. Also, consider reviewing customer surveys and feedback online. It’s beneficial to involve sales and customer service in this process as they have direct contact with customers and can provide feedback. Your objective is to collect as much information as possible about customers to create accurate and relevant personas.
Step 2: Consolidate your responses.
After researching thoroughly, you might have gathered a lot of useful information. Now, it’s time to bring your team together and organize the responses. Categorize and list out every identified pain point and age range of the customers. Although it’s just an initial step, you can refine it later. The main objective is to have a clear overview of the information you gathered.
At this stage, you may begin to notice recurring themes or phrases in people’s responses. You might be surprised to discover that they are identifying challenges that you hadn’t previously considered. Such insights are valuable for creating comprehensive and insightful marketing personas.
Step 3: Write a rough draft.
To map out personas, set aside either one hour or 90 minutes, depending on your pace and the number of personas you’re working with. It might be helpful to use a whiteboard to keep your team on track.
First, identify how many personas you’re going to create. Your business and your goals should dictate this. We recommend creating 3-5 personas—any more than that and you’re probably getting off course. (When we did this for Kelp, we created 5 different personas.)
Next, start to identify your audience segments.
- Name: Give each persona a relevant name.
- Age: You will likely include a range here (e.g., 25-35).
- Gender: Include if applicable.
- Job title: Include if applicable. In lieu of this, you may want to identify another defining characteristic.
- Channels: Identify where they spend the most time online.
- Pain points: You probably have a significant list of pain points. To narrow these down and consolidate them, try to identify the three most popular pain points/themes.
- How your product/service helps solve their problems: This should directly address the main pain points you’ve outlined. Let’s say you’re marketing a company called GoTrees, a Tree Trimming service for homeowners. If their biggest pain point is a lack of machinery, you might talk about the company’s vast arsenal of modern equipment.
By the end, you should have a defined group of personas that are both specific and distinct.
Step 4: Finalize your personas.
After creating basic customer profiles, it’s important to get feedback from relevant individuals such as your sales or brand team. Refine the profiles if necessary. Writing a brief paragraph that captures the essence of each persona can help bring them to life and make them more memorable.
Let’s go back to our personas for GoTrees. Here’s what one persona story might look like:
Dave’s Story: Finding the Perfect Tree Services with GoTree
Dave is a 55-year-old suburban man who loves spending time with his family and keeping his yard in pristine condition. He has always enjoyed taking care of his trees, but recently he noticed that a few trees in his yard needed professional attention. However, his biggest pain point was the lack of machinery to carry out the necessary services.
Dave searched for a local tree service on Google and he came across “GoTree”, a highly rated tree service company, that promised to provide top-notch solutions to all of Dave’s tree problems. What caught Dave’s attention was GoTree’s vast arsenal of modern equipment, which meant that they could handle any challenge regardless of its size.
Dave was hesitant at first but decided to explore the website. He was impressed by the user-friendly interface, and the website made it simple to request a quote online. Dave filled out the online form, found the process very straightforward, and was surprised by how quickly he received a quote. It was competitive, transparent, and it assured him of their expertise. Dave also enjoyed reading the testimonials of other satisfied customers, so it gave him the confidence to select GoTree for his tree services.
GoTree’s team arrived early on the scheduled service day and were highly professional. They evaluated the trees in Dave’s yard, determined what needed to be done, and carried out the work efficiently with the help of their modern equipment. Dave was amazed at how quickly they completed the job, and how they cleaned up afterward.
Dave was thoroughly satisfied with the work that GoTree had done. The finished work exceeded his expectations, the prices were very competitive, and most importantly, GoTree’s team was professional, skilled, and attentive to his specific needs. Dave felt comfortable working with them, and he knew that he could rely on their services in the future too.
After you finish editing and get approval, you can record the changes in a format that suits your team like a template, Google Docs, or an Excel spreadsheet. Remember to review and revise personas regularly, particularly when you modify your content strategy.
How to Use Your New Personas
After creating your new personas, use them in your content strategy.
- Use empathy when you brainstorm. Ensure that your content provides something desired or required by your audience, whether it is motivational, educational, or entertaining. If you cannot determine for whom and why a particular content piece is relevant, it is most likely ineffective.
- Tell a consistent story. Use this brand messaging framework to help you tell a cohesive story that resonates with your personas.
Measure your success
To measure success when using personas in marketing, it is important to focus on key metrics that reflect persona engagement and conversion. Here are a few ways to measure the effectiveness of your persona-driven marketing strategy:
- Sources of traffic: Track the sources of traffic to your website and social media profiles. Determine which channels are driving the most persona-driven traffic. This will help you focus your efforts on the channels that are driving the most relevant traffic.
- Engagement rate: Measure the engagement rate of personas with your website and social media profiles. Determine the interactions – likes, comments, shares, etc., that your personas are having with your content and across channels.
- Conversion rate: Measure the conversion rate of persona-driven traffic on your website, landing pages, and social media channels. Determine how your personas are driving clicks, leads, and sales, across different points of your sales funnels and customer journeys.
- Retargeting effectiveness: Track the retargeting effectiveness of persona-driven traffic. Determine how different personas are responding to your retargeting campaigns, specifically achieved by relating your website cookies or user ids with your persona data.
- Brand perception: Measure brand perception as perceived by personas. Determine whether your brand message resonates with personas and aligns with their values and interests.
By measuring these metrics, you’ll be able to determine the effectiveness of your persona-driven marketing strategy. Analyzing this data on a regular basis will allow you to tweak your content, offers, and marketing messages to resonate with your personas and achieve your business goals more effectively.