Marketing has reached the age of segmentation and personalization. As consumers expect more tailored, personalized buying experiences, it forces marketers to segment their audiences like never before. Buyer personas are an important step toward achieving targeted marketing that works. Many marketers develop persona profiles for their ideal customer just to let them age in a folder on their desktop, never to be touched again. What if we told you personas are the secret to more effective marketing?
But first, what are Buyer Personas anyway?
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer. They are commonly developed by leveraging institutional knowledge mined through in-depth interviews with internal stakeholders. These sessions are conducted to identify the commonalities between your most common and ideal customers. Personas contain demographics, psychographics and behaviors. They can also be validated through quantitative or qualitative data to further inform these archetypes.
Simply put, buyer personas put a face to your ideal customer, rather than a name to an audience. The activity of developing, referencing, and updating your personas helps marketers visualize what the needs and interests of their customers are when developing content for a campaign, to ensure you are always developing exactly what your audience wants to consume.
Personas pull together many insights that are useful to marketers, although many don’t realize really how useful they can be. Below are some of the most common use cases for personas and how they improve your marketing.
4 Ways to Use your Persona Profiles for Marketing
Before you jump into developing your ideal personas, it’s important to think about how you plan to use them. Whether you are developing them solo or working with a team of stakeholders, define what you need to learn and how you plan to use them first. Personas can be effective in guiding the following activities:
1. Informing messaging
This is probably the most common reason why marketers develop personas in the first place – so they know what to say to their prospective customers! Persona development is useful for informing key messages and defining your value proposition for each type of customer you work with. By learning about your audience’s goals and challenges, objections and questions, you can speak directly to these needs through the messages you write.
2. Guiding content strategy and development
When you know what your audience wants and needs, it becomes far easier to create strategic content they will actually want to consume. Developing personas helps marketers to identify the burning questions and can inform you on how your ideal audience researches and prefers to consume content. These all point to the topics you need to cover in your content and what format it should appear in.
Want to take it a step further? With personas defined, it becomes easier to set the goal and track the development of content for each persona. To avoid biting off more than you can chew, we recommend focusing on one to two personas at a time by building out the necessary content those audiences seek – this could be a live content series, blog articles, and/or social promotion. With this content launched and running, it’s then time to focus on your next set of personas. Over time, this will help you ensure you are developing content for all of your ideal personas.
3. Defining segmentation
The whole premise of persona profiles is to group together the most common behaviors, demographics, and psychographics of your ideal audience into a defined, visible representation of your customer. When defining your personas, look to find the one thing that makes each persona unique. Is it why they work with your business? Is it what motivates them to take action? Or is it whether they hold decision-making power or not?
By defining your personas and ensuring each is unique, you can then use your personas to develop a segmentation strategy. Collect information from your inbound leads that hints at their persona (or, more advanced, infers a lead’s persona, based on the content they consume and actions they take) and then create email and nurturing campaigns based on your personas. When your segmentation strategy aligns with your personas, messaging and content development becomes much easier to create and more effective.
4. Developing a targeting and advertising strategy
When developing personas, many marketers will collect information on habits surrounding technology use, trusted sources, and research behaviors of their audience. These insights paired with demographics can inform targeting strategies for digital advertising.
Use your personas to not only inform ad targeting, but the channels you advertise on too. The more you know about your ideal audience – Are they tech savvy or not? What is their average age? What sources do they trust most for information? – the more effective your digital advertising campaigns (and all-around marketing) will be.
Personas go beyond just checking a box and saying we understand our ideal customer. They are a useful tool for each aspect of your marketing. Developing personas is a critical investment in getting to the core of your customer, and it is something that should evolve with your business and customers over time. Ready to get started? Our friends at Ethos offer a simple persona template to begin building your own.
About VONT Performance Digital Marketing
At VONT we believe that change is the only constant in the digital world – and that excites us. When tools and environments are constantly changing, new opportunities to help our clients achieve success are constantly arising. Each new advertising technology, social platform, or design approach allows us to improve on the results we achieve for our clients.
We believe in this idea of continual fine-tuning so much that we named our company VONT, which means to achieve exponential improvement in incremental steps. It is our core belief, and the reason why we are not simply a web design company or simply a digital advertising agency, but rather a long-term, single source partner providing a comprehensive array of web development and digital marketing capabilities.
In short, we’re here so that our clients achieve success in the ever-changing digital world.