Attracting the right customer base to your business is essential to its success. When you have a quality audience, your chances of success are far greater than if you don’t have a solid audience. This is why it is so important to take the time to fully understand your audience and one way to do just that is to create marketing personas that accurately reflect them.
How Are Marketing Personas Different from a Target Market?
It is common for a marketing persona to get confused with a target market, but there are some distinct differences between the two. Identifying your target market is typically done prior to the official launch of your product or service. During this time, you will look to demographics to get a clearer picture of who your audience might be. This includes considering factors such as age, religious beliefs, sex, sexual orientation, geographic location, marital status, income and more. These components will help you to see exactly what your audience has in common.
Contrarily, a marketing persona will help you identify how your audience members might differ. This is done by separating your target market into smaller niches with differing interests or hobbies. For example, just because two members in your target market are both married females between 30 and 35 living in an affluent neighborhood, one might enjoy being outdoors while the other spends her days at the spa. These differences will directly affect how you market to each separate person. Basically, a marketing persona creates a fictional portrayal of an actual person (or group of people) who would be the most interested in using your product or service. A company may have multiple marketing personas within their target market.
Why are Marketing Personas Important?
A marketing persona is important for multiple reasons. For one thing, it helps you to determine what type(s) of messaging will appeal to all of the different people that make up your target market by considering both their similarities and their differences. Learning the habits and interests of your audience in greater detail will also help your business better understand where it will need to advertise. It tells you what content is important to your audience, influencing the imagery and tone you use in you all of your marketing materials. It even helps to determine the best ways for you to engage with your audience on your social media platforms to keep them engaged and interested. In short, marketing personas help you consistently relate to your audience.
Who Should Use Them?
The short answer here is that every business should consider implementing marketing personas. The biggest reason for this is that it’s easy for you, as the business owner, to get lost in what it is your brand wants and lose sight of what your audience really needs. In other words, it helps you to take a step back from the business so you can accurately see the bigger picture. This does not mean you must lose integrity in your product or service. Quite the contrary! It actually gives you an opportunity to fine-tune your business model to create a direct connection between your brand’s messaging and how it will be received by your audience.
How to Create Marketing Personas
There are four simple steps you can take to start building your marketing persona(s) today. These steps should not take a great deal of time, which is another benefit of marketing personas.
Do Your Research
The first step in building an accurate marketing persona is to diligently research the market. This is a time to ask as many questions as you can possibly think of. If you are an existing business, get out there and talk to your customers. Find out more about them. Collect all of the necessary demographic information if you don’t already have it. Once you have that info, dig in even deeper. Consider what they like and dislike. What are the struggles they are currently going through? How does your product or service help them alleviate those struggles? Don’t limit yourself in how you go about collecting this information. Send out questionnaires, host round table discussions, email your client base, make phone calls, or even host virtual chats. The more information you gather, the better you will be able to hone in on specific personas.
Analyze Your Findings to Narrow Down
This is the organizational part of the process. Now that you have all this data, what do you do with it? Determine which software you will use and start inputting the data so you can create charts and graphs that accurately reflect the responses you have collected. What common threads are you noticing throughout? If you notice common words or phrases, jot those down, as they will be invaluable later as you move into the creation of marketing materials.
Draft Your Marketing Personas
Based on the information you have collected, determine how many personas you would like to create. Spend a minimum of 20-30 minutes on each, clarifying as much information as possible about them. Be as succinct as possible. Each persona may have an age range, a list of fears or goals associated with them, an income range, etc.
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Test Your Marketing Personas
Once you have a better idea of your marketing personas, it is time to put them to the test. Present them to other team members to gauge their reaction and brainstorm where improvements should be made. Once they are complete, use these personas as models to determine the content your company will put forth. Decide which persona(s) will find interest in certain ideas and also why those ideas might interest them.
If you still feel a little overwhelmed at the prospect of creating your own, there are countless resources and templates available on the internet to further alleviate your stress such as this one by Socialbakers.
Keep Your Marketing Personas Evolving
Don’t assume that just because your marketing personas have been created your job is over. Just as with any other marketing component, your team should regularly sit down and analyze these personas to see where they could stand some improvement. You may find you want to retire some personas as your company evolves but keep them in your back pocket for potential future use.
Overall, marketing personas are a great foundational tool for your entire marketing plan. They will help you to easily identify your audience and to continually relate to them through the use of relevant content. Without them, your business may lose sight of the best interests of the client (even if your intentions are pure) and potentially drive away valuable audience members. It is absolutely worth the time and energy investment to create your marketing persona(s).