I’m going to be blunt: if you’re still thinking of your potential customer pool as “anyone who needs my product/service,” you need to stop. If pure need was all the drove purchasing decisions, we wouldn’t have the variety of products we do on the market. Think about the divide between Coke and Pepsi, and how passionately customers advocate for either brand even though their products are virtually identical. What inspires this brand loyalty? It’s the root of all marketing: people feel like the product and advertising speaks to them.
That’s where marketing personas come in. Simply put, a persona is a character that you create who represents your customer. They have a name, an age, a job, family, hobbies, values and fears. They are fleshed-out and fully-formed. By creating 3-5 personas, you can dial in on your ideal customers. From there, you can figure out what messages will resonate with them the most, what channels to use to reach them and (most importantly) how to convert them to a sale.
One reason why small businesses shy away from marketing personas is because they’re afraid of shrinking their potential customer pool by focusing on specific types of customers. To be even more blunt: this is B.S. If you’re flinging your marketing out to the void, you’ll certainly reach more people. But where’s the value if only 2% of those people actually resonate with your product? It seems backwards, but narrowing your marketing increases your ROI because you’re putting the right message in front of the right people.
How to Create a Marketing Persona
The easiest way to bring your persona to life is by using a template. There are a lot of options out there, but I recommend Hubspot’s template because it’s easy to use comes in PDF form. For your personas, you’ll want to paint a clear picture. Start with basic information:
- Persona’s name, gender and age
- Job title and industry
- Salary and household income
- Location (urban? suburban? rural?)
- Challenges they face
- How they use technology
You can add to this list as relevant to your industry. The more detail you can give your persona, the better. There are also several ways to go about gathering the information to flesh out your personas.
The easiest – and most important – way of gathering information about potential customers is to look at your current customers. Send out an email survey to your current customers asking them for information. Ask them about their role, their company, their goals, etc. Hubspot has an excellent list of 20 questions to ask in persona interviews to give you some ideas. Make sure to provide an incentive for customers to fill out your survey – a gift card usually does the trick.
Talk to Your Team
Brainstorm with your team to distill the personalities of your customers and prospects. Your sales team regularly interacts with potential customers – what do prospects who convert have in common? Your customer service team is another excellent resource to tap into. Not only do they have insight into what makes your customers happy, but they can tell you what their pain points are as well.
Google Analytics is a fantastic wealth of information. You can use it to pull information about who is viewing your site. Unfortunately, it can be a bit dense so use this guide from Social Media Examiner to find the information you need.
Social Media Research
You can glean basic demographic information from many social media channels. Facebook comes with a built-in tool that breaks down the demographics of your followers. Looking at your social media will also give you more insight into your customers’ likes and personality – which posts performed the best? What types of content generate the most responses?
Once you’ve developed your personas, you can start using them to strategize your marketing and website.
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…Or We Could Do It For You
We kick off all our web design and online marketing programs with a deep dive into your business and create 3-5 marketing personas that you can use. Just saying.