Do you know your target audience?
The majority of marketers will be able to answer this question fairly confidently.
“He or she is a managing director located in the north west of the UK.”
“He or she is a marketing manager of a legal firm.”
It seems so easy!
The problem with the above target audiences is that they give the most basic details possible for the audience in question. There isn’t a rounded picture of the audience or any detail; there isn’t any indication of what their hopes are, or what problems they face. There is very little to base your marketing on when it comes to speaking directly to these people. This is where marketing personas come in.
A marketing persona enables you to delve deeper into the person behind the audience; what their objectives in work and life are, what challenges do they face and what sort of personality do they have?
Why is creating a persona useful? There are multiple reasons:
When it comes to online advertising, be it AdWords based or paid social, the more accurately you can target your adverts to your ideal audience, the more successful it will likely be.
Personas also help with content creation. When you have a clear picture of what your persona is interested in, you can create content that is more relevant and resonant to them.
Overall, a persona helps to streamline your marketing messaging towards the right people; towards people who could be potential clients or customers.
So what is the best way to start creating these personas?
Ask the questions
Creating a marketing persona doesn’t have to be complex at all… in fact, it’s really up to you how in-depth you decide to go with your own personas.
It is all about asking the right questions and doing the research. So below, we have highlighted the key questions you need to ask to build your persona.
1. Create the persona’s personal background
This is your first step to giving your persona a real personality, and what better way than creating a backstory for them.
First of all, give them a catchy name… We like to use a name with a job title so, for example, ‘Marketing Manager Mary’.
Next, start to build a backstory including things like career history, family demographic, communications preference, location and demeanor.
This section is like a bio for your persona, so don’t feel constrained here; feel free to get as creative and detailed as possible.
2. What are their objectives and challenges?
This section is designed to highlight the problems that your persona and audience have in their life and work.
Start off by asking what their life objective is and split it into primary and secondary? For our marketing manager persona, a primary objective could be to progress to a head of department role in the next 3 years, whereas a secondary objective could be to run a successful marketing team.
Ask work specific questions too. How is their performance measured? What skills do they need for their job role?
Finally, ask about their concerns. What challenges do they face at work and in life that will stop them from completing their objectives?
Try not to think about all of the above on your terms. You might be tempted to align their challenges and goals to your products or services. Doing this won’t help; it will just create an artificial persona who is your biggest fan but who also doesn’t actually exist!
3. How can you help them?
The final section is all about how your company can help your persona to achieve their objectives and overcome their challenges.
Start by stating how your company can help. Let’s go back to our marketing manager persona. As a marketing agency, we can help her by taking on aspects of her marketing that she hasn’t got the internal resource for.
Come up with some real life quotes of what your persona would say about their own challenges. For example, “I would like to run an Adwords campaign but I just don’t have the knowledge or staff to do it”. This once again gives a voice and personality to your persona.
Finally ask the question, ‘why wouldn’t they buy your product or service?’ This enables you to position your messaging and get around any sort of reservations your persona may have about your company.
Need some help with your persona?
A marketing persona is about turning your audience into real people and giving them a voice and personality.
You will find that once you have a persona, it becomes much easier to align messaging with your content.
If you are finding it difficult to get started with your own personas then we have created a marketing persona template which you can download for free here.