Published on April 18th, 2014
Have you ever listened to a string of song lyrics that really resonated with you?
You know the feeling. They strike a chord inside of you and you start to questions if they were, in fact, written just for you.
Detailed buyer personas help marketers achieve that very same resonance with their audience.
Without them, you'll break your back trying to fabricate a message that lends itself to everyone. It simply can't be done. It shouldn't be attempted.
So before you get carried away with marketing anything, make sure that you know who it is that you're marketing to.
To help you do so, we've detailed how to carry out buyer persona development and put them to work for you business.
Where to Start:
It all starts with the interview process. Identify your ideal customers and start by asking questions that follow this general format:
Role: What is their title? What skills does it require? Who do they report to? Does anyone report to them?
Company: What industry are they in? How large is their company?
Goals: What are their responsibilities? What goals are they working towards? How are they working towards them?
Challenges: What are their main pain points? What is holding them back from accomplishing their goals?
Watering Holes: Where do they go to consume information? What specific channels do they frequent? Do they subscribe to a particular blog? Club? Organization?
Personal: Gender? Age? Education? Children? Location?
Shopping Habits: What is their preferred method of interaction with sellers? What factors influence their purchasing decisions?
How to Reinforce Your Personas:
With the information that you've gathered from the interview process in tow, the next step is to evaluate what you've collected and begin to piece together the actual persona. Take the individual pieces and build out a fictional character who's story is representative of everything uncovered. Give them a name. Give them a face. Use every last detail you can to truly bring them to life.
If at the end of this process you end up with Megan the Marketer and Charlie the CEO, now it's time to get their name out there. Introduce them to everyone in your office by posting their profiles in a place where everyone can see them. Pin them up on the wall, send them out via email, hang them on the fridge, make them the desktops on your computers if you have to. The goal is to make Megan and Charlie famous, something like office celebrities if you will.
Here at IMPACT we've even spit balled the idea of creating Facebook profiles for our personas to advance their notoriety and make them that much more human.
Once you and your team have become well-acquainted with Megan and Charlie, it's time to get down to work. Oh, you thought creating them was enough? C'mon now. Megan and Charlie are here to do more than just exist. But how?
Create Content That Provides Solutions
One of the biggest advantages of having personas in place is that they now serve as the guide you've always wanted to help you create more relevant content.
Based off their wants, needs, pain points, and goals, marketers can begin to craft content that provides solutions. If they are struggling to prove the importance of social media to their boss, whip up a blog article or an ebook that speaks to this pain point and the value of your business will be unmistakable.
Speak Their Language
Understanding the type of language that your personas identify best will make it easier for them to trust you and establish common ground. If you're laying on nothing by heavy industry jargon and $20 words, it's going to be difficult for them to derive meaning from your messages and see the value in your product or service.
Optimize for Them
Once you have well-defined buyer personas in place, you'll want to revisit your current optimization strategy. Does it lend itself well to the personas you've mapped out?
Take the information you've learned about the language they prefer and apply it to the copy that exists on your current homepage, landing pages, blog posts, etc. You want to ensure that anything you put forth is attractive enough to capture their attention and encourage them to convert.
While language is huge, the way in which they search is more important. If you uncover that your personas commonly search in terms of long-term keywords, adjust the keyword or keyword phrase that your website is currently optimized for in accordance to their search behavior.
Conform to Their Tech Preferences
If executed correctly, the "watering holes" and "shopping habits" sections of your persona interviews should reveal a great deal about the role of technology in their day-to-day lives.
Simply put, if you know that Megan is practically glued to her iPhone, you're going to want to optimize your website for mobile.
Recognizing the platforms and technologies that your personas know and understand will help you to position your content in a setting and format that is preferable for them. Ultimately, this type of compliance with their needs will increase the likelihood that they receive your message and take action.
Align Your Efforts With Their Lifestyle
Use your persona's personal information to transform the way you distribute content.
Their demographics alone can play a huge role in your decision making process when deciding what time you are going to publish your blog posts, when you're going to spend the most time on social media, or when you want to launch your next email marketing campaign.
Keep it Fresh
Be sure to revisit your personas regularly to make necessary edits and updates. As new technologies continue to emerge and catch on, it's likely that your persona's behavior is going to change as a result.
After all, basing your content and marketing efforts off of stale personas is almost as unproductive as not having personas in the first place.
Photo Credit: wellphoto / Shutterstock
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