Before beginning any marketing tactics, audience segmentation and persona creation are crucial steps when you are building your foundational marketing strategy. It’s important to take the time to know your current customers and research how to directly reach and further engage them with relevant content. When getting to know your audience and creating personas, there are recommended tactics to keep you on track.
Evaluate Current Customers
Always start with your current customers and users. Building personas without this information could be costly. Personas aren’t an excuse to get out of talking to users. Start with any CRM and sales data you may have. What was their initial need? What solutions have been working best? How can you scale to other customers? When possible, speak directly to them or consider conducting a survey with open-ended questions to understand their needs and motivations on a deeper level.
Look At the Data
Dig beyond CRM data into Google Analytics, AdWords, and Google Trends to understand your broader audience and segments when creating personas. Each gives demographic data and can reveal seasonal trends and content consumption trends as well. Search query data can also be found and help reveal important information about the key needs of your target audience. Our SpotOn team has also found that starting broad helps define a clear strategy for website navigation and content while narrowing into specific personas helps identify paid advertising and targeting opportunities. The number of personas will ultimately depend on the number of distinct audiences you intend to target with your marketing efforts.
Identify Pain Points & Motivations
Geography and demographics are some of the easiest data to find, especially if your digital channels are already up and running with proper analytics. To further build out your personas, or for those who don’t have that data at their fingertips, consider their top need and motivation and how you differentiate yourselves to best solve for it. We can look at data all day, but we are all humans talking to humans at the end of the day, so show empathy to the problems your persona dedicates time, money or political capital to as a key to reach them.
While working through the three tasks above to create your personas, there are some simple do’s and don’ts to ensure the greatest return on your content marketing and advertising efforts.
- Involve your sales team
- Start broad: identify your audience & key segments first
- Narrow in: Prioritize personas to who you want to spend marketing resources on
- Consider the customer journey: and how and where the persona will consume content at each step
- Create a content strategy for each persona . . . and track everything
- Make assumptions: making up information to fit a desired persona will only hurt in the long run
- Ignore your customers: they are the most important piece of data
- Develop too many: remember you aren’t trying to reach every single potential customer with personas
- Forget to test & evolve: personas can evolve as time changes and new needs arise or new services/products are introduced
It’s never too late to get started with documenting your target audiences and creating personas. With defined buyer personas your digital marketing communication and ad targeting stand a much better chance. Taking the time to better understand your audience and customers can lead to increased engagement and a greater ROI on ads to help your business grow its bottom line.
Get in touch to get started.