It may seem like an easy task, developing the target audience that your business wants to connect with. You know who these people are, you know what they like and what they want to hear, right? But, do you really? There are so many factors that you can incorporate when developing your target personas and better understand their intentions, goals, wants and challenges. When you have a clear definition of who they are then you’ll be able to hand-craft the right kind of content and message to connect with them and turn them from customers into advocates.
Developing target personas are a crucial step in your inbound marketing campaign process. You’ll want to know what content resonates with each segment of your audience. When you can better tailor your content to the reader, the more likely they will be to engage with your content again and begin to trust your brand. So, what’s the process? How can you get started with this process and what good can come from your efforts? Let’s get started.
Why Create Personas
Your audience is not exactly the same type of person, but you can group them into different segments. In doing so, you can better craft your marketing campaign to connect with them on a personal level. For example, if you’re trying to reach New Moms, aged 25-34 who live in a city, you’ll have different visuals, copy and overall message than if you’re trying to reach grandparents who live in the suburbs. Both audiences could be in your target market, but you’ll want to change up your messaging to make an impact on each segment.
Personas are not only important for the marketing team to better develop their campaign and initiative messaging, but also for the sales team. The sales team should understand who they are selling to, what challenges they face and how your product or service will help them overcome their challenges and problems.
This can be a long process to fully develop your target personas, but once the exercise is completed, there is so much good that will come from it. So take the time with your executive team and put your heads together to develop your personas. Typically you will have more than one persona that you are targeting, but for your first drill – try to develop anywhere from one to three different personas. This will help kick start your inbound marketing process. Once you have your target personas you can start catering your content to those segments and nurture each segment through your sales funnel until they become customers.
Here are some of the questions that you’ll want to ask yourself and your team when creating your personas:
- Demographics: age, location, annual household income, marital status, gender
- Educational background: what level of education have they completed
- Industry: what type of industries have they worked in, what industry do they work in now.
- Company stats: total amount of employees, annual revenue
- Job Title & Role: what are their day-to-day activities, who do they report to, who reports to them.
- Success Metrics: what is considered a success? How is their ROI calculated?
- Skills: what skills are required to do their job? What tools do they use to accomplish your job (task managers, CRMs, etc…)
Challenges & Goals
- Challenges: What challenges face their business?
- Goals: What are their weekly, monthly and yearly goals (profit, growth, leads, sales, etc…)
- Social Media: What social media platforms do they use?
- Publications: what sites do they visit most often? What newspapers or publications do they read?
- Internet Usage: how do they search for new vendors or products?
You can use this tool to help further develop your target personas. You’ll want to provide a name for each person. Really dive into who they are, it will help you better visualize who they are and what marketing messaging will resonate with them.
Do your Research
One great way to really understand your audience is to survey your current customers. You can do an online survey, an in-store survey or call up some of your existing clients and ask them some of the above questions. If they are already a happy customer, then you’ll want more people just like them – so that will help you build out an ideal target customer.
You’ll want to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Think about what is important to them and include it in their persona. And don’t be afraid to create a persona who you don’t want to target. Are there some existing customers who are not beneficial to your brand or company, what do they look like? Try to make sure that you don’t create content or messaging that will attract them. You want to stay as far away from them as possible.
Craft your Content
Now that you have an idea of who you are targeting, you can start thinking of content ideas and marketing messaging that they want to see and engage with. One great place to start is to look at their challenges, how does your product or service address that challenge? How can you create a piece of content that answers that challenge? What information can you provide them to help them meet their overall goals? Ask yourself these questions when planning out your content strategy.
In addition to the content topic, you’ll want to consider the format of your content. Is your target persona extremely savvy on social media? Or do they prefer to read long white papers? Whatever they like to interact with online, and then try to create your content in that format. If you know where they read and the content that they like to engage with then leverage that information to create the right type of content. For example, if your readers are on LinkedIn, then create a SlideShare of information for them – the layout is easy to read and easy to share.
When starting your inbound marketing process, there are a lot of steps to get started and developing target personas is just one step. To learn more about how you can start marketing smarter and not harder with inbound marketing, then check out our step-by-step guide to getting started with your first inbound campaign.