What is a persona in marketing?
A marketing persona is essentially a character that personifies your audience best. The reason brands and marketers spend so long building personas is so that they can understand their audience.
Whether you imagine your target audience as one of the Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus or Ned Schneebly from School of Rock, picking a character to personify your target audience is a quick way to build a marketing persona.
Visualising your customer will help you understand their demographics, behaviours, geographics and psychographics – the basic principles of marketing to audiences. Keeping these at the forefront of your marketing strategy and planning will ensure that your activity aligns with your audience.
How to build a marketing persona in five simple steps:
- Do your research
It’s impossible to build up an image of your audience without understanding their motivations, frustrations and who they are exactly. We suggest conducting research under the following categories to accurately understand your audience and build up an image of your audience/s.
- Research how old they are; which age group they fall into (boomer, Gen Z, Gen X)
- Which gender do they identify with? Or are they gender fluid?
- Where does your target audience spend their time online?
- Do they tend to buy directly from social media, or do they prefer to purchase on retailers’ websites?
- Who do they rely on for purchasing decisions? Are they influenced by their colleagues, social media influencers or their family and friends?
- Where do they live or work?
- Where do they spend their free time?
- Where is their family based?
- Do they work in an office or from home?
- Do you know what your target consumer loves doing in their free time or what they do for work?
- What do they value? Is it sustainability, feminism, their free time?
- What interests and hobbies do they have?
- Define your customer segments
If you’ve got more than one customer, it’s likely they’ll have different traits; it’s not enough to use a one-size-fits-all approach in your marketing.
It’s important to determine early on who your customers are and how you can segment them. Segmenting your audience will help you tailor your marketing and messaging to each group, making your targeting more personal – and more effective. In fact, 72% of customers will only engage with personalised messaging, so it’s key to know who your audience is and talk directly to them.
Once you know your audience segments, put a face to them. Pick a character that best represents their traits (whether it’s Winnie the Pooh or Bridget Jones) and use this character to keep your audience top of mind when producing marketing material.
- Create a messaging framework
Once you’ve created your persona, you’ll want to create a messaging framework to accurately nurture them towards conversion at each step of the funnel.
We’ve created a messaging framework aimed at helping brands craft messaging to nurture their audiences on different platforms and at different stages of the funnel – which you can download here. However, you’ll want to tailor your messaging to your different audience segments, so use the messaging framework as a guideline and tailor it as you see fit.
- Create a buyer journey for your persona
Putting yourself in your customers’ shoes is a great way to understand the experience they receive when interacting with your brand.
Create a road map of the steps you want them to take after seeing your ad, and then map out what their potential frustrations could be at each step.
Next, work out how you can solve those pain points. Design thinking is one way you can improve the user experience; ask yourself if there are any blockers in the conversion journey, then set about designing your landing pages and website to be as user-friendly as possible.
If you’re struggling to put yourself in their shoes, ask a friend or hold a focus group to get a true representation of their thoughts and feelings at each stage of the journey.
- Align your team
Once you’ve defined your personas and your messaging strategies, it’s time to share them with your team to create a foolproof omni-channel marketing strategy
Omni-channel marketing is all about creating a seamless experience for your customers between platforms to build up awareness of your brand.
To ensure your marketing activity is uniform across all channels, you’ll need to align your team with your messaging strategy too. Give them a clear idea of the audience they’re targeting – and use those all-important personas and character traits to reinforce their traits.
Now it’s time to download our free persona-building resource, packed with extra tips and tricks to understanding your audience.
If you would like further help creating personas or a tailored messaging strategy to nurture them to conversion, get in touch with us. Our multi-award-winning expert team can help with everything from copywriting to brand building.