We know: you're ready to get rolling with inbound marketing and creating Personas seems like it will just slow your progress. In reality, having a set of clearly defined Personas will make your inbound marketing more successful and make your marketing decisions easier.
What is a Persona
According to HubSpot, a Persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. It’s based on customer conversations, market research, website analytics, and likely a little bit of educated speculation. If you’ve been talking about your target market, buyer persona or audience segment, you’re on the right track.
You will likely have multiple Personas to address. For example, Charlie CEO has different motives and a different process behind his purchase decisions than Mary Marketer. Start by making a list of your Personas. Ideally, you should have 3-5 Personas. If your list is longer, work on combining similar ones or drop those who truly aren’t your target.
Why Create Personas
Personas help you understand your best customers, so you can serve them better and find more of them. If you know where a particular Persona hangs out online (and sometimes offline), you can make sure you're there. If you know what that Persona is looking for, you can offer that. If you know what challenge a Persona has, you can help them solve it -- and convey your message in the same words they use when talking about their challenges. If you know your Persona's personality, you can speak the right language.
Knowing your Personas will help you choose the right marketing channels. For example, if your Charlie CEO Persona always checks his work email from his phone while watching TV in the evening, you can make sure a mobile-friendly email that addresses one of his challenges lands in his inbox during that time.
You can also develop products and services with Personas in mind. Because you know what goals and challenges they have, you can create what they need.
Personas help you create a strong content calendar. When people use search engines, they're often searching by the problem they have -- and may not even know the solution yet. If you only talk about your solution, you're missing a significant amount of traffic. Your content should be focused around topics your Personas will be researching, so that your stellar content appears in their search engine results.
How to Create Personas
Step 1: Download our Persona Worksheet. You’ll need one copy for each Persona.
Step 2: Determine which of the Profile questions you need to ask. Some questions may be more important for a particular Persona, or the questions may spark your imagination about other questions that you need to add to the list. Your questions may address:
- Common behaviors
- Pain points -- sometimes professional, sometimes personal
- Goals, dreams, wishes
- Demographic & biographic info
Step 3: Decide how to research your Personas. You might interview your ideal customers, conduct market research such as a survey, use your website analytics to determine how these people use your site, or talk with your sales team to get their descriptions of ideal customers.
Step 4: Compile the responses and your research. Document where you see trends.
Step 5: Give each Persona a name to remind yourself that you’re marketing to a specific person, even though it’s not a real person. (You might even choose a stock photo to really remind yourself!)
Step 6: Use a fresh copy of the Persona Worksheet to write a description of your complete Persona.
Step 7: Keep a printed or electronic copy of your Personas handy. Use them to drive your business and marketing decisions. (Check out “Why Create Personas” above.)
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