If you’ve been paying attention to marketing trends, you’ll know that the hard sell is giving way to a kinder, gentler form of marketing: content marketing. And at the heart of the best content marketing is storytelling.
But one story isn’t right for everyone. Just as you wouldn’t expect a kindergartner to be interested in a calculus textbook, you wouldn’t bombard a purchasing manager with endless details about lead generation. Your content needs to be relevant to your audience—and that means you need to know your audience. That’s where personas come in.
Personas use demographics, psychographics, goals, job functions, pain points and more to zero in on key customer traits, helping you easily identify and segment customer audiences so that you can produce and deliver the right content.
Imagine you’re preparing a new campaign, and you need to create different sets of messaging that speak to different buyer personas within a company. One is the CEO, whose primary concern is revenue growth. Another is the marketing manager, who is focused on lead generation. And finally there’s the head of purchasing, who is most interested in a good price point.
What’s in a Persona?
While your own template can vary, consider including the following information in each persona:
- Persona Name: “Sam Sales,” “Pam Purchasing,” etc.
- Persona Title: a general job title for the persona
- Avatar: a physical image for the persona
- Bio: a summary of the type of individuals exemplified by the persona
- Story: more detail to flesh out the persona, such as goals, challenges, pain points, unique selling proposition, etc.
As your personas take shape, it becomes easier to create content that targets the individual audiences they represent. And when you provide the right content for each of these audiences, you not only capture their attention, but you also increase the likelihood of capturing them as customers.
Building Personas: Where to Start
There are a number of tools you can use to build your buyer personas. Here are a few to get you started:
- Google Analytics: Assuming you have Google Analytics installed on your website (and you should), you can mine the demographic data they collect for information about your web visitors.
- Your CRM and/or Marketing Automation platforms: These platforms provide a ton of valuable data you can use to construct personas, including lists of your existing customers and prospects, along with their demographic data and insights into their preferences (bonus: the marketing automation tool we offer includes templates for building personas).
- Social platforms: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn provide analytics that provide information about your social followers’ interests, locations, ages, genders, titles and more. You might even try polling your Twitter or Facebook followers to get some quick qualitative data.