Marketing personas are the foundation of any solid inbound marketing strategy. They help you find your ideal clients—the ones you absolutely love to work with. They stop you from pursuing uninterested leads, and they’re the most efficient way to grow your business.
Don’t believe me? Here are three jaw-dropping stats about marketing personas:
- 3-4 personas usually account for over 90% of a company’s sales
- 82% of companies using personas have seen an improved value proposition
- 72% of consumers are more likely to believe a brand is relevant when it delivers highly personalized content
Now that you’re convinced, let’s talk about how to create a marketing persona in 5 easy steps.
Step 1: Identify Your Marketing Goals
How do you want these personas to improve your marketing? Do you want them to drive sales revenue? Increase email click-through rates or web traffic? Build customer loyalty? Whatever it is, identify your goals so you can create your marketing personas to match.
Having these goals laid out in front of you allows you to pinpoint the information you need to gather in Step 2. If one of your marketing goals is to increase web traffic, for example, you can collect data on how your target audience interacts with brands online.
Laying these goals out ahead of time ensures both you and your customers benefit from these personas. You reach your KPIs and your customers feel connected to your brand.
Step 2: Do Research & Get To Know Your Customer
This step is all about the nitty-gritty. It’s where you roll up your sleeves, do the research, and get to know who your customers really are (not just who you think they are).
To gather this information, start by collecting real data about your ideal customers. Identify their:
- Demographic information (age, gender, location, ethnicity, income, occupation, education level, marital status, and so on).
- Psychographic information (their hobbies, interests, attitudes, and beliefs)
- Social media activity (what platform they use most, why, how often, etc.)
- Buying habits (are they impulse shoppers or habitual researchers? How much discretionary income do they spend each month?)
- Pain points (identify how your product improves their lives and where it falls short)
So, by now you’re probably wondering, “How do I collect this information?” If you have a customer-facing team, start there. Have team members compile a list of common user pain points, needs, and characteristics.
Other data collecting methods include:
- Hosting focus groups (invite your most loyal customers to an intimate gathering where you can ask them questions one-on-one)
- Distributing multiple-choice surveys (you can do this via email, social media, or old-school snail mail)
- Examining existing current data (look at your CRM database, past sales, returns, user profiles, and so on)
Step 3: Create Multiple Marketing Personas
Now that you’ve collected all the data, it’s time to create your personas. For this step, we recommend creating a graphical profile you can share with your marketing team. There are dozens of free marketing persona templates online. Some popular ones include Hubspot, Socialbakers, and IMPACT.
As a general rule, we recommend creating 3-4 marketing personas. Unless you’re a small company with one product or service, one persona won’t be enough. 3-4 personas are broad enough to cover your core ideal clients but specific enough to speak directly to them.
It may sound silly, but give every persona a name and a profile picture. This gives your marketing team a crystal clear picture of who you’re marketing to.
Next, list out their demographic information (refer to Step 3 for a list of items to include). Finally, move into their psychographic information (this includes their technographic information, social media activity, buying habits, and pain points).
Step 4: Use These Marketing Personas In Your Campaigns
Here’s where we tie everything back into Step 1 and take action. Now that you have your personas in hand, use them in your marketing campaigns. You may even want to share these personas with other departments in your company that may benefit from these profiles.
Your customer service team, for example, can use these personas as a guide when communicating with customers via phone or email.
A sales department can use these personas to drive home potential sales.
Step 5: Update Your Persona Twice A Year
Over 74% of customers feel frustrated when marketing content isn’t personalized. To keep your personas relevant, update them every six months.
This may seem like overkill, but people aren’t static and your personas shouldn’t be either. Trends come and go, technology advances, and buying habits change as a result. Your customers may be using Instagram today, but a year from now they may be using an app that hasn’t even been released yet.
Think of your personas as actual living, breathing people. Their beliefs and journeys change over time. Take note as these changes happen and make sure your content reflects them.
The Bottom Line
Marketing personas, if used correctly, allow you to see the world through your customers’ eyes. It gives you a way to speak to them with laser focus and make them feel like you designed your products specifically for them. When your customers feel loved, heard, and appreciated, everyone wins.
Creating personas involves a lot of work upfront, but it more than pays off in the long-run. “If only 1 out of 10 people in your target audience needs your solution, and 9 of them aren’t prospects, you’re wasting 90% of your time and resources,” writes Eric Siu, CEO and marketing guru of Single Grain.
How has your company leveraged marketing personas to connect with customers? Let us know on social.