For decades, smart marketers have used a secret trick to attract us to products and services. Not all brands use it, but the most successful ones do. You see, the more personalized to us a marketing message is, the more we’re drawn to it. That’s why creating a marketing persona for your business is one of the most important things you can do.
If you want to sell more products or services, a marketing persona is the key ingredient you need. This article will help you personalize your marketing communications to your ideal audience.
Before we dive deep, let’s start with the basics.
What is a marketing persona?
A marketing persona is one person or character who represents your target market. This is the ideal customer for your business.
Why do you need a marketing persona for your business?
As a marketer, you need to inspire people to take action. Whether you want them to buy a service, or sign up for a membership, you have to understand your target audience.
Deep knowledge of your marketing persona will help you to write better copy for your website. You’ll craft better social media posts, write better blog posts and email campaigns. It will also help you to develop new products and services that your audience truly wants.
If you do paid advertising, you’ll pinpoint them better with demographics and interests. This means more effective ads and a bigger return on your investment.
As you can see, identifying your ideal customer isn’t just a nice thing to do. It will result in increased revenues.
On the other hand, if you don’t know who they are, your marketing will be too general to attract enough quality leads. It won’t call out to your perfect fit clients. In the end, you’ll attract difficult customers who don’t value your work. And that’s no way to build your business.
How do I create a marketing persona?
You can use several methods. In the next section, you’ll find a thorough list of questions. These will help you develop a marketing persona you can imagine as a real person. Before we go there, consider first who you’ve developed your products and services for.
You can base your brand’s marketing persona on you if you are your ideal customer. You can base it on a past or present customer who you enjoyed working with. Or, you could develop it as a combination of ideal customers you’ve worked with.
To flesh out your persona’s story, you’ll first rely on the knowledge you have of your customers. It’s OK to use your imagination to fill in any gaps. When you do this, try step out of your headspace and into theirs. Call on your empathy to imagine what they might feel and think.
When you complete the first draft, talk to your leads and customers. Their responses to your questions will help you develop a more accurate persona.
Persona Plan Step One: Questions to develop your marketing persona
Grab a cup of coffee and open a blank document. It’s time to craft a story. To make it more fun, find a photo online of what you think your marketing persona should look like. Maybe it’s a middle-aged businessman checking his watch. Or, perhaps it’s a tattooed hipster working in a cafe. You could also use a photo of a real customer.
Whatever the case, look for an image that feels like the best representation of your ideal customer. Save the image and add it to the top of your document.
Next, list the basic traits of your imagined marketing persona. Here are a few questions to help you get started. List their …
- Geographic location
- Marital status
- Do they have children? How many? (List names/ages)
Marketing persona tastes
This section is fun. It’s time to get to know their interests and the lighthearted side of them. Answer these questions …
- What books, websites and magazines do they read?
- What TV shows do they watch?
- Do they go to conferences? If so, which ones?
- What do they do in their spare time?
- What brands do they love?
- Who are their heroes and favorite experts or teachers?
Marketing persona psychology
Now it’s time to dig deep. What is your marketing persona’s psychology? Answer the following questions …
- What are their life values?
- What are their positive beliefs about themselves and the world?
- What are their limiting beliefs? (The stuff that holds them back in life.)
- What are the challenges that keep them up at night?
- What do they fear is true about life or about themself?
- What’s their worst case scenario related to their challenges?
- What do they fear to lose if their situation isn’t resolved?
- What’s the dream solution they’d spend anything to have?
- What will change for them if they resolve their challenge? (Internal and external)
Why you shouldn’t skip Persona Plan Step One
You might think you sell a straightforward product or service. If so, you might also think you don’t need to delve into psychology. But the truth is, people make purchasing decisions based on emotions. Many times it isn’t clear to us what inspires our buying behavior. But if you peel back the layers of your core motivations, you’ll find them linked to emotion.
We all have fears and insecurities on the backburner of our minds. We also have fantasies and dreams of the lives we aspire to. To attract your ideal customers, tap into the emotions behind the products and solutions you offer.
Persona Plan Step Two: Smart interviewing tactics and questions
After you’ve imagined your marketing persona onto a page, it’s time to talk to real customers. Chat with a handful of people you think would be your ideal customer. Three to five will be enough to develop an understanding. Speaking in person or over Skype will give you the best results.
This is because you need to tap into their greatest desires and darkest fears. People are often hesitant to reveal their deepest emotions. But body language always reveals more than anyone can mask.
Listen to what they say and observe their body language. Look for signs of emotion to reveal their most pressing pain points. This might show up in an altered tone of voice. They might contort their faces, wring hands, fidget, look away or develop watery eyes.
You can also spot signs of their ideal future outcomes. Friends always remark on my body language when I talk about things I’m passionate about. That’s because I become very animated. People often sit forward in their chairs as they express with quickened dialog. Beyond a wide smile, you might also see a gleam in their eyes.
As a final note, the more interested you are in the person, the more they’ll want to talk and open up. If you actively listen, you’ll be more prepared to ask your own follow up questions that reveal even more about the person.
Here’s a list of sample questions to help you fine tune a picture of your persona’s psychology. Choose the ones that make sense for you now.
♦ What’s your biggest challenge right now?
♦ What have you tried and how did it work for you?
♦ What’s not working?
♦ What are a few things you would like improved?
♦ How does this challenge affect your time, money or experience?
♦ What’s the biggest pain for you around this right now?
♦ On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is it for you to solve this right now? (10 is the highest motivation)
♦ What would get better in your life if this was solved?
♦ Have you ever paid for a product or service like this before?
♦ If so, what did you pay for it?
♦ What did you like best about it?
♦ What frustrates you about it?
Remember to stay attuned to your subject. Ask follow-up questions that come to mind as you listen. The more follow-up questions you ask, the closer you’ll get to their deepest truths. These are the gems you want to address in your marketing communications.
To develop the most accurate marketing persona, you’ll need to draw on your empathy. The more you understand your target audience, the more personalized your communications will be. When you think about it, we all prefer to do business with people we like and trust.
Trust and liking stem from the feeling of being heard, understood and accepted. As you speak directly to your persona’s core fears and desires, you show a level of understanding that many salespeople cannot replicate. This skill is crucial for you to create sales and marketing material that grow your business.