I CAN HAZ CHEEZBURGER. You're right, I'll agree with you. That line does not sound like it's in English. But it does raise a valid question: who is the target audience of a website that was named after a mispelled cheeseburger and populated with a bunch of cat photos and videos? How did the creators of such a popular site know who they were targeting? Chances are, they created marketing personas.
What is a Marketing Persona?
A marketing persona, also known as a buyer persona, is a fictional character that represents your ideal customer. One or more is created to help you craft a message about your company that's specifically directed at your target audience. Personas are very inbound marketing friendly as they help you create content for the audience that would be most likely to purchase from you. This is completely opposite of how traditional marketing works, where you create a single message, blast it out to the entire world, and hope it grabs someone's attention.
Why Does my Business need Marketing Personas?
Your company needs them is because they provide you a single reference point which to write and create content for. They also help to make sure your company messaging is consistent across all departments and channels.
For example, the marketing department may not be the only group creating communication pieces and content such as blogs, emails, web pages, print ads and social media posts for public use. This way, sales, finance, customer support, marketing, and any other department creating content is able to write for the exact same person. It also makes it easier to communicate between departments about who a new piece of content or whole campaign is for.
How Do I Create a Marketing Persona?
Creating personas isn't something that just happens in a couple hours. There is a formal process to creating something that has the potential to make or break your marketing efforts. If you were to just create a marketing persona willy nilly and create content for that person, only to realize that it's not your target audience, what kind of people are going to start showing up to your business?
You probably don't want Tom, Dick and Harry who were looking for the gun shop down the street to walk into your seashell collectible shop because you wrote about shells in the wrong context. Yes, that's an exaggeration, but hopefully one that makes my point stand out.
Developing a marketing persona requires steps that may include:
- Interviewing select customers that you have a great relationship with
- Interviewing sales team members regarding customer demographics or interactions
- Compiling data from the company contact database to find data trends
- Surveying all customers with a series of foundational questions
- Surveying all customer-facing employees to gauge interactions and gather knowledge
The best way to create marketing personas for your business is to use a template that guides you every step of the way. To be honest, I did not create from scratch the template offered below. It was created by the awesome folks at HubSpot, and I felt they did a great job. So why reinvent the wheel? ;)