Before social media changed consumer behaviour demographics were the most important tool at an advertisers disposal. Times were much simpler when our target audience could be easily tracked and isolated. Entertainment options were limited and as a result it was easier to group audiences based on behaviour.
If you wanted kids to see the latest toy ads you would place them during Saturday morning cartoons, car and beer commercials were sporting event staples, and daytime television was littered with lawyers and life insurance. Demographics are still important to advertisers today, they just don't have the same impact as they once did.
What is a persona?
"A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers." -Hubspot blog
Why do persona's matter?
Personas are the foundation of your business’s inbound marketing strategy. Think of all the people who come to your website on a daily basis, each with a different need or problem. If any of those people walked into business in real life, you wouldn’t send them to the same place, and you certainly wouldn’t have them meet with the same person. You’d tailor your interactions based on their needs, and wants. Your marketing should work the same way—different types of prospects should receive different information and experiences.
Developing personas allows you to segment your marketing outreach so you can take a personalized, targeted approach.
Building a buyer persona in 5 steps:
- Demographics - the starting point and easiest way to segment your audience by gender, location, age, income, or occupation.
- Identity - Giving your persona a face and name helps you tell their story segment them even further.
- Habits & hobbies - Understanding "a day in the life of (insert persona)" will help you identify ways to interact with your persona.
- Challenges - Knowing the challenges of your persona's will help you be their hero they turn to for solutions and information.
- Motivation - Different from challenges, motivation is what drives them to seek out solutions.
In order to gather this information you will want to examine 10-15 of your best customers and identify what made them similar. If you can conduct interviews and find out what made them choose your solution for their problems. Your sales team is a valuable resources for this information as they are the ones on the front lines dealing with your customers everyday.
As you build out persona's, you gain insights into how they spends their days, what motivates them, and the types of problems you can help them solve. With a persona behind you, you can create much more compelling content for your prospects.
When and where to use personas
Now that you have a framework for your persona you need to know when and where it makes sense to use them. When selecting a targeted audience for a social media campaign you will rely heavily on the demographics to find the right audience for the content you have selected. Choosing that content is where you will look to your persona, understanding that your targeted persona is more likely to watch a video than read a blog, or download an ebook rather than talk to sales. Your persona will help you promoted the right content at the right time to the right person. The inbound marketing way. Offering solutions to their challenges through engaging content adds tremendous value to your prospects, converting more of them into customers so your business can grow.