How to Create a Marketing Persona

14th September 2020

Your marketing messaging should resonate with your ideal customer and make them want to engage with your business.

Marketing personas are essential if you want this to happen.

Without a defined persona, your campaigns can end up having unclear, diluted messaging because you’re trying to appeal to everyone.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at:

  • What are Marketing Personas?
  • Common Pitfalls to Avoid
  • Three Ways to Build Your Persona
  • What Should Your Final Persona Look Like?

By the end, you’ll be able to work on your persona with confidence, knowing that it’s going to pay dividends. Your marketing will be tailored to your persona, making it more specific, and more effective.

Let’s jump in.

What are Marketing Personas?

There are many definitions and they all have a few things in common.

A marketing persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer, that shows key characteristics unique to them.

Common characteristics to include in personas include:

  • Job title
  • Seniority
  • Location
  • Company Revenue/Size

Your persona’s goal is to uncover all the information you need to know about your ideal customer in order to market and sell to them more effectively.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Far too many marketers create a buyer persona and never look at it again, and don’t even share the learnings with their team.

It’s an exercise that gets done because you’re supposed to do it.

But, if you don’t regularly review your persona as a business, it’ll quickly evolve as your business grows and changes.

Six months after creating your persona, the new ‘ideal customer’ you have stored in your brain will be completely different from the one you spent hours creating.

If you don’t regularly review your persona, your team can end up on different pages, leading to a lack of consistent messaging, and your marketing activities will decline in effectiveness.

How to Collect Information For Your Persona

1. Large-Scale Surveys

Surveys are a great way to gather information about your audience and the market you’re in.

You can send out surveys to your existing email list, or, work with a third party company that can source survey participants for you.

Surveys are useful because they provide unbiased, honest answers (that you may not get when you talk to people in-person).

Source: Business2Community

You can fill the survey with questions that will help your marketing efforts in the future, and identify pain points that people in the market are experiencing.

Assuming you have a high number of respondents, it’ll be easy to spot trends in the responses to create personas that are based on real data, rather than just intuition and guesswork.

2. Qualitative Customer Interviews

If you already have happy customers, they’re going to be a fantastic source of information to use in your persona.

Schedule interviews with your customers either in-person or over a video call (if you’re not sure whether they’ll agree, you could offer a gift card in return for their time).

You’ll be able to find out:

  • Why they love your product or service
  • What pain points you solve for them
  • What made them buy from you in the first place

You can use those learning to shape your final persona.

You’ll be able to focus your marketing efforts on acquiring customers with the same pain points as your existing customers and help them solve them.

3. Sales Calls with Prospective Customers

Your sales calls are a valuable source of information, even if you don’t close the deal.

Related: How to get your first sale with Rachel Bourke from SalesSPACE

It’s a perfect opportunity to ask direct questions to people who you think would be a good fit for your business.

You can learn how they found your business, what they need help with, and even ask if they’re looking at competitors.

Encourage your sales reps to take extensive notes in sales calls, and have your marketing team review those notes when creating your marketing persona.

What Should Your Final Persona Look Like?

As I’ve mentioned, you’re going to want to review your personas at least every quarter, and more often if your offering is changing and you’re trying out new marketing experiments.

Keep your final persona somewhere that’s easy to access and easy to update.¬†Source: Content Harmony

Google Docs is a popular choice, but you can even create a spreadsheet or build an interactive design with a tool like Figma. Wherever it’s stored, make sure your whole team has easy access to it.

We’d also recommend adding a picture to your persona document to make it feel more personal and like a real customer rather than a faceless concept.

Now you know how to Create a Marketing Persona

Marketing personas are essential to any company that wants to ensure the messaging, campaigns and targeting is going to resonate with the people who are a great fit for your business.

Creating a persona takes time. You’ll need to run surveys, interview customers and conduct research to understand everything that makes your marketing persona unique to your business.

In the long-run, your efforts will pay off, as your marketing will be focused on talking to that specific customer type who you know is a great fit for your product or service.

Have you created a marketing persona for your small business? What tips are you going to try from the above article? Let us know in the comments below.

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