Know Your Audience, Using Personas Can Help in 2019
It may seem hard to market to a customer base or target audience that’s made up of different types of people. But, using personas can help.
Personas are fictional profiles that represent groups of similar people in your target audience. Each persona helps you define a group’s attitudes and lifestyles, and see how your product or service is or can be a part of their lives.
Personas can help your marketing avoid ineffective generalizations. Instead, you can find out how to reach your audience on a more personal level, and deliver the right messages, offers, and products at the right time.
To create effective personas, you obviously need to get to know your target audience. Your research should start broad and then get into the nitty gritty details.
First, define your target audience’s general makeup. For example, “millennial males,” “soccer moms,” or “motorcycle enthusiasts under 35.” Howie might describe his audience as “college students in their late teens and early 20’s.”
Take that broad target audience and really get to know them. Interview them, run surveys, and even hold focus groups if you have the time and resources. This is where you go into detail.
Learn about their favorite activities, their professional and personal ambitions, what makes them anxious, their personalities, their attitudes toward life, and what items they couldn’t live without (like smartphones, for example).
Also, ask them what their typical days look like – when they get up in the morning, how they get to work or school, what kinds of meals they eat, what time they get home, what they do during their free time, etc.
Then, find out how connected they are with your product and/or service. How do they feel about what you have to offer? And how do they like to be marketed to?
Once you have all this information, look for patterns and insights that will help you develop detailed personas.
Group people together who had similar responses during your interviews, surveys, and focus groups. Then create a fictional profile that can represent each group, AKA a persona.
For example, you might use these personas: the bookworm who puts good grades above all else, the fun-loving party guy who hates early morning classes, and the activist student who wants to change the world.
Using answers to your interview questions, develop each persona. Think about the type of profile your persona would create on a social media website. Also, map out your persona’s typical day, ambitions, anxieties, etc.
To make your personas more believable, relatable, and “real,” assign each a photo and a representative (but fictional) first name. Also find a quote that sums up what each persona stands for.
Next, visualize the path your personas might take as they discover, buy, and use your product or service. This is called journey mapping.
Your journey maps should identify all the moments or touchpoints when and where your personas would interact with your brand. Let’s explore this by using Howie’s persona of Alice, the bookworm.
Here are touchpoints on Alice’s journey map: 1) She’s hungry so she searches online for delivery. 2) Finds Howie’s site. 3) Sees the menu. 4) Orders. 5) Waits for the food. 6) Pays the delivery person. 7) Eats the food.
At each of these touchpoints, Howie should map out how his business and marketing might interact and communicate with Alice.
That includes Howie’s search ads, his landing page, his menu, how easy it is for Alice to order, how long she waits for her food, her experience with the delivery person, and her enjoyment of the food.
A journey map should also show how your business and marketing would interact with your personas post-purchase. So Howie should list out how he’d engage with Alice after she eats his food (like emails asking for feedback, etc.).
Now you’re ready to create an empathy map. Basically, you’ll be making an emo version of your journey map.
Empathy maps help you and your marketing team sympathize with the challenges your persona might face when interacting with your products or services. This, in turn, helps you create better solutions to those challenges.
To make an empathy map, put your personas in a hypothetical situation. Howie might decide that Alice has a study group in her dorm room and needs to order a lot of food without breaking the bank or the group’s concentration.
Next, write down how your persona might feel during your hypothetical situation, and what they would say, think, and do.
Also, write down what their needs are during the situation and the reasons for those needs. “Alice needs 15 hot dogs and several side dishes because she’s studying with her science classmates in her dorm room.”
Finally, brainstorm ideas on how your product or service could help your persona with these challenges. These don’t have to be fully thought out. They’re just starting points that you and/or your marketing team can work from later.