Why it is important to create personas

Answering the question “who is your target audience” might seems quite easy but sometimes it is much more complicated. Someone can have an answer: “Well, my target audience is everyone. I want to target the widest range of people as possible.” It is essential to go more in-depth to characterise your target audience. Although your product can be bought by anyone for various reasons, not setting your target audience may be very inefficient and leads to issues. And sometimes even this is not enough.

Imagine you own eCommerce selling sports shoes. Let’s say two men would visit your shop looking for running shoes. They are both in the age 20-30, they live in the Bavarian region and earn something above-standard income. To properly guide the user experience and content of the effective marketing strategy, the target group is still not enough and needs to be more specific for CM purposes. Men looking for shoes can end up buying similar products but do they have the same questions and problems? How would you satisfy their needs and motivations if you do not take them into account? One of them has regularly been running for several years, the other has just tried it a couple of weeks ago, and he was fascinated by it. Is it possible to write an article, create a video or website banner that will provide both of them with sufficient information? Content marketing addresses this issue by using a useful tool, persona. This is a representative of the target group, a specific person, an ideal customer, that helps to target the creation and distribution of content more effectively.

Meet the John Smith

Exactly, the persona has his own name, family background, employment and position at work, specific goals, aspirations, problems, questions that ask when buying products or services. By defining such a persona, it is possible to target better the content you will be creating and spreading. It's also important to determine through which channels and ways your content gets to that persona. These can be, for example, social networks, a newsletter, or a printed flyer in the store. The persona needs to be known by everybody who contributes to content creation and dissemination in any way, from content manager and copywriters to graphic designers and photographers to video or social network administrators. Personas determine the method of communication and the style of each single content output.

Where do we meet personas?

The characteristic of a specific customer is not simple. It comes from the target groups themselves, but takes into consideration the questions that customers ask when shopping or when deciding to buy. You will meet personas in the store, on forums close to your topic, on social networks or on web-based consultancy. Interviews, surveys, and questionnaires from these areas are therefore extremely useful to meet customers. According to world-renowned content marketers, three critical areas for the creation of a persona are:

Direct communication - go to your customers as well as retailers, get to know them and ask them what their questions, troubles, needs and opinions are.

Work on social networks - be where your customers are, whether they are social networks, blogs, video portals, or discussion forums. Watch the communication of your customer as well, respond to current topics of interest to them. The internet is an ethnographic paradise - take advantage of its benefits.

Analyse Data in Depth - Track customer behaviour on your site and social profiles. What content do they care about? Who run regularly and who do not even try it yet? Take a more in-depth look at the information you've collected. Follow the negative metrics - to help you avoid mistakes in the future.

By processing the relevant information, you get a picture of the customer that represents the ideal. Define it according to your product and its purpose. Find a significant customer who will become your persona and replace a broad target group.

How much do we need?

The characteristic of the customer may not always be completely unambiguous. For example, if you really have such a specific product that the masses buy and it is difficult to reach them. Then you need to specify the priorities for whom our content is to be determined. People from this broad target group will bring the most benefit, knowledge and practical information. Based on this, you can create 1-3 personas. However, if they were too many, they are more likely to confuse you than to guide you, and eventually, you will not be able to target your content accurately.

Share the content your persona seeks

Personas are an internal tool, "the compass", leading you in the right direction in creating and spreading content. If you know their problems, concerns and questions, you'll better integrate them into your content marketing strategy to make them tailor-made. It’s a win-win, they will find the answers and useful information they are looking for right at your website.