Audiences are the mainstay of any campaign. Any marketer knows that even the most brilliant marketing strategy will fall flat if not targeted at the right audience. Likewise for Content Marketers. Those words, those videos, images, Gifs, PPTs, which you have painstakingly doled out, will have absolutely NO meaning if it does not get through to the actual audience. Moreover, how do you zero into the right audience who would lap up your content and help you keep your client content? It is Audience Personas.
What does an Audience Persona mean?
An audience persona or buyer persona essentially means a composite sketch of a key segment of your audience. It helps content marketers streamline the most relevant content which will be useful and informative to the audience.
Without a proper persona, you would be shooting in the dark, guessing the kind of content your audience desires. This means you are much likely to generate content around what you know best rather than the content your audience desires. It is much like handing out apples to people wanting to have oranges! Big content marketing FAIL!
Why should you create it?
A details buyers/audience persona helps not only the content marketing aspect of your business but is also critical in driving product development, sales and customer acquisition and retention. Having documented personas will not only help you make detailed strategies but will also serve as a sounding board for all business ideas.
How to create a working Audience Persona
Developing an audience persona is a customized process meant to assist marketers to address and crack unique marketing challenges and opportunities. To get on track, we offer some basic pointers here:
1) Picture your ideal customer/consumer. Ask questions which can narrow your search
Who is she/he?
What is their profession?
What kind of industry/sector/company are they employed in?
What would a typical day in their life be like?
Once you have satisfactorily sketched out the answers, it’s time to move to step 2
2) Consider the customer concerning their role in your buying cycle and its evolvement
What challenges does the customer face?
What gaps is the customer looking for to help ease the challenge?
Is your customer the primary decision maker or is influenced by a chain of command?
3) Consider using details of the customer’s content preference and consumption patterns
How does the customer access information?
What is their preferred source of information?
What time of the day are they most likely to look for the required information? During work hours or at home?
How many hours on an average do they spend on social media?
How often are they exposed to relevant content/information on a regular day?
What is the trusted source of information? Industry analysts? Vendors? Thought leaders? Acquaintances? Other?
Does she get information through word of mouth within her business community?
Armed with the above information will put you in a better position to zero in on the type of content, the channel, publishing time that will be most likely to influence your target consumer to move further into the buying funnel.
Sourcing Customer Data:
Surveys and direct interviews seem to be a go-to source for collating costumer data, interests and goals. Other than that the below-mentioned techniques are a great way of sourcing the data you need to create detailed, multi-faceted personas:
1) Google Consumer Surveys:
Google Consumer Surveys have an edge over other crowdsourcing surveys to build buyer personas. Respondents who answer questions become eligible to access premium content. This proves beneficial not only for data sourcing for also to get potential customers converted.
Marketers can use the Google Consumer Survey as an additional tool to understand behaviours, habits, and motivations, etc. of their r target consumer since the tool is enabled to gather important demographic and geographic information that helps to sharpen your results and to narrow it down.
This Q&A website is a potential storehouse of consumer’s thoughts, preferences, and behaviours. Just posting targeted questions on Quora helps you understand more deeply your audience’s point of view, interests and zero in on topics that are likely to engage them most.
Some other time-tested procedures to know your audience better are through:
➢ A/B Testing: Testing your existing content can provide some meaningful insights into the minds of the consumer. It will help you figure out what sort of content works with them and what doesn’t.
➢ Website Forms: When you create forms on your website, ensure the creation of fields that capture important persona information. For example- company size, designation, interests, etc.
➢ Analytics Data: Monitor the current content consumption pattern like page views, time spent on your site, downloads, newsletter open rates, bounce rate to give you an insight to where your audience tends to be engaged.
➢ Communicate with the sales team: This team is the one who are directly engaged in the front with the consumer. Listen to their feedback, insights that they have to share.
Things to know about Personas
1) Keep the personas updated: Buying patterns may change over time. It is important to know who may or may not be buying your products. Don’t let your personas go stale.
2) Share them with other departments: Personas will help other departments in the organization get familiar with the end consumer and prospects at a deeper level. Share them with the sales team who are a valuable source of information on your consumer preferences. Personas can come handy to employees engaging with potential prospects and customers, so it is desirable that everyone in your organization is working from the same set of common information pool.
3) Streamline content creation for your personas as they move to the next phase of the buying journey: Personas provide you with a snapshot of the consumer. What it does not provide is how the content needs and preferences change for them once they move down the buying funnel. Persona mapping will enable you to examine the stages that each persona is likely to undergo from beginning to end, identify objectives, the information they might seek/require and activities of each stage.
Do you have any interesting tips to create Audience personas? Do share them with us.