The Importance of Persona Development
Whether your main stream of digital content marketing is through blogging, podcasts or social media campaigns, if you don’t know your audience, you’re wasting time, money and working hours. It can be easy to think that just because you produce content geared toward your industry, that anyone with an interest in that industry will be engaged. That might not always be the case. There are many demographics to consider when creating content that will help you reach your marketing goals. Age, sex, intention, postcode etc. are things that need to be considered when launching your next campaign. That’s where persona development can come into play, to not only get you more clicks and engagement, but to save you time and money by not releasing marketing pieces that won’t get in front of the right audience.
Developing a persona is basically the same as creating a customer profile, but you go a step further by putting a face and a character to your ideal customer. You try to target your main audience, typically the person who is most likely to buy your product or service. Think of it as coming across the dating profile of your dream partner. Brainstorming through a typical buyer’s journey can help you cover all angles of wants, needs and pain points of past and future customers.
What’s the point of building personas?
Building personas and developing customer journey maps is important because it can help ensure that you’re creating content, banners and callouts that will be attractive to potential customers.
For example, a hotel in Niagara Falls, Canada, isn’t just going to want to blast out messages and blogs to everyone. They want to target people who are interested in, or already have a trip planned to see, Niagara Falls. So, they'll build a persona for someone who would want to visit Niagara Falls. For instance, someone in their 40s with a stable job, a wife and two kids, who might only travel a few times a year (so they want to make it count by seeing the country’s national wonders). Knowing that is one of their personas, the hotel marketers can then create an article entitled 'Things to Do In Niagara Falls for Families'. That person might then be more willing to read, share and click through that blog, because it appeals to his or her unique interests and desires.
Should I have more than one persona?
In most instances, yes. Most brands and companies have multiple demographics they’re trying to reach. Another example based on the Niagara Falls hotel would be a newlywed couple who are looking at honeymoon destinations. That couple will probably be younger than the above persona and will probably not be looking for something different to do while on their trip. So, while building this persona, you'll have to think about what young people would want on their holiday; sightseeing? restaurants? bars? romantic accommodation? For this persona, the relevant blog might be along the lines of, 'Why Niagara Falls is the best honeymoon destination'.
How in-depth should my personas be?
You’re not writing a 15-chapter murder mystery about this fictional person, but at the same time, all of the details need to be fleshed out. Their simple demographic info is important because it’ll help you think through their needs and pain points. Let’s use the first persona as the example here: someone who wants to take their family on a trip to Niagara Falls. You’ll want to think through what might stop them from planning or making that trip. Is that person worried that there might not be much for kids to do? Is spending-money an issue? Have they been to Niagara Falls before, or will this be their first time?
Addressing these types of concerns in your content will allow readers to feel that their pain points are being addressed, inching them closer to purchase.
Reach the right audience, not just any audience
You can have 1,000 people visit your site or click on your social media page; but if no-one purchases anything or engages with your brand, how much are those clicks really worth to you? However, if you can answer questions and address concerns for most of those 1,000 people, then you’re more likely to get their business. That’s the power of persona development: getting your message out to the right audience, not just any audience.