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How to Cheaply Develop Personas & Enhance Your Content Marketing

Develop personas to enhance your content marketing

We live in the digital era, and marketers are now data managers, analysts, and scientists. While creativity still plays an important role in our field, modern marketers research customers, learn about them, and find ways to sell to them effectively.

One way that any business can effectively market to customers is by developing target personas. Regardless of your business’ size or industry, you likely have at least one target persona who buys from you. Fleshing out who these people are can help you understand their buying habits and why they choose your business.

Let’s explore target personas from a content marketing perspective and how your brand can affordably¬†develop them.

What Are Audience Personas?

Image via Flickr by 1DayReview

Audience personas are profiles of the top types of buyers who visit your business. They use a combination of personal demographics, shopping behavior, and data to help you understand the people who buy from you. Most companies have between two and five buyer personas, with a main focus on one or two customer types.

For example, a retail location like Macy’s or JCPenney might have personas that explain how often people come into the store and what they buy:

  • Shopaholic: this buyer comes in a few times per month. They like to look for deals but will buy something if its not on sale as long as it looks good on them.
  • Saving Mom: this buyer will go out of their way to shop during sales. They stay close to the clearance rack and always come armed with coupons.
  • Essentials Man: this buyer wants to find what they need and get out. They have a specific idea of what they want and will only visit the store a few times per year.

This isn’t to say that the store has no demographics outside of these three buyers, or that a man can’t be a shopaholic or thrifty with the kids. This list simply highlights the main three types of shoppers who come in and make purchases.

Your target personas are shared with your employees, but also given to contractors and agencies that you work with. This gives these people an idea of who is buying from your brand so they can align their efforts with your goals.

How Do Businesses Build Target Personas?

The development of target personas tends to vary based on the industry and size of the company. It’s not uncommon for large companies to pay consultants millions to do market research and develop key personas that are dozens of pages long. Most companies, however, focus on one- or two-page bios of customers and their interests. A few common criteria that people include when researching target personas include:

  • Personal demographics related to age, gender, background, income, values, and lifestyle.
  • Customer needs when they walk in the store and goals when shopping.
  • How customers prefer to interact with staff during the buying process.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): the amount customers spend on an average shopping trip times the number of times they visit the store.
  • Customer motivation and reaction when presented with different marketing materials.

These bullets above might focus on B2C personas, but B2B personas aren’t too far off. A company that develops B2B target personas might focus on the chain of command when pitching a product, the length of time when making a decision, and how customers hear about their brand. Whatever elements you add to build your personas, you should see more clarity in who your customers are with each question answered.

Top Tools to Develop Personas

You don’t have to hire an outside firm to develop target personas for your brand. It’s possible to research your personas and create a one-sheet in-house for your team to use. There are plenty of resources that are free or affordable to try.

  • Google Analytics offers demographic information so you can learn who views your website and what they find useful.
  • Hubspot Make My Persona is free and useful. You answer a series of questions and a persona is developed.
  • Xtensio also has a popular persona creator with interactive models and team collaborators.

You don’t have to limit yourself to digital tools. You can also tap into your sales team and customer care representatives to better understand your customers. In fact, you will likely need insight from these people to use the tools mentioned above. Your sales and customer service team can share some common questions that your customers have and problems they face, helping you better understand the people you’re trying to reach.

How Can Target Audiences Boost Your Content Marketing?

All of this information is interesting, but can it really help your content marketing efforts? The answer is a resounding yes. Your personas will guide your content creation because you will have a better idea of what people need and which concerns should be addressed.

For example, you can take your target personas and develop content around their needs, concerns, and values. You see this all the time in brands that focus on people not having enough time or wanting to stretch their budget. In some cases, you can take the exact questions that your customers have and build a content series around them.

You can also grow more leads with this content. By developing messages for social media guest posts, and other media outlets, you can reach new people who have never touched your brand before. More exposure means more leads, which in turn means more sales.

Some companies feel like the development of target personas is like a breath of fresh air for their content efforts. They have a clear vision of who they need to reach and how to connect with them in a meaningful way.

Improve Your Content Marketing Today

You don’t have to be Coca-Cola or Nabisco to have top-notch branding and detailed audience personas. Your content marketing efforts can shine with a little help from your sales team and the willingness of your marketing team to try something new.

Still need help? Reach out to CopyPress today to learn more about target personas and find out how to market to people interested in your brand.

About the author

Amanda Dodge