Take the Time to Understand Your Audience

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It’s something I talk about all the time. Really horrible marketing is talking about yourself. Great marketing is talking about what is important to your audience, and people are more engaged than ever right now. But first, you have to understand who your audience is and what they want. One of the best ways to do that is by creating personas.

Everyone is great at creating a prospect or client demographic – that specific group we want to target in our marketing and sales. But we’re not always great about how we think about those algorithms going forward. Or how we communicate with them in a way that establishes a meaningful connection.

One of the strategies we often use in marketing is to create personas. When done right, personas can be very powerful in helping you have a better understanding of your audience and enabling you to be more inclusive and genuine in your messaging. Here are some things to consider when creating a persona.

Steps to Create a Good Persona

Listen to Your Clients

Talk to your clients. They often already represent who you want to speak to and who will purchase your product or service. Get to know them personally. Take the time to understand who they are and where they’re coming from. Listen to what they have to say and learn as much as you can about their concerns and challenges. Here are some things to consider:

  • What things do your clients and prospects have in common?
  • Do they have certain problems they’re facing?
  • How can your product or offering help them solve that problem?
  • What value can you provide to them?
  • Why did they purchase your offering?

Define Your Target Audience

Next up, we create a demographic that we want to target. This is where we break down what our targeted group looks like. It consists of a whole set of data that we can string together and then point at it and say, “this is who we are trying to sell to.”

Start to construct some demographics that match your target audience or audiences.

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Income level
  • Education level
  • Marital or Family status
  • Occupation
  • Ethnic background

This exercise has value for many parts of your marketing strategy. Once you have a target audience defined and the characteristics selected, it makes it easy to do things like find the right people to connect with on LinkedIn or to target with Google or Facebook Ads.

But you’re never going to create a meaningful connection with a set of numbers. And whatever super boring marketing you’ve read lately was likely written for a dataset.

What you need to do next is turn that dataset into a persona.

Construct Your Personas

One of the strategies we often use in marketing is to create personas, which when done right can be very powerful in helping you have a better understanding of your audience and being more inclusive and genuine in your communications with them.

When you create a persona, you’re essentially taking that dataset and humanizing it. What we do is take that dataset, expand upon it, and make it into a human – often with a name and a day to day experience. We take the time to imagine their life. Consider their motivations. Think about the problems they face. Essentially, it’s like a profile for your ideal client or prospect. Here are some things to consider when compiling the narrative of your persona.

  • Personality
  • Attitudes
  • Values
  • Interests/Hobbies
  • Lifestyles
  • Behavior

Once we have that deeper understanding then we can look at that persona and have a conversation with them that is more personal. Because we’ve taken the time to get to know our persona, we now have the knowledge and background we need in order to have a more impactful conversation with them. We often end up caring about our personas and that makes it easier to have a deeper conversation with them. It also helps your communications sound more genuine.

Personas Enable Genuine Marketing

In marketing, we talk a lot about conversations and the concept of a sale versus a message. Communications that are meaningful and insightful help create a deeper connection with your clients and prospects. Once you’ve defined your target audience and created the personas to go with them, it makes it easy to determine where to talk to them and how those communications should sound.

Empathy is key. When you care about your audience it shows, and when you don’t care that also shows.

Having a persona or group of personas in place helps you feel more empathetic to your audience and their needs. It can help direct your messaging, your voice, and your tone. But at the end of the day, you also need to be genuine in your communications.

These days, building relationships can be a challenge. Everyone is paying even more attention. They want to do business with people whose core values match their own. They’re paying attention to what you have to say and whether or not it aligns with their core values and their needs. There is an onus on you to make sure that your messaging is inclusive and speaking in a way that resonates in all the circles that are paying attention to it. Personas are one of the best tools to help ensure that your messaging is reaching the right people with the right message.

Learn more by listening to our B2B Word of Mouth Marketing podcast episode 48, Diversity Marketing.

All the best,

Bill Bice

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