Chapter 3

Personas are used across every marketing channel. They inform marketing automation, paid media campaigns, content creation, and SEO. Creating a persona-based campaign is effective, with studies showing 56% of companies have developed higher-quality leads by doing so. In other use cases, 24% of companies attracted a higher number of leads by using personas, and 36% saw shorter sales cycles. Targeting cold leads with persona-based content is shown as being 58% more effective than targeting warm leads without it.

Here are some of the ways personas can be used to improve your marketing efforts:

Building a Content Marketing Strategy

Content is still one of the most important and valuable ways to capture the attention of your segment market. This isn’t going to happen if you’re publishing blog posts about finger-painting for an audience interested in football, however. It’s important to create content that is targeted by understanding exactly who your buyers are and what their journey looks like. Your content marketing strategy should speak to each stage of the
buying journey, including:

Awareness: This is when your buyer knows he or she has a problem and is searching for information on how to fix it. Your content needs to confirm your visitor’s problem and provide information on how to resolve it. It needs to directly answer the questions in the customer’s mind, and address any objections commonly raised by customers.

Consideration: When the buyer reaches this point, he is trying to determine which of the available solutions is best for his situation. He’s looking for content that provides in-depth information on how the product works and what it can achieve. At this point, using personas enables you to identify the challenges you need to address with your content.

Decision: Your buyer is at the pivotal point in the cycle when he is ready to make a decision. Using personas effectively allows you to offer decision-stage content that differentiates you from competitors, offers tools, trials, and demonstrations aimed at the buyer profile.

Personalized Marketing Automation

Everyone wants to receive communications personalized for their needs. This goes much further than simply using a variable field to add the recipient’s first name at the top of an email. It also includes choosing the subject matter for the communications carefully to respond to the needs the prospective client has. The only way to personalize hundreds or thousands of emails is to use marketing automation based on analysis of the data you have and aimed at the different segments of your market.

Paid Media Campaigns

Paid media means external marketing through the use of paid advertising placements. In the digital world, it includes pay-per-click (PPC) ads on sites like Google and Facebook, branded content or what we used to call advertorials, and display ads. It’s an essential component of brand awareness and revenue growth, particularly for online businesses. When you understand and apply personas in paid media, you start building your relationship with customers far higher in the funnel. That means you aren’t relying on search quite as much to get visitors to your site.

SEO: Onsite and Offsite

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the opposite of paid media because it’s a way to capture an audience member through their organic search. Therefore, SEO is the name given to the methods you use to give your website or online store visibility in search. When users are looking for the key terms associated with your product or service, the strength of your onsite SEO determines whether you come up as one of the results or not.

Developing profiles that include the websites your personas visit, the content they consume, the TV programs and other media they follow, and the topics they’re interested in, makes it possible to:

SEO: Onsite and Offsite

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the opposite of paid media because it’s a way to capture an audience member through their organic search. Therefore, SEO is the name given to the methods you use to give your website or online store visibility in search. When users are looking for the key terms associated with your product or service, the strength of your onsite SEO determines whether you come up as one of the results or not.

Developing profiles that include the websites your personas visit, the content they consume, the TV programs and other media they follow, and the topics they’re interested in, makes it possible to:

Choose key terms that resonate with the persona, which they are more likely to search for than others.

Seek off-site publishing opportunities on websites they are most likely to visit.

Employ search engine marketing (SEM) tactics to pay for space at the top of search results so you can connect with your target audience even further.

Optimizing pages on your own website for search is called onsite or on-page SEO, while finding ways to publish content elsewhere that contains key terms and links back to your own website is called offsite or off-page SEO.

Mapping the Customer Journey

The details of personas describe exactly who your key customers are and why they think and feel the way that they do. One of the benefits of personalized marketing based on personas is the ability to customize what your customers do when they interact with your company. This allows you to find out where actions meet their expectations and where they don’t, and discover how — and where — your company can take steps to serve them better.

Personas are a tool that enables you to take a customer-centric approach to journey mapping, define the tasks your customers want to complete, plot the paths and stages of the persona lifecycle, and understand the challenges they experience at each stage. This gives you the opportunity to define the “moments of truth” that matter to customers, the role your business can play in those, and the actions that are necessary to make it happen.

Developing KPIs

KPIs, or key performance indicators, should also be developed for each stage in the user’s journey. These indicators can include:

Developing KPIs

KPIs, or key performance indicators, should also be developed for each stage in the user’s journey. These indicators can include:

Amplification rate, or the reach of your messaging through any method, including social media, can indicate how loyal your customers are to your brand and the rate in which you receive recommendations.

The number of clicks on a call-to-action for a particular website page can indicate how effective that CTAs messaging it, and how much it resonates with your audience. You can then use this information when crafting other messaging.

How often a customer revisits your website to make a purchase after the initial purchase may be aligned with messaging present in social media, emails, and your links on other websites, and be indicative of how effective that strategy is.

So long as you are targeting the right KPIs, you can develop the strategies that will help you reach your goals.

Identifying Triggers

Who knows why anyone ever decides to do or buy something (or not)? The better you know your target customer, the more likely you are to be able to present them with an argument that triggers a purchase decision. It’s not only about buying, either; the use of personas can help you to identify the trigger or triggers that get them into a serious buying mood. .
Learn how core customers feel about your product or service, and how they rationalize their purchase decisions. Then you can create communications and content for each persona/trigger combination that either triggers the event or helps the user recognize a trigger that has already occurred. For example, if you operate an online clothing store and a website visitor signs up for your email list from the subscribe link on your business clothing page, you can trigger a personalized email to that customer that contains links to your most popular blog posts on dressing for success.

Selecting Marketing Channels

One of the most important purposes served by creating customer personas is the ability to select marketing channels that work. Once you’ve mapped out your core customer base and identified the main profiles in it, you’ll have much stronger insights into each customer type. You’ll also understand their areas of interest, the publications they read, TV channels they watch, online sites they follow, and social media content they consume. This information is invaluable when it comes to choosing where and how to display your marketing messages. After all, there’s little value in advertising on CNN if your audience watches Fox News, and vice versa.

Strategic Planning

In the marketing space, personas are typically seen as archetypal users who represent the needs of larger groups of customers. They are used as stand-ins for real customers to help guide decisions about marketing campaigns and communications. They can do far more than that, however, including guiding decisions about product functionality, design, and company positioning.

The point of strategic business planning is typically to solve real business problems and grow the company’s operations, including customer acquisition, retention, and revenue growth. To do this, you need an in-depth understanding of your customer group and prospects. Personas are a tool that shows your marketing team has this understanding and knows how to use it, in areas such as:

Identifying the features and functionality for new product
development.

Guiding company positioning, messaging, and strategy.

Making pricing decisions.

Developing scenarios for usability testing.

Improving customer experience and engagement.

A/B Testing

Last but not least, the purpose of A/B testing is to send two or more variants of a communication to users and analyze which one performs better in terms of the goal. When your variants are sent out based on personas, you have a much higher chance of seeing results than if they were simply sent out randomly.

The use of personas not only determines what you send to whom, but it also helps you to find out what works with whom. This in turn allows you to fine-tune your personas based on real data, not just the “guess and check” method we mentioned earlier.

As an example, you can A/B test your Facebook ad with different images that are meant to elicit different responses and emotions. Your results, once the ad is complete, should give you a more firm idea of how important image use is for your campaigns. You can also gamify the system in this way, creating online ads that are competing against each other until one rises to the top. Your personas help guide your decisions for the image, copy, and call-to-action of the advertisements, while the results can help you refine your personas in the future.

Chapter 3

Personas are used across every marketing channel. They inform marketing automation, paid media campaigns, content creation, and SEO. Creating a persona-based campaign is effective, with studies showing 56% of companies have developed higher-quality leads by doing so. In other use cases, 24% of companies attracted a higher number of leads by using personas, and 36% saw shorter sales cycles. Targeting cold leads with persona-based content is shown as being 58% more effective than targeting warm leads without it.

Here are some of the ways personas can be used to improve your marketing efforts:

Building a Content Marketing Strategy

Content is still one of the most important and valuable ways to capture the attention of your segment market. This isn’t going to happen if you’re publishing blog posts about finger-painting for an audience interested in football, however. It’s important to create content that is targeted by understanding exactly who your buyers are and what their journey looks like. Your content marketing strategy should speak to each stage of the
buying journey, including:

Awareness: This is when your buyer knows he or she has a problem and is searching for information on how to fix it. Your content needs to confirm your visitor’s problem and provide information on how to resolve it. It needs to directly answer the questions in the customer’s mind, and address any objections commonly raised by customers.

Consideration: When the buyer reaches this point, he is trying to determine which of the available solutions is best for his situation. He’s looking for content that provides in-depth information on how the product works and what it can achieve. At this point, using personas enables you to identify the challenges you need to address with your content.

Decision: Your buyer is at the pivotal point in the cycle when he is ready to make a decision. Using personas effectively allows you to offer decision-stage content that differentiates you from competitors, offers tools, trials, and demonstrations aimed at the buyer profile.

Personalized Marketing Automation

Everyone wants to receive communications personalized for their needs. This goes much further than simply using a variable field to add the recipient’s first name at the top of an email. It also includes choosing the subject matter for the communications carefully to respond to the needs the prospective client has. The only way to personalize hundreds or thousands of emails is to use marketing automation based on analysis of the data you have and aimed at the different segments of your market.

Paid Media Campaigns

Paid media means external marketing through the use of paid advertising placements. In the digital world, it includes pay-per-click (PPC) ads on sites like Google and Facebook, branded content or what we used to call advertorials, and display ads. It’s an essential component of brand awareness and revenue growth, particularly for online businesses. When you understand and apply personas in paid media, you start building your relationship with customers far higher in the funnel. That means you aren’t relying on search quite as much to get visitors to your site.

SEO: Onsite and Offsite

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the opposite of paid media because it’s a way to capture an audience member through their organic search. Therefore, SEO is the name given to the methods you use to give your website or online store visibility in search. When users are looking for the key terms associated with your product or service, the strength of your onsite SEO determines whether you come up as one of the results or not.

Developing profiles that include the websites your personas visit, the content they consume, the TV programs and other media they follow, and the topics they’re interested in, makes it possible to:

SEO: Onsite and Offsite

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the opposite of paid media because it’s a way to capture an audience member through their organic search. Therefore, SEO is the name given to the methods you use to give your website or online store visibility in search. When users are looking for the key terms associated with your product or service, the strength of your onsite SEO determines whether you come up as one of the results or not.

Developing profiles that include the websites your personas visit, the content they consume, the TV programs and other media they follow, and the topics they’re interested in, makes it possible to:

Choose key terms that resonate with the persona, which they are more likely to search for than others.

Seek off-site publishing opportunities on websites they are most likely to visit.

Employ search engine marketing (SEM) tactics to pay for space at the top of search results so you can connect with your target audience even further.

Optimizing pages on your own website for search is called onsite or on-page SEO, while finding ways to publish content elsewhere that contains key terms and links back to your own website is called offsite or off-page SEO.

Mapping the Customer Journey

The details of personas describe exactly who your key customers are and why they think and feel the way that they do. One of the benefits of personalized marketing based on personas is the ability to customize what your customers do when they interact with your company. This allows you to find out where actions meet their expectations and where they don’t, and discover how — and where — your company can take steps to serve them better.

Personas are a tool that enables you to take a customer-centric approach to journey mapping, define the tasks your customers want to complete, plot the paths and stages of the persona lifecycle, and understand the challenges they experience at each stage. This gives you the opportunity to define the “moments of truth” that matter to customers, the role your business can play in those, and the actions that are necessary to make it happen.

Developing KPIs

KPIs, or key performance indicators, should also be developed for each stage in the user’s journey. These indicators can include:

Developing KPIs

KPIs, or key performance indicators, should also be developed for each stage in the user’s journey. These indicators can include:

Amplification rate, or the reach of your messaging through any method, including social media, can indicate how loyal your customers are to your brand and the rate in which you receive recommendations.

The number of clicks on a call-to-action for a particular website page can indicate how effective that CTAs messaging it, and how much it resonates with your audience. You can then use this information when crafting other messaging.

How often a customer revisits your website to make a purchase after the initial purchase may be aligned with messaging present in social media, emails, and your links on other websites, and be indicative of how effective that strategy is.

So long as you are targeting the right KPIs, you can develop the strategies that will help you reach your goals.

Identifying Triggers

Who knows why anyone ever decides to do or buy something (or not)? The better you know your target customer, the more likely you are to be able to present them with an argument that triggers a purchase decision. It’s not only about buying, either; the use of personas can help you to identify the trigger or triggers that get them into a serious buying mood. .
Learn how core customers feel about your product or service, and how they rationalize their purchase decisions. Then you can create communications and content for each persona/trigger combination that either triggers the event or helps the user recognize a trigger that has already occurred. For example, if you operate an online clothing store and a website visitor signs up for your email list from the subscribe link on your business clothing page, you can trigger a personalized email to that customer that contains links to your most popular blog posts on dressing for success.

Selecting Marketing Channels

One of the most important purposes served by creating customer personas is the ability to select marketing channels that work. Once you’ve mapped out your core customer base and identified the main profiles in it, you’ll have much stronger insights into each customer type. You’ll also understand their areas of interest, the publications they read, TV channels they watch, online sites they follow, and social media content they consume. This information is invaluable when it comes to choosing where and how to display your marketing messages. After all, there’s little value in advertising on CNN if your audience watches Fox News, and vice versa.

Strategic Planning

In the marketing space, personas are typically seen as archetypal users who represent the needs of larger groups of customers. They are used as stand-ins for real customers to help guide decisions about marketing campaigns and communications. They can do far more than that, however, including guiding decisions about product functionality, design, and company positioning.

The point of strategic business planning is typically to solve real business problems and grow the company’s operations, including customer acquisition, retention, and revenue growth. To do this, you need an in-depth understanding of your customer group and prospects. Personas are a tool that shows your marketing team has this understanding and knows how to use it, in areas such as:

Identifying the features and functionality for new product
development.

Guiding company positioning, messaging, and strategy.

Making pricing decisions.

Developing scenarios for usability testing.

Improving customer experience and engagement.

A/B Testing

Last but not least, the purpose of A/B testing is to send two or more variants of a communication to users and analyze which one performs better in terms of the goal. When your variants are sent out based on personas, you have a much higher chance of seeing results than if they were simply sent out randomly.

The use of personas not only determines what you send to whom, but it also helps you to find out what works with whom. This in turn allows you to fine-tune your personas based on real data, not just the “guess and check” method we mentioned earlier.

As an example, you can A/B test your Facebook ad with different images that are meant to elicit different responses and emotions. Your results, once the ad is complete, should give you a more firm idea of how important image use is for your campaigns. You can also gamify the system in this way, creating online ads that are competing against each other until one rises to the top. Your personas help guide your decisions for the image, copy, and call-to-action of the advertisements, while the results can help you refine your personas in the future.

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