Why your customer ‘persona’ is key to effective Search Engine Marketing
If you were asked the question “who is your IDEAL customer” do you already know how to respond, and better still do you know why this is the answer to successful Search Engine Marketing, SEM?
Before we get into how and why a customer persona fits in with your broader business marketing goals, let’s work out what a persona is from your business point of view. From a basic Wikipedia definition, ‘a persona refers to a fictional character created to represent a user type that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way.’
In short, think of a your audience as characters, pen portraits, or simply actors in your world, in the words of the great literary author himself;
All the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players!William Shakespeare
Now I bet we’ve all started to imagine what kind of person would be the best fit to portray your business in human form in a huge Hollywood blockbuster film?!
Do you see a James Bond 007 guy in a slick, double-breasted suit, or maybe your ‘Bond’ is a woman?
Or perhaps you see the stereotypical rich housewife portrayed in reality shows, living a life of leisure, dressed to the nines and dripping in pearls?
Thankfully, the marketing persona’s are usually much simpler and way more relatable than this!
In practice, your ideal buyer persona will most probably be your simple girl next door who is a student, or a regular middle aged parent trying to make ends meet, or a working class guy still ‘finding’ himself, or maybe even an older grey-haired, retired company CEO.
Once you’ve started visualizing your imaginary “character” or “actor” the next step creatively would be to write a script for your persona, in the form of a profile that represents your ideal customer
A persona profile is a composite sketch of a key segment of your audience. Without a profile, you may only be guessing what content your audience wants, which means you are more likely to revert to creating content around what you know best (your products and company) instead of around the information your audience is actively seeking.
Are Persona Profiles The Same As Demographic Profiles?
When you think of your audience, naturally you may only think of it in demographic terms, (e.g., business type, job title and function, geographic location). However, while demographic data is used primarily to group audience members by what they have in common, personas enable marketers to hone in on key differentiators that your business can tap.
Digital Marketers do this by considering the following:
- Who is she?
- What’s her job title?
- What might her typical workday look like?
- What challenges/frustrates her most about her job?
- What needs gaps might she be looking to fill to alleviate some of that frustration?
- How far along is she in her consideration process?
- Does she prefer to access content online, via a mobile device, or through other channels/platforms?
- How often is she exposed to relevant content/information as she goes about her typical day?
- How often does she log on to social networks? Which ones?
- Who does she trust to provide the content she consumes? Industry analysts? Vendors? Thought leaders? Friends and colleagues?
As you can see this is where process starts to get technical and yes, time consuming.
At this point, this is where you would need to engage a qualified digital marketer, not only one who knows where to source accurate data about your customer persona, but one who has the time to put in the effort in a manner that gives accurate results.
A digital marketer will be able to know which tools to employ to;
1. Access to demographic data about your website’s visitors. i.e. location, age, gender, mobile usage etc.
2. Search to find out what potential customers are talking about, i.e. trends, hot topics, ever green content etc.
3. Source of free demographic data available online, i.e., relationship status, lifestyle, interests, languages, purchase behavior etc.
4. Check up on competitors using SEO tools. SEO tools are built to help increase traffic from search engines, but are also incredibly helpful in persona marketing research.
They allow us to look in detail at what our competitors are doing in regards to their online marketing. If they’re having success, you should be able to draw out what their target personas look like.
Other SEM profiling factors that should be considered:
- Progressive profiling – This technique uses smart lead forms and directed questioning to gather audience insights that grow more detailed over time.
- Current content consumption patterns analysis – Analytics data such as page views, time on site, downloads, newsletter open rates, and bounce rates can provide insight on where your audience’s top needs and interests lie.
- Sentiment analysis application – Social listening tools are getting better at assessing consumers’ emotional states to contextualize social chatter in a way that’s relevant to your business.
- Conversations with your sales team and/or mining your CRM system – These team members are on the front lines of customer interactions, so chances are they have plenty of insights they can share.
- One-on-one interviews – Nothing beats the ability to get information direct from your customers and prospects.
Remember that buyers are multi-faceted human beings. Sometimes they make decisions that go against the grain of even the best, most well-developed persona. It happens.
But in the long run, it pays to remember that the journey is just as important as the destination, and the easier you make that journey, the more receptive your ideal buyer will be to taking the action you want them to take…BUYING.
At CreativeMagic, our digital marketers understand that persona profiling is one of the best ways of ensuring that your content and promotional campaigns truly engage your target audience. By knowing and designing a buyer persona profile a within your Search Engine Marketing plans, we help you gain the ability to connect with your target audience to meet their needs and solve their problems.
Our online consultation is free.