Whatever your preferred mode of marketing communications—social, inbound, outbound, skywriting—you have a group of people you’re trying to reach who are all different. They see your products and services, bringing with them all of their personality traits and past experiences that make them who they are. And your job is to reach them where they are…while not excluding all the others you’re trying to reach.
How the heck are you supposed to do that? Create personas.
When you look at your database, it’s just a collection of words. A name of a person who works at this address, who can be contacted at this phone number, and who regularly checks this email address.
So what? You know nothing about the type of person they are. What are their likes? Dislikes? How old are they? What kind of company do they work for and what type of work do they do there? This is the information you need to have when crafting your messages. You’re not engaging a datapoint…you’re engaging a person with real characteristics.
A persona captures the shared attributes within your database and creates a fictional character for you to picture when creating your messages. It adds life to those boring data points.Sample Persona
For example, currently all you know is that Amy Smith works at ABC Company in Pleasantville, WY and looks at Amy.Smith@ABCCompany.org…and that Betty Jones works at XYZ Agency but can only be contacted via 123-456-7890. They’re lifeless, faceless people.
A persona, though, collects more information about Amy and Betty to create “Kim,” a 32-year-old, unmarried female. She holds an undergraduate degree and works and lives out of her home in the city with her dog. She mostly stays in the city to eat, drink and be entertained and prefers to walk and ride her bike to/from her destinations. Because her freelance career does not permit much disposable income or free time during the day, most purchases are made online, with pricing and convenience being the key factors.
When you attach this information to your customers and prospects, the next time you sit down to write an email, post a tweet, and barrel roll a message in the sky, you’re going to picture “Kim” sitting at her home office…not Amy.Smith@ABCCompany.org or 123-456-7890.
Next, we’ll talk about how to create these personas.