One of the most powerful tools you can use when creating a marketing strategy is a customer persona. Put simply, you develop a specific, detailed picture of what an individual in your target audience looks like. This allows you to make decisions that work for them on a personal level, instead of taking a less-impactful blanket approach.
It doesn’t matter if you have one target audience or ten – creating a customer persona for each of them is a great first step to ensure you catch their attention. They will never see this piece of work – but when they read your marketing or see your ads, it will feel as though it has been made specifically for them – and that’s all down to using a persona.
When it comes to CBD-related products, just because you can’t use paid ads to reach niche demographics on social platforms doesn’t mean you can’t create fantastically targeted marketing materials. Work out who your audience is, then create a persona to help you really understand – and reach – them.
Creating a persona
You can create a persona with as much or as little detail as you like, but the more nitty-gritty you include the better. Of course, include anything you know, and only get creative when you have to. Like so:
- Name – you can make this up, perhaps at the end.
- Age – you should know the age bracket of your target audience. Keep to a 5-10 year bracket and create two distinct personas if you were considering anything more than that.
- Employment – include typical job titles/positions – or if they don’t work, are they a stay-at-home parent, long-term unemployed, retired, disabled? If they do work, do they work in an office, do they work shifts, what is their professional history, what are their career ambitions?
- Status – are they well-off? Do they make frivolous or luxury purchases? Or are they watching their budgets? If you have the data to suggest the annual or lifetime value of this target audience, include that in the persona.
- Education – what level are they educated to, and how important is education to them?
- Desires – do they aspire to be rich, famous or powerful? Or are they more interested in health and happiness? What drives their purchasing decisions?
- Challenges – what keeps them up at night? Are they worried about money, the environment, their health, their family, the future? Ideally, your product should address one of their primary pain points – otherwise, they probably aren’t the right target!
- Platforms – where can you find them? Do they use Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, email, websites, online news platforms, TV, newspapers, magazines?
- Politics – what type of political leaning do they have? Do they care about world events, the environment, the poor, where their tax goes?
- Hobbies/passions – what do they do for fun? Do they love the gym, healthy eating and good books, or are they more of a pubs, clubs and greasy spoon at the weekend kind of person? Do they take holidays or staycations? Are they outdoorsy, online gamers or socialites?
- Tone of voice – how do they speak, and how would they like to be spoken to?
- Loyalty – are they likely to be brand loyal, or serial shop-arounders?
If you really want to feel like you know your ideal customer inside out, adding a face to a name can be the magic touch that brings your persona to life – try using a tool like www.thispersondoesnotexist.com to find the perfect AI-generated face to add to your persona!
Using your new customer persona
So you’ve created Health-conscious Hailey or Gary Gym-goer; now its time to put your persona to work! First, make sure that you and your team all know who they are and what they are about. You can print out pictures and profiles to stick up in the office, or just remind yourself of their habits, wants and problems when discussing key activities during weekly meetings or when creating a brief for marketing materials.
From now on, everything you write for that audience, you write to Hailey, Gary or any other persona. Each marketing activity is targeted to these ideal customers. When you are running a display ad campaign, think about where it’s going to appear – “Does this type of website appeal to Hailey’s interests?”. When you come up with a headline, a discount or an Instagram campaign, think to yourself “If Gary saw this, would he like it? Would he want to know more?”. With one persona for each audience type, it becomes much easier to keep the important details in mind when switching between them.
Once you’ve established the behaviour of your ideal customers, you can use this information not only to influence the decisions you make about marketing materials but to understand how they behave once they visit your site. Match data with assumptions to identify why customers aren’t moving through funnels and converting, is Hailey concerned about ingredients and provenance? Is Gary strapped for time? Look at segments in your data to validate your assumptions and make changes based on the results. Sometimes you might even find you need to adjust your personas along the way, or create new ones based on observations.
Try it out now
To understand how personas work, try the following thought experiment.
Imagine you are writing a marketing email. This message needs to get the attention of new parents and sell the benefits of a health supplement that will help them feel able to meet the challenges of parenthood head-on. Plan the first few lines.
Now, imagine you are rewriting the same email, but exclusively for Sammy, a new mother who is feeling run off of her feet. She doesn’t have much free time and is always looking for things that can help her meet the many daily challenges of parenthood.
The chances are, once you had a name and a personal situation, you found it easier to think of creative and engaging ways to phrase what is essentially a “this product could help you” message. In fact, you might even have thought “Hang on, if she’s so busy – is an email the best way to get her attention?”. And you might have dropped the outro about your ethical, sustainable and carbon-neutral approach to business, knowing that she’s unlikely to read three paragraphs of the message.
Personas can be used for any outward-facing work you do, from product and packaging design to choosing your approach to corporate social responsibility. Personas give you a name and face to speak to, allowing you to create clear and convincing materials instead of resorting to generalisations. As you refined them based on learning and data over time, they become more laser focused and help attract more customers, all while understanding your target audience more clearly.