Many business owners start their search engine marketing journey on the wrong foot. Starting with the right fundamentals ensures a faster journey to results – getting your target customer from search engines.
Today, I’d like to talk about marketing personas or buyer personas. I believe it’s fundamental to any marketing campaign. Over the years marketing/buyer personas helped me and my clients craft more relevant content that ranks.
Marketing is about conveying the benefits of your offering to your target audience. Knowing your target audience is one of the keys to successful marketing. So, what is a marketing persona?
A persona is a portrait of your ideal customer that includes your customer’s key characteristics, pain points and questions. A marketing persona is a tool to help you craft highly relevant marketing messages.
Example of a buyer persona
Here’s aт example of a marketing persona so you see how it looks like and what it includes.
Why personas are important in marketing?
Having a persona will not get your content ranking directly. However, building your content based on a marketing persona makes it much easier to get it right.
Crafting your content for a persona ensures the result is relevant, useful and valuable for your target audience.
Optimizing for search engines vs. people
Too much emphasis is still being placed on optimizing for search engines (core algorithm updates, SEO best practices, ranking factors, etc.). Whereas it’s super critical to optimize for the user first (for intent, usability, engagement).
Marketing personas are tools to do just that – understand your audience and craft content to help them on their customer journey.
You learn about your audience as you build your marketing personas. Then you use the personas to help you in content development.
Marketing personas vs. search personas
Now that you’re familiar with marketing personas, let’s see how search marketing personas differ.
The idea is the same, but with search personas we add sections like top searchers, topics of interest and viewed content.
Here’s an example of a search marketing persona.
Here’s a good article with a strong scientific approach talking about creating search marketing personas.
How many personas do you need to get it right?
It depends on your offering. One is a great start because it’s better than nothing. However, you need to maintain the balance between too generic and too specific. So a good rule of thumb is to have 3-5 personas, one for each of your product/service lines.
For example, if your store sells running shoes for all ages and genders, it makes sense to at least have the following three personas:
- Jason the runner
- Emily the runner
- Sabrina the parent
How to create a search marketing persona?
There are multiple guides out there. Usually the process is:
1) Start with personas that make sense to you. Structure by product or service line you are offering. Use a template above get some initial ideas.
2) Gather customer data (qualitative and quantitative). Share your buyer persona with your team members, partners, colleagues to source additional details. Members of a sales team are usually great sources of such information.
Consider surveying your past clients for information about your product: how they realizes they needed it, searched for it, what keywords they used, which websites they checked, what content lead them to call or message you, and what made them convert.
Check your Google Analytics for popular content and content that converts.
3) Analyze the information and refine your initial guess. Use all of these inputs to refine your buyer persona. Knowing what your past customers searched for and content they consumed, look at some keyword data using free tools like Google Keyword Planner. It will enrich your keyword lists.
4) Build the marketing persona document(s). Now that you’ve had great inputs and enriched it with real-life data, you’re ready to polish and finalize your persona document.
The quickest way to start with personas is to get a template, add your information (based on your data and experience), refine to ensure the persona is specific to your business.
How to use personas when planning content?
Now that you have your 3-5 persona’s created, you can start using it to plan highly relevant content.
Use a spreadsheet to organize your content.
For example, each line of your spreadsheet will have a content piece. Each column will have a list of characteristics for this content including topic, title, description, funnel placement, target keywords, etc.. One of those columns will be the name of your marketing persona.
Working with a team? Store your marketing personas in a shared folder so all your team members and freelancers are aware of who they’re writing for.
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