A new client’s website was nine years old and she wanted help showing up in search engines. I explained that search engines discriminate against those sites that haven’t been adapted for mobile devices. She was sabotaging herself with her current site. “Zoe” was talking about a little enhancement; I was talking about starting over. A nine-year old site is really not redeemable.
Who was her audience? “Everyone” is the wrong answer
Zoe had a fairly extensive collection of blogs on her site, and as I read through them I wasn’t getting a clear sense of who she was, which is a problem. But more importantly, I didn’t have any idea who her audience was. When I asked her about this, I knew what her answer was going to be: “Everyone is my audience; some of my readers are 16, I have grandmothers reading my blogs as well as industry professionals.” Wrong answer. This is marketing 101—everyone is not your audience. As a small business owner, you really can’t be successful without identifying the niche that really is your audience.
Time to create personas
I explained to her how we were going to create personas. I wanted her to think about whom she visualized when she closed her eyes and pictured a typical client. I wanted her to describe that person for me. I wanted her to be making an emotional connection with that person, to think about that client when she was writing a blog. The scope of our work together included keyword analysis, a new website, a newsletter and pay-per-click advertising (PPC). For PPC, especially, identifying a persona and keywords is critical to the success of a campaign, but it’s also important for her website’s landing pages.
Personas help define our audiences
By understanding demographics, we learn to communicate more effectively with our audiences. Facebook’s powerful advertising appeal lies is its ability to drill down to the details of people’s lives. Every Facebook field that we fill out provides data for someone to mine. For Zoe, as with most of us, we well may have more than one persona. And for each of these, we’re going to create a comprehensive persona based on the following information:
- Age and gender.
- Communication preferences. How do they get their information? Text, email? Do they hate telephone calls?
- Technical experience and background. Do they love instructional videos or prefer to read directions?
- Job title and major responsibilities.
- Education, ethnicity and family status.
- Pain points or frustrations. Important clues for how we can help them solve problems.
- Industry and working environment. A quiet office or the emergency room.
- Biggest challenges and how they deal with them.
- Shopping preferences. Favorite stores or online?
- Food and drink. Favorite area restaurants and bars.
- Persona names and photos. Giving your personas names and uploading photos provide an identity.
- Interview real clients to discover what they like about your product or service.