Marketing Personas for an Online Environment

Is your amazing content under-performing, despite all your marketing efforts? It might be that you’re not specifically reaching your potential customers, but rather casting a large net that ultimately increases traffic, but not your conversion rate. The secret here is to get not just any visitors, but the right visitors to your website, because this will provide you with more chances for qualified leads and eventually customers.

And this is where knowing your marketing persona(s) can make a huge difference.

As a quick definition, a marketing persona (or buyer persona) is a fictional representation of your ideal customer, whose profile is determined through marketing research. By focusing all your efforts – content creation, software features or services provided – towards a specific category of website visitors that’s genuinely interested in the solutions you’re offering, you’ll be increasing the probability of turning a website visitor into a client.

A frequent mistake is that we tend to view our own product or services from a developer’s point view, or strictly with financial goals in mind. We should focus on the customer’s needs that made him land on our website in the first place. In many cases, after research, the actual profile was significantly different than what it was previously assumed to be.

Putting together a marketing persona profile helps answer a few basic questions that will help you create targeted content:
-who your buyers are
-what are their main challenges, problems they might face that need a solution
-what are their goals – business or personal, depending on your industry
-what are their buying criteria, buying patterns or budget control
extra-features that get them to buy

For an online environment, what is all this data good at?
-building a website user experience addressed to the ideal client and creating specific content that guides them towards the next step in the acquisition process
-creating content and providing solutions that answer their specific industry-related problems
-promoting marketing offers that interest and are financially tailored to suit your target audience
-using language and notions they’re familiar with

Not just your financial offers need to target this ideal customer base, but your entire website, all the content you provide. This includes blog posts, product or service features, offers and free content, as well as future development planning.

This will ensure that potential customers can find adequate content from the very first visits to your site, guiding them through the research and buying process, and eventually convincing them that your product is the solution to their problems.

Your research can start from this basic information:
-demographics (gender, age, location, income)
-their professional background (experience, company size, position within the company)
-financial indicators (monthly budget and budget control)
-social media habits
-personal interests

A number of free tools can be used to gather this information. Google Trends or Google Keyword Planner helps you put together a list of related topics or trending terms, and assess their potential interest. Social media pages insights, like Facebook insights, also provides information about your audience’s profile, but since it’s not website-related data it may be inconclusive.

Google Analytics (GA) is especially useful for demographics and audience segmentation, since it can differentiate your website visitors in great detail, by age, gender, location, language, interest, technology used – and this is just to name a few.  Google took this data one step further and recently associated Google+ Pages insights with website-specific Google Analytics data, in an effort to bridge the gap between social pages and website visitors profiles. The variety of data and filtering options available make GA a powerful tool when researching your marketing personas.

The data cannot be complete without user provided information, gathered from targeted surveys that ask your customers all the right questions about their specific industry problems. You can use a free tool, such as Lead Converter, to insert surveys, connect with your audience and receive feedback directly from your website’s visitors.

Conclusion

Although marketing personas are an established concept that goes back more than 20 years, the current online environment is just focusing towards targeted content.

This basically translates into bringing the right information in front of the right visitors. By pairing your marketing strategies with on-page optimization, you have the ultimate win-win situation: a targeted-content website that’s also search engine friendly.

Marketing personas are crucial because knowing who your ideal customer is allows you to adjust your content, services or offers to become an answer to their particular problems, increasing the chances of turning website visitors into customers. In the end, all your on-page SEO efforts would be in vain if visitors don’t relate to the content you’re providing – after all, consumers buy your product, not search engines.

About the Author:

Ade Vitan is an online marketing strategist at Caphyon and part of the editorial team of the Advanced Web Ranking blog. Working for a company with more than 10 years experience in providing reliable solutions for SEO experts worldwide, she would love it if you’d get in touch with her over Twitter or Google+ for a chat about the industry’s latest trends.