They say that one of the very best techniques in marketing is to imagine, in your mind’s eye (funny term that, but it expresses the situation perfectly) the person you are marketing to when you’re actually creating your marketing material.
Imagine that person sitting there reading your ad. Imagine what they might be thinking. Imagine them at the point of buying your product (or service). Imagine them using your product. Then create marketing that appeals to that exact type of person and which, if you like, pushes their buying buttons.
It works too! I’ve been using this technique successfully, very successfully in some cases, for years now
In marketing speak using this kind of technique is known as creating and using a persona. It’s straightforward to create, use and benefit from personas yourself. Here’s how to do it:
First of all, what is a persona? In simple terms it is a ‘pen portrait’ of your ideal customer, or customers.
Once you’ve created a persona it’s much easier to create marketing material (and write copy) that is tailor made to appeal to that type of person.
So how to create your persona ….
Have a think about who is your ideal type of customer. Because it almost certainly won’t be everybody. What is the type of customer that your product or service is intended for, and who buys it most of the time?
Here are some questions to answer
when creating a persona:
What gender are they?
How old are they approximately?
Do they have children?
What is their ethnic background?
Maybe they even live abroad.
What sort of job do they have? Maybe they are retired.
How much do they earn?
Do they own their home?
What sort of education do they have? Or are they still in education?
What do they do in their spare time?
What life challenges do they face?
What sort of aspirations do they have?
What other kinds of products and services do they have?
What other brands are they loyal to?
What is the ‘story’ behind their life?
You might even do some research to back up your thoughts. Delve into your customer records. Spend some time on the shop floor, or the phone lines. Talk to them if you can.
You might in fact have several different types of ideal customer. In which case you can create several marketing personas.
Now you can create your marketing persona. Here’s an example of a persona, in this case for an ‘average’ sort of two parent family:
‘Mum and Dad’
Education: Vocational qualifications, possibly a degree.
Live: City suburbs, small towns, mid-market areas.
Home: Home owners with mortgage.
Jobs: Both working, white collar jobs, perhaps one part time.
Children: Two children.
Challenges: Money and paying the bills. Helping their children succeed. Securing their own future.
Interests: Sport (participating and watching), socialising, DIY, holidays.
Goals: Maintaining a good lifestyle for themselves and their children. Keeping up with the Jones’s.
Story: They have a reasonable income and comfortable lifestyle, but they have to work hard to maintain it. They are not financially sophisticated and have little wealth outside their own home
If you can, illustrate your personas. Hop onto the Internet. Find some stock pics of the type of people that look like your pen portrait. Cut and paste them into your persona.
Task: Try creating some example personas of your own. For, for example: A young, single working professional. A professional couple, both working. A single parent on a budget. A retired couple.
Now, every time you create a piece of marketing material pull out your persona and put in right in front of you – to remind you exactly who you’re marketing at.
Another good use for a persona is that you can give it to anyone who is working on your marketing, such as a copywriter or designer. They’ll be able to see instantly who you’re marketing to. (It’s much better than leaving them to guess.)
If, for example, you’re writing a piece of copy then it’s a good idea to combine using a persona with the AIDA theory. Everything you write should ATTRACT that persona, INTEREST that persona, create DESIRE in that persona and spur that persona to ACTION. That’s a good theory for any kind of marketing, but using a persona makes it so much easier to put into practice.
It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, or how big or small your business, creating an using personas will help you focus your thoughts and create better marketing material as a result.
Mark Hempshell is a copywriter and content marketer. You can find more useful articles on copywriting and content marketing here: www.markhempshell.com
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