Introduction: Name, Title, Company only. No long backstory or bonafides. Raise your hands if you have NOT done Audience Personas yet?
We Already know... "I've been in business for 30 years... You can’t tell my anything I don’t already know." They’re Not Usefull.... "We sell t-shirts. Everyone wears t-shirts. We market to anyone and everyone". Time is money, and whether you’re an agency or an in-house marketer you don’t want to spend too much of either without getting a return on your investment.
I’ll be sharing some real-world USE CASES that I hope will illustrate WHY personas are necessary. Then we’ll go over how to do them on a budget.
Auto Body Toolmart, was already targeting auto repair service managers, used car salesmen, and aftermarket gear-heads. We discovered a lot of Instructors from high-school and college-level automotive repair classes were asking questions in forums. North American Council of Automotive Teachers… Thousands of programs across the country, which spend millions ever year buying auto parts.
People who are already shopping with you, but you're not customizing their experience enough because you haven't noticed them yet.
Golf Course Superintendent Gary has a lot of purchasing power, which he uses to buy exactly the types of parks and recreation equipment sold by our client.
Publish content for this segment and target Golf Course Superintendent Association of America followers Get them to an article about how to get the most out of their equipment budgets - Set retargeting cookie - shows ads for outdoor trash cans, sprinklers and irrigation systems.
Une Belle Vie sells high-end urns and one of their segments is Funeral Directors Mr. Caleb Wilde. He’s somewhat of a celebrity among funeral directors. These days there’s a Caleb Wilde for just about any industry you can think of.
Hire Caleb to write an article titled: How to use Social Media in a Considerate way to Market a Funeral Home Business Publish on the Une Belle Vie blog and leverage Mr. Wilde’s social influence to get their brand in front of the Funeral Director’s segment.
Cremation Association of North America perfect organization for funeral directors research CANA’s President also invited Inflow to do a case study about Une Belle Vie, which they will send out in a newsletter Mostly “funeral directors” and morticians.
CANA also puts out a magazine called The Cremationist, Une Belle Vie could hire an expert, such as Caleb Wilde, to write an article featuring their brand for publication in The Cremationist. Something like Trends In Urn Design
I doubt they sell many Obama urns… but Link Bait!
B2B Clients in Highly Technical Industries want to write their own content, but are too busy to produce any content themselves… General copywriters have their place. They’re great for a lot of things. But someone who lives and breaths a complicated topic every day wants expert-level content.
A telephone and security system provider’s segment called Facilities Directors. Facilities Director Fred reads about facilities management. Real boring, technical stuff that is written for people with decades of experience.
Found all these freelance writers while doing persona research on Facilities Director Fred. Finding someone with expertise like this, esp. a ghost writer, makes the research pay for itself already. (Lots of text in the slide. PAUSE)
Last, but not least, Audience Personas allow us to develop a deep understanding of what content to produce. We know, for example, whether one type of customer tends to do more research before buying than another. What goals they’re trying to achieve, and what their obstacles are. The trick is getting all of this knowledge organized in a way that produces actionable results.
Persona Topic Matrix. Similar content gap analysis templates, but I made this for our needs. Easy to see a big opportunity in early-buying-stage content for Samuel.
Done with the WHY!
Personas are extremely useful but, also time-consuming and expensive. Household brands can afford to buy this. And you can get a lot of free data from them too. But data about custom audience segments is expensive. Most of us can't afford this stuff so we turn toward Google Analytics, Quantcast and othe free and low-cost options.
But the data we’re being given by our tools don’t always seem that helpful or accurate… Often I look at two totally different sites in Google Analytics and Quantcast - and I see the same basic areas of interest.
I mean, who doesn’t enjoy Arts & Entertainment? Data may be better for Large amounts of traffic, or certain industries. Just isn’t enough to develop actionable Audience Personas for most of us.
You CAN get well-researched, accurate, USEFULL data about audience segments without spending a lot of money. I’ll get to some specific tactics in a few minutes. But first…
THREE General Tips that will help speed things up and lower the cost of persona development.
Audience personas can be as expensive as you want them to be. Ongoing process with each iteration improving as our knowledge grows about the segments. Don’t get caught down some meandering rabbit hole… know ahead of time what it is you’re trying to find out.
What content? Who influences? Where should you promote? These types of questions can usually be answered with easy-to-find data. Other types of answers, like Pain Points and Goals, often arise from conversations with the client and common sense.
If Salary range is important… Likewise with job titles, education levels, kids… If you can’t think of a good reason… don’t spend too much time… Otherwise, move on to the information that you’ve deemed important ahead of time.
What I’d like to spend the rest of my time discussing. Why reinvent the wheel? Others have spent thousands / millions to gather the data already You may be surprised at what’s out there for the asking.
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fans? How’s everyone doing so far? This slide is important because you may not even know where to start. The amount / variety of data can be overwhelming. But don’t panic! We’re about half-way through and the rest of the slides should help with that.
Going to cover FOUR easy – and OFTEN FREE - types of sources
FIRST type is a trade group, association or other industry-specific non-profit organization. GREAT if you know the job title… often the case in B2B. Tru Stile Doors… one of their segments is Interior Designers. American Society of Interior Designers seemed like a great place to start.
All PDF files on the American Society of Interior Designers website with the words Industry and/or Report Spent about 10 minutes looking at these files. KNEW that A-S-I-D had some juicy data about interior designers So I did the next logical thing: I called them…
Sometimes we get so used to finding everything we want online…
Turns out, I couldn’t find it because the A-S-I-D didn’t want it found. It costs $40, but I got it for free. Tell them you’re writing an article (which is true). Here’s some of what was in it…
Gender, age, education and income demographics Pretty much standard with reports like this. Seems more reliable than Google Analytics or Quantcast
Here we can see: Customers with a Bachelor’s degree… about mid-way through their career. In other words, they’re not spring chickens. Affect on how we choose to produce content: We shouldn’t dumb-down anything for this audience. Might require an expert author.
Which states to geographically target with paid advertising. Which state-level organizations to tap into for content distribution deals.
Remember the high-end door manufacturer I started this research for? Good to know! 59% of members are interested in purchasing doors. The right industry trade groups can be great source of data.
But what if you’re not B2B? A retail business… Audience has INTERESTS in common, instead Job Titles
If they share an INTEREST… probably already a magazine out there. Most publishers will have a Media Kit… Sometimes they’ll even include the editorial calendar… what kind of content… the times of year when they’ll be reading about it.
Let’s say you’re doing audience personas for a pet store. An easy place to start…Google (“pet magazine advertise”). If that doesn’t work…
pet magazine advertise filetype:pdf OKC Pet Magazine Healthy Pet Magazine
The right Google search can bring up a wealth of information Very similar to the pet store’s audience For the Media Kit tell them you’re evaluating advertising opportunities – Which is True
And, of course, Ask the Client! Get the demographics stuff from other sources. What they don’t typically include are FEELINGS. EMOTIONAL side: pain points, obstacles, goals… SOMEONE is answering the phone. THAT PERSON knows… (CALL Agenda for persona research at end)
Lots of other quick, easy - and often free – resource for research Native Ad Platforms like FB skew data toward the type of people using them If you know of good ones I’ve left out, please send me a Tweet about it
Thank you for your time and attention! (PAUSE. Nothing left to say…) (But don’t just blow past this slide)
Time for Questions? (leave this slide up) [END]
Audience Personas On a Budget
We don’t need no stinkin’ audience persońas!
We already know who
our audience is.
Personas aren’t useful
for the type of
marketing we do.
They’re too expensive
They take too long to
#1 Find new segments to target
• Client was targeting repair shops, used car salesmen
and “gear heads”
• There was no content for Steve.
• Huge segment with a very large combined budget
#2 Find existing segments that were hidden
• Client had top-level navigation for “Sports Complexes” including:
• basketball, baseball, football, tennis…
• There was no category or content for Golf
• Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (data goldmine)
• Already purchasing, but with low CR due to poor user experience
#5 Find Expert Authors
Don’t ask general copywriters to write for experts!
Think about what you’re an expert at. I bet you can tell if someone is faking it, right?
They didn’t tell me
I’d be writing about
PBX Phone Systems
in Journalism class.
Amy Milshtein is a freelance writer who specializes in facilities
management topics. She wrote an article about Effective Exterior
Surveillance for Facility Executive’s blog and can probably submit
other content to that site as a vetted contributor.
Leah Grout Garris is a freelance writer within the commercial
buildings industry. She also does ghostwriting, which might make
her an excellent fit for the client. Her niche seems to be high-rises.
Michel Theriault provides consulting services across a variety of
management fields, which includes facilities management. He has
written a book on FM called Managing Facilities and Real Estate,
and he contributes regular pieces to media outlets like Forbes.
#6 Develop the right content for the right person
and presented it to them at the right time in their buying cycle
Introducing The Persona Topic Matrix!
A handy tool for persona-based content gap analysis
Give it a Try!
Fortunately, there are
ways to speed up the
process and lower the
cost - while using data
that’s often more
accurate than what you
might get from Google
#1) Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good, useful, affordable and on-time
#2) Ask the right questions
and focus on what YOU
need, as opposed to what
other marketers think
should be in a persona.
But what was the question?
And why was it so important to ask?
“Yes, I thought
it over quite
#3) Leverage research that has already been done by others.
Where to Get Your Data:
#1 Non-Profits and Industry Trade Groups
Tru Stile sells high-end doors to interior designers.
The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) publishes a report each year with
various industry statistics and demographics.
When all else fails: pick up the phone!
• Slideshare Version of This Deck: http://goo.gl/lHCNc8
• Audience Persona Research Template: https://goo.gl/hwprpy
• Persona Discovery Call Agenda: https://goo.gl/jsTuVI
• Persona Topic Matrix: https://goo.gl/h61nBZ
• The Art and Science of Understanding the Person Behind the Visit (Mike King)
• The Persona-Driven Keyword Research Process (Mike King)
• How Inflow Does Audence Personas (a little dated now)