In the video below, Ty Kilgore shares his experience with personas and how spending time to create in-depth personas will create a strong foundation that will help guide the rest of your marketing efforts.
All right guys, one mistake that so many digital marketers make early on in their career, and I know I kind of made this mistake as well, is figuring out and fine tuning who your target demographic is and who you’re actually trying to target as a business owner or as a marketing strategy.
You’re trying to understand who you’re trying to reach and sometimes what happens is that people are making things too broad.
In today’s marketing world, in order for you to have success, you have to narrow in on who you’re trying to reach and what their pain points are.
So understanding who your target demographic is, is everything when it comes to digital marketing.
It’s something that I thought that as I got into it, I was learning the tactics and I was learning the strategies and I was learning how to do keyword research and how to do content creation but one of the big missing elements, looking back on my career now, is realizing the pain point of figuring out who I was trying to serve.
I continue to see this as I audit sites and as I look at different people’s business models.
What I find in the marketing world is too many people have the 'me too' or a 'following' mentality meaning they are just trying to follow what other established businesses in their industry are doing.
In business, you absolutely have to make yourself unique. You have to have a strong 'why'. And you absolutely have to make yourself stand out amongst your competition. You cannot just follow what other people are doing and expect to have success.
But when you look at people’s marketing strategies, they are mostly just following what other people are doing.
So let me just break this down a little bit. Whether your selling B2B or B2C you have to know what is keeping your potential customer up at night? What exactly is their pain point and how can your product or service or information provide relief for that pain?
You need to spend the time to create in-depth personas for the people who will be buying from you.
In the beginning of my career, I did not really put a lot of emphasis on creating personas but I have since realized the importance of doing so.
The very first step in figuring out who you serve is to ask yourself some very obvious questions.
- What is their name?
- What is their age?
- What is their education level?
- What are their pain points?
- What are they trying to achieve?
- What keeps them up at night?
- What are some of their hobbies?
- What kind of car do they have?
- What kind of house do they live in?
- What type of individual concerns do they have on the weekend?
- What does their weekend look like?
Now, you might think that’s a little over the top. It’s not!
Once you understand everything about your customer, you can provide a better
marketing strategy for them.
For example, if you’re creating a blog post, you absolutely need to know if you're targeting Persona A, Persona B, or Persona C and then provide them with the specific information that they can relate to.
I see many businesses get this wrong and are not writing to specific personas.
Writing to personas will make the difference in many aspects of your marketing efforts.
When you understand who you’re trying to reach, the pain points they have, their 'why'--in additon to knowing why you are in business--you can address and target so much more effectively.
So beyond the tactics of keyword research, page copy, ad copy, SEO, social media, etc., you need to understand on almost an emotional level why your product/service is helpful. When you get down to that level, you will absolutely attract the correct audience.
As I work with companies and I talk to them about what their marketing strategy is going to be and why they’re coming out with a new product, I ask them the following:
- Why are you making this new product?
- What is it going to do to your customer to help them solve a pain point?
You need to start with the persona your trying to serve, not keyword research.
When you understand what makes you unique, how your uniqueness can benefit the overall market that you’re playing in, how you share that story, and how you help solve that pain point in the eyes of your customers--when you do that effectively and have all of those things working together, it’s amazing to see how the marketing content will actually write itself.
You’ll find that your voice and the reason why you’re in business, and how you are helping people, will become that much more clear. It drives all of your marketing decisions. It helps put pen to paper or fingers to keys and provides
you with clarity as compared to being all over the map when it comes to what you’re trying to do.
Do not be in the situation where you’re putting out content and just hoping that something is helpful. I audit too many sites, I work with too many companies where I see that a lot of the stuff they put out--nobody’s watching, nobody looks at. The reason why is because they missed this key important step.
Here are the steps you need to take to create value with your content:
- Create a persona. Go through the exercise of figuring out a name, age, education level etc.
- Figure out who is serving this demographic well. If they are serving it well, how are you going to be different? If they’re not serving it well? Why? And what can you do to serve them better?
Once you figure out those two things, then you can take a second to put yourself in their shoes. Then when you’re coming up with new content to write, new ads, new marketing material, etc., you'll better to be able to create content that will actually benefit their life. And when you approach it that way, reaching your audience becomes a lot easier.
I want you guys to absolutely take a look at who you’re serving and who is your target demographic.
Envision for a second, you are a college professor in a stadium type classroom setting and the chairs are all empty and you’re at the bottom.
What is your product and service and who do you want walking through that door?
If you don’t know who you’re wanting to serve, then that is a huge reason why your marketing isn’t effective.
And if your marketing isn’t effective, you’re not going to be able to make sales.
And if your sales aren’t effective, you’re not going to be in business very long.
It’s absolutely key that you know who you serve, not just that you have a great idea or that you have a great product.
Without knowing who you’re serving, you will not be able to market the way that you need to.
Ty Kilgore has successfully executed digital marketing for over 150 major sites in over 40 industries including companies like Verizon, Pingdom, Frontier, Dell, Mary Kay, McGraw Hill, CityPas, and ZAGG. He is the founder of Everything Digital Marketing and he loves college football. Roll Tide!