What are Target Audience Personas?

Target audience profiles are the cornerstone to your marketing strategy; without a specific audience to target, all of your marketing efforts will be diluted and you’ll be creating more work for yourself. Now, we’ve always known the importance of target audiences, but it wasn’t until we watched Laura Hampton’s talk at BrightonSEO that we discovered how far we should be delving into our audiences. Since then, we’ve been working with our clients to help them better understand their target audiences, creating profiles for them to use throughout all of their marketing.

So, what is a target audience profile? It’s a way to give your target audience defining characteristics which can help you remember who you’re marketing. Creating target audience profiles involves taking all the information about your audience that you can gather to create a persona for this audience. We’re going to talk you through how to create your own profiles, step-by-step, but firstly let’s explore the importance of target audience profiles.

Why are Target Audience Profiles Important?

There is great importance in creating target audience profiles (or personas, as we like to say) for the purpose of helping you create relevant content for your marketing material – that includes everything from your website and blog articles, all the way to the emails you send and the social media posts you create.

It only when you really know who you’re targeting that you can do this, hence why it’s imperative to create audience personas to help you in this task. All of this comes down to maximising your efforts put into marketing by ensuring that they are focused and therefore will have the best chance of conversion.

How do I create Target Audience Profiles?

Step 1: Establishing Common Demographics Age Gender Race

Occupation/Job Title Education Values/Morals Geographic location Usually, you’ll know a lot of the answers to the above just by knowing your client or customer base well, but to get more accurate information, ask your sales team or refer to your sales database. Who are they? Where have they come from? What are the common demographics which are appearing? You’re not limited to just one target audience, so start deciphering information in your CRM, your leads, your sales and demographics from Google Analytics to build your audience’s demographic profiles.

Step 2: Establishing Why Your Audience Need You

Now we’ve covered the who and where, let’s look at the why. This is where your target audience profiles will start to really take shape and will look at the complexities of your audiences. Try the following:

  • Why your audience are coming to you?
  • What motivates your audience?
  • What challenges are they facing?
  • What other brands do they use?
  • What interests do they have?

Motivation & Challenges
There’s loads of ways to gather this information and good way to start is with your sales team – what questions are customers or clients asking them about? This will start to bring up some motivations and challenges that your audience are facing and will be key to helping you form a persona.

Try using surveys to gather even more information; you can use great online tools such as Survey Monkey to ask your customers and clients questions which will help you define why they use your services or buy your products.

Look for themes in any answers you get and use search data to further your findings. If you’re using Google AdWords, then have a play with their keyword research tool to find out most commonly used searches, as well as looking at the “related searches” at the bottom of Google.

Other brands, interests & topics
Use tools such as Google Analytic’s affinity categories and UGov’s profiler to help find out what else your audience is interested in. This tool provides you with everything from key demographics and geographic location to likely political stances, spend and other brands they like. This kind of information is great for rounding out your audiences and providing you with ideas for future content.

Social Media is going to be your other best friend in this task – look at what your users are posting or searching for. Look at who they follow and engage with, and what types of posts gain the largest traction.

Step 3: Building your personas

Build your personas.
Now you’ve gathered all of the information you can, have a look at where you can segment your audiences by demographic, motivations, interest and goals. Look for overlapping characteristics and build as many profiles as are applicable to your business.

Once you’ve done this, give your profiles a name – Dan, Becky, James, Sharon – whichever feels most appropriate and will be easy for you to call upon when writing content or creating a marketing strategy.

Step 4: Get Using Your Audience Personas

Start using them!
With your personas created, put them somewhere in your office where they’ll be noticed and used. Discuss the personas will all staff, explaining how important they are and why they will make everyone’s job easier and marketing efforts more successful. Start to use your personas names as if they were real people and incorporate them into everyday working.

Remember that the most powerful marketing is when we’re able to empathise with users; your target audience profiles will help you do this greatly. And don’t forget to adjust your personas as you learn more information – perhaps you create personas for future goals of who you want to be marketing to as your business grows.

We hope you found this helpful and as always, we’d love to hear from you if you have any questions or comments to make, so get in touch!