How to Breathe Life Into Your User Personas

Ah! User Personas! Every marketing 101 class begins with the user persona. Every expert will tell you that you must absolutely have one. User personas are so important that Forbes called them “the missing link you didn’t know you needed,” and the Entrepreneur devotes articles on user personas every couple of months (here and here). User personas are the solid foundations of a successful content marketing strategy. Every savvy marketer knows this, and every marketing campaign includes buyer personas. And yet, some campaigns fail miserably.

Why? The reason is that sometimes we approach buyer personas on the surface, slapping together some value demographic data and creating a persona that sort of looks like our buyers. We include age, income, gender, occupation, education level, geography, and marital status. We believe we have everything covered as far as personas go and then proceed with more pressing marketing tasks. And, therein, lies one of the most important content strategy gaps.

Crafting user personas based on mere demographic data is not going to cut it. Having a buyer persona that sort of looks like your buyers is not enough. You need to dig deeper and get more psychographic information such as their lifestyle, hobbies, career goals, stress points, anxieties, worries, and belief systems. You need to create a fictional buyer that is identical to your real-life one. As you learn more about your target buyer, you delve deeper into their hidden desires and fears and better understand the challenges they are facing. This helps you create content that hits straight home and resonates with them.

If you want to create a user persona that will accurately represent your buyers, you can use these nifty marketing tools.

1. Google Analytics

Google Analytics will help you determine who is visiting your site the most. This will act as a starting point in helping you understand who finds the most value in your brand. From there, you can take a further peek into Google Analytics and create your buyer persona, adding more and more detailed layers to it. Who is visiting your site and why? What are they looking for? What are their interests?

Google Analytics ’ social section can prove to be a valuable tool. For instance, the Data Hub option can show you how people talk about and engage with your content on social networks. The Landing Pages option can identify your engagement metrics for each URL. The Trackbacks option helps you locate other sites that link back to your content.

2. Alexa

By taking a look at your competition, you can learn a lot about your target audience. Alexa provides detailed demographic reports on visitors to any site. It also gives you information on the most popular keywords people use to find these sites. When creating your user personas, start with the competition. You have a similar pool of users, and Alexa can be a great starting point if you are unsure who your niche audience is. Understand who visits your competitor’s site more often and find the keywords these visitors use. This should give you an idea of who to target when creating content and what these users are searching for.

3. Customer Surveys

Knowing “WHO” your customer is, by using Google Analytics and Alexa is essential, but it is not enough. You need to know the “WHAT” and the “WHY”. What do your customers need? Why do they need it? What do you have to offer that will help them solve their problems? Why should they choose your product over other competitive ones?

Customer surveys can help you pinpoint the what’s and why’s. They allow you to get real-life and real-time feedback on your campaign. Ask your buyers what they need, and find out what their desires are. In this Covid-stricken era, nothing seems to be the same anymore. Talk to your buyers, empathize with them, understand how their new realities have changed. Use that information to adjust and improve your user personas and meet your buyers where they are now and not where you wish they were.

There are several customer survey tools out there that you can try out, such as Survey Monkey, Typeform, Google Forms, SoGoSurvey, etc.

4. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is one of the most popular audience discovery tools. It helps you find the most popular articles about a topic and the most influential people within that target audience relevant to your topic. Once you locate the most influential online readers within that audience, BuzzSumo can identify who is following them. From there, you can search social media and find out more information about your potential buyers. People are not shy when it comes to sharing their interests, worries, dreams, and needs on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Find out who is searching most for your topic. Find out who follows these people. Do a social media search. And voila. You have an accurate representation of your potential buyers.

User personas can be the most important part of your marketing campaign. When done right, your user persona can help you create engaging content, reach your audience, convert and maximize sales and profit. Use these crucial marketing tools to spark your user persona to life and reap the rewards! Are there any other marketing tools that you use? Please share your knowledge in the comments below!