Developing Digital Personas

Developing Digital Personas

The topic for this issue of Studio News will focus on ‘Developing Digital Personas’. I have decided to write about this topic in direct response to requests from companies I have spoken to over the last number of months. Quite a number of these companies were very dubious about the effectiveness of social media communication, due to the low response rate or engagement they were achieving themselves.

 

When we looked into this with them in more detail, it was clear they were blanket posting 3-4 times per week with no sense of strategy, targeting or action behind the posts. There are a number of challenges within this statement, but for the purposes of this article, I will focus only on the importance of beginning all digital activity with the customer in mind, followed by a very clear, systematic and measurable targeting strategy.

So what is a Digital Persona?

A persona is a fictional character that has been developed to capture the main characteristics of your target audience. A Digital Persona takes this one step further, and includes how the target market use and interact online. The Irish Digital Marketing Institute defines a digital persona as “a profile that represents your ideal customer. By creating your own buyer personas, you’ll gain the ability to tailor your marketing efforts and connect with your target audience to meet their needs and solve their problems”. The objective of developing a detailed persona is to facilitate effective communication, engagement and action – it really is that simple!

 

Its important to bear in mind that most companies and products have a number of different target markets, all with very different needs. With that in mind, it is critical to develop a persona to represent each of your target markets. Remember however that three to four buyer personas usually account for over 90% of your company’s sales, so your focus needs to be on these.

A persona is a fictional character that has been developed to capture the main characteristics of your target audience.

So where do I Start?

Your first task will be to give each of your personas a name; while this might come across as a bit corny and perhaps not even relevant, by actually naming your persona, you bring them to life. This will encourage you to humanize your marketing efforts. Don’t worry about having every characteristic 100% correct – even within clearly defined target markets, individual behaviours will vary. Go with what you feel are the most representative characteristics and the insights will emerge from these.

By actually naming your persona, you bring them to life

Once you have chosen your persona names, get going on the following data:

Job Title/Role

• Within the business context, focus on their company size, sector, etc

• Within a personal context, focus on their role – working mum/dad, stay at home mum/dad

Demographics

• Age

• Gender

• Salary or combined household income

• Location: urban, suburban or rural region

• Level of education

• Family size

Goals and Challenges

• What drives your target market in their work life?

• What drives your target market in their personal life?

• What do they find challenging?

• How can you/your business help them?

Values

• Main personal and work values

• Common objections during sales process

Personal Life

• Hobbies

• Online behaviour

• Where they get their news

• Blogs they read

• Social media channels they use

Marketing Message

Well done – you have now defined your 3-4 business personas! Think about how you might describe or communicate your product or services to each of these personas. Put your knowledge and information to use and determine the best ways to meet the needs of each type of customer.

Where do I get all this Information on my Target Audience?

If you’re reading this thinking, all very well, but I actually don’t have access to a lot of that information, fear not! Most of this information is readily available (If however you find you really don’t have access to some of the resources below, it might be time to review your market and customer intelligence systems).

 

A very good tool to help you with defining your digital persona’s is Social Bakers. This tool provides artificial intelligence software which can analyse your social media and website audience to provide you with some very accurate insights.

Put your knowledge and information to use and determine the best ways to meet the needs of each type of customer.

Your Website

Your web developer is likely to have set up google analytics when your website went live; if not, this is something to ask them to do immediately. Google Analytics is a free tool, and provides a wealth of information about your customers across a wide spectrum of variables. Key information that Google Analytics will tell you includes your digital customer’s age, gender, affinity and technology (and loads more besides).

 

These statistics will give you a fantastic start on developing your personas – you can see where your visitors came from, what keywords they used to find you, and how long they spent once they arrived. You will also be able to discern the key reason your audience visited your site as well as the tools they used to get there.

Social media Channels

You can also find out a lot about your various customer groups on your social media channels. Use social media listening to find your potential customers asking questions or airing problems your product can solve on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.

Involve your Team in Creating Profiles

Get your entire team together — all disciplines should feed into this process. Anyone with interactions with customers and customer data should be involved in sharing their perspective on what makes your customers tick.

Use social media listening to find your potential customers

Ask your Audience Questions

While this can be time-consuming, there is nothing better than asking your customers direct questions when developing their personas! Who knows your customers better than they know themselves? Surveys and interviews are often a critical component to building a useful marketing persona. In particular, interviews can reveal deep insight into your customers since you can really dig into their answers and follow up with the goals, values, and pain points that will resonate the most with them.

 

So get started on defining your target market personas this week – it will take some time to master, but keeping the ‘reason why’ close to your process will allow for a really effective outcome.

 

We’d love to hear your thoughts on personas and any experience you have had developing them; any queries you have, we’d be delighted to have a chat with you.

Contact Sheila


Márla Communications Banner - Successful Team

Keep your Team Motivated!

Márla Communications Banner - Motivated Team

Keep your Team Motivated!

Success won’t happen if your team are not part of it!

As a business owner and employer, I’ve no doubt I join millions of businesses worldwide in the quest to understand how to maximise employee team motivation and productivity…so I thought it might be useful to share my own experience in this month’s blog. In order to provide a totally transparent and representative viewpoint, I’ve written this with input from my team, so I’ve nowhere to hide! When you’ve had a chance to ponder the content, we’d love to hear your thoughts and your own experience in this area.

The simple fact is that happy employees make motivated, productive employees – this fact is universally accepted as one of the basic tenants of a successful business. But what does a happy employee mean? We would be forgiven for jumping to the conclusion that financial remuneration is the primary factor to consider here; my own experience, and indeed the experience of our team, indicates that employee team motivation goes much deeper than this.

To add some context to this article, I’ve selected what I feel are the most important factors to consider, starting with the physical work environment.

The Physical Work Environment

The physical workspace includes everything – it’s the art that hangs on the walls, the office floor plan, the demographics of the people we work with, and any physical perks we might get such as wonderful coffee, or a lounge area that employees can use to unwind a bit.

When we moved into our existing offices some four years ago, we quickly assembled our desks, set up all our IT requirements, put some artwork on the walls, and got straight back to work. We were all quite happy with our new surroundings, but agreed we needed to add ‘something more’ to the studio at some point; however with a (thankfully) hefty workload, the studio environment became less of a priority list… until a few months ago.

We came to work one morning, looked around and thought – this needs to change! Within a few short weeks, we had a vision of a workspace that was bright, energetic, positive, creative – all the core values of our own business. Floors came up, new electronic desks were deemed a must have, paint colours were consulted, plants were discussed, and before long, we could see our new world coming together.

Motivated Team - New Studio Picture

And the difference is..?

Visually, we are delighted with our new surroundings – however the benefits of our new surroundings go much deeper than this…which is the main purpose of this blog. The following are just some of the immediate benefits we all agreed on:

• Pride in our surroundings – increased immeasurably!
• Spring in our step on the way to work
• Health & Wellness – our investment in electronic desks, bright colours and new lighting provides a much softer and inviting work environment
• And a nice and not to be dismissed addition for our return on investment – increased activity, motivation and monthly billing

Visually, we are delighted with our new surroundings

Other important factors include…

I will come to financial rewards later, but first want to touch on some of the softer measures that have created immense loyalty in our team; I think the caveat for all of these is that trust is key – and that this goes both ways.

Flexibility – Coming to work Monday to Friday, sitting at the same desk, drinking from the same cup, looking out the same window becomes monotonous very quickly; create an environment that allows team members to work at home, meet clients in their offices, or go to a coffee shop to get their work done. Breaking up the day or the week not only makes for happier employees, it allows for enhanced creative thinking and outside influence. I firmly believe it doesn’t matter where the work is done, as long as it’s done.

Part-Time/Full-time – I’m a strong believer in getting the work-life balance right. If this means some employees work a set number of days per week, but absolutely deliver in those days, go for it! By providing a less than conventional approach to the working week yields a considerable long-term return.

Communication – If you are running a relatively small operation as I am, you may make the mistake of assuming you know what your team are thinking. Don’t Assume! While informal communication is great as part of the day to day running of the business, I would highly recommend that all businesses (no matter what size) have a formal communication process. This includes an annual appraisal process that allows for objective feedback and discussion in a structured environment.

Formalise all Processes – As an extension of the above point, we all work better if guided by a formal, structured process of weekly meetings and project management processes.

Financial Involvement & Ownership – Why have I left financial reward to the end when most employees would suggest this is their most important consideration? I am not disputing this for one minute – if the financial rewards are not attractive, no amount of free coffee or flexible working hours will compensate for that. So yes, financial rewards must reflect the position, contribution and overall performance of each team member.

However, I would caution that financial reward in itself is not enough – if the ‘softer’ elements are not present, if your team do not enjoy coming to work, they will move. There is nothing more certain.

I’m a strong believer in getting the work-life balance right.

I have added ownership to this final point, as there is such a strong link between ownership and performance. This is not about giving employees company ownership, more about ownership of the overall business performance (and the part they play in achieving this). If employees can directly impact on the business performance, and be rewarded accordingly, their motivation, loyalty and output will be considerable and sustainable.

In summary: Employees who enjoy and like the environments they are a part of will be more engaged, productive, happy, and healthy. So check out your workspace, look at your team in an objective manner, ask yourself ‘am I a motivating influence?’ Invest in your people and their work environment, it will absolutely deliver a expediential return on investment. I promise you!

I’d love to hear from you so leave me a comment below.