Personas are "sketches" of your target audience. They help your team create content that speaks to your audience's pain points and aligns with what they're searching for.
Don't get bogged down with character details like "does she take her coffee black or with cream?" Instead, focus on the mindset of your target audience. What pain points keep them from meeting their goals or reaching out for the help they need to do so?
Your final persona document might assign names and have more detail, but don't stress. Focus on what motivates your audience and what their daily pain points are.
Envision Your Ideal Customer
Marry what you know about people who use your services with what your data and sales team is telling you. This combination should give you a Buyer Profile.
Start with Google Analytics data about the people using your relevant landing pages:
- What is their primary age?
- What gender are they?
- Are they mobile or desktop users, and what is their browser preference?
- Where do they live?
- Are they more likely to be a new or returning user on your website?
Getting Into Your Customer's Frame of Mind
For this, I like starting with these 3 questions:
- What is the first thing my customer thinks about in the morning?
- What is the last thing my customer thinks about at night?
Answering these questions will help identify and document your customer's pain points in the personas.
Initial Competitor Keyword Research
Once you're in the mindset of your audience, the next step is to begin to imagine the questions they might be searching with to hunt down answers.
Long-tail keywords may prove to be key here as they don’t tend to have a high volume of search traffic.
Keep in mind the stage of the buying process when planning content. People at the top of the sales funnel tend to seek out content that answers "what is it?" and "how does it work?". Meanwhile, people more ready to make a decision search for quality differentiators like "why is it better than other options?".
Audience Profiles and Audience Insights
After exploring your ideal audience's pain points and the questions they might be using to search, it's time to compile your discoveries into one proper persona. In a nutshell, you should break down the persona you're developing in two components: Profile & Insight.
- Audience profile – who your ideal customer is using relevant demographic and psychographic details.
- Audience insight – what makes your ideal customer pull out their credit card and buy.
Your final personas can take many forms and will be something you update regularly. It need not and should not be overly wrought. Sometimes the best description of your audience is a list of the questions they are asking that only you can answer. From there, you can launch an effective content strategy and develop inbound campaigns.