It's an axiom of content creation that you should know your audience and gear your work to their needs and interests. But how can you discover just what audience you should be writing for? And how can you nail down just what their needs and interests are?
First you must define your marketing persona. It's one thing to feel you know your market, to be able to generally define your core demographic and target audience. It's another thing entirely to create a complete and complex persona based on that market research, to feel like your ideal customer is a living, breathing person whom you know personally, inside and out.
It's a pretty tall order. Here are some tips to get you started.
You are not your marketing persona
The first rule of developing a marketing persona is to know that there is an ideal customer out there for you, and that they resemble you far less than you might suppose. It's vitally important that you get out there into the world of your customer, put yourself in their shoes, and really understand what makes their daily frustrations and pains different from yours. It's usually in these distinctions that you'll start to find the really defining characteristics of your ideal customer.
Get nosy about your marketing persona
What kind of car does she drive? What keeps her up at nights? Does she have kids? Do her parents live with her? Where does she shop for clothes? What's her favorite TV show? Get to know your marketing persona like you'd get to know someone you're dating, or a new close friend. Find out everything you possibly can about them -- and for what you don't know, guess. You'll refine your marketing persona over time, but you need to start somewhere.
Your marketing persona has a name and a face
You need to feel like you really know this person, like you could literally pick her out of a crowd. Look online for images and photographs of people who fit your increasingly specific vision of your ideal customer. Choose the one that fits her best, and give her a name. Print out that picture, write her name beneath it, and post it next to your computer.
Only when you really know who your ideal customer is -- when you have a name, a face, and a real, visceral sense that you know who this person is -- can you start to create killer content to attract her in droves to your site.
To learn more about marketing personas, how to develop them and create the content that drives them wild, come to the HubSpot User Group Summit (HUGS) September 15-16. HubSpotters Julie Devaney and Patrick Shea will present a dedicated workshop on using marketing personas to drive results, Creating Offers that Convert.
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