Personalizing emails is more than customizing the first sentence to include the recipient's first name. True, valuable personalizations cater every marketing message to the right person at the right time.
Last summer, we began experimenting with persona-based segmentation. Personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. They are based on real data pertaining to customer demographics and online behavior as well as educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.
After looking at the results of this persona-based switch to email segmentation, we learned that targeting emails by persona increases email clickthrough rates 16%.
In order to see similar results, you need to have personas for which you can segment your email communication. Let's review how to develop your personas so you have enough information to effectively split your lists for segmented email communication.
How to Develop Your Buyer Persona
Buyer personas are created through research, surveys, and interviews with your target audience. This audience includes a mix of customers, both “good” and “bad” prospects, and those outside of your contact database who might align with your target audience.
You’ll collect data that is both qualitative and quantitative to paint a picture of who your ideal customer is, what they value, and how your solution fits into their daily lives.
To help guide your research, let's take a look at the 10 key components of a persona so you can organize the information you collect correctly for persona creation.
Each of these components are organized in our free PowerPoint template for creating and presenting buyer personas, so feel free to download the template and follow along, starting at slide 10!
Ideally, you'll be following these steps more than once in order to create your core personas, which you can then use to segment your email lists for better communication.
10 Key Components of a Buyer Persona
This should encompass the basic details of a persona's role, key information about the company the persona works for, as well as any relevant background information, such as education or hobbies. For this post, let's say we've identified our persona as Sample Sally.
When examining your target demographics, be sure to consider vital information about your audience, including gender, age range, household income (consider a spouse's income, if relevant), and location.
Identifying persona information includes the buzzwords they use frequently or the mannerisms by which they operate. We could say Sally has a calm demeanor and an assistant screening her and that she asks to receive collateral printed.
What are your persona's primary and secondary goals? This list could include goals such as keeping employees happy or supporting finance team goals.
What are the primary challenges your persona faces? Secondary challenges? This could include being short-staffed for all the work needed to get done or needing help in rolling out major department changes to the entire company.
6) How We Help
The "we" in this situation is your business. How is your company solving the aforementioned challenges or helping achieve the previously stated goals? Let's pair our example goals/challenges with example solutions:
- Persona goal: Keeping employees happy --> Your Business Solution: Make it easy to manage all employee data in one place.
- Persona goal: Support finance team --> Your Business Solution: Integrate your team and the finance team's system of operations.
If you're following along in our PowerPoint persona template, you'll notice we just completed slide 10:
7) Real Quotes
Include quotes from interviews you conduct or surveys you ran during the information collection period of your persona development. A good quote from Sample Sally could be, “I’ve had to deal with so many painful integrations with other departments’ databases and software.”
8) Common Objections
Identify the most common objections your persona will raise during the sales process. For our running example, this could be, "I don’t want to have to train the entire company on how to use a new system."
9) Marketing Messaging
What is the core message that will resonate with your persona? How should you describe your solution to your persona? Getting the right message across to them is very important to catch their interest.
10) Elevator Pitch
Beyond the core message, think about how you want to describe your solution. For Sally, this pitch could be: "We give you an intuitive database that integrates with your existing software and platforms and lifetime training to help new employees get up to speed quickly."
Once you have all this information pulled together, you'll find you likely have at least two different personas you're catering to. Ultimately, this information can help you segment your email messages properly moving forward.
If you start seeing some changes in your email CTRs, feel free to come back and share them with us in the comments!