Creating Customer Profiles for Your Content Marketing
If you want to supercharge your digital marketing, customer personas are a must-have.
Audience profiling and target personas: writing content that is perfectly suited to your customers
What is audience profiling? How can it help you to write better content? How do you go about effectively profiling your target audience? This quick guide to audience personas, profiling and targeting should tell you all you need to know.
What is audience profiling?
Audience profiling is a process of figuring out who your ideal target customer is, so that you can better tailor your marketing efforts for them. It should be an important part of your content marketing strategy and planning process. Think about it- before you put pen to paper, or start typing away, you need to have a crystal clear understanding of what to write, and why. Content that performs well usually answers an important question for a potential customer. Or, it appeals to them on a demographic level. Either way, until you comprehend more completely who you are writing for, it is hard to come up with compelling content that gets results.
Audience or customer profiling, therefore, relies on you gathering as much information as possible about your customers’ buying habits, demographics, and other behaviours so that you can easily put them into categories. This, in turn, means you will better understand the following:
- Who are my customers?
- What motivates them?
- What are their priorities?
- How do they behave?
- What are they interested in?
- How do they communicate?
- What sorts of things do they want to see from me?
For content marketing purposes, answering these questions is vital if you want your target audiences to properly engage with your content. Profiling ensures that everything you write and produce content-wise is highly targeted, relevant, answers questions your potential clients have, or solves a problem that is unique or specific to them.
Basically, profiling is a way of getting to really know your potential and existing clients. If you have a deeper understanding of who they are, you’ll have a better understanding of how to communicate with them.
How do I build a customer profile?
Unless you sell a particularly niche product or service to a small section of society, your customers are likely to be a varied bunch, from all sorts of different demographics and socio-economic backgrounds. It might seem like a daunting task, therefore, to split them into ‘profiles’ or ‘personas’. Each customer is unique and has unique requirements, behaviours, and motivations.
There will be common factors uniting groups of customers, however, so the easiest way to try and create customer profiles is by putting people into groups of categories, or profiles. This is called segmentation.
Segmentation means you can split your customers into one or several of the following groups:
- Demographics- the statistical characteristics of a population, like age, gender and so on.
- Geographics- where your customers are living
- Behavioural- customer buying behaviour and habits
- Psychographic- shared personality traits, beliefs, values and interests
- Attitudinal- how groups of customers think and feel.
There are more, but these are some of the more common types of segmentation.
Commonly, larger companies perform segmentation by leveraging pre-existing data. Some of that data might already live on your customer database or Customer Relationship Management programme (CRM) – demographic and geographic information, for example.
Other data, such as a person’s attitude or feeling towards something, is better collected by different methods. For example, by sending your existing customer base a highly specific customer questionnaire, designed to give you the answers you need to help with segmentation.
Additionally, companies can pay for a wider data set from indexes like Experian, GlobalWebIndex or other customer profiling specialists to help them with their efforts. You can also leverage internet search data, from places like google search console and google analytics. Analytics, in particular, should give you information about the people who visit your website, including age, sex, and their interests, based on their other search activities.
All of this data can then be taken further to help you build a ‘persona’- basically, what that specific niche group of customers might look like in real life.
What sort of things go into a customer profile or persona?
Hubspot’s downloadable guide to audience profiling is a great resource, but at Impressona, we have our own way of pulling together audience profiles. Here are some examples of the information we include:
The first thing to do is assign this fictional customer persona to a category. This looks at things like age, status, education levels, profession, and anything else relevant here. The category can then give a fictional name to the persona like ‘Do-it-all-Dave or Davina’, or ‘Karen, Stay at Home Mum’ to better help you relate to them.
- A fictional biography
A small biography can be written about your persona. What has their journey been like up until this point? If they have founded a company, when, and what were they doing before? Do they have any hobbies? What is their home like life? A brief summary should be enough to round out the persona a little.
- Personality traits
Have a think about things like openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, emotional stability. At Impressona we rate these traits on a scale to give us a quick-glance view of that person’s overall personality tendencies.
Where do they like to get their information from? How do they prefer to shop? How often do they purchase a particular item or service, and when? What else do they like to spend money on?
- Social media usage
How often do they use social media, and what platforms are they most comfortable with? Do they create lots of posts themselves, or are they more of a consumer than a creator?
- Their motivations, goals and objectives
What motivates your persona? What drives them on a day to day basis? Is it saving money? Finding the best deal? Investing in quality goods and services? If they are a business owner, are they interested in short-term success? Long-term longevity? Why might they be interested in your product or service?
- What challenges and obstacles do they face?
This is an important one if you want to tailor content to answer any issues or needs your potential customers might have. For example, if your persona is a small business owner worried about the impact of Brexit upon his business, you may need to produce some content that reassures and advises about that topic. Problem-solving is a large part of making your content relatable to target audiences, so figuring out what barriers and challenges your personas are faced with can help greatly with this.
If all of this looks like it might be too time and resource-intensive for you to handle in-house, please bear in mind that at Impressona, we are experts at putting together audience personas that can help you to better plan and focus your content marketing efforts.