How to create audience personas that work

Knowing your audience is crucial for your marketing strategy and product development. The more you understand your audience, the better you can meet their real needs. This builds loyalty and encourages them to recommend your products and services to others.

These important insights are usually gathered over time through personal experience and various research efforts. Audience personas take all this information and make it easy for anyone on your team (from marketing and sales to your customer service team) to quickly understand your audience and guide interactions in different situations.

56% of companies generated higher quality leads using buyer personas

Marketing Insider Group

So what makes a good audience persona? Here are our top five factors in making audience personas that will make a real difference in your marketing and sales. 

1. They are specific to one segment of your audience

Your audience is probably a diverse group attracted to different aspects of your business. Creating audience personas should be specific, allowing you to clearly identify their main motivations, challenges, and preferences. For B2B relationships, focus on the individuals you engage with rather than the companies or brands they represent. It’s crucial to create a persona that represents a person, enabling you to understand their personality traits and use this insight to guide your actions. 

As an example Disney’s most obvious audience are the children that their movies are aimed at primarily, but they also have the parents of that child who will be buying the ticket to the cinema, or the merchandise. They have their older teen audience who are perhaps tapping into retro or nostalgic trends. Disney of course are a huge licensor; therefore they have licensee brands, and the people who interact with them within those brands will also be a subsection of their audience that they will be interacting with in a vastly different way. 

2. They should be a picture of a single person

Although it’s hard to do, your audience persona should portray one person as the quintessential representation of an entire group. This is so that you can pinpoint a single way of interacting with them quickly. This will allow you to be specific on your persona. It’s easier to craft a great sales pitch if you imagine you are trying to convince one person rather than a whole group of different people, so crafting a persona that focuses on one representative individual also means crafting messaging using insights from them will be easier. 

3. Personas should also be broad… 

Persona should be specific in who they are about, but should cover a wide range of areas within your audience’s lives. This will mean that your persona can be used across your company and not just by your marketing department. Think about including: 

  • Common communication styles
  • Common drivers and motivators 
  • Their work life stressors and goals 
  • Their personal life stressors and goals
  • Their common interactions with you
  • Other interests and goals in their life
  • Their broader values
  • Brands they like 

Audience personas should be about more than just demographics, people’s age, gender identity, and occupation. Some of these details may be relevant but focusing more on psychographics, the common behaviours rather than traits will give you a more rounded vision of your audience, and a clearer picture of what that will mean in terms of marketing strategies. 

Approaching audience personas via psychographic factors will mean your personas are less likely to be interpreted through personal biases, resulting in a more inclusive set of tools for your team to use. 

4. They need to be simple to read

The purpose of an audience persona is to offer a snapshot picture of your audience, and so it should be quick to pull useful information from it. You also want it to be understood by a potentially wide range of people and so the clearer you make it, the more likely it will be to make a strong impact. Group your information into sections that make it clear what each section should be used for. Make them a one pager, the easier they are to use, the more people will want to use them! Use simple language, not jargon that everyone can understand. 

5. Use sliders and scales

For data that is less easily written in words, use quantitative formats like scales from 1-10 or visual sliders showing a tendency towards one end of a scale or the other. These can be particularly useful when talking about personality traits or communication styles. 

These five factors should help you know if your audience personas are the powerful tools they should be, or if they are due a refresh. 

 

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