MNSearch Summit is a yearly conference put on by the Minnesota Search Engine Marketing Association for professional search marketers and others who want to learn more about digital marketing. The one-day event features the best minds of the industry who share cutting-edge developments, brilliant strategic insights, valuable tactical tips and intriguing future predictions.
As professional internet marketers, we wanted to leave the conference even better equipped to help our clients achieve success. One of the most vital components to online success actually has nothing to do with a technological development or a cool, new platform. It is so basic that it’s sometimes completely neglected in planning a search marketing strategy, but its importance cannot be overstated. It’s mandatory, and it was emphasized over and over again by MNSearch Summit speakers in different sessions throughout the day. This vital task may surprise you.
A Successful Internet Marketing Strategy Will Always Include Defining User Personas
“User personas? Really?” you ask. Yes, really. Let’s dive in.
Who visits your website? Who are your customers? Who do you want them to be? What do you want them to do when they get there? This may seem like a simple question, but going through a user persona defining exercise with your search engine marketing team is a useful and enlightening experience. All of your marketing efforts flow from this foundational information and help ensure you’re aiming at the correct target and not wasting your resources.
Let’s say you sell beach balls on your website www.buybeachballs.com. Who would you say is your target market? Maybe your first answer is “anyone going to the beach.” But that’s not a complete and accurate definition of your customers. Kids are highly likely to be playing with beach balls, but their parents are the ones buying them. So “parents in families with children going to the beach” are going to be one user persona. Then there are young adults going to the beach, who will be buying their own beach balls. But the beach isn’t the only place people use beach balls. What about beach-themed parties and events, or programs put on by churches and schools? So people throwing parties and school and church program administrators would be two more personas. You can get even more specific with further exploration depending on geography, price point and other factors.
Here we’ve already defined four user personas:
- Parents in families with children going to the beach
- Young adults going to the beach
- People throwing beach-themed parties or events
- School and church program administrators
To reach and engage these different user personas you’re going to have to use different messaging, imagery, offers, promotions and platforms to appeal to the differing sensibilities and needs. A message and imagery that appeals to parents won’t resonate with young adults. Parents are going to want one or two beach balls whereas program administrators are going to want to buy in bulk. Young adults are going to be on different social media platforms and browsing different websites than program administrators. This is where it gets fun and you can get really creative in developing the best way to get the attention of your various audiences.
Starting with a complete and accurate user persona definition is foundational to your online marketing success. There are many exercises available to help guide the defining process. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how your user personas get defined, just that they do.
Want to learn more about how to define your target market for optimal success? Feel free to reach out to us today.