It’s easy to get excited when starting to ramp up your online marketing.  So many platforms to consider, fun content to create and tools to utilize. Many people dive right into to creating accounts and doing the “marketing”, they overlook their audience all together, and end up missing the mark. The internet is too big for a shotgun approach.

In order to be successful online, every organization must first start with defining their customer personas. This will allow you to target the right audience, with the right message, through the right channels.  Without defining these first, you’ll end up pouring time and money into the wrong efforts.

So how do you define your customer’s personas?  Here is a quick walkthrough.

 

First, take a look at your customer list.

If you are business-to-business organization, or a non-profit, take a look at where your revenue is coming from.  Following the 80/20 rule, you should be able to quickly segment a meaningful sub-group that falls into an ideal customer category.  For business-to-consumers, it is looking at which groups of customers are your repeat visitors, buying the most profitable items.

 

Second, who are your customers?

Now that you know who your best customers are on paper, who are they in real life?  It’s important to take a look at who the actual people are, as different groups of individual have different value systems, problems that need solving and patterns of behavior.

Some examples trends to look for:

  • Demographics (Age, Gender, Income, Location)
  • Work Title and Job Description
  • Purchasing Behavior (Time, Approvals, Budget vs Value)
  • Value System and Culture

Once you begin to examine a list, you should then be able to quickly find similarities or trends amongst your customers.  It’s possible a large majority of your buyers fall into only one category, but more likely then a not 2-4 groups will begin to emerge as “common”.  These are your customer personas.

 

Third, create your plan for these personas.

Now that you know who your customers are, you can begin to develop a plan and a message crafted for them.  Look at what the value of your product or service is, and make a message that will resonate with your customer persona. By targeting your message more closely to their needs, they will be able to better understand your value.

With a tailored message, it’s important to also use the correct channels.  Depending on the demographics of your buyers, you might find that certain platforms don’t work as well.  For instance, a burger joint is not going to use paid advertising on LinkedIn.  Just the same, a consulting firm should not be on Pinterest.

 

Now get started!

After finding the correct channels and message for your personas, then you can begin investing the time and effort into online marketing. As time goes on, and platforms change, you’ll need to make adjustments.  It’s possible you made some misguided assumptions as well; so it’s important to continually be monitoring your efforts to see whats working, and what is not.

The world of online marketing is exciting, and offers a great amount of opportunity for those willing to make the effort.  Making sure you know your customers is a great first step in your success.