Marketing Archives - Rock, Paper, Scissors

Posted 13 Sep 2017
audience personas

Audience Personas: What They Are & Why You Need Them – Part 2

In our latest webinar, we talked about what audience personas are and why you need them. Read on to learn more about creating your audience personas. Be sure to read our Part 1 blog post for the background information, or you can watch a recording of the entire webinar at the bottom of this post. 

 

Creating Your Audience Personas

Before you start forming your audience personas, you need to know what elements to include. You can start by using data from your current audience, as well as any research you have access to that would be helpful in determining who your audience is. You’ll also want to take into consideration the demographics and psychographics of the types of people you want to connect with.

audience personas

Demographics will help you establish WHO your audience is. These are the external and surface factors regarding who your audience is and create important dividing lines when it comes to sales and marketing. These factors include things like:

  • Gender
  • Location
  • Marital status
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Disabilities
  • Family size
  • Language
  • Mobility
  • Income

audience personas

Psychographics refer to the WHY or reason why an individual is motivated to take an action like purchasing a product or service, investing in an organization or business venture, etc. Psychographics can include:

  • Activities
  • Behaviors
  • Hobbies or interests
  • Social class
  • Personalities
  • Lifestyle
  • Influences
  • Daily habits
  • Values
  • Opinions
  • Attitudes

Other factors to consider include where these individuals receive information (TV, social media, online news sites, etc.), shopping preferences (brick and mortar retail shops, online retailers, etc.), and career choices. Also worth considering as you flesh out your audience personas are client goals and challenges, as well as quotes or testimonials. In addition, you can also start listing out how you can help your client overcome their challenges, reach their goals, and create a marketing message that addresses their solution.

audience personas

There are many different ways to collect this information. You can start with any information you have on file for your current clients to begin your audience personas. Other ways you can collect information include surveys of your current clients, surveys conducted on social media, reviewing social media and website analytics, among others. If you have access to market research, you can also use it to your advantage as it will give you specific insight into how and where people consume information and other valuable information related to consumers and their needs and preferences.

audience personas

 

How Many Do I Need?

The number of audience personas to create will vary from one business or organization to the next. For example, for those with business-to-business products and services, you would want to create audience personas for the types of individuals who would be decision makers in their companies (think CEOs, CFOs, etc.), while a company offering business-to-consumer products and services will likely need to create several audience personas based that cover the range of types of individuals that they want to be their customers.

Nonprofit and franchise businesses have some pretty definitive audience personas worth creating. For nonprofits, these include donors, volunteers, and board members (people that have the financial resources, time, and/or leadership experience to contribute), as well as audience personas for the people they provide services to. Franchise businesses not only need to think about audience personas from the customer perspective, but also for the purpose of franchise sales by creating audience personas for investors and other business-minded people.

audience personas

Ultimately, there isn’t really a set number of audience personas you need to create. The point is to think about your business or organization and consider who you’re currently reaching and who you want to reach, as well as deciding which segments are going to give you the best return on investment, and create as many audience personas as you need.

audience personas

 

How Often Should I Update My Audience Personas?

Similarly to how there is no one right answer for how many audience personas you should create, there’s also no right or wrong answer for how often you should update your personas. The main thing to remember is to update them often enough so that your established audience personas are fresh and relevant, and to always be mindful of opportunities for adding a new audience persona to your list. Aim to review and/or update your audience personas on a consistent basis, whether that is quarterly, bi-annually, or once a year.

There’s a lot that goes into creating audience personas, but it is well worth the time! As always we are here if you have questions about the process, so don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions!

 

Posted 12 Sep 2017
audience personas

Audience Personas: What They Are & Why You Need Them – Part 1

Did you miss our recent webinar on audience personas? Read on to learn what audience personas are and why you need them for your business, or watch the recording of the webinar at the end of this post. 

We hear it a lot. “I’m not sure if my messages are reaching my customers, much less my potential customers. What do I need to do to get it right?” Part of the solution is knowing and understanding your audience.

“What’s the best way to do that?” you ask. Start creating your audience personas!

audience personas

 

What’s an audience persona?

An audience persona is a representation of the ideal types of people you want to connect with and send your message to. When you’re defining an audience persona, you’re looking at a person who influences a purchase decision and is actively looking for content based on their interests, as well as someone who is considering the purchase of certain products or services.

audience personas

 

Why do you need audience personas?

We’ve said it in past webinars and we’ll continue to say it – marketing should be intentional. It should not be reactive or done “on the fly.” That being said, part of the reason you need audience personas is because they give you a place to look back to as you create your marketing plan and strategies to ensure they are aimed at the right people. Atomic Marketing puts it this way:

“It’s a key part of moving away from making assumptions about who your customers are to creating archetypes that accurately represent your distinct types of customers. Audience personas create an archetype that anyone in your team can use to improve content or other operations.

Especially online, where your nearest competitor is simply a click away, you need to hone in on your particular customer so you can answer their needs.”

Beyond that, having audience personas in place offers a number of other benefits as well as value to your marketing efforts, such as:

  • Helping  you narrow down who you need to speak to so you can avoid generalizing your messaging
  • Giving you a better understanding of who you are speaking to
  • Allowing you to gain perspective and insight into the challenges, goals, needs, and backgrounds of these individuals
  • Providing you with guidance for creating an effective marketing campaign
  • Telling you where your audience spends time so you can better connect with them where they are
  • Helping you create better products or services based on the understanding of what your customers need.

As we mentioned, audience personas can help you create a solid marketing campaign, including your content strategy. One great example of this is the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America, who used this approach so the organization could use the audience personas in their storytelling as a way to help attract and retain volunteers, donors, and wish referrers. The personas they created were then transformed into print materials (deck of cards, flip books, and posters) that the communications staff could use as a resource to help keep the audience top of mind. This helped the organization realize opportunities for telling stories they had neglected in the past, as well as put the audience first and get the organization’s team members excited about using audience personas to better tell their stories.

 

Audience Personas, Buyer Personas, and Target Audiences: What’s the difference?

You’ve probably heard the terms audience personas, buyer personas, and target audience a time or two. And you might even be thinking “Aren’t they all the same?” Not exactly.

audience personas

We’ve already defined what an audience persona is. A target audience is like a specific group or demographic of people that would be most likely to be interested in your product or service. For example,if you own a toy store, your target audience could be include parents and grandparents. Think of a target audience or audiences as a more general, big picture look at who you’re wanting to focus your messages to.

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 A buyer persona is a representation of a person who acts on or makes a purchase decision or is actively seeks branded content. Oftentimes, this is a current customer who is already buying from you. The buyer persona can be thought of as a more zoomed-in look at your target audience. 

Obviously, the three are very similar yet very different, and you need to have a good understanding of each so you can create messages that will be effective in reaching the right people. Audience personas, buyer personas, and target audiences are all important pieces to consider not only when creating your content marketing strategy, but also as you create content specifically related to the sales journey.

audience personas

As such, you would create a target audience as a first step for reducing the overall number of potential customers into smaller, more target groups – your audience and buyer personas. You use audience personas to create the ideal types of individuals you want to reach and you use the buyer personas for gaining insight into the customer’s buying journey.

We’ve only just begun in our discussion of audience personas. Stay tuned for Part 2 where we’ll share some tips to help you create the audience personas you need. 

Posted 27 Jul 2017

Once Upon a Time…: Finding & Telling Your Story

Did you miss our recent Storytelling webinar? Read our recap below, or watch the recording included at the end of this post!

Storytelling has been around for as long as humans have walked this earth. People have used stories to educate and entertain all throughout history, and as time has gone on, we have discovered new ways to tell stories through writing, song, dance, art, dramas, and more. But what does storytelling have to do with your brand?

The answer is everything! Stories are some of your greatest and most powerful tools for informing people about your brand – who you are, how you got here, where you plan to go, and your mission, vision, values, and more.

storytelling
Why You Need Storytelling

storytelling
Having a great story to tell can help you connect with your audience in a more meaningful way and help them truly understand who you are and what you do by sparking their emotions, offering education and understanding, and even helping to set you apart from the competition.

 

What Role Does Storytelling Play?

So what role does storytelling play in your business? Good question! It’s more than just to create some advertisements. According to Marketing Week, a brand’s story isn’t “just something businesses should refer to every time they launch a marketing campaign or issue a press release. It should be the foundations on which a future growth strategy is built.”

Bernadette Jiwa further explains that one of the real roles of storytelling in marketing is to “show your customer how your product makes him the hero of his story.” In other words, the story shouldn’t be about telling the product story, but rather telling “the story of the customer in the presence of the product.” Some great examples Jiwa points to include IKEA’s “Start Something New” folding chair and Johanna Basford’s coloring books.


Where to Find Your Stories

There are endless places you can find a story. You just have to take the time to look around! A few examples of the kinds of stories you can tell include:

  • Your history and how you got to where you are
  • Your life and what led you to do what you’re doing
  • How you helped a client solve a problem
  • How you resolved a conflict
  • Your expertise in a specific area
  • Client successes

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Elements of a Good Story

Now that you know the role storytelling plays in your business and where you can find a story, it’s time to figure out how to craft a story in a compelling way and find the most appropriate place to tell them. First, you’ve got to know what elements make a good story:

    • A main character: Be sure to explain who they are! Where do they work? What’s his or her family like? What makes them tick?

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    • Human element: Using emotional touches can help people connect with your products or services on a more personal level.
    • Element of surprise: An unexpected plot twist is a great way to hold the reader’s attention.
    • Descriptive words: Readers like to see a story in addition to hearing or reading it. Use descriptive language that appeals to the five senses to help paint the picture in their minds in a way that will make your brand story more memorable.

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  • A clear beginning, middle, and end: The beginning should be attention grabbing, the middle should maintain the reader’s interest, and the end should bring the story to a nice close that shares the outcome, if applicable, and give readers a clear call to action.


Tips for Telling Your Story

Once you know what to include in your story, it’s time to tell it. It may seem like a pretty natural thing to do since we tell stories to our families, friends, and co-workers almost daily. However, it’s not always that simple. Jiwa says “It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is if you don’t understand the worldview of the person who will buy it. The first step to mastering the art of brand storytelling and being a better marketer is to stand in your customer’s shoes.” From there, here are a few good storytelling pointers to keep in mind.

storytelling

First, practice! If you will be sharing your story in front of an audience or recording it, practice in front of family, friends, and even colleagues. This will help you perfect your volume, tone of voice, hand gestures, eye contact, and facial expressions, as well as how to pace your story. All of these elements are important for creating a more captivating story for the audience.

storytelling

If you are writing your story for a blog, email, brochure, or other written format, include small paragraphs and bullet point lists to help make it easier to read. Also, make sure your voice is consistent throughout, the story is paced well, and that you use punctuation properly.

Storytelling is a powerful tool for your business or organization, and best of all, it’s free. Take some time to find your best stories and start telling them!

Posted 27 Jun 2017

Your Brand Is ________

I know what you’re thinking – what a loaded statement. There’s no black and white, one word adjective that would cover the depth of what you’ve envisioned and what has been established. We get it. But what about four, across the board, concrete descriptions of what your brand should be?

brand story

Your brand is your story.

It’s this unique atmosphere that your products or services carry everywhere they go in hopes that people will notice. Your brand should instantly communicate ‘hey, we really care about making your experience with us the most enjoyable and helpful that it can be’. Do people recognize that something different is in the air when face to face with your products, services, staff? Do you ever wonder if you’re telling a good story?

brand conversation

Your brand is a conversation.

You and your prospective clients are constantly talking it out. You’re dating, in a sense, and communication is key. In an ideal world, they already know that you are trustworthy, always looking to their best interest, and thinking about them often. But let’s say they don’t. How are you communicating that to them? How are you showing them how invested you are?

brand

Your brand is refined.

You’ve cut out the excess. You are comfortable with the bare minimum because you know that any unnecessary extra would take away from what your brand already has going for it. You know that your brand is most valuable at it’s purest form.

brand

You’re brand is sustainable.

Or it’s not. It’s really important to know which side of that line you fall on. Are you constantly reevaluating your vision? Or are you simply redirecting to better routes? You’re still in good shape if it’s the latter, because your brand should be as agile as it is sustainable.

Your brand is your story. You better make it a good one.

Posted 10 May 2017

The Perfect Pairing: SEO & Google Analytics

If you missed our recent webinar on SEO and Google Analytics, check out our recap below or watch the recording at the bottom of this post!

SEO & google analyticsHow many times have you opened up Google to search for a place to eat or find a particular product or service you need recently? If you’re like many others, you use Google or another search engine on a regular basis to find what you need. But how many times have you gotten results that weren’t relevant? It’s frustrating. Now, think about whether your own customers may have experienced the same before they found you. That’s why it’s important to know what SEO and Google Analytics are and how using each can help you improve your site for your audience, as well as your search engine ranking.

SEO & Google Analytics

 

So what is SEO? SEO, or search engine optimization, is defined by Yoast as “the practice of optimizing websites to make them reach a high position in Google’s – or another search engine’s – search results.” SEO focuses on organic, or non-paid, results. There are quite a few things you can do to improve your website’s SEO, which we’ll cover later on. Before we get to that, there’s one thing we want you to keep in mind: SEO is a lot like eating a healthy diet. You don’t automatically lose 50 pounds. It’s a slow process that will pay dividends if you are persistent.

SEO & google analytics

The core of best practices for SEO hasn’t changed in over 10+ years that we have been talking about it. However, that’s not to say that Google algorithms haven’t changed. They typically change because people are trying to find a shortcut for getting results. Some of the things people have attempted in the past include:

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How does Google pull the results when people search for a certain word or phrase? The simple explanation is that Google will look for new content with those keywords and phrases, as well as people coming to your site in order to determine how you rank.

SEO & Google analytics

 

With that in mind, there are some SEO best practices you’ll want to keep in mind as you optimize your site in order to see improvement in your search engine ranking:

  • Regularly update your website to make sure it is current. It’s never “done.”
    SEO & Google analytics
  • Create new content that your audience wants to hear that is relevant to the work you are doing. Some examples of content that tend to work well include answering frequently asked questions, helping your audience solve a problem, and sharing important or helpful news, among others. 
  • Make sure keywords have been added to page titles, descriptions, headings and content, image titles, and image alt text.
    SEO & Google analytics

This brings us to Google Analytics. As a reminder, Google Analytics is a free service that can help you keep track of what’s happening on your site. It’s especially helpful for measuring if your SEO is working by providing the following information:

  • Site Traffic: This is the number of visitors and visits your website receives. We recommend comparing the current month to the previous month, as well as the current year to the previous year, to check for any major increases or decreases in traffic. This will help you determine what types of content on your site at those specific times were resonating with your audience and drawing in new visitors.
  • Traffic sources: As we mentioned earlier, it’s all about organic traffic when it comes to SEO. Traffic sources can include direct traffic, search engines, social media, email marketing, referral traffic, and more. Once you know what’s leading your visitors to your site, you can make adjustments accordingly. For example, if the bulk of your traffic is from social media, you might want to refocus your efforts to SEO to improve your organic traffic.
    SEO & Google analytics
  • Keywords: We can see some of the words people are typing into search engines that lead them to your site. This is a good baseline to see if your organic traffic is coming to your site based on the content and messages that are being sent out.
  • Acquisition: Acquisition doesn’t really tell you much, but it is useful in showing how much of your traffic is organic and can help you determine which online marketing tactics are best for bringing traffic to your site.
  • Page Monitoring: Page monitoring allows you to see the content pages visitors are coming to you through.


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We always recommend a good mix when it comes to content creation. You’ll want to put new content on your website for people to find you from Google, but you can help this cause out by also driving people to your website using social media, email marketing, and digital advertising, just to name a few.  Having a marketing plan in place will be extremely helpful in helping you determine your content themes and ensuring you have a nice mix for your content. To help make this a habit, create a content calendar with specific days and times for sending out your content updates.

Hopefully we have helped you better understand SEO and Google Analytics and why these are very important for understanding what drives people to your website and how to keep them coming back. As always, we welcome your questions so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!

 

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