There’s a great line from the hit show Friends that strikes me as appropriate to any discussion of target personas. If you’re a fan, you may remember when the whole gang goes to Barbados in one of the later seasons, and Joey meets someone who doesn’t own a TV. Dumbfounded, he says: “You don’t own a TV? What’s all your furniture pointed at?”
Similarly, with inbound marketing, when I hear someone doesn’t have a clearly defined persona I think, “You don’t know your target persona*? Who’s all your content targeted to?” While a TV isn’t necessary to make a room, a target persona is absolutely necessary for a successful inbound marketing strategy.
Why? In order to be successful, you must generate amazing content that speaks to your prospects’ various needs, pain points, and buying cycle stages. If you don’t have that information, how do you create content that is of value to them? (Hint: You can’t.) That’s why knowing your target persona is so vital.
What is a Target Persona?
What exactly is a target persona? They’re your ideal prospects and customers that you’re trying to attract with your inbound marketing efforts. It’s whom your entire inbound marketing strategy is focused toward. Often confused with target audience, your target persona goes beyond demographics and psychographics and focuses more on your prospects’ and consumers’ needs, pain points, and buying process. When you understand their buying process and speak to their needs, you can engage with them through each phase until they’re ready to purchase.
Creating your Personas
While the information you want to know will vary depending on the type of business you are and what industry you’re in, some of the core insights will be similar. Adele Revella, founder of The Buyer Persona Institute, has identified the “5 Rings of Buying Insight.” These serve as an excellent guide when you’re deciding what information is (and isn’t) necessary to know.