Here we’ll go into a little more detail about personas themselves.
Personas are representative examples of the specific kind of person who’s interested in your book, business, product or service. A persona is created from digging deep into demographic data, life history and personal needs in order to create a fictionalized representative of a particular kind of customer – a kind of avatar, if you will – to whom you will target your marketing.
In order for personas to get you results, they need to be as clear and specific as a real person is – one who has told you everything about himself or herself on a level you don’t generally get among your acquaintances.
This is why it’s so important to be clear and specific in the details of a persona. The more you know about someone’s motivations, the more you can answer the questions he or she is thinking without needing to ask out loud. By answering those unspoken questions, you’re able to emulate an intimate environment, in a non-intimate setting.
When we work with our clients, we spend a great deal of time nailing down specifics: age, profession, goals, setbacks, geographical data, family history. Yes, we’re making it up with the client, devising a narrative of an idealized client – but this client represents a portion of the audience for the client’s book or product or service. You’d be amazed at how much more clearly the individual customer emerges from the details that the client provides.
You see, a client (our client) will have a general idea of income, gender, location. But when the client really concentrates on seeing beyond those factors, and gets to the human behind the data, then something much more real emerges. Wouldn’t you relate more closely to data if you knew that behind it was a woman of 35 who was a single mother who’d lost her mother and was working in her spare time to achieve a postgraduate degree to become a social worker? That’s what we create – the humanity under the simple demographics.
All that information lies there, waiting for the client to uncover it and see who really wants to use the product or service (or read the book).
We’ll continue to explore this in our next post.
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