CREATING PERSONAS, Part 3 - Completing the Data and Improving Your Internet Marketing Results

Lesson #30–CREATING PERSONAS, Part 3

This is internet income course lesson thirty, which continues to simplify the difficulties of starting and running a profitable online business by breaking down important principles in simple English. Course author, George Little, continues to reveal tips, real-world advice, and in-depth, step-by-step instructions on setting up your Internet-based business. Read the previous lesson 29 here.

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
In this lesson, we will continue the discussion of how to create "personas." In our last lesson, we were using the sample template (located here) to work through creating a sample persona, "Paul Persona." We left off after discussing how to determine Paul's "Major Work Goals" and "Major Personal Goals." We will pick up in this lesson with the bottom part of the template.

Concluding the persona sample template

Activities

We have to determine and list the major activities in which our fictional persona, "Paul Persona," engages. We use essentially the same procedures as we did for determining his goals--we determine the demographic group we are trying to represent with this persona, we locate people (in person, on social media, or from our existing customers) and interview at least eight (8) of them. We also observe representatives of this group on social media and record what we learn about them. We then look for other, more formal, surveys and studies on this group and gain what information we can from those efforts. Finally, we try to sort out the commonalities among the group members. We use these common characteristics to give life to our fictional representative of this demographic group.

Right now, we are focusing our analysis on the activities in which our selected group of people engage. We have already ascertained whether they work and the type of work they do earlier in our persona creation. Now, we are looking for the activities outside of work.

* Do they like to play digital games (i.e. are they 'gamers')?

* Do they like to hike? Watch TV?

* Go to the gym?

* Go dancing?

* Do they like to read?

* Do they like to use technology or prefer more 'old fashioned' ways of doing things?

* Do they shop often?

* Are they sports participants?

* Sports fans?

* Do they spend most of their time with their children or family?


...and on it goes. Determine how they spend their time and put that on your persona under "Activities Involved In."

Technology Used

The next section is for listing the type of technologies that your persona uses. Follow the same procedures as before and make a list of the major types of technology used.

* Do they use Apple, Linux, Windows?

* Do they use smartphones primarily or use tablets or *smartphones.

* Are there any specific applications that many of the representatives of your demographic group use? If so, list those.

* What social media sites do they prefer?


Personality Type

* Are the majority of the members of your chosen demographic for this persona outgoing personalities, or, are they introspective?

* Are they risk-takers or cautious?

* Are they energetic or do they enjoy a lot of down time?


Look for the most common personality traits among your representative sample and choose the characteristics for your persona.

Aspirations

This section is important.

* What does your persona hope for?

* What does he want to obtain?


This is somewhat similar to the 'major work goal' and 'major personal goal' we used earlier in the template, but here you can be more descriptive. For example, a major work goal may have been to earn $100,000.00 per year working no more than 35 hours per week. A major personal goal may have been to be very supportive of spouse and children. But, in this section, you try to look at a broader picture.

* What all is involved in the life this person really wants to live?

* Do they prefer social acceptance or awards for accomplishments?

* What social groups do they want to be accepted within?

* Do they want to achieve accomplishments in sports?

* Do they want to travel and explore?


Find out, as best you can, what really makes the people in your representative group tick and then list the most common factors in your persona here. Remember that it is very helpful in winning a person's trust if you appear willing to help them achieve their aspirations. Understanding those aspirations is the necessary first step.

Values

Understanding a person's values is also crucial to understanding what their goals may be and how they may go about seeking those goals. Values have an interesting interaction with goals and aspirations. For example, someone who highly values other people and believes that one must respect and be helpful to all the people they encounter will approach their goals differently than someone who does not value people as much. The latter person may feel free to be more manipulative and less honest than the former person. Someone who values the environment will not engage in processes that he feels are harmful to the environment, even though those processes may be an easier way for them to succeed. A very religious person will not do things that his religion prohibits even though such things might help his business. There are many other examples.

Values are also important because they relate to frustrations. If one's values make some actions that would lead to his goals more difficult, a certain conflict (i.e. frustration) will be experienced. Being aware of frustrations is important and explained in the next section.

Challenges And "Pain Points"

Many argue that this is the most important part of the persona template. Understanding your potential customers' challenges enables you to offer them solutions to those challenges. That is ultimately what you want to do. That is the key to your success. If you have a product or service that removes challenges that get in the way of their goals and aspirations, you have a product that will improve their lives. You have a product that will help them succeed. In this case, your product or service will be valuable to them. Because it's valuable to them, they will be more than happy to pay a reasonable amount for your product service. And, if it is really helpful, they will feel grateful and will thank you for helping. This is what you want to achieve--a satisfied customer.

Resources He Uses

This is somewhat similar to 'technology used,' but goes beyond just technology. Resources include books, publications, groups, training courses, etc. in addition to hardware and software technologies often used to deliver those resources. The usefulness of this inquiry is in the fact that it reveals what the persona is already using to overcome his challenges and eliminate his pain points. It illuminates how he is trying to reach his goals and fulfil his aspirations.

Knowing what resources a potential customer uses gives you a comparison point for what you have to offer. If your product or service does it better or less expensively than his existing resources, you can pique his interest. Knowing what resources a potential customer uses also gives you insight to what he still needs help with. If you become familiar with the resources commonly used by your representative demographic group and learn their limitations, it gives you an opportunity to show your potential customers how your product or service can help them with the challenges the other resources cannot overcome.

Average Day

Understanding a person's average day gives you insight into the best times and the best ways to get their attention. It also reveals much about their lives. Not everyone is honest or accurate when telling you what their goals are and what their frustrations are. Seeing the choices they make on a daily basis gives you something to measure what they have said against what they are actually doing. Make this determination using the same procedures as for all of the above and add it to your persona template.

Experience With Your Product Or Service

This section is where you try to pull together some conclusions from the work you have done previously on the template. Ask yourself whether your product or service will be of use to this persona. If not, you have picked the wrong persona to create and you should go back to the drawing board. If your product or service can help this persona, ask yourself how. Then, take it a step further.

* Assuming at this point that your product or service will be helpful to this persona, how will he experience it?

* Could the experience be improved?

* Can you better explain to this persona how best to utilize the product or service to improve the experience he has with it?


These are important things to consider and include in your persona template.

The Footer Section Of The Persona

At the bottom of the persona template you will find, "Demographic Represented by this persona," "Resources you used to create this persona," "Data collected from use of persona," and "Questions remaining about this persona." This section is important because it records *who you were trying to be with this persona and how you went about creating it. This will be a helpful reference when you later return to the persona to improve it after you have collected more data and have more resources available.

Yay!! You've Completed A Persona

When you complete the footer section, you are done. Congratulations! You now have your first persona. You have a fictional person that you can contemplate and study to ascertain the type of content you should create, how you should target that content, and when you should post it.

You should, of course, revisit this persona later when you have more experience under your belt. When you do revise it, record that revision in the footer section also. Keeping good records is very important to jogging your memory in the future when you are ready to revise it yet again.

The Goal Of Revision

You can think in terms of personas lying on two continuums. The first continuum measures the degree of real data you had available to create the persona. The second continuum measures the degree of refinement in the demographic group the persona represents.

Your first stab at creating a persona is called a "proto persona." Ultimately, when you have acquired and properly used extensive marketing data, your revised persona will become a "marketing persona."

Proto Persona --------------(real data ->)--------------------> Marketing Persona

Obviously, your marketing persona will be much more useful. It was necessary, however, to start with the proto persona in order to get to the marketing persona. As we discussed earlier, your first proto persona represents your best guess with the data you have available. Your ultimate marketing persona will be based on extensive data that you and others have collected. You should continuously strive toward achieving the ultimate marketing persona. Thus, it is necessary to revisit and revise your persona(s) often.

The second continuum measures the degree of refinement in the demographic group the persona represents. Just as a single persona grows in accuracy over time by being revised with additional data, the number of personas you use will increase over time as you accumulate more data about the demographic groups that have interest in your product or service.

One General Persona ----(data →) ---> A Persona for Each Demographic Group

Recall our earlier example of selling solar chargers. We discovered two separate demographic groups that were interested in our product. One group was young college students. The other group was more mature outdoor enthusiasts. Marketing strategies directed at college students will not necessarily work on the older, more mature, outdoor enthusiasts. Understanding and approaching each group separately is important to success. Depending on your product or service, there may be many different demographic groups interested. Your job over time is to discover all of these groups and create a persona to represent each group.

CONCLUSION
We have, in earlier lessons, discussed the concept of personas and explained how they are useful to marketing, especially to content development and social media interactions. For those that chose to use personas rather than more traditional methods of marketing, we have provided a sample template and worked through the creation of a persona. We have explained that it is a continuing process and that your ultimate goal is to have personas for each demographic group and have those personas refined by real data collected over time. Your marketing results will improve as your personas improve.

WHAT'S COMING NEXT
In our next lesson, we will look back over what we have learned thus far and set a plan of action to move our Internet Marketing to the next level. Read the next lesson here: Foundation Laid: Building Begins. And you may also browse through the Internet Income training Index.

Author
By George Little, Panhandle On-Line, Inc. For more information on the Internet Income Course and other works and courses by George Little, see http://www.profitpropulsion.com

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