Personas are an important tool in digital marketing. They help marketing teams and the wider business to better understand the target audience, and give everyone a shared language with which to discuss that audience in all of its complexities.

Brighton SEO is a bi-annual conference aimed at the marketing community, during which experts from a variety of backgrounds share their advice and tips. In April 2016, Laura Hampton of Impression gave a presentation at Brighton SEO to enable marketers to make better use of personas in their business and those of their clients. You can view the full video and slides from her presentation below:

How to Build Useful Audience Personas to Guide Your Digital Strategy | Laura Hampton | Brighton SEO 2016 | #BrightonSEO from Laura Hampton

Brighton SEO: Key Takeaways – Laura Hampton

Laura’s presentation contained lots of tips and advice for marketers to implement within their own strategies. Here are the key takeaways from her session:

1. Go beyond the basics

Many businesses are now using basic audience information to inform their strategies. Things such as basic demographics, job titles, age and gender do provide some insight but don’t stop here; you need to delve deeper to get a true understanding of your audience.

2. Consider audience motivations

The next step to creating personas is to consider audience motivations. What motivates your audience to buy? What challenges to they face and how does your product/service help them? What interests them?

There are various tools you can use to learn more about what motivates your audience, including customer surveys, keyword research, Analytics information and FAQs. Use these to better understand each segment of your audience and apply motivations to every segment.

3. Keep up to date with the topics that interest your audience

It’s important to stay up to date with the topics that interest your audience. Follow conference topics, monitor social media, review appropriate publications/blogs/websites and keep an eye on competitors to get further insight.

4. Build personas with which you can empathise

It’s one thing to have all of this information, and quite another to make it usable. Personas are most powerful when you can empathise with them, so create fictional individuals with names, faces and interests. Tools such as Google’s Affinity Categories and Answer the Public can help with this, as can you own research into your audience.

5. Use your personas

Don’t simply create personas and then forget about them. They’re a tool to be used every step of your marketing journey. Document them, share them and use them in discussions; they’ll help to guide your strategy and become and important part of your marketing vocabulary.

Additional Resources

During her session at Brighton SEO, Laura mentioned a number of resources. Here’s the full list:

1. About building personas:

2. About content grids:

3. Google Analytics Affinity Categories:

4. Content marketing by Impression:

5. Digital PR explained by Impression:

6. SEO by Impression:

7. PPC by Impression:

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