6 Steps to Creating a Targeted Persona for your next Email Marketing Message

Written by Erin Aldridge

As professional marketers, we all know the importance of email marketing to reach our customers – but as people – I know we’ve all opened up our inbox and found a flood of emails from companies that we couldn’t care less about. Instead of clicking and opening these emails or reading about the latest deal, we send them straight to the trash. So if we all do that, knowing the importance as marketers, how can we expect our consumers to do anything different?

What it really comes down to is value. If your company is not sending something of value to your customers, then it doesn’t matter – Don’t send it. Don’t be a part of the pile of emails sent straight to the trash! Make sure that each email you send is carefully crafted with a person in mind. What person you might ask? Yes, a persona. A persona is something your company creates based on real insights to encompass a target audience (Vaughan). A persona prevents your company from sending those mass emails out to people who don’t care about what you’re conveying. Not all personas are made equal, and as a professional marketer, knowing how to create and market to a persona is vital. Below, I highlight 6 key Steps to creating a persona worth marketing to and how to turn it in to a successful email campaign.

1.Pick out the Trends

Your persona needs to be based on real data from real period. If its not – you’re essentially just creating a made up character. Look through your contact database and pick out trends from purchases, click through history, interactions with past emails and content, etc. The information you pull is somewhat dependent on your own company and it’s desires. There will most-likely be more information for an online retailer to use then say a lead generation company. Nonetheless, weed through that data and find the trends. These trends can then be segmented into like groups that will eventually become different personas.

2. Ask yourself, why?

So you’ve weeded through some data, segmented, and now you need to ask yourself, why does this data matter and what does it mean (Vaughn)? Based on the segments you’ve made, what is the information telling you? It’s here that you should brainstorm traits about the segments you created and start to form a persona based off of this data. These traits can be based off the products they buy, their age, the number of orders they’ve made and much more.

3. Create a Template

You can either create your own template or download one from Hubspot (linked below) for free. A template is a great place to start jotting down ideas about who your persona is and what they enjoy. A template should include information about their demographic, goals, challenges, interests, favorite quotes, and more information that would help you customize a message for your campaigns (Vaughn). All of this information should come directly from your why – and therefore your data. In essence, everything you create should be based off of concrete evidence.

4. Time to Start Planning Messaging

Now that you’ve nailed down who your persona is, how do you market to them? This all comes down to voice and tone. Voice is essentially what you say to your customers, or the messaging, whereas Tone is about how you say it and the attitude that you take while giving your message (Square Editorial Team). To create your voice, look at the template you created for your persona, specifically their wants and challenges. Try to address these wants by catering your messaging to something that your persona would respond well to. Tone should be based off of their general demographics, such as age, as well as your personas interests. Tone could be anywhere from funny and casual to professional and formal.

5. A/B Testing

No matter how clear of a persona you created, it might take a few tries to nail the right voice and tone. Try out a few different ways to convey your message, it might surprise you what your selected persona responds to. Measure each emails success using clear metrics based on data. Metrics such as opening rate, click-through-rate, and conversion rate help you define which email campaign had the largest success. Depending on your company, the metric you chose to measure will change. For example, a company searching for lead generations wouldn’t want to base their decision off of conversion rate, but rather opening or click-through rate (Larson).

6. Choosing Your Content

Now that you’ve created a basis of personas and crafted your voice and tone, you need to decide which type of email you want to craft. As a reminder, you never want to send out an email that doesn’t add value to your target audience. That being said, if you have a new promotion or helpful white paper to share, emails are a great way to reach this information. You can also capture the benefits of retargeting by sending out triggered emails. The most common and profitable type of triggered email is an abandoned cart email that notifies a consumer when they left something in their cart without purchasing it. If you are reaching out to new consumers, an on-boarding email, which sends new subscribers a welcome email, is a great way to reach out to your audience and give them special promotions that create brand loyalty.

And there you have it. These steps are a simplified version that every professional marketer should take in order to create a strong persona and valuable email campaign for your company. So don’t be like one of those companies that floods your inbox with pointless emails, create strong emails with valuable messages that give your company the results you want.

Thanks for tuning in to another blog post, if you want any more information regarding personas or email marketing, check out some of the links below!

Vaughn, Pamela. “How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your Business.” Blog.HubSpot.com, HubSpot, May 2019, https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/buyer-persona-research.

“Voice and Tone: An Integral Part of Your Email Marketing Strategy.” Squareup.com, Square, https://squareup.com/us/en/townsquare/email-marketing-voice-and-tone.

Larson, Jeff, and Stuart Draper . https://edify.stukent.com/app/publication/d801ea3f-55b7-4374-ac5a-03d0e2cff93f/cb47ca6c-e25b-460e-a11e-acb31043218b/9360d5e9-ea3c-4674-83a9-306ae005add1/25fcd625-0453-4844-8075-d4799d62f0a4/view.

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