Misdirected messaging is like cold oatmeal.

You gotta be creative with the words to earn your keep. You got 8 seconds.

Steve Lindgren
May 1, 2018

Do you know what the attention span of a goldfish is? 9 seconds.Do you know what the attention span of the average adult is? 8 seconds.

Yes, you read that right. In today’s marketing world, we are working with less attention than that of a goldfish.

How in the world are you supposed to communicate your amazing product or service in that short amount of time? The key is to know your customer and to let that knowledge drive your messaging.

Make your messaging goal be more than sales.

Think about the last time you attended an event where the speaker rocked your world. Did you feel like everything they said was meant just for you?

It’s an amazing experience, and sorry to burst your bubble, but I’d bet that for some people, the topic did not resonate at all. And there is nothing wrong with that. Good speakers have something specific to say to a certain kind of person. Otherwise it would be just a bunch of boring broad impersonal generalizations. Ugh.

The same is true of messaging strategies in marketing. If you try to speak everyone, you’ll speak no one.

Developing a persona is how you solve the problem of indirect or lukewarm messaging that comes across about as exciting as cold oatmeal. When you understand the motivations, desires, and problems of your persona, then you can speak to them in an empathetic and engaging way.

If your message is relevant, it will hold their attention. If it is clear, it will inspire action. If it is personal, there will be an emotional response.

Doing these three things not only gives you a sale, it creates repeat sales. And repeat sales mean you have a loyal customer. It’s about looking beyond the sale and making your goal about generating loyal customers.

How to create a persona.

Here are 5 steps to jumpstart the process of creating your custom persona.

1. Take a look at your current stats and research

What type of person is buying your product? What is the customer’s age, gender, location, annual income? What is their professional and social background? Hobbies and interests?

TIP: See if you can find someone similar on Facebook and LinkedIn. Explore what they are interested in, what is important to them, and even what they find funny. It will feel like weird internet stalking, but you’ll get over it.

Side note: If you don’t have stats or research then consider what your ideal customer looks like and make educated guesses. That’s right, guess! Put something out there and start collecting data so you can refine your persona over time.

2. Feel their pains

Identify your ideal customer’s struggles, frustrations, challenges, and desires related to your product or service. Also identify unrelated pains. You need to identify how aware they are of their pain and if they are seeking a solution. How aware they are of their problem will tell you how what shape your messaging should take.

TIP: Know anyone personally that seems to match up with what you have so far? Get them on the phone for an interview or ask them out to coffee and go over these questions.

3. Define success

Determine how your ideal customer will evaluate whether or not a purchase was a success. What criteria do they use? How long after the purchase will they draw this conclusion? Will they consult others? Are they focused on numbers or is their conclusion more intuitive?

TIP: Understanding what they see as a success will tell you how to position the product or service at the onset. This helps you illustrate for them a clear story of what their life was like before your product or service and how much better it is after.

4. Look at habits.

Identify how your ideal customer buys. Where do they shop? Include online and offline shopping. What’s the buying cycle? What is the length of time from decision to buy to purchase? Are they impulsive or are they slower, research driven purchasers? What are the buyer’s common objections towards your product or service?

TIP: Understanding their shopping habits will help you tremendously with messaging. For example, if they are a research driven purchaser, you will need to put research out there about your product for them to consume. If there is nothing out there, they are likely to cross your item off of their list. Yes, they likely have a list too!

Once you have answered all these questions, give your persona a name and a picture. Use this persona to direct your messaging and content. You may find A/B testing helpful too if you are just getting started and don’t know as much about your audience.

Let us know if you have any questions! Happy messaging.

Steve Lindgren
Steve Lindgren is a Brand Specialist & UX Designer based in San Diego. His passion is to build brand experiences that educate, engage, and inspire.

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