What’s Your Personas-ality? – SMX East 2012

Couple observations about the conference: 1) Gluten-free chocolate cake! I also noticed vegan and kosher options. Very cool. 2) Roaming nuns! Yes, folks, search has officially gone mainstream. Some very lovely sisters were roaming the expo halls looking for Web marketing services.

SMX East Logo

That’s a great segue into personas, right? Who are the people in your community and how can you market to them? You can follow the Twitter chatter on this session at #22b.

Bill Hunt (@BillHunt) of Back Azimuth is up first. Why care about personas as searchers? There is personalized search results based on history. We need to be sure our marketing reaches people at every stage.

Personas can tell us:

  • How to match content and searcher interest.
  • If you are providing the best content I can for their problems/needs?

Use data you already have for content mapping. Segment keywords by features, function, types – anything that allows you to better understand the searcher. Then, by looking at the search query volume and social media, you can see what people are talking about surrounding a product and begin to bucket those ideas.

You can begin to understand who people are/what positions they might hold in a company by the key terms they use when they are searching. One tip is to take the data that people use to come to a page that trigger a lead gen form or live person event and start to understand who your audience is that way.

Product audience segments and personas:

  • Start with product groupings.
  • Segment those who use the products by product.
  • Identify the keywords those people use.

Bill Hunt

Mark Munroe (@MarkeMunroe) of Inflection is up next. Google wants relevancy and quality in the content. SEO wants more traffic and more conversions. Personas in traditional marketing are based on interviews of real customers and is time consuming to do it to be statistically significant.

But do personas improve the overall search experience? Google wants to have great content for all the queries people have. You have two primary sources of data: 1) what users say and 2) what users do.

What users say:

  • Start with traffic segmentation. Go where the traffic is on your site augmented by where the money is.
  • Survey your SEO visits. Use SurveyMonkey that surveys your organic search visitors by section of the site. Ask what drove them to the site – what problems were they having? It can affect conversion on a page, so only use it as much as you need to collect the data, then turn it off.
  • Create micropersonas from the survey responses.

What users do:

  • Compare analytics data collected with the surveys.
  • Are there micropersonas that you haven’t satisfied? Optimize.

He says to check out this book: “The User is Always Right: A Practical Guide to Creating and Using Personas for the Web.”

Michael Smith (@MikeSmithWeb) from Brookstone is up. He is going to talk about guerilla marketing personas for products.

Reasons to do marketing personas for SEO and paid search:

  • No site personas at all.
  • Getting large traditional sample difficult.
  • Establish that marketing personas increase revenue.
  • Website persona not product persona.

Some tips for building personas:

  • Use Alexa for some general data about your personas, but you can’t aim it at a product page (this is a problem if you have several products). You can, however, aim Alexa at a site that is oriented at a product like yours.
  • Look at the reviews on the product pages to see who is reviewing your products. Take this and see if the Alexa information matches at all.
  • Check out YouTube to see what people are talking about around the product. Or look at comments in the blog posts on the Web. Who are these people and what are they saying?

Using persona in search:

  • In SEO in Title and Description tags.
  • In conversion with A/B tests of AdWords ads.

Guerilla marketing persona building can be:

  • Done before the companywide marketing personas are finalized.
  • Can be different than companywide personas.

Jessica Lee is the founder and chief creative for bizbuzzcontent Inc., a marketing boutique that focuses on digital content strategy and professional writing services for businesses.

See Jessica's author page for links to connect on social media.

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