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Connecting with Your Audience: The Power of Creating an Audience Persona

January 17, 2024
January 17, 2024

At One Eighty Digital our tagline reads that we help you Reach More People and Do More Good. We truly believe and aspire to that goal. We want to help you reach more people. In marketing terms, the people you are trying to reach are called your audience. These are the people that you are trying to communicate with for one reason or another. This could be the people that you are serving, potential donors, or possible customers. Either way, connecting with that audience is crucial to helping you achieve your goals. The better you can understand them, the better chance you have at success. In this article I want to cover the key information that you need to understand to reach them best. 

What Is An Audience Persona?

But first I want to talk about creating an audience persona. A persona is a profile that can be created with the information that you gather about your audience. It acts like a guide to help you remember who you are trying to reach. A northstar type of thing. Often, these  include a stock image of a person that “looks” like the people you are trying to reach, a summary paragraph that tells you more about this fake person. These are important because they can help you personalize a large group of people. They keep you on task by being a source of reference when planning communications strategies. They also are always changing and being updated as you learn more about your audience. These are a crucial part of the strategies that we work up for our clients. The tips below highlight the information that you need to know about them, but ultimately these should be summarized and personalized into an audience persona. We have links to examples at the bottom of this article. Without further ado, here is the information you need to create a great persona.

Audience Persona Considerations

  1. Demographics – The demographics about your audience are related to the facts and data about them. Their gender, marital status, level of income, and location are all important information that help you understand their situation. Women’s needs are different from men’s. The same for married vs. unmarried, income, and location. The basis of connecting with your audience is learning these essential facts. Some people get hung up on this because they are trying to reach “everyone”. So they shun the idea of creating this profile. But the reality is that your current audience is made up of people who have things in common with each other. Also there is no reason why you can’t make more than one persona to cover all your bases. But generalization is a good thing in this exercise. 
  2. Lifestyle – These key points include their level of education, the number of children they have if married, what kind of job they have (white collar vs. blue collar), and what they might do for fun (hobbies). This information really starts to help you flesh out your persona and humanize it vs. it being just facts. If you’re struggling to know this information, a demographics report can be helpful. You can also survey who you are already reaching or your current congregation. This can make things easier. Again, like with the demographics, the needs and wants of people change with each one of these points of information. 
  3. Motivations – This is where you really start digging into understanding why your audience does what they do. This should include things like their beliefs, values, goals, fears, and struggles. People want to avoid pain and plan accordingly to avoid it. What are the people you’re trying to reach trying to avoid? What do they hope to accomplish with their life? What is most valuable to them? These are all questions that speak to their WHY. These Why’s are often marked by deep emotional motivators that we don’t even understand about ourselves but can be seen by outsiders. But often there is a commonality to the struggles that all people face that can help you have empathy for those you are trying to reach. Dig in deep and try to understand these motivations to help you connect better.
  4. Preferences – This information can be understood as what your audience is drawn to. Do they prefer a car, truck, or minivan? Where do they like to eat? What brands do they associate themselves with? What websites do they visit? What social channels do they prefer? What people do they follow? What shows do they watch? While it may be impossible to know all of these things, even a little bit of this information can be helpful to know where you may be able to reach your audience. These preferences can help you understand how to relate to them and what communication styles you should utilize to reach them best. 
  5. Barriers – In order for people to do what we want them to do, they must overcome certain things. We call these barriers. These can be things like childcare, employment, transportation, technology, approval processes, etc. It is important to understand the hurdles that your audience has to overcome. The goal should be to lower these barriers to entry as much as possible to make it easier for your audience to do what you want them to do. Often looking from the inside out, it is hard for us to identify what these barriers might be. It can be helpful to do user feedback, talk to a focus group, or have a secret visit to get this type of information. We may not fully understand why people don’t do business with us because to us the process is “easy”, but in reality it may be anything but that. Working to identify these can help make the process as painless as possible.

Putting It All Together

The next step after gathering as much of the information above as possible is to work to create a summary of your audience in a persona. This summary is the thing you need to print out and hang up. It needs to be a constant source of reference and reminder of who you are working to reach. This makes it easy as you are making decisions about how to communicate to know what would work best for your persona. This can make it easier for you to say yes to some things and no to others that don’t resonate with your audience. We all need guardrails to help us keep on track as we can all be rabbit chasers sometimes. But digging into your audience and creating a persona is a great way to identify new opportunities and barriers, ultimately helping you reach the people you want to reach the most. 

Do you need help knowing your audience? Contact Us!

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