Market Artfully: How to Create Marketing Personas

Market Artfully: How to Create Marketing Personas

A marketing persona helps you turn the rough sketch you have of your customer into a vivid, life-like portrait.

We all know that a well-constructed landing page leads to better conversion rates. However, landing pages aren’t one size fits all! A CTA or special offer can snag one customer, but be completely lost on another. To lead a customer through the sales funnel effectively, you must learn their goals, concerns, and habits by creating marketing personas. A marketing persona helps you turn the rough sketch you have of your customer into a vivid, life-like portrait.

A persona includes details based on data, customer interviews, and competitive analysis. These details are then used to guide every aspect of your inbound marketing, at every level of the sales funnel: from ads, to landing pages, to web content and drip email campaigns.

A good persona outlines demographic details such as age, gender, income, and location, as well as professional ones, like job title/responsibilities, career goals, and pain points. Depending on the product or service you’re selling, you can also explore a persona’s more personal details such as relationship status, personal goals, or consumption habits.

Since social media and online metrics offer endless data mining opportunities, creating a persona can seem daunting. But the more complex your personas, the better you’ll know your potential customers and the more effective you’ll be in both marketing and sales. By creating personas, you position your brand to better for solve your customer’s problems and/or meet their goals.

For example, if that fake chair company I mentioned in my Ad Group Management post, looked through its Google Analytics demographics & interests reports, the company may discover that its typical customer is a middle aged, high-income homeowner who rarely shops online. If the chair company decided to send out a questionnaire to its mailing list, it may also reveal that a typical customer also owns a summer home and enjoys vacationing on Lake Ontario.

With these details, our chair company can now create a vivid portrait of an ideal customer – let’s call her Linda. The chair company might assume she’s looking for a super sturdy Muskoka chair. With the details of her persona, the company is able to create relevant ads that reach Linda as she’s searching for Muskoka chairs. The persona will also help the company optimize any landing pages associated with Muskoka chair ads, so that Linda – as a middle-aged person with little online shopping experience – will find it easy navigate. After all, she and customers like her would get frustrated by a landing page without good search features, or one that makes me scroll through cheap plastic lawn furniture to find the perfect Muskoka chair.

Below is a great persona template, courtesy of Buffer:

Sample Marketing Persona Template

Have you ever created a marketing persona? Tell your story in the comments section!

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Stick the Landing - Landing Pages and Quality Score

Why A Good Landing Page Is More Important Than Your CTR

Quality Scores (QS) are determined by Click Through Rates (CTR), but neither of these metrics determine the actual effectiveness of your ad. Only conversion rates do that and only an effective landing page can raise your conversion rates.

After searching for a description of your product, seeing your ad, and deciding to click on it, a potential customer arrives at your landing page. Sounds like her decision to buy is already made, right? Not so much! You see, in the age of infinite distraction, the minute your potential customer gets confused or frustrated, she is on to the next search result. This makes a usable and clear landing page absolutely crucial.

As discussed in my Intro to Quality Score post, CTR is what Google uses to determine QS and measure how much you should be paying per click for your ad. Google lowers an account’s QS as a penalty for taking up ad space that other, more usable, relevant, or authoritative accounts might have occupied.  Since ads with more clicks make more money for Google, those advertisers don’t need to pay as much per click. Ads with fewer clicks, however, must to pay more to keep their spot.

If your ads seem stuck in with low CTRs and a low QS, you can try selecting alternative, high CTR keywords, or you can restructure your ad groups. If those approaches don’t improve your CTR or QS, it may be that poor landing pages have earned you a bad reputation with Google (well, their QS algorithm, anyway).

Even if you’ve managed to increase your CTR, neglecting your landing pages means that the clicks you’re paying for aren’t aren’t leading to conversion. Best case scenario: you’ve increased your QS and you’re paying less per click, but those clicks aren’t leading to sales. Worst case scenario: you’ve increased your ad group’s CTR, but you have a newer account that has less historically high CTRs, so your QS remains low; this leaves you paying more per click (sometimes up to $10!) on an ad that is not leading to a conversion. Either way, your bad landing page is losing you money and turning off potential customers.

There are tons of online resources that can help you create a compelling, high converting landing page! Here are just a few:

How have you increased your landing page conversion rates? Share in the comments below!

Ad Group Management and Quality Score

Ad Group Management and Quality Score

Well-structured ad groups not only increase your Quality Score (QS), but save you money.  When you run many ad groups but none or few get high CTRs, you run the risk of ruining your QS and end up paying more in future PPC campaigns (high QS accounts pay as little as 5 cents per click, versus up to $10 per click for accounts with poor QS!)

Restructuring your ad groups may result in more visibility for your campaign, which means a higher CTR and thus a higher overall QS for your account.

Keywords still play a large role in how your ad group is structured and its effectiveness. Let’s say your chair company’s latest campaign has one ad group with a lower than average CTR (under 1.5), and another ad group with a higher than average CTR (4 – 10).  You can assume that the ad group with the low CTR needs refinement or reorganization.

If the high CTR ad group is for “Living Room Easy Chairs”, and the low CTR ad group is for “TV Room Recliners,” then you can also assume that “Living Room Easy Chairs” is the more relevant (more searched for) term.

So, what can we do to improve the CTR of the “TV Room Recliner” ad group? Using the methods discussed in my previous post, we can find higher scoring, alternative keywords on AdWords Keyword Planner. These alternative keyword phrases can be distinct from the successful “Living Room Easy Chairs” group, yet still relevant. For example, you could find other high CTR descriptors for “Recliners” your company sells, such as “Retro Recliners,” “Blue Recliners,” or “Affordable Recliners.” 

The key is creating ad groups that are relevant to each other, yet still distinct. This does two things:

1) It expands the visibility of your campaign by adding more relevant keywords to describe your product/service features

2) If your newly structured ad group is effective, you increase your CTR and thus your QS, which means better ad positioning and lower click rates for future campaigns!

Have you ever had to restructure an ad group? Share in the comments below!

Intro to Quality Score and Keywords

Intro to Quality Score and Keywords

By definition, a Pay Per Click Ad costs you money every time someone clicks on it.  The factor that determines how much you pay per click, is Quality Score: a 1-10 ranking Google gives your AdWords Account to determine the quality of your ads.

Google is pretty damn thorough about Usability, Relevance, and Authority, so it applies Quality Scores to many elements of AdWords accounts: from keywords, to ad groups, to landing pages.

One thing that is true of all account-level Quality Scores is that history matters: the longer your account has existed and the better your ads have performed over time, the higher your QS; the higher your QS, the less you’ll pay per click for future campaigns.

Your keyword-level score is calculated by how often an exact match for your keyword shows up in search queries. Keyword-level QS matters because keywords that perform well within an Ad Group will improve your account’s QS and thus decrease the amount your company pays per click.

A quality keyword has a historically high Click Through Rate (CTR). CTR is calculated by the number of times your ad has appeared in a search, divided by the number of times it has been clicked. A CTR of 1.5 is average, but a keyword that is highly relevant to those who are searching for your ad, may yield a CTR of 4 or even 10!

Conversion rates matter when you’re bidding on keywords, because a high CTR doesn’t mean jack if your conversion rates are low. Spending on high performance keywords when customers don’t make it past the landing page is a waste of your company’s marketing budget.

A good landing page (which we’ll talk about in a few posts) and a well-written ad with relevant and well-placed keywords (placed in the H1 tag and description meta tags), will help improve your ad’s CTR, and thus your overall keyword-level QS.

If you find your keywords aren’t performing well, you may want to try adding broad matches, eliminating niche keywords, or using Google Adwords: Keyword Planner to find new alternative keyword phrases. High quality keywords mean they aren’t used in the right ad groups, which is why next week, I’ll discuss how to manage your Ad Group QS.

Have tips on improving your keyword-level QS? Share in the comments below!