Creating Target Personas

Lori Ely

A persona template and overview for creating your personas

A persona by definition is the way your character or personality is perceived/presented to others.

In marketing, when we talk about creating value and relevancy (which is the key to marketing success) understanding the persona of our target customers, users, members, or donors is critical. And honestly, it shouldn’t just be a function of marketing. Your organization’s personas are something that should be developed and agreed upon by stakeholders organization-wide. That way your personas drive everything from product and service offerings, programs and benefits, to content and marketing messaging – therefore delivering true value for the entire lifecycle of your relationship with them.

So if you haven’t developed your target personas or if you simply haven’t revisited them recently, now is the time! Sometimes finding a starting point is the hardest place so here is some insight into my experience into created personas. First, I created a persona template that you can use to get started.

Now you can have as many personas as needed but I recommend starting with one or two because it can get overwhelming quickly. And it’s best to revisit these on a regular basis to expand and refresh as needed. To identify which personas you will develop, start by looking at your best clients/members/donors and asking, “Who has an incredible need for what we offer and love for our organization?” “Who will remain loyal for years and tell all of their peers about how great we are?” These people you identify within your current constituent-base should be combined and drive what your ideal target persona is. Use the commonalities among them when answering the questions in the persona template.

If you’re lucky enough to get your various stakeholders involved, you can hold a persona workshop to collect the input from everyone in the room. I did this at the beginning of the year and utilized an empathy map on the white board to drive the conversation.

emplathy map

I gave everyone a stack of post-it notes and we went through a series of questions related to what our persona hears, thinks, sees, says, does, and feels. After each category, we would put the post it notes up on the board and discuss what the common themes were. At the end of the session, I wrote out the persona based on what was on the board and then passed it by the group for final approval.

Next up, I’ll post about mapping your content to personas and your customer lifecycle.

I’d love to hear if you are using personas at your organization or if you find the persona template in the post helpful. Leave me a comment and let me know!

Defining your Target Audience with Personas

About the Author
Lori Ely

Lori is the VP of Sales and Marketing at Informz. Outside of work you can find Lori chasing around her young sons.