When it comes to developing a strong communications strategy, there is nothing more important than understanding your audience. Besides the purpose of your organization, knowing who your prospective member is, what they value and how they interact with the world is crucial.
Now that we have data at our finger tips, there's no reason you can't easily determine your member persona. Here are three simple steps to get you there.
1. Define Your Current "Super-User"
The narrower you define your target audience, the easier it is to craft a compelling message to them. Look at your existing member base and see who your “super-user” is.Two of the easiest ways to determine your "super user":
- Leverage your CRM to determine a user engagement score (or lead score)
- Check out your Online Community, is there a "leader" that always seems to be involved in the conversation?
Hopefully you have a handful of people that fall into the category of super user. Delve into their similarities and differences and what types of content they are engaging with. This will give you your baseline for who will get the most out of the products and services you offer.2. Obtain Data Wherever Possible
See what I did here? I could have used a .gif of "Data" from Star Trek,but our persona is more like me - and I prefer Gilmore Girls.
Confirm or expand on the information you gain from your customer base in step 1 with data. Leverage your website analytics to confirm information like:
- common geographic location
- device usage
- content consumption
Find like-minded individuals on social media and take note of their activities, likes and dislikes. Even if you are a professional organization, it's important to get data from platforms like LinkedIn AND Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter. Your member isn't just a professional, they are also people!
Additional resources include:
- Pew Internet which publishes reports regarding internet use among various demographics.
- Scarborough issues press releases with useful data and sometimes publishes free studies.
- Use survey monkey to poll your own members/customers about their habits
Once you’ve identified your true fan and validated your assumptions with data, you can begin compiling a complete picture of your target.
Aside from the demographic, put a face, name and personality characteristics around this person so that you can wrap your head around your persona. What do they like to do? How do they consume media? Anything is relevant in creating a full representation of your member persona.
The goal here is to create a picture of a real person - not just a string of demographics.
"Ashley, an energetic millenial who is always on the go and a natural social butterfly that manages to squeeze in a morning workout, evening reading and home-cooked meals on her average weekday...", paints a much more vivid, and actionable target than a more traditional target that says something like - female 25-54, hh income of $65k, 0 children. Remember, you want to create a real, living breathing person who you could actually have a conversation with.
We connect with people, not demographics, so try and bring your target to life. It’ll help you communicate more effectively with them.
Now that you have your target, here are a few more basics to cover to create an effective communications strategy:
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