EST 1980
Creative business man creating a wall chart persona
Jan 24, 2023

How to Develop Personas for Online Marketing

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by Gini Queen
When you consider all the different facets of online advertising/marketing—social media, email marketing, content marketing with CTA offers—you have to have a definite plan on who you want to reach, what you offer them, how and when you want to reach them. 
In today's digital age, understanding your target audience is more important than ever before. With so much competition in the online space, it's essential to have a deep understanding of your customers' needs, pain points, and buying habits in order to craft a successful online marketing strategy.
One effective way to gain this understanding is through the development of online marketing personas. In this article, we'll take a closer look at what online marketing personas are, why they're important, and how you can develop them to drive online engagement and conversions.
So when you are considering your online marketing budget, you need to determine who exactly you are marketing to. Follow these steps on how to develop personas for your online marketing strategy.

What are Online Marketing Personas?

Online marketing personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. They are created through a combination of quantitative and qualitative research, and they are used to help businesses better understand their target audience.
Personas are typically based on real customer data, such as demographics, psychographics, and buying habits, and they can be used to inform a variety of marketing activities, such as content creation, website design, and ad targeting.

Who Do You Want to Reach with Your Persona?

When considering how to develop personas, it's important to determine the best channel. Because of the multitude of online contraptions out there today, and the plethora of online networks that can be accessed from those contraptions, you need to identify the personas you want to target, then match the appropriate device and delivery vehicle to that particular person.
If you target the wrong person with the wrong offer at the wrong time—your ROI is a big, fat zero. But with a little upfront work, you can increase those odds exponentially.
The first step in developing effective online marketing personas is to gain a deep understanding of your target audience. Here are a few tips and best practices for conducting audience research:
developing online personas
Analyze customer behavior: Start by analyzing customer behavior, such as their online search queries, social media activity, and purchase history. This information can help you identify patterns and trends that can inform your persona development.
Survey existing customers: Conducting surveys with your existing customers can provide valuable insights into their needs, pain points, and motivations. Consider using a survey tool like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms to collect this information.
Conduct market research: Take a closer look at your competitors and industry trends to better understand your target audience's needs and preferences. This information can help you craft more effective personas that resonate with your audience.

How to Develop Personas for Online Marketing: Creating Your Personas

Once you've conducted audience research, it's time to start creating your personas. Here's a step-by-step guide for creating personas that accurately reflect your target audience:
  1. Define your persona's demographics: Start by defining your persona's basic demographic information, such as age, gender, income, and education level. This information can help you craft targeted content and ads that resonate with your ideal customer.
  2. Identify psychographic traits: In addition to demographic information, it's important to identify your persona's psychographic traits, such as their values, interests, and personality. This information can help you create content that speaks to your persona's unique needs and motivations.
  3. Consider their buying habits: Take a closer look at your persona's buying habits, such as the products and services they typically purchase, their budget, and their purchasing frequency. This information can help you develop targeted ad campaigns that are more likely to convert.
  4. Identify pain points: Consider the pain points that your persona may experience and the challenges they may face. This information can help you develop content that provides solutions to their problems and positions your business as an authority in your industry.
  5. Create a persona template: Once you've identified all of the key information about your persona, it's time to create a persona template. There are many different templates available online, but here are a few key pieces of information that you should include:
  • Name: Give your persona a name to make them more relatable.
  • Demographics: Include basic demographic information, such as age, gender, and education level.
  • Psychographic traits: Identify your persona's values, interests, and personality traits.
  • Buying habits: Consider your persona's purchasing habits, such as what they typically buy and how often they make purchases.
  • Pain points: Identify the pain points that your persona may experience and the challenges they may face.


Your company offers an online meal-delivery service, providing your customers with all the pre-packaged ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes in one conveniently delivered-to-the-door bundle. You know from experience and order history, your biggest vertical market is working moms. You have also determined that 75% of your customer orders are received via mobile devices (because you’ve smartly invested in a marketing automation platform to let you know where those orders are coming from!).
Take this existing information and do more “personalized” digging, i.e. sending a simple survey to your current clients to include questions like:
  • How much do you budget for groceries each week?
  • How much time do you spend in a grocery store per week?
  • Do you have any “picky eaters” in your family?
  • Does anyone in your family have food allergies or dietary restrictions?
  • How do you do most of your online shopping? (Desktop computer vs. mobile device)
Gaining answers to questions like these can provide crucial background information to round out your targeted persona, which, in turn will determine what direction your online advertising strategy for that particular person will take.
Compiling the information gleaned from the surveys, as well as the data mined from your marketing automation tools, will give you a clear, comprehensive picture of who you are (and need to be) targeting with your marketing/advertising dollars.
A persona based on the data your online menu service company has compiled, (along with educated assumptions relative to demographics), could look something like this:
develop personas for online marketing example
Stressed out Sally is in her 30s, married with two children, ages 9 and 7. She has a college education and works full-time, so time is of a premium for her, as she tries to be as available as possible for “free fun time” with her family when she’s home. She is part of a middle-income family living in the suburbs, and fast food is not an option for her, as she is very health-conscious in what she feeds her family. She does a lot of “web surfing” and checking social media on her lunch hour at work, and therefore, does 80% of her shopping online via her phone or tablet.
Voila! You have just succeeded in identifying the who, what, how and when of marketing to Stressed out Sally, not to mention the “tone” of the messaging needed.
Sally wants a short, eye-catching, clever CTA offering the things that are most important to her—healthy home-cooked meals with minimal prep time and no grocery shopping—delivered to her email, as well as targeted online advertising on her preferred social media networks. Supporting web advertising on family-centered e-magazines that she subscribes to will reinforce keeping your company front of mind in Sally’s hectic world.

Why Personas are Important for Online Marketing

Developing accurate and effective personas is essential for a successful online marketing strategy. Here are just a few of the benefits that personas can provide:
  1. Better understanding of your audience: Personas provide a detailed snapshot of your target audience, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of their needs, pain points, and motivations.
  2. Improved content creation: Personas can help you craft targeted and relevant content that resonates with your ideal customers, driving engagement and conversions.
  3. More effective ad targeting: Personas can be used to develop highly targeted ad campaigns that are more likely to resonate with your target audience.
  4. Enhanced website design: Personas can inform the design of your website, ensuring that it is easy to navigate and provides the information that your target audience is looking for.

Using Personas in Online Marketing

Now that you've developed your personas, it's time to put them to use in your online marketing efforts. Here are a few ways that you can use personas to drive engagement and conversions:
  1. Targeted content creation: Use your personas to inform your , ensuring that you're creating content that speaks directly to your target audience's needs and interests.
  2. : Use your personas to inform the design of your website, ensuring that it's easy to navigate and provides the information that your target audience is looking for.
  3. Ad targeting: Use your personas to develop that are more likely to resonate with your ideal customers.
  4. Email marketing: Use your personas to inform your , ensuring that your messaging is tailored to your target audience's needs and interests.

How to Maintain Personas

Creating personas is just the first step in developing an effective online marketing strategy. To ensure that your personas remain accurate and effective, it's important to regularly review and update them. Here are a few best practices for maintaining your personas:
  1. Regularly review and update: Make sure to review and update your personas on a regular basis, especially as your business and target audience evolve.
  2. Collect feedback: Collect feedback from your customers to ensure that your personas accurately reflect their needs and interests.
  3. Use data to inform updates: Use data and analytics to inform your persona updates, ensuring that they're based on real customer behavior and preferences.


How you develop personas for your businesses marketing can impact everything from audience size to revenue. Personas are an essential tool for any business looking to develop an effective online marketing strategy.
By taking the time to develop accurate and detailed personas, you can gain a deeper understanding of your target audience, their needs, and their behaviors. This information can then be used to inform all aspects of your online marketing efforts, from content creation to ad targeting and beyond.
It's important to remember that personas are not set in stone. As your business evolves and your target audience changes, your personas will need to be reviewed and updated to ensure that they remain accurate and effective. By regularly reviewing and updating your personas, you can ensure that your marketing efforts are always on target and driving results.
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