EST 1980
Creative business man creating a wall chart persona
Jan 20, 2016

How to Develop Personas for Online Marketing

Gini Queen headshot
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 consumer-centric world, though, customers are saying, “I will respond to advertising/marketing only if it relates directly to me (via email, Google search or social media recommendations), and only when it’s convenient for me.”
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 the best marketing strategy.


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.
Example: 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)

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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:
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.
If you would like to learn more about online marketing and smart design, for a free consultation.