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Growing your Customer Base with Persona Flows

Imagine you own a clothing store and are trying to drive traffic to your website through ads. After a month or two, your website is getting more hits and you’re increasing your email subscriber count. You’re so excited, you begin sending daily content to your subscribers, highlighting all your current clothing sales and new arrivals. Some time passes, though, and you notice the number of subscribers on your website starts to drop. What went wrong? If only you knew who was subscribing to your site in the first place. Are they young professionals? Parents with kids? New to the store or returning customers? If you could tailor your content to each type of customer, maybe you could send them relative content and boost your sales. This is the idea behind Persona Flows.

First, let’s talk about the persona. A persona is a set of characteristics that defines a person or an aspect of a person. Think Financial CEO. Environmental activist. Dog-lover. Personas have a limitless range and people can have multiple personas. Your persona when you’re at work, for example, may be completely different than at home. When it comes to marketing, it’s vital to understand your targeted personas to implement the best techniques to drive your business. If you’re looking to market to people in Austin, Texas, you may have a persona for people who live in Austin so you market local content to them rather than Seattle-based content. Listed below are some more examples of what might make up your customer’s persona:

  • What motivates them
  • What they like and don’t like about an offering
  • What percentage can complete important tasks
  • How easily they can figure out how to do tasks
  • How efficiently they think they can do their tasks
  • How useful specific features are
  • Which valuable features are missing, and which features with little or no value can be removed
  • Which content and terminology resonate with them
  • How they react to the look and feel
  • Why they do what they do

Okay, so you’ve identified the personas you want to target for your business. Now, how do you actually go about attracting the attention of the people who fit into those personas, turning them into leads, and selling them your product? That’s where the Persona Flow comes in. The Persona Flow guides you through the process of drawing in a potential lead and transforming them into a customer based on their designated persona.

In the diagram above, each oval-shaped step corresponds to a specific piece of content that’s appropriate to market to your customer based on where they fall in the flow. One option when you’re creating the flow is to have a callout showing a preview of the content.

The other shape you’ll see in the diagram is the diamond decision step. These steps represent the triggers to continue reaching out to your potential customer. They can help you determine if someone is ready for a more personalized content experience or whether they’re ready to make the jumps from prospect to lead to customer.

Each Persona Flow focuses on the customer acquirement process for one persona. For example, if you own a grocery store, you might have a persona for customers with young children and one for customers who have special dietary restrictions. You would document the steps to market to each of these personas in separate Persona Flows.

The Persona Flow is divided into swim lanes to help guide the marketer through each stage in the acquirement process. In our example, we are using the marketing funnel (TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU) for this purpose. The TOFU, or top of the funnel, lane is for lead generation and includes content that is broader and serves the purpose of drawing people to your business. The MOFU, middle of the funnel, lane is for a generated lead, with tailored content marketed to them based on how they’ve interacted with you so far. The BOFU, bottom of the funnel, lane includes content for after the person has bought into your product. This content is even more personalized and can highlight upsell opportunities.

So, let’s rewrite our clothing store example. As your ads start to bring more traffic to your website, maybe you set up a survey asking new email subscribers some questions about themselves. What’s their age-range? How would they describe their personality from a set of options? Or maybe, you start tracking and analyzing the items that are popular on your website and those that are frequently bought together. Once you have your data, you create personas and develop content for each one. You organize the data into Persona Flows and suddenly know exactly who would love a sneak peek of your new summer swimsuit line, who should receive invites to your pop-up store next month, and who desperately needs a discount coupon. By tailoring your content to your audience, you attract and hold on to your potential leads and turn them into returning customers.  

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