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Why should your audiences care about your products or services? By developing personas, you can unearth answers to this question; plus, pinpoint details such as content consumption habits or personal goals. Personas roll everything about your members and potential members into fictional individuals who are realistic and relatable.

Once your credit union documents and integrates personas into daily use, your personas will drive marketing efforts – and assure that each headline, Facebook post or e-book is targeted for a specific audience. Use these four simple but crucial tips to make your personas beneficial to your credit union’s bottom line:

 1. Do your research on current members:

Your personas should accurately represent the members or small businesses your organization works with. This requires good research. Ardath Albee, the author of Digital Relevance, outlines persona research and development in this video from the Intelligent Content Conference.

 If you can, talk to some of your members or Select Employee Groups (SEGs). Find out what influenced their decision to go with your credit union. Talk to your sales team too. Ask them what kinds of leads they interact with and what kinds of strategies usually get those leads to buy.

While members can provide great anecdotal information, don’t stop there. Mine your sales databases for quantifiable trends on how members find and interact with your credit union. And use social media listening and web analytics to find out what your audiences are searching for, clicking on and sharing.

2. Adequately represent your audiences:

If you’re working with a diverse audience, you should not cover all of your members with one persona. At the same time, you don’t want to be too specific.

Think of each persona as representing a common type of member in your audience. If your research suggests that you mainly attract four types of members, then make four different personas. Sure, not everybody will neatly fall under a clear persona, but a message designed for one persona should resonate with almost every member it represents.

3. Use a common set of criteria:

Even though your personas should be diverse enough to represent a broad range of members, be consistent about how you define their characteristics, and make sure these characteristics are relevant to your company.

Here are some example criteria:

  • Background: What are some important, relevant details about the persona’s life? For example, what is the persona’s income, financial responsibilities and financial challenges?
  • Goals: What does the persona want to do that your organization can help with? For instance, credit unions can provide financial literacy education to members, helping them navigate financial challenges.
  • Content/information preferences: How does the persona like to send and receive information? The number of channels available is growing and changing all the time. Are your millennials on Snapchat or Instagram? What publications are your B2C and B2B audiences reading? And remember, more than 80% of 18- to 49-year-olds own smartphones now.
  • Challenges: Think of reasons the persona may not choose your product or service. Would income level, geographic region or life stage deter a member from activating a product?
  • Brand promise: This is the one- or two-sentence pitch that should explain how your product or service can meet all of the persona’s needs and address their challenges and concerns.

 4. Don’t leave your personas faceless:

Personas are supposed to make it easier to know who you’re creating content for, so they’re not much good if they’re not, well, personable. For each persona, use a photo that helps content creators think of it as a real person. You can use stock photos for this. When you read the text of a persona, an image of the person it describes should come to mind. Find the photo that best matches this image and say hello to the person who will keep your content creators focused and your audiences paying attention.

Developing personas is just the start. Once you complete your brand’s personas, use these in every content marketing, advertising and sales channel. From targeted digital marketing campaigns to social media content calendars and sales conversations with prospects, your brand will stay relevant to your audiences with established personas.


 Our free e-book includes several complete persona examples. You can download it here.

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