Target Smarter, Not Harder

I’ve always been a little bit cynical about the concept of user personas. After learning about them I kind of crinkled my nose and figured that I didn’t need to come up with a list of personal details of the potential leads and converters for my website. After all, everyone is different and in marketing for a PI law firm, you kind of figure that age, gender, number of kids, and favorite ice cream has nothing to do with whether you get in a car accident or not. (If anyone makes any sexist and/or racist jokes here, you will be forever considered a douchebag.)

What are these Personas

If you’re not familiar with the concept of personas, the idea is to create profiles of multiple fictitious people who may have a reason to convert with your product or service. Looking at different personalities and motivations behind these personas will help you market to people more effectively and provide them with what they need, so they in turn will convert.
An example, since I can’t stand people who write about concepts without examples – You’re an electrician who wants more phone calls and more jobs, so you can finally buy that yacht you always dreamed of. You decide to create some personas to understand your customers more.

You come up with a few different types of people who might need electrical work. I’ll keep it short:
1. Stacy’s Mom: Single mom who needs a bathroom fan installed. Doesn’t have time to learn how to do it herself.
2. Manly Emanuel: Wants to be a macho man and fix everything in his house himself. Doesn’t need no professional. “DIY bro!”
3. Doctor Octavius: Wants to create a tritium reactor in his living room and doesn’t know how much power he can draw from an outlet.

The power of fake user information in the palm of my hands.

The power of fake user information in the palm of my hands.


These are very dumbed down persona profiles but we can use them for the purpose of the exercise.
To market to Stacy’s Mom, your CTA, your normal channels of marketing and SEO are your best bets here, as well as gently telling Stacy that she’s not the girl for you.
To market to Manly Emanuel, you have to consider that Emanuel is a strong, confident bearded man, who don’t need no electrician. BUT he’ll waste no time perusing your website if you put highly detailed and helpful tutorials on electrical installations and fixes. You may lose potential customers by teaching them how to do your work, but at the end of the day, most people who want a DIY solution will find it, and most people who don’t will call someone anyway. Your tutorial content is there as a support for your service, which Emanuel will contact after he burns his mustache off because he’s an idiot.
To market to Doc Ock, you make yourself available to answer questions that someone might hesitate or feel foolish asking questions about. Add a section on your website with a phone number that specifically allows people to ask questions about their situation to give them peace of mind. An electrician that makes themselves approachable and easy to contact in the name of “safety” will get more calls asking about the safety of tritium reactors, flickering lights, exposed wires, robot apocalypses, etc etc. Many of these won’t turn into conversions, but some might.

Ok that went on a little bit longer than I had hoped for as a (very) brief explanation of personas, but whatever ok cool. If you’re interested in learning more, ConversionXL has an interesting article that discusses personas created using real data, and studies of results from real events.

Lets Move Along (move along)

“But,” I complain, “You can’t do that sort of stuff with lawyers. Every client is different. All we can do is target for location and keywords.”

Fortunately, not with the advent of Facebook Ads. After creating campaigns for a few months, I’m still finding new ways to target my audience, and it really makes the concept of persona marketing come alive. Here are some insights that I’ve learned recently.

Know Your Audience

Because Facebook allows you to target such a tight group of viewers, you actually have an opportunity to use that persona data that you created just to “be a good marketer” and “complete the process properly.” For example, I just created an ad campaign targeting people whose loved ones may have been a victim of nursing home or elder abuse. My on-page analytics shows that people who visit my website’s nursing home pages tend to be older than 45, which I would assume would be the children of parents inside nursing homes. Therefore I’d obviously want to target above the age of 45 in my facebook ads. But remember to consider other options that Facebook provides you. With other PPC providers it’s impossible to choose by target by ethnicity, but Facebook offers the option to choose your target ethnicity. Unfortunately, it doesn’t allow for excluding a target ethnicity, which is really what we need in this situation.

ethnicity
According to this CDC report, at least three quarters of long-term care patients are ethnically non-hispanic whites, meaning that if we were only able to target a white population we may get more interest in our ads. As this isn’t possible, we may have to make do with limiting our target areas with a primarily white demographic.

The same report shows that nursing homes have a very high percentage of Alzheimer’s and Depression, which has also been connected to increased potential for abuse. We can use Facebook to target interests like “Alzheimer’s disease awareness.” Another especially relevant interest for us might be “Nursing Home Residents’ Rights.” If someone shows an interest in that, you can bet they have some stake in elder care somehow.

I'm a little upset that Mikey J. was not mentioned here.

I’m a little upset that Mikey J. was not mentioned here.

Choosing charitable donations to health causes may create a much smaller audience.

Note: Choosing charitable donations to health causes may create a much smaller audience.

Lastly, we can even narrow down behaviors to “Technology Late Adopters,” to target people who access facebook using older devices and operating systems.

Note: A cautionary word here – using behaviors to narrow down your target audience can have mixed results. A lot of the categories don’t include as many users as you’d expect since a lot of the data is provided by specific third parties and survey results. I’d advise creating 2 of the same ad groups and using only one to target your specific behavior. Then you can run your ads for a few days and see the results.

Lets go back to our electrician example. Pick an Ad Group to target toward Stacey’s Mom. Age: 30+. Women. Relationship Status: Single+Divorced+Separated. You can even choose different groups of Moms to target (Big-City Moms, Corporate Moms, New Moms, etc.) All of this data that we specify when we create personas can be targeted, as long as it is relevant to the kind of customers we are trying to attract.

Other Helpful Tips

city-data.com has been my friend throughout my targeting adventures. Organize cities by different census data – income, age, ethnicity, employment, education, families vs non-families, vacant homes, rent prices, marital status, cost of living, etc. Using all of this date, you can target specific areas that are more likely to have the type of people that you want to show your ad to.

Also, don’t neglect your website data. Assuming you’re using an analytics platform that tracks demographics, you can narrow down specifics of a type of visitor who hits your specific page. In doing so, you can find some interesting insights that you many not have known. For example, our electrician may have assumed a primarily male population to be reading his DIY tutorials and therefore may have targeted only men in any ads that he targeted toward Manly Emanuel, but it would be wise to double check that in your analytics platform before making any judgments. (It may also be useful to know that Facebook has a “recently moved” and “recent homebuyer” search behavior, which may be useful for an electrician.)

Lastly, make sure to get creative! There’s a hundred different ways you can target your audiences. Sometimes you can add multiple criteria to your custom audience, and sometimes these criteria will conflict with each other or make your audience too small, but make sure you’re thinking outside of the box! Most of the time an audience’s employer won’t matter to who you’re targeting, but they’ll have a huge return for class action lawsuits (my results were ~7% CTR for $0.14/click), or possibly if you’re a healthcare provider and you’re able to find out details of a large employer’s health insurance coverage you can offer services that you know their healthcare doesn’t provide. If specific employers don’t work for you, you can filter by job role in behaviors.
Whatever your situation, it’s highly likely that there is a great way to target for you. Travel companies are already targeting frequent travelers on Facebook, E-commerce shops are getting data from Loyalty Cards and retail stores that show who’s buying what products, and you know that our electrician friend would love to target those Manly Emmanuels who watch home improvement shows.

So get to it!

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