Last week, you thought through your customers, and you teased out what would drive them to interact with your business. Now what? I’ll dive into a practice called Persona Driver Messaging, which we refer to as “PDM” here at CleverFunnel. It’s a way for us to test if who we think our customers are really are, and what we think they want is actually accurate. Finally, once we know what drives our customers to interact with, we are able to figure out the exact messaging that can help create a conversion. Let’s dive in.
Persona validation helps us answer one simple question: are our customers really who we think they are? On that note, we are also trying to figure out if we have the ability to talk to them . . . and if we can actually find them.
Assuming you read last week’s blog, you’ll notice we touched on a lot of this already. Our personas are supposed to help us with the Who, What, Where, When and Why of our customers, but we find Where and Who to be most important in the persona validation process. Who refers to who our audience is (how we set up our targeting), and Where refers to how we will reach them. Two platforms we like to find our customers on are Facebook and LinkedIn, both of which help with detailed targeting demographics and audience insights.
So, why do you need to do this? Well, you’ve already admitted you are wrong about your marketing strategy. That being said, it’s possible the personas you are trying to reach aren’t even your target customers; however, you won’t know this until you start your persona validation tests.
There are two ways to set up persona validation tests.
- Put your persona up against a general audience. If your persona performs better than the audience at large, it is a persona worth investigating.
- Put your personas up against one another. In doing this, you test for relative strength of each persona, which can be measured in number of impressions, number of clicks, CTR, etc.
Often, you will find that who you were hoping was your golden ticket customer isn’t. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what you were hoping for; we have to let the data speak for itself.
While you are trying to validate your personas, you are also going to be testing drivers. Drivers refer to the logical or emotional ties that a persona has to your product or service. If you remember, when you created the personas, you created reasons why they might want to use your product or service. Driver testing allows you to test the relative strength of drivers against one another, against a persona.
Driver testing will help you understand what is most important to each of your personas. You can do that by seeing the division of clicks on any of your ad variations. Once you can deduce what the strongest messages for your identified personas are, you can move on to refine that message to really knock your strategy out of the park.
Now that you have an idea what drivers are compelling for your various personas, you can begin to tweak and test your to effectively convert your customers.
Let’s say for example you are a company that delivers breakfast burritos. Your strongest identified persona is Patrick, a grad student and self-proclaimed night owl with a need for convenience at odd hours. He needs a burrito, and he needs it now dammit! So, how would you craft the message to meet his needs? There are plenty of different ways to let him know that you’re available at his whim, but which one will he resonate most with?
Late Night Munchies
When hunger strikes, we are ready.
Breakfast time is anytime when you choose us.
Your stomach needed us yesterday. Let’s help!
In this example, all of the messaging revolves around Patrick’s winning driver of needing burritos at any hour of the night. When we conduct our message test, we can test these messages against one another to see which resonates the most with the Patricks of the world.
Scale and Scope:
What’s your monthly digital marketing budget at right now? Would you believe me if I told you that you could probably figure out your target audience and messaging for about ¼ of that allotted spend? I bet you think I’m bullshitting you, but consider this: most marketing budgets evaporate into thin air with no way to determine if what was spent was successful.
Forget what you know about the traditional idea of running a monthly budget to test your campaigns. You’ve already realized that doesn’t work, which is why you are reading this. A monthly campaign is worthless without the right messaging, which is why you shouldn’t bother blowing its entirety during your PDM testing process either. It just isn’t cost-effective.
To test all aspects of PDM, you should run short tests for no more than a few days, with small daily budgets, and use clicks as your measure of success. When we test for clients, we usually do two-day tests and spend no more than $20 a day. We find that this is our sweet spot, and gives us exactly what we are looking for. Regardless of the outcomes of the tests, running them gives us quick insights to go back to the drawing board with.
Why do we use clicks as our measure of success, and not conversions? Remember, at this phase, we are simply looking for the messaging that will get our personas to click on an ad. To us, that means that we did something to catch their eye. We can work on optimizing conversion paths later, armed with the messaging that we know is effective.
We find that running these small-scale, quick tests is typically a good measure for all aspects of PDM. For personas, it helps us figure out if we are talking to the right people. For drivers, it helps us tweak our angle to help better tap into their reason for interacting. And with messaging, these tests allow us to make quick changes in a short turnaround time.
Once you have the messaging down, it’s easy to take that and use it however you see fit in your campaigns. You might find that you need to rewrite your entire website or rethink your entire existence.
Am I a failure?
What if you went through all these steps and you didn’t get what you were looking for? Does that mean you’re a failure? No! It just means you haven’t found your key target audience yet, or, you haven’t thought of the right messaging to hit the right emotional drivers for them.
Not everything you do is going to be successful. Remember our first rule of customer acquisition: you’re wrong. However, it’s important to remember that you have to start somewhere when you are testing out your target audience. If you don’t learn from your failures, then you actually did fail yourself, your company, and everyone around you. How are you going to explain that?
Remember, the best marketers are chameleons, able to adapt to change and roll with the punches. Always remain flexible and be ready to change based on the insights you receive during the PDM process. Keep reminding yourself that you’re wrong about who you think your customers are, but you’re doing something about it.
Next week, we will talk about the ways you can utilize your findings to create success for your business. But for now, you have a lot of testing to do.