Understanding your audience and their journey in four steps
As marketing individuals and business owners, we are continually trying to find and talk to the correct audience online and a common question we get asked is how.
We have created a four-step process to help you get your desired answer!
By the end of this, you will be able to define the:
Persona: who you are talking to and how are they engaging with your brand and their customer journey
Scenario and stages of the journey: how does the customer engage with your digital footprint and in what context are the customers coming to you?
What users expect and their actions: What actions can the user take in each stage of the journey?
Defining success and iterative tests: How do we define success and what tests and experiments can we do to improve the results
Several types of persons and a ludicrous sum of journeys can be taken when on a website, but you need to start from somewhere. I would always recommend a visual representation, either written or made digitally, is the best place to start.
Now that you have your pen, paper, and/or digital sketch software, the process consists of four stages. Each stage helps you create a picture of who you’re looking to talk to and their objectives but as a caveat, nothing is perfect and testing, revising, and trialing specific journeys and their user flow will put you in a better position than most.
Step one – persona
In this step, you’ll need to clearly define:
- Who is your audience
This includes job titles, age, sex, what sort of device they will be on and where they are located
- Their needs and wants
What do they think, feel, say and do when engaging with you?
- How do they define success?
What are they looking to do? And what do they expect to happen once they have done “it”.
- The context of their surroundings and pressures when they’re engaging with you
For example, they could be pressured on the phone with limited Wi-Fi…
Step two – scenario and stages of the journey
Yes, personas have their place, but nothing is effective without understanding the user journey and testing, revising, and trialling specific journeys and their “user flow”.
This is one where the pen and paper come in handy. This is when you get your personas and try to distil their customer experience with you and your brand.
The three stages of creating a user journey are:
1. Choose one of the personas from step one.
2. List the touch points, and the channels of the persona. I.e., when and where they will engage with your digital footprint
3. Draw out the user journey
4. Validate the map. Test it yourself and see if it works. Get your chosen persona to try it out.
Your map could be as simple as a timeline or as complex as a storyboard that shows visually what happens in each phase.
Nielsen Norman Group offers a basic template that could help you get started.
Step three – content strategy
Now we understand the people, the journey, what they expect from the digital landscape and their needs.
This will help you define what sort of content and messaging your persona needs at each point of the user journey. From understanding a product's features, benefits and advantages to knowing your personas wanted a free consultation. Content is fundamental to knowing and understanding your audience - and giving them what they want.
Step four – Defining success and iterative tests
Finally, now you have who you’re talking to, how they will engage with you and their success factors this is the time the work starts. This could be from testing changing content and messaging, or A/B testing. The world is your oyster when it comes to testing.
As long as you know what the persona wants and the journey they’ll be going through, you know what you can change… to try and reduce the friction in the journey.
If you would like to learn more about how you can understand your audience, please speak to one of the digital strategists. You can use our contact form, and we'll make sure the relevant person gets in touch with you.