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Personas in email marketing

The best marketing mailing is of little use if it is not tailored to the recipient. At best, it will be clicked on briefly and then immediately clicked off again. data-driven personas prevents this.

Using data-based buyer personas in an email campaign improved open rates by double and click-through rates by five times. Personalised emails improve click-through rates by 14 per cent, conversion rates by 10 per cent and generate 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails.

So if you want to run a good mailing campaign, you have to know who you are writing for. Of course, the team behind the mailing knows whether the email is intended for B2B or B2C customers, what product their company wants to sell and roughly what kind of customers need or want this product. But who exactly opens the email at the other end and what this person really wants and needs, what appeals to him or her and moves him or her, is something the marketing department can only guess at best.

Unless - it uses data-based buyer personas.

Emails to personas arrive

data-driven personas (or buyer personas) are much more detailed than a target group. They give the target group a face, have a name, age, marital status, profession, interests and hobbies. You know how and with whom the persona lives, what drives them, what their education is and what fears and desires the persona has.

A data-driven persona is therefore an ideal, tangible representative of the target group that marketing staff can empathise with. It is important that the persona is data-based, i.e. it was created on the basis of sound statistical data and real customer feedback and does not stem from gut feeling in combination with anecdotal experience.

Only those who know their buyer persona can develop a deep understanding of the customers they represent. But if the buyer persona is known, everything from product development to customer loyalty and even the mailing can be geared to this persona.

Especially for mailing campaigns, personas have proven to be a valuable tool: They are created from email marketing analytics data, customer feedback and sales data and help to continuously develop ever more successful email campaigns that lead to more traffic, higher conversion rates and long-term loyal customers.

If you know your email marketing persona, you know not only what content they need, but also what wording, what tone of voice appeals to them and what design the persona finds comfortable.

Personas bring added value for customers and the company

Creating a data-driven persona requires three key steps:

  • Collect comprehensive information and data about the target group from internal and external sources: Who are the customers? But also: Why do they buy the product, what do they want from it, what problems does it solve for them?
  • Create a profile or sedcard from the collected data.
  • Use, monitor, evaluate and adjust the persona. When the persona is in use, the KPIs show whether it is working well or needs fine-tuning. Just like real people, personas are constantly evolving.

Especially for medium-sized and small companies or companies with a small marketing department, it can make a lot of sense to commission personas and have them created by experts like the Persona Institute.

Once the personas are created, the marketing team can do list segmentation: For each persona, a mailing list is created with the real customers who match the persona. This helps to create attention-grabbing mailing campaigns in a way that customers like to open them and see real added value in them.
It is best for the entire marketing team to have the profiles of the personas, including photos, in sight at all times - this not only helps with the work, but also motivates the entire team.

Mailings with personas create customer loyalty

If customers are happy to open the mailing because it strikes a chord with them, long-term customer loyalty is as good as achieved. Brand and products then meet a sympathetic audience that is significantly more willing to buy than customers who feel "bombarded" with generic emails.

Ideally, the marketing team accompanies customers on their customer journey with the appropriate nurture tracks for each persona and the corresponding list segment. This way, customers are happy to stay with the company and product and, if well guided, also try out new products - all because thanks to personas, exactly the right mailing reaches exactly the right person.

A best-case example for personas in email marketing

An online shop selling dietary supplements and herbal health products has several target groups:

  • A persona for whom healthy ageing matters (men and women).
  • A parent who cares about the health of the children.
  • A persona who is passionate about physical fitness.
  • A persona that focuses on natural beauty products.
  • A persona interested in alternative medicine.

Each of these personas cares about different things. Each of them has specific fears, hopes and motivations. Documenting these helps the marketing team and the whole company to serve customers more effectively.

Personas for this brand could also be divided according to specific health concerns:

  • Cardiovascular
  • Digestion
  • Strengthening the immune system, etc.

Each of these personas, in turn, has a story that describes their path to the customer and responds to other nurture tracks - i.e. lead magnets such as value tips, advice content, whitepapers, product recommendations, testimonials and so on.

This allows you to set up automated Nurture tracks for B2C personas:

  • Emails about abandoned purchases, personalised by product category - combined with one user tip per product category
  • Purchase confirmation emails by product category (link to "People also bought...").
  • Social trust emails with testimonials tailored to the personas
  • Welcome series emails by product category or health concern

After all, the single person who is interested in strength training without equipment and the senior citizen who wants to relieve joint pain are not interested in multivitamin gummy bears for children. So why would you send them an email about these kinds of products? With data-driven personas and segmentations based on them, you address exactly the needs and desires of your different customers: No wastage thanks to high content relevance.

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