Every marketer knows that personalization is highly effective, and that buyer personas are a powerful tool for creating it. But well-drawn personas aren’t enough. You need to create campaigns that attract and convert the customers they represent, and that’s often easier said than done.
Identity marketing gives you direct access to the personas you want to reach by enabling you to target an entire community of customers that share your persona’s traits. And when you digitally verify that a customer belongs to that community, you collect zero-party data you can use to nurture their loyalty.
Below is a snapshot of how you can leverage identity marketing to acquire customers who match your personas. The outline is drawn from a recent SheerIDEA Innovation Labs webinar “Building the Perfect Persona.” You can watch the full recording here.
1. Develop Your Personas
You’ve probably already done this, but the more detail you have about your ideal customer, the easier it will be to target them with an identity marketing campaign. The information you gather could include:
- Marital status.
- Income level.
- Education level.
- Hobbies and interests.
- Reasons for purchasing.
- Other brands they love.
If you don’t have a lot of customer data available, consider interviewing your sales or customer support teams to surface actionable insights.
2. Map Your Persona to a Consumer Community
With your personas in hand, you can start to use the power of identity marketing to engage them.
Identity marketing targets consumer communities whose members share an attribute that is central to their identity, such as their:
- Life stage (college students, seniors).
- Occupation (nurses, first responders).
- Affiliation (the military, the foodservice industry).
The first step in using identity marketing to attract your personas is to pick the communities they belong to. The good news is you have hundreds of communities to choose from, including the companies your customers work for and the professions and industries they work in.
Take a look at your buyer personas and think about the communities they belong to. Clothing and streaming media companies can target the student community, who loves fashion and music. Beauty companies can engage stylists, clothing designers, and cosmetologists. Home improvement brands can target workers in the construction industry or members of the military, who are often DIYers.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re a retail marketer who wants to engage middle-aged women. Teachers would be a great fit—80% are female and their average age is 42. Teachers are also a sizable and lucrative group. There are nearly seven million educators in the US who earn an average salary of $59,000 and have $329 billion in spending power.
3. Create an Offer Your Persona Will Love
Once you’ve identified a community to target, you need to capture their attention with an exclusive offer. And the more appealing your offer is, the more your buyers will want to take advantage of it.
Many brands offer their consumer communities an exclusive discount. For example, Purple gives everyday heroes like first responders and truck drivers 10% off, and Targus gives students, teachers, and the military 25% off. But your offer doesn’t have to be a cash discount. Headspace acquired 25,000 new teachers by giving them free access to it’s meditation app. And CheapCaribbean brought in 8,000 new nurses by giving them a chance to win one of 50 free roundtrip tickets to a vacation destination of their choice.
It’s a good idea to use consumer research to help you develop a compelling offer. For example, in a recent survey by Agile Education Marketing, more than 60% of teachers said the most appealing offer they could receive would be a free perk, like free shipping. But more than one-third of teachers said they preferred either a free gift, like a sample product, or a BOGO (buy one, get one free) offer.
If you can’t find research to inform your offer (and even if you can), test a number of offers to see which one your persona finds most attractive.
4. Promote the Offer on the Right Channels
You can—and should—promote your identity marketing campaign through all your channels. But you’ll see better results if you use the channels that your consumer community favors.
For example, teachers want to learn about personalized offers from brands through email, text, and social media. And they frequent websites like Bored Teachers, Educator Marketplace, and WeAreTeachers.
The key is to show up where your consumer community spends their time, and brands that take a creative approach to marketing their offer have seen great results. When Comcast hired student ambassadors to canvas campuses around the country, the company increased subscriptions by 6x and conversions by 91%. And when NFL Sunday Ticket had publishers place inserts into textbooks, it saw a 29% increase in student subscribers and a 75% renewal rate.
5. Digitally Verify Eligibility for Your Offer
Anyone can access your universal discounts, but your identity marketing offer is only for customers who belong to the consumer community you’re targeting. To keep your offer truly exclusive, you need to ensure that only eligible customers can redeem it.
The easiest way to do that is to digitally verify customers with an identity marketing platform like SheerID. Customers who want your offer simply enter basic information into a brief form during the purchase process, and SheerID uses 9,000 authoritative data sources to instantly verify they belong to the community you’re targeting.
Digital verification prevents discount abuse, which protects your margins and increases your ROI. But it also gives you zero-party data—the new gold standard for customer data.
6. Use Zero-Party Data to Nurture Loyalty
Zero-party data is the grand prize of identity marketing. Knowing a customer is attending college or works as a nurse gives you incredible insight into their values, desires, and lifestyle. This turns a buyer who fits the basic outline of your persona into a customer you can market to with truly personalized campaigns.
For example, you can re-engage teachers with additional offers on holidays that celebrate them, like Teacher Appreciation Week in May, and during key times of the year, like back-to-school.
And as these customers make more purchases, you can add that behavioral and transactional data to their profile for even deeper personalization. This leads to greater brand loyalty, and that’s when using identity marketing to reach your personas really starts to pay off.