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The term “persona” may sound like highfalutin jargon. But, really, it’s just the latest term for what always has been Marketing 101: Know your audience, and deliver what’s interesting and relevant to it. This is especially true for associations.

By understanding your members’ roles and responsibilities, motivations and drivers, you can create meaningful dialogue with them.

Here are four steps to develop member personas.

Step 1: Define your membership.
Before taking on the task of creating a unique persona, you must define your association. Once this is established, you can begin to segment your membership data.

For example, if you are a:

  • Trade Organization. Demographic groupings can be built based on items like the member organization’s revenue, number of employees or geographic business scope.
  • Professional Association or Society. You can begin to segment those members by particular demographics, such as where they are in their career and by their specialization within the industry.

You can also use member scoring as a tool to group your members. Highly-engaged members are likely further down the sales funnel as potential buyers of value-added member benefits.

In order to create the right personas for your association, ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Is it meaningful? (Will this persona make sense to you and others? Will it be recognizable?)
  2. Is it manageable? (Is my persona too specific? Is it too broad?)

Step 2: Uncover data.
Where do you find the information you need to build out your personas? In places like these:

  • Membership applications. Great place to start gathering the “who” and the “what.”
  • Association management software (AMS) or customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Good sources to spot potential persona groups.
  • Rely on subject matter experts (SMEs). Ask your colleagues for input from their respective areas.
  • Go to the source. Ask the members themselves.

Step 3: Document your personas.
Keeping track of your personas is as easy as producing a Word document or an infographic to paint a picture of the types of members comprising the persona.

Don’t forget to ask yourself again those two important questions: Is it meaningful? Is it manageable?

Step 4: Put your personas to work.
Once your member personas are established, you can deliver more useful, relevant content to them. Here’s how.

Marketing automation enables you to take what you know about various personas and then customize your messages. Two advantages to using marketing automation:

  1. Dynamic content. This sophisticated tool enables you to create one campaign. But, with sections of dynamically rendered content to target specific personas.
  2. Segmentation. Marketing automation makes the job of segmenting your campaigns easier. It enables you to look at your audiences and customize your offers, then segment to your various personas.

Bottom line.
A quick recap:

  • Start small.
  • Keep personas simple and manageable.
  • Refine and expand over time.
  • Personas = insight.

It’s time to learn more about developing personas for your association. Watch the webinar on-demand for tips and best practices: Fundamentals of member marketing.