Personas are not only helpful when developing new products. Personas are an incredibly important aspect of selling and marketing your travel business. Without them, it’s difficult to reach the right people, create relevant content, and differentiate your business from competitors.
All successful businesses begin and end everything with the customer. For busy travel professionals, this is sometimes easy to forget. But we all know that without customers, our businesses just will not survive, let alone thrive.
No money, no time, relying on “marketing to myself” syndrome, conflicting stakeholder interests, or perhaps struggling with “where do I begin” – these are all common excuses for not creating and using customer personas. Yet, trying to be all things to all customers or focusing on your product rather than the customer’s experience will turn expensive. It will also dilute the value of your sales and marketing activities.
We have listed here some reasons and ideas for using personas creatively to boost your travel business.
Target your content
When you segment your audience into groups, each defined by a separate persona, you can better target the content you create. A blog post – or video, email campaign, social media post – about activities for adrenaline junkies may appeal to Anna the Adventurer but not to Rasmus the Retiree. Instead of promoting the same article to both groups, you can target just the “Anna” persona. This will ensure that you’re only sending relevant content to your audience.
TIP: Make a content plan for all your personas. Try to maximize synergies without losing relevance.
Be where your customers are
If you know where your ideal customers like to hang out online, you can join them. Do they prefer TikTok, Snapchat, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram? Do they enjoy reading blog posts or watching videos?
Which groups and forums are they a part of? Not only will you be able to learn even more about your target audience, but you’ll also be able to engage them in conversation, build relationships, and sometimes even promote your business. Just remember to treat these interactions like conversations, not sales pitches. Your audience wants to engage with others who share their passion for similar types of travel. If a sales opportunity presents itself, as it often at some point does, take it! Just don’t push it.
TIP: Make hanging out with your customers online a habit. It’s a job. Take it seriously.
Partner with relevant brands
When we say relevant brands, we’re talking about other brands your customers care about AND you are a good fit for you. Understanding your customer personas may allow you to partner with the right brands and create joint campaigns, products, experiences and activities that benefit both of you.
Additionally, people tend to judge companies the same way they judge humans: by the company they keep. If your business associates itself with other brands your target customers love, it will elevate your standing in their eyes.
TIP: As the most obvious brands may be out of your reach, try to find some up-and-coming ones.
Speak as your customers do
Thorough knowledge of the people you hope to reach will enable you to speak their language. How do they express their goals, frustrations, and motivations? What phrases and words do they like to use?
By speaking the same language with your customers, your messages will be more meaningful to them, and you will be able to connect on a deeper level. This will increase your chances of converting them into paying customers.
TIP: Find some brands that you know customers find appealing. Develop your own tone of voice by using these brands as examples. However, stay original and true to yourself.
Train your new employees
In a service business, every interaction is a point of winning or losing a future sale. You all must have a deep understanding of your customer needs. Of course, your aim is to hire skilled people, but that alone doesn’t guarantee they will shine.
Personas shouldn’t just be limited to product development or sales and marketing. Personas can be incredibly helpful in training your employees. The use of personas gives them a better understanding of customers’ needs and ensures they interact with customers effectively in a personalized way. They will also become better equipped in social selling and employee advocacy.
TIP: Train new employees on personas as much as you train them on your products and services.
Sirje is an adventurer who loves exploring Nordic wilderness, new business opportunities and emerging technologies. She regularly collaborates with Atelier Digital, a boutique digital marketing agency in Helsinki.