4 steps to improve your school marketing personas

It’s been years since you developed your school marketing personas, and they have served you very well as the foundation of your online marketing strategy. However, during your annual review you begin to realise that some of your marketing initiatives are starting to miss their objectives and the growth rate of your leads is starting to dwindle. You try to figure out the problem and you find out why you keep missing the mark: your targets are moving. Simply put, your marketing personas are evolving.

Personas are supposed to reflect your prospects’ personalities, tendencies, and behaviour, all of which constantly change over time. For example, what may be important to your prospects at a particular point in time may not matter anymore after a few years. Additionally, your prospects don’t live in a vacuum – there are people, objects, and events that can alter their daily interactions, even with your school.

How are your marketing personas? Have you updated them lately? Here are 4 steps to improve your school marketing personas to keep them relevant and effective:

1. Ask the right questions
You can start updating your marketing personas by asking questions that describe their specific characteristics to make them easier to visualise and imagine. With the right questions in mind, your marketing personas will remain relevant as you develop your next marketing strategy.

Here are the questions that you can ask as you refine your existing marketing personas:
• How old are your personas now?
• What are their current careers?
• Are there changes in their daily life experiences, especially with internet usage and online behaviour?
• Have they succeeded in resolving their previous concerns?
• What are their current concerns and how can you help them?

There are many more questions you can ask as you further refine your existing personas. Try answering as many relevant questions as you can to get a clearer picture of them.

2. Observe your prospects in the real world and on social media
You must make sure that your personas are good analogs of your real-life prospects. Try to observe your prospects’ behaviour and reactions in their day-to-day activities, especially in instances where you interact with them. From there, you can get a general idea of your prospects’ mindset, behaviour, demographic, and preferences, which you can use to build your personas.

You must consider how your prospects behave in both the real world and online, since most people shift their personalities and behaviours across these domains. You can then compare your observations with your current personas to see if they match or if they need updates. You don’t need an in-depth observation because people might find it distracting; this is where the next step will be useful.

3. Conduct continuous research
A series of in-depth and qualitative studies can help you identify your prospects to help you refine your marketing personas. Here are some ways you can get more information from your prospects:

Send out forms and questionnaires to your prospects. Give them a chance to voice their comments and suggestions in these forms to get more qualitative responses.

Conduct one-on-one interviews with your prospects. You can get real quotes and quality information from your prospects through a mix of scripted and spontaneous questions.

You can check your analytics to get valuable data on your online prospects such as location, page views, time on site, download, newsletter open rates, and more.

You can use A/B testing to see which kind of content your prospects are more receptive to see. From there, you can gauge your style and tone to suit their preferences.

4. Share your personas with the team
Your staff interact with your prospects and draw insights from them on a regular basis, so you must check if the personas resonate with your staff’s experiences of prospects.

Personas are essential tools to establish and improve your marketing strategy. You must keep them updated so that you can communicate better with your prospects.

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