If your company isn’t working with personas yet, you ought to get started. They can help you understand your customers and increase your sales significantly. This post provides examples of personas and tells you how to create them and implement them. It also offers invaluable knowledge about entering the massive Spanish-speaking market. All of it is brought to you by Zeph Snapp, to whom I recently spoke about this unique ecommerce angle.
Zeph Snapp is the CEO and founder of Altura Interactive, which is a digital marketing agency. They differ in that they work solely with international companies that want to interact with Spanish speaking people wherever they might be in the world. Zeph has been doing it for six years, and the company has grown from just himself to twelve people and still going.
Zeph is really interested in the ideas of personas and the disambiguation of what personas actually are vs. what people think they are.
Here are the major takeaways from the Zeph Snapp interview:
- Make your personas real. Find photographs, create their life stories, and give them real names. That will help you target your content, marketing, and products to them.
- Identify the personas’ pain points based on internal and external data from customer service, Facebook, website data, and so forth. If one person has a problem, chances are that many others have that same problem.
- When you enter a Spanish-speaking market, you must understand the different sets of values and adapt everything you do to those differences.
You are in for a right treat with this post — you’ll get unique angles to the creation of personas and, on top of that, you will learn about entering the enormous Spanish market. A potential pot of gold, here. Jump in!
Bring personas to life
Personas are a stand-in for an actual customer, a way for marketers to understand different kinds of people that could be potential customers. For ecommerce, it’s a way of illustrating use cases – how would different types of people use a particular product or service?
For example, at HubSpot, they’ll bring a teddy bear to a meeting and say, ‘this is Jane, she’s 35 years old, has three kids, loves her minivan, and has no time to shop for food.’ So, what she wants is a service on demand. You are turning your areas of service into an actual person. Some people use names like mother Mary, John the builder, and so on. Give the personas a photo and make them seem like actual people as much as possible. So when you’re writing a piece of content, product description, or doing marketing, you take the persona’s view into consideration.
When you create personas, you can be as data-centric or esoteric as you want to be. People have created personas out of thin air because they have a clear idea of what they think is going to work. Hear Zeph explain how you can start developing personas based on data, and what tools may help you do just that:
One time, Zeph did work for a private security company providing solutions like cameras and bodyguards. When they started to do research, they found out that one of the interests of the people was watching Oprah Winfrey. When Zeph and his employees thought about it, it made sense, because many of them are retired U.S. military, and Oprah Winfrey’s channel is carried by the satellite systems of the U.S. military, so they would watch it when on a mission.
Hence, you can take the internal data and go to Facebook and get external data. If you have a community forum, have a look at the FAQ, as they can really help you learn more about different types of people. Do the same thing with any customer service information you can get. Identify their pain points and find out how you can solve their problem. If the problem exists for one person, chances are, it exists for many more.
Please them to keep them
Once you have built the personas based on a lot of data and your knowledge, how can you use them to increase sales and improve your business? Listen to Zeph explaining what you need to start doing to incorporate the personas into your ecommerce site.
Most ecommerce stores have a content marketing strategy, so if you are doing that, you must create content that is relevant to the topics your personas are interested in. You can’t write a blog post every day about your product; you must also offer value to your personas to keep them coming back.
(To learn more on creating relevant content to convert your visitors into subscribers, read our post on How to Boost Conversions With Content Upgrades)
No two markets are the same
So when you want to break into a Spanish market, there are things you must consider. As Zeph said, there are fundamental differences between the U.S market and any Spanish-speaking market. In the following, Zeph is going to generalize, but some things are very basic.
In Latin America, the culture is much more based on family. In the U.S., it’s common to take a job and move thousands of miles away from family; this also happens when Americans go to college. This is not as common in Latin America, as family bonds are imperative to them. This means that they are going to seek advice and support from their close relatives – and that’s something you have to take into consideration when marketing any product.
A Caucasian working mother’s primary concerns revolves around time, organization, and support. Those will also be concerns for a Hispanic or a Latino mother, but they are going to be more concerned about family values and keeping the family together. Thus, you will have to position your products in that way. Hear how Zeph exemplifies this scenario and what you should take into consideration when approaching a Spanish-speaking mother vs. a Caucasian mother:
Baby steps when entering a new market
Let’s pretend you are a U.S.-based company, and you want to enter a Spanish-speaking market. What we do know is that most U.S. Hispanics are bilingual and consume media in both languages. You can’t translate everything, but you can certainly translate your Google and Facebook ads.
You can create compelling specific content along with an enticing CTA in Spanish that will lead them to an English-language page, but you’ve already made the introduction with your ads. Another thing is that you can translate your static website – the home page and sub pages about the products – which is a little more manageable than translating thousands of sites.
Danger: Do not do this
There are plenty of things you should do –but just as many things you shouldn’t do when you’re working towards entering the Spanish-speaking market. According to Zeph, the first thing is: Machine translation is not an option. The technology isn’t good enough; it doesn’t make sense.
There is a Chrome plug-in, so people can do machine translations if they want to, but if you do machine translations on your page, Google will de-index your site – yes, they have stated that. There are some hybrid solutions that Altura Interactive has discovered. If you want more information, you can contact Zeph privately to learn more. The best thing is transcreation. It is inspired by the original content. The spirit of that content is taken and turned into something unique, fresh, and new. That is more expensive, obviously, but as Zeph said, “Going cheap can be very expensive.”
Food for thought
You have to prove that there is a need – that people want what you are selling. Look at your existing competition. Zeph takes competition as validation, so if people are trying to do what you want to do, it means there’s a market for it, and it’s worth fighting for. Facebook and the Google Keyword tool can provide a lot of interesting information about interests and needs.
SimilarWeb can provide competitor intelligence, which is super useful. It is not for everyone; some things are going to be difficult – especially if you are shipping a physical product because then you are looking at import issues and tariffs. Don’t just jump into it; investigate before – however, Zeph thinks that there are very few companies in the world that wouldn’t benefit from it.
Pro: If you are going into a new market, you are growing your business, and you will appeal to more people, which should increase your income.
Con: You have to be set up to support all those services. This will require significant investment and time.
That was all from Zeph Snapp this time around. It is incredibly interesting to hear how personas are really brought to life in some companies and how they vary from culture to culture. Do you have any interesting knowledge you think others could benefit from? Comment below and share your insights.
As you have probably figured out by now, personas are the direct way to improve your customer’s experience on your site and with your brand. Personas enable you to communicate in a much better way with your core customers. Download this checklist and get started defining your personas – a really important step towards a successful business.