Group of people

In a noisy world of cluttered, distracting marketing messages, it is a good question. Is anyone aware that you are trying to communicate to them? Have you actually captured the readers attention, not just once, but on an ongoing basis?

Much of traditional marketing is a one shot deal. Money is spent on ad campaigns that have limited shelf lives, and the worst part is you have no residual benefit when the campaign has run its course.

But, if you place relationships at the centre of your communications, then you have something that can be yours forever.

Relationships are built on trust, value and communication. Relationships are about talking with people, exchanging ideas and sharing interests.

DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHO I AM?

Of course, if you want to relate to someone, you have to know to whom you are talking, and this is where personas come in.

Consider who is at the receiving end of your communications:

  • Are they old or young?
  • What is their income level and where do they live?
  • What are their experiences with your art form?
  • Are they long-time attendees, or are you trying to reach first time buyers?
  • What are their interests in your company and what motivates them to attend your events?
  • What are their connections to your company?

The more detail you have in describing the persona, the better you will understand your target audience and the greater chance you will have in crafting communications that will build relationships.

SPLIT PERSONAS?

As you work through this process, you may realize your target audience really has more than one persona. Just as you are unlikely to talk with an elderly relative as you would to a twenty-something, you are not likely to communicate in the same way to long-term donors and first-time audience members.

Multiple personas require multiple conversations and that means different communications directed at different target groups. Of course, this is not manageable for every arts organization, but the key point is you must define your target audience and write for that persona.

If you do not have enough data to describe your target persona, consider online surveys or place questionnaires in your programs. Organize a small team to circulate among the audience members at intermission and later share observations. Talk with your frontline staff, the ticket sellers and ushers, to learn from their own observations and experiences.

Because it takes at least two to have a conversation, you also need to consider your company’s persona. What does your company represent and what are its values? What are your company’s voice and tone when presenting its unique point of view? What is its personality?

NOW WERE TALKING

Now that you have at least two personas, yours and your target audience, you can begin to craft a writing style that is personal and relatable. Instead of communicating from an impersonal business to the faceless masses, you can communicate person to person.

This type of communication is not about ‘we’ the company, but rather about ‘you’ the reader. It is not about ‘the sell’, but about sharing well chosen information and inspiring interest.

It is about individualizing your audience and caring about them as people. And most important, it is about building relationships that can be around for a long time.

The Takeaway: identify the persona or personas that describe your target audience, and understand your business’s personality and voice. Know the person to whom you are writing, offer inspiring communications and ‘talk’ with them as individuals. Establish trust and you are on your way to creating lasting relationships.