Capture Your Brand’s Tone of Voice With Target Personas

Build a recognizable brand

Remember those awkward times in high school and college when we all had to figure out who we were and how we wanted the world to perceive us? We wanted to fit in just enough to be accepted, but we also wanted to be entirely unique and different from our peers. Your brand has to go on a similar journey as it discovers its own voice. Luckily, you can use your target personas as a guide to discover your brand’s tone of voice.

You’ve likely heard that your business needs a brand voice that is consistent and memorable. But, how do you settle on a voice that will leave an impact on your audience and convert to sales? The answer is simple.

Using your target persona profiles makes finding your brand’s voice a seamless process. Use this step-by-step guide to get past the stumbling blocks so your business can naturally find a voice of its own.

What is a Brand Tone of Voice?

how to find your voice for your small business

A brand tone of voice is the way that your business speaks with your audience. The tone of voice includes the words you use, the way you structure your sentences, and what communication mediums you use. It influences how your target customers view and interact with your brand.

Above all things, a brand’s voice needs to be consistent across all platforms, from the website copy to social media posts to ads. Without consistency, you risk confusing your audience and losing their trust. They won’t know what to expect from your business. If you’re consistent, your audience will be able to connect with your business on a more personal and emotional level.

Why Does Your Brand Voice Matter?

A good tone of voice invokes a feeling in your audience, and those feelings will stick with them. They might not remember the exact words you used or even where they read/listened to your copy, but the feelings they had will stick with them.

A brand voice matters because it helps your audience connect with your business. With a consistent brand voice, people will see your business less as a lifeless corporation and more as a being with thoughts, emotions and ideas. They will begin to associate your business with a specific personality and even start to trust the business more.

A brand voice also provides a guideline for marketing. Sometimes, an endless supply of options for marketing copy makes us feel oddly restricted. We don’t know where to start. Put some limits up and you’ll watch the creativity bloom. You and your team will be able to come up with more memorable and impactful messages that leave your audience feeling exactly what you want them to feel.

To sum it up, your brand voice matters because:

  • Your audience starts to see the business more as a person
  • It builds trust with the customer
  • It helps the brand have guidelines so it can create powerful marketing campaigns
  • It makes it easier to craft meaningful marketing messages

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Simple Steps to Establish a Brand Tone of Voice

Settling on a brand tone of voice can be overwhelming. After all, it is the way that you will be talking to your customers from now on, and your audience might love it or hate it. It’s intimidating, yes, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.

There are some easy steps you can follow to establish your brand’s tone of voice. Use your target personas to create a brand voice that resonates with your audience and boosts your sales.

1. Write down your brand’s values

If you already determined your brand’s values, this step is easy. If you don’t know what your values are yet, do not skip this step. Your values are the foundation for your tone of voice, as well as every other part of your business — from who you hire to what you sell. It’s important to determine them before moving forward.

Take some time to decide what your company values and what drives the business forward. Why did the business start in the first place? What matters to you and the business over anything else? Determine those values and write them down before you start crafting your brand voice.

2. Review your current copy

You’re probably not creating your brand voice from scratch. Maybe you have a Facebook page or Instagram account that you’ve already started posting on, or maybe you’ve written a few blogs. Do an audit of the copy that you’ve already written to see what’s getting bites and what’s not. See which pieces of copy you loved and which ones you never want to recreate.

Measure your current copy against your values. Where do they stand? If your copy seems to align with your values, put them in the “keep” pile. If they don’t, think about why or what needs to change to make it fit the mold. Copy that’s already been created can tell you a lot about what your brand voice should sound like.

identify your brand voice as a small business listen to customers

3. Read how your audience talks to each other

One simple way to determine how to talk to your audience is to observe how your audience talks to each other. Visit online communities where your audience is active or go to the physical places where your target audience spends their time. Head over to sites like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Slack and read the discourse. Or, go to the blogs they read and YouTube videos they watch and read the comments.

How your audience speaks to each other will give you insight into whether they are more formal or informal, serious or humorous. You’ll get a better understanding of what gets laughs and what gets shares. Write down words, phrases or any trends that you see popping up again and again.

4. Complete three target persona profiles

Creating target persona profiles will be the single most helpful thing you will do while determining your brand’s tone of voice. Target personas are fictional characters you create that encapsulate your target audience. You will give them names, define their demographic information and write down their dreams and fears.

Target personas are extremely helpful for an overall marketing campaign because it keeps businesses focused on their customers. They can market their products and services to a handful of people rather than the whole world. Target personas are helpful for your brand’s voice for the same reason. When writing a social media post, you can pretend that you are talking to one or two or three individual people. When your target audience reads the post, they will feel like your business is speaking directly to them. They will feel more connected to your brand and will be more likely to convert into a customer.

You can use your target personas to determine your brand voice by keeping the personas in mind as you write. Think about the type of messaging that would get through to your fictional character. Do they only trust reputable sources and therefore value statistics? Do they scroll through the internet looking for a laugh and something to share? The deeper you get with your target persona descriptions, the better you will be able to craft a personal message.

The reason you should complete three target personas and not just one is because you likely don’t have just one type of customer. You might target men and women, or maybe you target married men and single men. Each of your three profiles should be unique while still fitting under the umbrella of your target audience. Your target personas might (and probably will) change over time. That’s ok. Use as much research and knowledge of your audience as you can, then fill in the blanks, test things out and see what sticks.

5. See what your competitors are doing

This step is important for two reasons. One, you might get some inspiration from the website copy, blogs and Tweets from your competitors. How does their audience respond to what they put out? What gets the most comments, shares and reactions? You’ll also see what mediums are best for communicating with your audience.

Researching the tone of voice of competitors is also critical so you know what to avoid. You don’t want to mimic what’s already been done. If you want to be the sassy, irreverent business, maybe your competitor has already staked that territory as their own. Look for ways to tweak what they’re doing and create a completely unique voice that stands out from the crowd.

*Bonus* Ask your audience

Customers like when businesses are upfront with them, so be upfront. Ask for their feedback about your brand voice. You can send out a survey so your can audience rank how much they like certain copy over another, or you can have them use a sliding scale to assess whether they prefer comical over serious or straightforward over playful.

You’re not losing anything when a customer responds with “no thanks.” Plus, most people who take the time to fill out a survey won’t intentionally try to ruin your data with false opinions. Let your audience tell you what they want to see in your brand voice.

Use these simple steps to create a tone of voice for your brand that connects with your audience and encourages them to take action. Write down the words that define your voice and reference it whenever you are creating copy for your business. When you follow these tips, you’ll have a consistent voice that gets you seen and gets you sales.