A user centric strategy is fundamentally about understanding your users and ensuring that you provide the best service you can, tailored to their needs and requirements.

Ideally you should reach them through as many touch points as possible; however excelling in your space in comparison to your competitors within one touch point alone (channel or media etc.),  can mean the difference between success and failure (provided on an equal service / product offering) and position your brand as a leader in your niche.

The idea of a user centric approach still excites me, as you are able to construct services that add value to your customers and benefit their overall experience or even better their lives.

This is where digital marketing or SEO can become more holistic, esoteric and psychological than it would first appear.

At the heart of a user centric strategy is the user, therefore it makes sense to really hone in and explore your target audience in order to find your brand ambassador or brand avatars, as some would call them.

A brand ambassador or avatar is your chosen/target user, if you had to whittle your service or product down to sell to only a couple of customers; who they would be, what are their interests and how does your service / product fit into their lives?

This approach adapts SEO (without which can be overly targeted for head term keywords and cause issues with the Panda’s and Penguins of the search landscape) to become led by user desire and benefit.  For example, creating content which provides much desired insight or saving hours for a potential customer, so much so that the user becomes vocal about your added service.

How To Create a User Centric Strategy:


  1. Define two to three personas for your brand. These are the users who you believe are your Brand Avatars or Ambassadors.
  2. user personasChoose one persona:
    1. Define up to five typical situations for this persona:
      1. What, Where, With whom, Media and Goals – Day / Week / Month.
      2. What do they do, where do they go and with whom? What media do they use and when e.g at work times, am / pm etc. and what are your goals?
    2. Rinse & Repeat step 2. for your 2-3 personas.

Once you’ve defined your key personas, you can then add the marketing approach to the mix. Creating your strategy with personas first, creates a foundation for the User Centric Approach which will keep you focused on the benefits for the user versus the search volume potential.

Keyword Research

keyword researchCarry out keyword research to understand the types of keywords and phrases being used to find your product or within your target niche. You will likely have to expand your research into the longer tail terms that will allow you to clearly understand user intent and therefore create a solution or service for it.  You will be looking for:

  1. User intent
  2. Potential to convert
  3. Drive traffic – search volume
  4. Build brand awareness

Competitor Analysis

Competitor AnalysisUnderstanding what your competitors are doing and what is working well on their domains will provide added insight and potentially ideas which you could replicate and improve on.

Review the Top Competitors:

  1. Paid search targets
  2. Organic search targets
  3. Social strategy
  4. Email marketing strategy
  5. YouTube, podcasts,
  6. Onsite content: resources, blog, news
  7. PR, reviews
  8. Mobile
  9. TV
  10. Other

Wherever you or your competitors show a low level of strategy or participation then these should be your target areas of focus.

Once you have all of the above:

  1. Personas
  2. Keyword Research
  3. Competitor Analysis

You will be able to brain storm based on your Brand Ambassadors, the keyword research and where your competitors either excel and you do not, or where your competitors fall short.  These areas will help you to carve out ways to support your future online offering.  Whether you provide downloadable location guides, podcasts to educate your customer on how to use your products, “hacks” to get the most out of them, or customised environments based on purchase history and interests etc.

With the Brand and Personas in mind, brain storm in a group ideally to create a service, content or experience that is:

  1. Highly useful to this persona
  2. Creates value
  3. Delivers the brand promise
  4. Is news worthy or has a sharing capacity.

Things to consider:

  • What kind of information would your customer be interested in?
  • What motivates them to buy your product or service
  • What can you provide that is free which adds value to your offering?
  • Does your user use Facebook, podcasts, YouTube?
  • What are their frustrations?
  • What are their favourite USP’s?

At the end of this process you should have a schedule of work to create and are then able to pull in the keyword research and search engine optimisation to get the most ROI out of your user centric strategy.

Helene Celine Hall

Helene Celine Hall


Helene is a Digital Marketing Director at Gravytrain.