Many businesses that embark on an inbound marketing effort struggle to get the levels of traffic and lead generation they set out to. There could be a number of reasons for this; from lack of influence and reach via social media channels, to poor SEO skills, lack of targeted landing pages, and everything in-between. A constant of the successful inbound effort, however, is the buyer persona. Have you ever actually sat down and identified the very person you wish to reach - the key decision maker in your target market, who above all others, needs to see and digest the premium content you create? The content that places you top of mind, and adds sufficient credibility as to give you the business, at the point of need?
But what is a buyer persona? Think of it as a dossier - a complete profile of your target client, niched down as best you can (many businesses will have multiple personas they wish to reach out to), including what's important to them, the common phrases and objections they are likely to express, and the messages and direction best adopted by you, in order to won them over. Here are 4 reasons why creating a buyer persona makes the job of inbound marketing a little simpler:
1. Blogging ideas just flow
Writer block is rife in bloggers.How do we create constant streams of VALUABLE information, given that there are only a handful of topics to be discussed, about our industry, business or offering? Firstly, the objective of a business blog should be, 99 times out of 100, to educate. Speaking about your business and offering is a sure-fire way to turn away visitors and prospects. Having a buyer persona, however, allows you to identify what's most important to a known individual, and the create content that answers their deepest fears and concerns about the problem you solve. With any form of writing, too, having a person for whom you're writing, allows the content to flow easier, and a consistent tone of voice to be maintained.
2. Identify customer journeys with ease
Each person who becomes a client or customer of your has taken a journey to become so. It may have started with a Google search, or a social media referral, or even a direct mail campaign. Whatever the source, their journey began. and a series of interactions ensued - web pages may have been browsed, the phone or email came into the equation, and at some point, the need was great enough, and your solution compelling enough, to warrant a transaction.
Understanding these journeys allows you to direct the persona along the path they're most likely to enjoy, or to provide sufficient options as to make the journey easier. Multiple touch points, such as web, social, email and phone, will no doubt help you to stay top of mind, but some personas want choice, whilst others want simplicity and direction. Get to know which route your target persona is likely to want, before presenting it to them.
3. Segmenting communities adds value
There's incredible value in community. Those who go to the effort of creating and growing a community of like-minded folk, create assets for themselves and their business. But there is more value in a community which have a well-defined commonality, than one made up of many different personas. For example, were you to promote a skateboarding event to a community of 16-24 year old's, you'd likely have a decent hit rate. Promote the same event to a community of skateboarders, however, and the conversions would no doubt increase substantially.
How does this translate to your business? Let's look at your email database. For the B2B business, it's one thing to have a large, generic list of "small businesses", but imagine the success you could have, by splitting this into a segmented list of retailers, consultants, coaches, creatives, etc. Your message no longer has to be diluted, to apply to the many.
4. Personalised content makes for higher conversionsLastly, and the culmination of all the above, is the personalisation you can apply to all your business communications - to visitors, leads and customers - in order to present a more tailored experience. Being all thing to all men will get you a certain amount of success, but adopts the old approach of "throw lots of mud, some of which will stick". If you're still in that mindset, might I recommend TV advertising as your route to market?! In the social age, people expect the organisations they deal with to understand them, on some level. This starts with the buyer persona, and continues with a great deal of education - your journey of getting to know your prospects and customers. The email that hails the contact by name, speaks to them in a tone they expect, and presents information that is relevant to them, is the email that gets opened, read, and acted upon. Conversions create business opportunities, so why do anything else?
Have you used buyer personas in your business? What effect has identifying these personas had on your communications and ability to convert?