You can’t be all things to all people.
You’ve heard the old adage, but do you practice it when it comes to your business? Whether you are selling a product, or providing a service, there are going to be certain types of people that are more likely to buy from you than others. So focus on them. You want these ideal customers to think of you when they need what you provide, but are you thinking of them in the meantime?
Using proven research methods, including how you will segment your audience, then conducting in depth interviews (IDI’s) and persona interviews is the surest way to get accurate data for your buyer personas. Whether you are a B2B or B2C company, the takeaway is the same – taking the time to create and utilize buyer personas is the most powerful way for you to truly understand your customers – their needs, their pain points, and how you can make their lives better.
While the subject of buyer personas goes incredibly deep, we want to focus this post on 5 reasons why buyer personas inform your business.
1. Know where your customers spend their time
…so you can be there, too. Hear us out, though. Please don’t bombard your customer with annoying sales pitches on every channel they utilize. You don’t even need a buyer persona to tell you that, because, nobody wants it.
But do let it inform things like what social media platforms your persona prefers, so you can be there to provide relevant, useful information through that avenue. By conducting research and talking to your current customers, you may find that they never even open their Instagram account, but have LinkedIn running in the background all day long. You can then put the appropriate resources into building your LinkedIn presence instead of just dipping your toe into all social platforms.
It can also inform the places that would be most beneficial to place ads, because they have a higher probability of visiting one website over another, or reading one magazine over another, etc.
2. Create content with a purpose
If you write it, they will come…said no one ever. Producing content for the sake of content will end up frustrating everyone involved. It also won’t give your marketing team a win in your company’s eyes.
On the other hand, having well-developed buyer personas will give you insight into exactly who you are writing to so they are more likely to resonate with your content when they read it. Remember all of those categories you focused on when developing your personas? Well, this is where they can really come into play.
What are your persona’s biggest pain points? You can now create a blog post for each pain point. Include solutions in these posts, particularly how your company can help. Have a new customer? Develop a series of emails to be sent that will help to onboard them and give them tips and tricks for how to be successful using your product or service. Maybe you’re aware of what would make your persona’s life easier. Create an infographic with 20 things they can do to achieve that goal.
Now let’s take that a step further, remembering that you also know where your target personas spend their time, as we discussed above. Imagine a targeted ad appearing in front of your persona leading them to an article that offers a solution to the exact kinds of problems they’ve been trying to address. This is where you go from just another company pumping out content, to a trusted partner helping them achieve their goals.
3. Build a website that works hard for you
Setting out to build or rebuild your company’s website can seem like an incredibly daunting task. There are countless agencies vying for your business, but clearly they are not all created equal. Not all agencies know how to properly use buyer personas to inform your website development.
A great, effective website will address the motivational drivers of each persona. In some selling situations, personas might be based on role. For example, marketing managers vs. marketing directors vs. business owners, each with different motivations for buying the same product. In another case, you may find personas driven more by attitude than role, ie strategic, financially or technically-driven buyers. The type of design, the images you choose, and your text and calls to action should specifically appeal to your personas.
4. Create the product your buyer wants
Done right, personas will inform more than just your marketing department. An area greatly affected by properly developed personas tis the product development department. Personas provide insights to your development team about who they are selling to, who they are creating for, who they are constantly working to attract and retain as loyal customers.
Just about every product in the world will continue to evolve over time, to become more useful and to stay relevant to its users. The personas you have already created, as well as having built a culture of communication with your customers, can be invaluable as your product development team looks to improve. You are able to provide them with clear wants and needs, as well as feedback on what might not be working or valuable to the user.
This is also a good time to mention that buyer personas not only come from talking to your customers. They are also the ones who didn’t end up buying from you. Their opinions can be some of the most important because you can save countless other prospects from slipping through the same cracks. Again, you can never be all things to all people, so for some it might just not be a good fit. But whether it was a hole in the sales process, or because your product didn’t have a certain critical feature, this type of information can serve your company well.
5. Bring in qualified leads
Speaking of the sales process, buyer personas can easily become your sales team’s best friend by increasing the amount of qualified leads versus unqualified leads coming across their desk.
If your personas are being used to their fullest potential, you might see a scenario like this:
The process of creating the buyer persona has informed product development, now making it the ideal solution for your prospect. You have written an ebook outlining the persistent problems facing the persona and how those problems can easily be solved. After creating and placing a targeted ad on your social platform of choice, your prospect downloads the ebook, resonates with the problem and is excited about the solution.
With all of the information that’s available with just a single click, most people do their research and read reviews ahead of time. They only really want to connect with a salesperson when they are ready to buy. So let’s look at the scenario above. As soon as the prospect decided to download, the power of person-driven marketing automation takes over. It nurtures your lead through the sales funnel, with content that engages, educates, and removes barriers in the buying process. By the time this person gets to a decision point, or talks to a salesperson, they are already informed about who you are and how you can help them. This makes the sales team’s job much easier…finally, marketing and sales REALLY working together!
We’d go so far as to say your marketing strategy should begin, first and foremost, with creating buyer personas and mapping the customer journey, using research and data tools. Buyer personas are all about getting into the minds of your customers, so you can truly understand them and their buying behaviors, and then serve them in the best way possible.
By taking the time to talk to your current or past customers, or those who chose not to become customers, you will be able to develop a strategy across every area of your business that can attract and engage a prospect through their buying decision, and then nurture that customer relationship long into the future.