Diving into any sales or content marketing strategy without knowing exactly who your buyers are is the equivalent to business suicide. This is why knowning your ideal client and their personality, a.k.a. their buyer persona, is so important. To be successful in your content marketing strategy, content should speak to your customers’ pain points and challenges. Buyer personas help you achieve the targeted messaging you need to connect with your customers.
As an account manager in B2B sales, one of the first steps in territory planning and marketing strategy for my customer base was creating buyer personas. Doing so resulted in hitting my sales targets every month, a successful territory and happy customers. Understanding who buys your product/service is key to maximizing not only sales but also the return on your advertising and content marketing strategy.
What is a Buyer Persona?
Buyer personas are similar to building a character for a story. They’re representations of your ideal customers taking into account who they are, what their needs are, and their buying behaviour. Personas enable you to relate to your customers as real humans and not just a statistic in a report. It helps us internalize and better understand our customers’ motivations and buying habits. When you understand who your target client is, you can write blog posts and create website content that they want to read.
Why are Buyer Personas Important?
Buyer personas are critical to developing sales and content marketing strategies. Without them, it would be like a ship with no captain. How would you achieve your sales targets with no idea of who to target? What would your content look like with no particular person to market it to? You need to be able to paint a picture of your ideal customer so you can drive your content creation, product development, sales and marketing towards the right customers. Building buyer personas is the how behind customer acquisition and retention.
For example, when dealing with a healthcare client, I would create a persona for the administrative staff, managers, doctors, purchasing team and executives. Why so many? Well, each group has differing motivations and behaviour. Having these personas allowed me to hone in on their specific needs, behaviours and concerns.
Executives are concerned with overall budget, compliance to contracts and other corporate initiatives. Whereas individuals such as admins and managers were more concerned about being effective in their day-to-day job activities and having the tools to fulfill those needs.
All have unique needs and it required me to sell differently to each group. I had to be able to relate to their specific needs and my messaging had to be relatable to those needs.
The strongest buyer personas rely on market research as well as customer insights you gather from sales meetings, phone conversations, social media and surveys
Your business could have as few as one persona or as many as 20. Don’t panic! If you’re just starting out, hone in on 1 main persona and work from there as you become more comfortable.
How do you Create and Develop Buyer Personas?
Buyer personas can be created using data from your CRM tool, market research, surveys and interviews of your customers.
Here are some ideas for gathering the information you need:
- Interview your customers to discover what they like and don’t like about your product/service. For example, if a customer has contacted your customer service team, send out a follow up survey. Include a survey link with a customer’s order. Have your sales team follow up at certain intervals or after a particular purchase.
- Look through your customer relationship management (CRM) tool or contacts database to uncover trends about how leads or customers find and consume your content, their buying habits and yes, even how they interact with your business on social media.
- Use forms on your website to capture important persona information you’re after. Maybe you’re looking for a certain size of company to target, or maybe there are certain departments or job titles you’re focusing on. Whatever your focus, create a form that includes a few simple questions that will get you the information you need.
- Listen to feedback from your sales team. Your sales team is one of the best resources for customer feedback; they’re on the front lines each day and in front of your customers the most. What feedback can they offer about the different types of customers you serve?
How to Use Buyer Personas Effectively
With all of your research you should have your buyer personas defined. You should have a much better idea what content your customers like best, how they’re interacting with it, and what their buying behaviour is. All of the demographic and psychographic information you’ve learned from your research will help you target your ads more effectively and build a human connection with your customers through content on your website and information you share on social media.
With defined buyer personas your content has a better chance of standing out in the jungle of content that is out there. You may also enjoy the fruits of better engagement with your customers and develop a loyal following. You’ll reach the right customers and engage with them instead of spraying your content at anyone and everyone. Why waste valuable resources on a customer that isn’t your target and ultimately won’t buy? Taking the time up front to define buyer personas will help your business succeed by knowing and understanding just who your customers are.