One of the keys to a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy is having fully developed buyer personas - or as I described to a client recently - knowing your audience. Who is your ideal client? How will we define what constitutes a good lead? Whether you're in the B2B or B2C realm, all marketers can agree that we market to people. When we lose sight of that concept, marketing isn't as effective and we don't typically see the kinds of results we're looking for.
When marketing is poorly targeted, people don't just unsubscribe from your emails, they emotionally unsubscribe from your brand. Marketing doesn't have to be boring. It can be clever and witty as long as it serves a purpose for your audience. What do I mean by "serves a purpose"? I'm talking about creating marketing that solves peoples' problems or answers their questions.
What Is A Buyer Persona?
Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal client. I'm not talking about a simple description like "small business owners in the Washington, DC area." I'm talking about detailed profiles of specific decision makers - for example, the owner of a small business with between $5 and 10 million in annual revenues within 20 miles of Washington, DC. And good personas don't stop there. They include description of your buyer persona's pain points, goals, likes/dislikes, trusted resources, decision making power, etc. You can see a detailed list of all the things a good persona should cover by downloading our buyer persona worksheet.
Why Buyer Personas Matter
Let's say you have two types of buyers and one goal - to sell them your product or service. Even though you're trying to sell the same thing, different people have different pain points. This means that they will buy your product or service for different reasons. Given these differences, how can you create marketing that caters to each of them?
Buyers are people, but if you're doing B2B marketing and you're designing a strategy to target a wide variety of influencers within one company, know that each of these personas have different buying considerations. Think about the questions your personas are asking:
- "What is the cost?"
- "Will this beat my competition?"
- "Will this make me look good?"
How To Be Successful At Persona Based Marketing
Exploit the universal motivators
Draw a venn diagram of your personas and their pain points. Find the sweet spot where the pain points of your buyers overlap so that you can make your marketing relevant - exploit those universal motivators of your personas by hitting them on a personal level and giving a voice to your audience.
Don't fall in love with your own marketing
Some campaigns are really creative but are they serving a purpose? Are they accomplishing your goal? Is the messaging effective? Often times, even the best laid plans just don't connect with our audience but we're too in love with our own creative ideas to see that they're not working. In addition to not being too in love with your own marketing, make sure you're not getting sick of your marketing efforts either. If you're tired of them, your personas probably are too.
Revisit your personas regularly
Personas change and so do their needs and pain points. Revisit your personas regularly to make sure they're still in line with your marketing and to be sure your marketing is effective.
Remember, our job as marketers is to help sales people sell. Don't let vanity guide you, don't assume you know everything and don't make your marketing efforts more complicated than they need to be. By defining your personas and understanding them, you can optimize your engagement, increase the effectiveness of your marketing and increase leads for your sales team.
Win-win for everyone!