Before you launch any SEO content marketing campaign, you should know to whom you’re marketing. You must have a clear understanding of the wants and needs of your target customers, your current and potential ones, so you can present your message in a way that meets those wants and needs – and at a time when customers are receptive to it. Creating a Buyer Persona Strategy is an essential pre-marketing task that will help your business zone in on the perfect audience for a message and give clues as to what point in the sales cycle might be best to share your information.
What are Buyer Personas?
Buyer Personas are fictional representations of your target customers. They’re made-up, generalized “people” who take on given names like Agency Manager Margaret or Frequent Traveler Terry. These carefully created buyer personas help you relate to your customers by allowing you to see them as multi-faceted consumers with specific drives and intentions.
While general in nature, Buyer Personas assist a marketer in sifting away anything that might obstruct a crystal vision of an ideal buyer and the most effective message to send to that buyer. Buyer Personas encourage a marketing professional to get rid of any assumptions associated with customers and any old techniques to reach these customers that don’t prove useful in today’s marketplace.
Why is a Buyer Persona Strategy Important?
As you prepare to create a buyer persona strategy to market your product or service, you’ll want to envision your target customer. How much do you know about him or her? You may realize, after some thought, that you don’t know much about the details of this person at all.
That travel professional you want to sell a tour to might only want to transact over the phone. The business traveler you think would appreciate VIP limo service could be on a strict budget and need help justifying the expense. One buyer might prefer learning about your new cruise offerings in an industry newsletter. The other may enjoy finding out about discounted flights via your Twitter feed.
To be successful at creating inbound marketing content, which should ultimately lead to the sales of a membership or hotel reservation or any other product, you need to research down to the finest details the wants and needs of what you’re offering and where they’re looking for it.
To close the deal, you should create a Buyer Persona of your target customer, or customers, which begins with researching who is already buying from you and who is looking for your type of business.
How to Create a Buyer Persona Strategy
Asking questions is key to creating Buyer Persona strategies. Interviewing past and prospective customers can help build a buyer profile that will serve as a valuable marketing tool for many types of future campaigns. Online market research is a great way to get the information you need to create Buyer Personas.
Depending on your marketing goals, you may need to come up with as little as 2 Buyer Personas or you might want to have as many as 20. Multiple well-thought-out and data-driven buyer profiles are beneficial when you want to segment your customer base for marketing purposes.
If done right, Buyer Personas become tangible packages of bits of data that any person in your organization can refer to when it’s time to launch a marketing campaign. Should your target customers change, due to an adjustment in your services or fluctuation in the marketplace, you can always update or completely recreate your Buyer Personas. Well-developed, and always-fresh, Buyer Personas keep your marketing on-point, useful, and effective.
The Technology Behind Buyer Personas
Buyer Personas are fictionalized, research-driven composites of ideal customers that help marketers zero in on the customers they want to attract. They are a strategy that factors into content creation, web design, link building, and SEO. Consider Buyer Personas the foundation for your marketing strategy.
According to Buyer Persona Institute, 73% of organizations either have Buyer Personas or plan to in the next year. That means that by using Buyer Personas, you automatically gain an edge over nearly a quarter of the competition. So why not?
To create these fictional customers, marketers should gain insights by interviewing real buyers and by collecting data from online surveys, market segmentation resources (such as Nielsen and comScore) social media, web analytics, and other historical information. Technology can help with that.
A number of new tools make wrangling mountains of persona data just a tiny bit easier.
- Inbound marketing software platform Hubspot offers a free buyer persona template where you can plug in all of your research. It also has a Make My Persona tool, which customizes the buyer’s name, occupation, company role, and other information into a cool one-page graphic. A similar tool, Personapp, lets you add avatars.
- Hubspot’s Make My Persona creates an easy-to-read summary of your persona.
- Streamlyzer provides a real-time overview of your company’s revenue, active audience, assets, buffering, and more. It also lets you A/B test different versions of videos and analyzes how your data performs on different devices.
- Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics provide useful demographic data. Social media manager Hootsuite even recommends LinkedIn groups to find out what topics are trending in a particular community. Forums such as reddit and Quora will allow you pose questions to a wide and diverse user group.
Analyze the Message
Once you develop “CMO Ted” and “Business Manager Molly,” marketing automation and analytics can help you determine what messages will most resonate with those customers.
Create a lead nurturing campaign to test out content that you think will appeal to customers during each stage of the buying cycle.
With the power of marketing automation, you can collect data such as click-through and engagement rates to determine what’s working. You can also use your favorite marketing automation platform to track how your audience responds to different pieces of content over time. This will help you determine the optimum prospects to target.
Marketing automation platforms can also analyze which channels perform best for your audience. By tracking leads from acquisition to close, you can see which channels generate the most leads, or the most quality leads, which generate the highest level of engagement, and which segment of your target audience clicks the most.
Web developer David Kutcher suggests Content Grouping in Google Analytics to gain insight. With Content Groupings, users can see how a group of content performs against the rest of the site or other groups. An NYC furniture store could create groups based on particular products. An NYC SEO company could organize by topic or by URL.
How to Understand Your Buyer Personas and Take Your Sales to the Next Level.
When you meet the buyer’s basic needs and speak their personal language, you create a relationship and not just a transaction. This requires a special blend of art and science, and the ability to insert this data and knowledge directly into your sales process and use it to nurture more prospects into customers. This is the first step to understanding your buyer personas.
Applying knowledge from buyer persona studies is really shaping the Wise Content that we produce here at Galileo Tech Media. We were asked to guest blog about our methods by Criteria for Success. Take a look at what we submitted, and let us know what you think.
Is your brand collecting buyer persona data? If so, do you know what to do with it? Buyer persona data is so unbelievably rich with ready-to-test hypotheses that the possibilities are nearly endless. For artists, scientists, writers, marketers, and on and on – this knowledge is extremely exciting.
Buyer personas are the foundation of a solid marketing strategy. Make best use of technology to discover how to reach your target audience.