The core principle behind inbound marketing strategy is the understanding that your audience, far from being an abstract collection of like-minded individuals, is actually composed of real persons with complex identities. These identities encompass their lifestyle, behaviors, feelings, emotions, and their individual needs. Even though these traits may seem irrelevant to the product or service you’re offering, they are far from being so: because these traits actually influence an individual’s buying decisions.
When you catalogue insights gained from understanding, researching and characterizing your target audience and existing customers, you have sufficient information to create semi-fictional characters that embody specific demographic traits, behaviors and emotions. Each of these semi-fictional characters can be defined in a way that any individual can be defined: they belong to a certain age-group, they may or may not have a family, they have a career, they fall within a certain financial bracket and most importantly, they have a challenge or problem that they’re looking to overcome or address. In other words, they have an identity, or more accurately, a persona.
As HubSpot defines it:
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of a business’s ideal customer, based on market research and real data about their existing customers.
Let’s delve into 7 reasons why businesses need to develop Buyer Personas. We also include a little game: can you identify a buyer persona decoding the 7 clues?
1. Build a Human Relationship
Consider this: you’re perusing cards that came with two identical gifts for a birthday party. One card carries a standard birthday greeting, and the other card carries a more personal, hand-written note that includes an inside joke you shared with that particular giver. Which gift and card are you more likely to cherish, and furthermore, what does that say about your relationship with the two gift givers? The second giver is obviously one that you know very well and trust intimately, since there was more purpose behind their gift than with the other. Or to put it conversely, the giver knew you really well.
Clue #1 March 14th
2. Better Understand Your Customers’ Needs and Interests
Buyer personas enable you to clearly identify and understand your customers’ immediate needs and interests. By knowing exactly what they love or hate, and what they’re interested in, marketers can communicate messages that their customers will find valuable. It can help identify topics and issues that are relevant to your target and customer base, and create content around them to attract them towards your business as a potential source of information, and eventually, as a solution to their issues.
Clue # 2 Atom
3. Know Where Your Customers Are
Creating buyer personas lets you know where your customers are at any given time: where they spend most of their online time, where they go for more information and the social networks they use to interact with others within their circle such as family, friends, and colleagues. This will allow you to create campaigns within the channels where you’re more likely to find your target audience, and therefore, more likely to garner increased engagement. It also gives you insight on how to craft your content and posts according to the channels on which they’re distributed.
Clue # 3 Audio Geolocalisation
4. Streamline Your Audience Segmentation Tactics
Audience segmentation is a key component of any marketing campaign; it lets you divide your audience into intelligent groups based on broad factors like geography, age, profession and income. However, buyer personas add an additional dimension to this tactic by allowing marketers to create more targeted segments based on highly specific criteria like behaviors and attitudes.
For instance, instead of defining a broader segment of “working women between the age 25 - 30”, an apparel company would create content for “Kate, the 20-something-year old sales executive, who is a confirmed sci-fi buff, and doesn’t love traditional business-wear.” The more specific the segmentation is, the more targeted will your marketing be.
Clue # 4 Jean le Rond d’Alembert
5. Improved Lead Quality
As you continue to build your personas, your marketing becomes more and more targeted, you generate content that is valuable and relevant at the right time for the right people. This will, in the long run, help your business acquire quality leads with greater chances of converting into paying customers. Marketing personas can help you customize your e-mail marketing campaigns and establish personal connections with your customers. In other words, it helps you build effective lead nurturing campaigns, and in turn, boost your conversion rates and Marketing ROI.
Clue # 5 Chalkboard
6. Encourage Transparency within The Business
Buyer personas can also contribute to alignment between marketing and sales teams. With each team fully aware of the characteristics of a lead associated with a given persona, communication becomes easier and straightforward. For instance, when the marketing assigns a specific persona to a new lead, the sales team can automatically leverage their knowledge about that persona to adjust their sales pitch, answer any questions the lead has and eventually, close the sale.
Clue #6 Mustache Grooming Kit
7. Offer Improvement and Development
Buyer personas also help you connect with your existing customer base, and improve and develop your business to accommodate their growing needs. By working their feedback and criticisms about your product or service into your buyer personas, you can develop new products that closely align with their needs and identify specific areas of improvement within your existing products. Crafting your service or product closely around your buyer persona will increase customer retention rates, establishing your business as one that grows with its customers.
Clue #7 New Product: Stress Reliever
A Word on “Negative” Personas
While buyer personas represent your ideal customer, and can help you develop highly-targeted campaigns with higher ROIs, “negative” personas can help improve your lead nurturing strategies.
Negative personas are exclusionary: the customer profile that you want to avoid; the customer that isn’t worth spending any time and resources on. To develop these personas, you need to research your previous marketing efforts and your recent customer efforts to single out customers that had a negative impact on your work, such as those who jumped ship before you could complete an engagement, posted negative feedback on your products, conflicted directly with your sales team, or created problems with billing.
By identifying commonalities and trends across these customer groups, you can create personas of customer types you want to steer clear of. Using these profiles, you can segment out the unwanted leads from your pool from the onset and develop content and messaging that is ultra-refined and targeted. By training sales and marketing to recognize these persona types, you can avoid wasting resources on them, and reduce your costs per lead and increase your sales revenue.
Creating buyer personas helps give your customers personal and behavioral attributes and eliminate any abstraction in your marketing efforts. It helps you better understand your customers’ needs and align your efforts with those needs, reaching them at the right place and the right time.