Buyer Personas Are One of the Most Important Components of a Successful Inbound Strategy
Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. They help you understand your customers (and prospective customers) better, and make it easier for you to tailor content to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups.
The strongest buyer personas are based on market research as well as on insights you gather from your actual customer base (through surveys, interviews, etc.). Depending on your business, you could have as few as one or two personas, or as many as 10 or 20. We recommend that if you’re new to personas, start small! You can always develop more personas later if needed.
Why develop buyer personas?
Why? Because buyer personas are who you create your content for and they’re who you’re trying to reach. And it doesn’t matter if your organization is business-to-business, business-to-consumer, nonprofit--anything: any and all organizations can and should have personas because everyone is trying to reach someone.
How can you use personas?
At the most basic level, personas allow you to personalize or target your marketing for different segments of your audience. For example, instead of sending the same lead nurturing emails to everyone in your database, you can segment by buyer persona and tailor your messaging according to what you know about those different personas.
If you take the time to create negative personas, you’ll have the added advantage of being able to segment out the “bad apples” from the rest of your contacts, which can help you achieve a lower cost-per-lead and cost-per-customer (and see higher sales productivity).
When combined with lifecycle stage (i.e. how far along someone is in your sales cycle), buyer personas also allow you to map out and create highly targeted content.
How to create buyer personas?
Buyer personas are often created by researching and analyzing the customers who are already be buying from you -- this helps you determine your ideal customers. Below are some example of how to create buyer personas.
Step 1: Interview customers either in person or over the phone to discover what they like about your product or service.
Step 2: Look through your contacts database to uncover trends about how certain leads or customers find and consume your content.
Step 3: When creating forms to use on your website, use form fields that capture important persona information.
Step 4: Take into consideration your sales team's feedback on the leads they are interacting with most.
Step 5: Start brainstorming your buyer personas.
Buyer personas aren’t just target markets or job titles. They aren’t based on specific products, but they are based on why they use them. And of course, personas are not specific, real people. Real people, individuals, have things about them that make them unique. Buyer personas are essential in every stage of the inbound methodology.
You don’t want to attract just any strangers to your website, you want to attract the right strangers! You want to attract the people who are going to be most interested in what your organization has to offer. These “right” strangers are your personas. Every single piece of content on your website should be aimed at attracting, converting, closing, and delighting your personas.