Inbound marketing is founded on one basic principle: deliver the right content to the right people at the right time. In order to nail this strategy, you have to carefully consider each of the three elements within it.
First, you need to create context – content that is relevant to specific situations for certain people. Next, you have to consider your audience – the right people are ideal prospects who can turn into customers.
Finally, know that timing is everything. People need to find your content at the right time, in the right place; otherwise, it may be wasted.
In order to hit all these marks, there’s one essential element you need to build within your marketing plan – buyer personas.
What Is a Buyer Persona?
According to HubSpot, a buyer persona is “a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”
Ultimately, buyer personas are profiles you put together that represent who you want to sell your products and services to. They include core demographics like gender, age, location, industry, and job role. However, they also include information like goals and motivations, pain points, and challenges.
Why Do Buyer Personas Matter?
Developing buyer personas is an essential task for establishing a successful inbound marketing strategy. Buyer personas provide a number of different insights into your customers that will help you better understand your target audience.
Pinpoints Watering Holes
Buyer personas inform you where your audience seeks information and spends their time. This will help you target where to share your content, such as social channels, through email, on your blog, and more.
Provides Demographic Information
Demographic information like location, age range, and level of education helps marketers better understand their core audience, so they can deliver appropriate content in a more effective way – remember, it's all about the right content at the right time.
Reveals Pain Points
Buyer personas are particularly useful for defining specific pain points and challenges that your audience is seeking help for. This will allow you to be ahead of the game and provide better solutions for your audience’s problems.
Sheds Light on Hesitations
Buyer personas also bring to light common objections and hesitations that prospective customers might experience. By considering these issues while looking through your buyer personas, you will be better prepared to address them with real customers.
Understanding your audience’s long term and short term goals will help you better fill their needs now, and in the future. By understanding what your customers want to achieve, you can shape your solutions to help them get there.
How Buyer Personas Influence Marketing and Sales
With the insights provided by buyer personas, your marketing and sales teams can execute more successful strategies to achieve their goals.
While marketing and sales professionals use buyer personas in different ways, working from a single base of personas unifies the strategies of the two teams to be targeted towards the same ideal audience. This makes for a more successful strategy overall.
How Marketing Uses Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are an important part of building a successful content marketing strategy. They help marketing professionals develop targeted content ideas that they can create and deliver to ideal buyers.
By understanding the specific needs and pain points of their ideal audience, marketers can prepare to create content that provides information that’s relevant to them.
Lead Generation and Conversion Planning
By better understanding their target audience, marketers can develop more efficient methods of generating leads.
With information about their pain points, goals, and more, marketers are well equipped to build conversion paths that their audience will be enticed to follow. Impactful content tailored to readers' unique needs helps guide them through the buyer's journey to convert them into qualified leads.
One of the key attributes of delivering content to the right people at the right time involves knowledge about where and how to deliver this content.
Knowing the most efficient formats to publish content in (blog posts, ebooks, whitepapers, etc.) and which channels to promote content on (social media pages, email campaigns, etc.) will determine the reach that you achieve. Buyer persona research shows how your ideal buyers prefer to be reached and what formats they enjoy the most.
How Sales Uses Buyer Personas
Start a Relationship
By understanding the pain points, goals, motivations, and challenges, salespeople will be able to better relate to their leads and prospects.
They can also gather information from the data logged in their CRM. Being able to understand and relate to prospects develops a relationship between them and the salesperson, which makes a sale much more probable in the end.
Nurture the Relationship
Understanding buyer personas allows salespeople to better educate and support leads with targeted, relevant information, like existing marketing content that they can send to prospects to address any informational needs they may have.
Doing this builds the client relationship and nurtures prospects through the buyer’s journey and sales cycle. With consistent consultative selling efforts, sales teams are establishing authority.
Develop Further Trust
These two previous points contribute to one overarching factor that nurtures customer relationships – the building of trust.
Building trust with your clients is one of the most effective ways to close sales. People like to work with and buy from brands that they know and trust. Building trust boosts sales, encourages brand loyalty, and increases customer retention rates.
Where You See ROI
Growing a successful business depends heavily on establishing a sustainable return on investment (ROI). Buyer persona development saves your marketing and sales team a mass amount of resources.
Writing content with buyer personas in mind helps you deliver to a specific audience and produce higher quality material that provides more value throughout the entire buyer journey.
Using buyer personas to understand your audience’s pain points allows you to target those issues in your content and provide valuable information as solutions. That way, your ideal customers always turn to your website when they’re looking for answers.
Additionally, understanding buyer personas allows you to better optimize conversion paths in many ways, like writing more impactful landing page content and designing enticing CTAs. Familiarity with the goals and motivations of buyer personas can help your team shape more effective sales strategies for specific audiences.
If you know what motivates your leads and prospects, you can figure out how to efficiently move them through your sales funnel.
Buyer persona development unifies the focus of marketing and sales teams, so they know exactly who to target their efforts towards, and how to do it effectively. By using buyer personas, these two teams can work together to develop a single core strategy to meet your business growth goals.
And that goal achievement is attributed to delivering personalized experiences.
The Hard Numbers of Personalization Benefits
When it comes down to it, buyer persona development is all about understanding your customers in order to create a personalized experience for your audience. Personalizing the buyer experience to resolve their pain points, feed into their motivations, and encourage their goals is what creates a positive outcome.
Personalization builds trust and fosters stronger customer relationships. And the results are undeniable – within the realm of marketing and sales, personalization delivers 5x-8x greater ROI than unpersonalized strategies.
What's more, a staggering 98 percent of marketers say personalization helps advance customer relationships, and 88 percent say their customers and prospects expect their experience to be personalized.
Why? Because customers want to feel valued.
Nobody wants to be another number in the system. Personalization makes the product or service feel more relevant to the consumer by stirring emotion and fostering intimacy. In fact, 86 percent of consumers claim that personalization impacts their buying decisions.
The more personalized a buying experience, the more likely a customer is to return to do business with that company again.
Almost every aspect of your marketing and sales campaign can implement some kind of personalization. For example, email marketing campaigns that utilize personalization are more successful than those that don’t. The transaction rate of personalized emails is six times higher than generic ones.
Additionally, 90 percent of the top performing B2B content marketers put their audience’s informational needs first. But how do they figure out the informational needs of their audience?
Through buyer personas.
Build Your Stack
Understanding your buyer personas allows you to tailor your messaging based on the needs and habits of your target audience. This enables you to efficiently carry out the core strategy of the inbound marketing methodology – delivering the right content to the right people at the right time.
When developing your buyer personas, put together a stack that reflects the size and reach of your company. Smaller business may only have one to three buyer personas, while larger companies may have as many as ten or more.
The time and research that it costs for buyer persona development is well spent. It unifies your strategy to target a specific audience, and sets your marketing, sales, and service teams up for success in delivering an awesome, personalized experience that fuels sustainable business growth.