If you are embracing the inbound approach to marketing then you clearly understand the value of automation and lead nurturing within an SEO framework. The inbound methodology is set on attracting, converting and delighting consumers. In order to do this you need to create detailed buyer personas that represent each cohort within your overall consumer audience.
Buyer personas are central to the inbound marketing methodology; they are fictionalized representations of your ideal customers that are created to foster better sales, marketing, product development and services. When you are able to internalize your ideal customers and relate to them as human beings who have pains and needs, you will better understand them and apply educated efforts that will remove the guess work in marketing. As a result you will reach the right customers, in the right places, and at the right moment in the buyer’s journey. When you can do this, it is highly likely your sales will go up and you will delight clients who are more likely to help spread your brand awareness through social media. Here are three tips to help create amazing buyer personas to help achieve your business growth goals.
Search Your Contacts Database and Talk to Sales
Before you can start creating your buyer personas, you must first uncover trends about your customers. Why do they buy your products? Why do they love your content? What caused leads to ultimately not buy your products? These are the types of questions you should seek answers to when analyzing your contacts and interviewing your sales team. You will also want to learn things such as their gender, location, income level, career, family status, hobbies and personalities. Going back to your sales team: this is a HUGE resource that marketing tends to overlook. Remember, your sales team is on the front lines; they talk to prospects and people who become clients all day long. They have certain insights that offer a great degree of value to forming your buyer personas.
Interview Your Customers and Prospects to Create Solid Buyer Personas
It is important you interview your prospects and customers to uncover what they like and dislike about your products and services. One great example of a company that did this really well is iFox–a brand that makes portable shower speakers that connect to media devices. Their company unleashed a massive quest to interview both satisfied and unhappy customers who returned their product. The number one complaint was that the buttons were hard to read because they were black on black. On their second generation speaker they filled in the buttons white on a black background, and their sales numbers exploded. When creating buyer personas they were able to take this information and create a model based on people whose pain revolved around finding a device that is, simply put, easy to read.
Discover What Motivates Your Customers
When creating your buyer personas you will want to distill information from them pertaining to the “how” and “what” that revolves around their lives. Some interview questions to ask include:
- What blogs do you read?
- How do you prefer to do business with vendors?
- What degree of online research do you do before engaging with companies?
- How do you learn about the information you need to do your job?
- What are your career goals?
- What social networks and associations do you regularly engage?
- What are your biggest obstacles?
- What does it mean for you to be successful?
- What industry do you work in?
- What is the size of your business?
- What is your job title?
- What are your daily tasks on the job / roles?
Example of a Buyer Persona
Imagine that you are a scuba diving equipment manufacturer. Your goal is to outfit professional divers with high-end gear, and be a vendor for dive shops across the country. You make gear for divers of all skill levels. Here is an example of a probably buyer persona:
Name – Ambitious Andy
Job Title – Scuba diving store operator
Profile – Ambitious Andy is a newly certified dive instructor who is trying to live his dream of running his own scuba diving center where he trains and certifies divers, books trips, and sells equipment through both a brick and mortar and online store. Andy is responsible for locking in deals with vendors, hiring staff, and forming relationships with travel agencies that cater to dive vacations. He is also primarily in charge of executing marketing strategies to attract new customers. His business is on the smaller side with three full-time instructors, two divemasters, and two retail employees. Ambitious Andy has big goals; although he is new to the dive industry he wants to become a five-star PADI store so he can train people to become instructors and potentially expand his business. His largest obstacles include finding dive students who want to continue their certifications into advanced specialties, and getting his employees certified to inspect tanks and service dive equipment–a requirement to becoming a five-star store. Ambitious Andy reads a blog by PADI and regularly engages with the organization’s Facebook and Instagram social networks. He also reads a number of magazines on scuba equipment and dive training skills. He also reads a few marketing blogs to gain more knowledge to help him better do his job. Email is his preferred initial form of contact with potential vendors, and before reaching out to them he first researches online reviews and social mentionings of the equipment manufacturer.
By creating a consumer profile such as this, businesses can pinpoint the pains and needs of their potential clients and create incredible content designed to nurture them through an inbound driven buyer’s journey.
Start Profiling Your Customers!
Your consumer profiles are the fuel that drives sales and gets people spreading your brand’s word. Without incorporating buyer personas into your marketing strategy, you will find it significantly more difficult in revealing how your products and services will best help clients reach their goals (vital information to closing more deals). After all, in order to attract, convert and delight your consumer audience members, you must first know who they are and trigger their pains at a more intimate, human level.