We modern marketers have big creative noggins that toil away at making our branding message stand out. Social media strategies, advertising campaigns, and content calendars are popular ways we spend our days attempting to move our company’s needle.
And it might all be for naught.
If our tone, content, and advice don’t entice and engage our buyers, it doesn’t matter how much time we put into creating it or how many people engage with it. That’s why the number one priority for marketers is to understand the buyer.
This is where buyer personas come into play. By defining these personas within your company, you empower marketing to exponentially increase its reach and success.
What Are Buyer Personas?
A company’s buyer persona is a representative of their targeted customer. While some organizations, especially those that offer a variety of products or services, have more than one persona, few have more than a handful. Sometimes companies mistakenly believe they have nailed their buyer only to realize it was their “perception” of their buyer, and it wasn’t accurate. This costs companies big.
Buyer personas are defined by several pieces of information. When companies dig into who truly benefits from using their product or service, the needs they address with it, and the barriers they face in deciding whether or not to purchase, a trend begins taking shape. Similarities should begin to be uncovered. Add to that the demographics of the client, and the shape starts coming to life. From there, companies can create a model customer that accurately depicts your actual buyer.
This is your buyer persona.
Why Are Buyer Personas Important?
Before you write this off as mumbo jumbo, think about the large chunks of resources your company puts into attracting people to purchase its products. Unfortunately, it’s easy to miss the mark and engage the wrong prospect. For example, if your product isn’t the least expensive, attracting the buyer who makes his decision on price alone is a “miss” for your marketing strategy. These strategic errors gobble up time and productivity and allow your competition the chance to gain the upper hand.
A strong, well developed persona provides a way for your business to build strategies that reach the prospects who are most likely to need the product or service you’re selling. They help craft your company’s voice, from broad content to highly targeted advertising. Understanding your buyer and what drives him or her is critical to attracting and engaging with them properly. A higher return on initiatives, reaching an increased number of profitable buyers, and honing in on company alignment are all results of putting the time into defining a buyer persona.
Your next question is probably…
How Do You Define Your Buyer Personas?
Think about your ideal customer. Male or female? What size company does he/she work for? What is her/his title? What is the age of your customer?
Buyer personas are a culmination of all these questions, and more. What motivates your buyer? What is helpful and what do they care about? What makes your product or service their answer? Which part of the buying decision makes them worry or creates stress?
To fully develop your buyer persona, you must go outside your company’s perceptions to a true source: your current clients.
Gather information from your profitable clients. First off, examine them and note their characteristics such as the industry they work in, the position they hold, and their sex and age. Dig deeper by crafting a survey and asking for their input. By studying these answers carefully, and pairing them with what you already know, you can build your buyer persona.
How Can Buyer Personas Amplify Marketing’s Success?
Companies don’t do business with companies. Humans do business with humans. This is the premise of a buyer persona. Instead of saying “our target market would respond to this,” it’s easier to say, “Buyer Betty would love this” or “This wouldn’t get Buyer Betty’s attention”.
Defining your buyer’s persona accurately and thoroughly can revolutionize your sales process.
Personas impact everything from how to lay out your website, the content you use, the blogs you write, the social media channels you use, and the ads you buy. If you’re marketing to women in their fifties, your strategy is completely different than if your buyer persona is men in their thirties.
Buyer personas offer three key benefits:
- Save time. Instead of guessing what will work and then spending weeks or months tweaking the message, buyer personas allow you to create hard-hitting marketing campaigns that produce immediate results.
- Provide better-quality leads. When a highly effective, targeted message reaches more of the people who would be your ideal buyer, your lead funnel fills up with high-quality leads. Can we get a show of hands who love it when that happens?
- Create a cohesive branding message. Instead of changing tones and messaging depending on the channel, buyer personas help marketing craft a branding message that is consistent across all channels. This increases brand recognition which has a greater chance of resonating with your buyer.
Growing your company and moving your needle in the right direction is essential for long-term sustainability and growth. Analyzing your current customers and your knowledge of your business to identify and formulate an accurate buyer’s persona is essential. While it does take commitment and resources in the beginning to develop, the return on investment in time savings and increased, higher quality leads are worth it in the end.
Nicole Hudson is an engaging thought leader in marketing strategy development, branding, demand generation, content marketing, social media, marketing technology and lead generation. Her firm, Inbound Lead Solutions, focuses on sales and marketing alignment with B2B companies, franchising, professional services, keynote speakers, authors, and consultants. Hudson’s marketing strategies have been recognized by Franchise Media Group in two consecutive years with Star Awards for social media lead generation, and by a Dbusiness Magazine award in 2016 for Marketing Consulting. Her work has been featured in a LinkedIn case study on Franchising Search Engine Optimization and Lead Generation. She published a book collaboration with Bulldog Reporter (Infocom), The Advanced LinkedIn PR Handbook. Hudson has developed social media strategies for two national television appearances, Be the Boss and Undercover Boss. Nicole is a member of the International Franchise Association and sits on its Marketing & Technology Committee; is a board member and marketing chair for Community Home Supports, a Detroit non-profit; and is a regular speaker, content contributor, and trainer on digital marketing topics.