Identifying and targeting a specific audience is absolutely crucial for Driving success with inbound marketing.
But, how can you accomplish this kind of effective targeting? By using buyer personas.
How Buyer Personas Drive Inbound Marketing Success
To create a successful marketing program, you first must know to whom you are marketing.
One of the most common and useful tools for identifying your target audience is a buyer persona. According to Hubspot, the use of buyer personas “made websites two to five times more effective and easier to use by target users,” increased email click-through rates by 14%, and increased conversion rates by 10%.
Buyer personas can be an extremely helpful and effective content marketing tool if properly utilized.
How Can Buyer Personas Help my Business?
The main function of a buyer persona is to provide greater value to customers.
As content creators, we seek to provide relevant and engaging information to specific markets and audiences. These audiences engage with our content hoping to gain something. What you provide audiences is based on your specific business and how creative you choose to get with your media. From how-to YouTube videos, to product comparison blogs, to colorful infographics, and anything else you want to create, your content is unique to your business and must be tailored to your specific market.
Regardless of the type of content, what you share with your audience should be of value. New to content marketing and not sure where to start? Looking to spice up your current content? That’s where buyer personas come in handy!
Buyer personas can help you understand what actually matters to your readers and inspire content that resonates with your target market. The more relevant and valuable the information is to the reader, the more likely you are to build a loyal customer relationship. Continuously offering new and relevant content will help maintain this relationship.
How to Create Buyer Personas
1. Research Your Current Client Base
To create an accurate buyer persona, identify your current client base, not those you wish or assume are your target market. This common optimistic bias can weaken your buyer personas and lead to disappointment and some confusion about why the content didn’t land with your audience.
Thankfully, your current client base contains plenty of information and insight into the drives and desires of your target audience. Basic Google Analytics can provide information about key traits and habits of your current clients and contacts.
Other free services, like Survey Monkey, can be used to connect with your target market and inquire directly about their needs, wants, and expectations.
2. Create Accurate Descriptions of Your Current Clients and Their Behaviors
Once you’ve collected all this information, it is time to create a buyer persona.
Give your persona a name, then identify their basic demographics: age, gender, location, and other relevant information such as education level, job title, income level, etc.
You can then dig deeper into your audience’s behavior and identify other characteristics that may help tailor your content and brand to your audience. These characteristics may include hobbies and interests, activity level, browsing and social media habits, and other activities that affect how you engage with your viewers.
For example, if most of your consumers are male, 65+ years old, and retired, the content and user experience you create will be vastly different from how you would cater to females, in their early twenties, in college, who spend a significant portion of their budget on luxury goods. All of those details matter, and everything you produce should be tailored to those traits.
Hubspot also offers a very useful Persona tool that helps you to build and manage buyer personas.
How to Utilize Buyer Personas
Depending on your business, you may have several key buyer personas. If you have a sufficiently diverse audience, you should create more than one persona; especially if you are offering vastly different services or products to attract different audiences, it’s good to create personas that accurately reflect each of these unique markets.
Buyer personas are most effective when used to target audiences and engage in a meaningful exchange of information by providing information that is really useful and relevant to them. When creating content, keep in mind which persona you are targeting and tailor the content to the persona.
For some businesses, it may seem like the more personas you make, the more precisely you can attract certain types of customers; however, segmenting your marketing too much can actually hinder your ability to connect online. If you have personas that are relatively similar, it’s more effective to combine personas and create content that approaches larger segments of the market.
How Best to Use Your Buyer Personas
People read content because they're expecting to get something out of it - this could be instructions for doing something around their house, proof that a product is somehow superior to its competitors, or information that's relevant to a subject they're interested in.
All three of these offer some form of value to the reader.
The key here is that buyer personas can tell you what actually matters to your readers and what's going to resonate with the people who are conducting any given search.
If you can't offer any value to them, then naturally, they have no reason to engage with your content in the first place.
Some people like to refer to this as creating Massive Value Content - and emphasize a smaller number of high-value posts over a steady stream of normal ones. The truth is that both styles can work, and there's no one format that's right for every company.
Instead, consider it like this:
If you're short on time, consider going for the individual large posts - it may take twice as long to write each post, but if you're only making one each week instead of five, you're still saving time.
On the other hand, if you've got time to spare, you should invest that time in creating a steady stream of valuable content.
Your customers are the key to the success of your business. By remaining customer focused, you will continue to delight current and attract new customers. Buyer personas are a window into the minds of your target market, allowing you to create more engaging and effective content. By giving viewers what they want, you can increase sales and drive new leads.
Thanks for stopping by,
Editor's note: Originally published in 2016, this blog has been updated for content in 2020.