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Understanding who we’re speaking to and what their goals and pain points are is the first step to crafting a marketing messages that engage audiences. While marketing automation tools drive efficiency and provide new opportunities, it can be easy to forget about the actual person on the other end of our communications. In our search to increase click-through and conversion rates, we quickly lose sight of our audience. Buyer personas are the key to avoiding this and making our marketing more impactful.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on actual research and some educated assumptions. Crafting buyer personas will help you segment your contact database, so you get the right content in front of the right person at the right time. You can also use this information to move people further through the buyer’s journey.
Buyer personas tell a story about your ideal customer. They include general demographic information like age, location, salary, and education as well as more specific information like their goals, challenges, watering holes (where they go for information), and preferred methods of communication. All this information can be compiled to create a comprehensive profile that your team can use to design products, services, and content that your buyers need.
If you don’t have a view into who your buyers are, there’s a good chance your marketing efforts are missing the mark. There are several resources that you can use to build your buyer personas:
Asking people to take time out of their busy day to complete a survey or answer questions about who they are can be a hard sell, especially if they aren’t customers you speak with on a regular basis. Consider using incentives like gift cards or promotions to get a better response rate.
You should also use different methods to collect information. Ask interviewees if they would prefer a conversation over phone, completing an online survey or responding to questions via email. Again, this helps ensure you get more responses. The more information you have about your target audience, the easier it is to produce accurate buyer personas.
Be as flexible as possible and work around the interviewee’s schedule. Remember, you’re asking people with whom you may not have a business relationship to take time out of their day. You can increase your chances of getting a response (and valuable information) if you allow them to pick a time that works for them. To make sure they don’t forget, send them a calendar invite and block off their schedule.
One of the biggest misconceptions about buyer personas is that they’re just for marketers. For your buyer personas to be truly effective, they should be used across your business to foster alignment and ensure customer experience is the red thread that runs throughout product development, sales, marketing and support. A customer-centric focus starts with buyer personas. When used correctly, personas can turn customers into promoters, drive brand awareness, and increase leads.
Marketing - Marketing is all about messaging. Buyer personas are a great tool to guide your marketing team so they’re spending their time and resources on content and communications that convert. Generic content may appeal to a small percentage of a large group, but detailed content that addresses the specific concerns of your ideal customer is more likely to convert a large percentage of a smaller group, the group you want to engage. Buyer personas help marketers work smarter to drive engagement and generate leads.
Sales - For the motivated salesperson, buyer personas can be a gold mine. They give your sales team all the information they need to go out and look for new opportunities. In most organizations, both sales and marketing own a piece of the pipeline and filling the funnel is a shared responsibility. Sales teams can use buyer personas to proactively identify potential customers through smart prospecting. Everything from which social media platforms to use and websites to visit through to common pain points, buyer personas have the information salespeople need to craft meaningful, personalizes first messages that engage prospects.
Product Development - Customer-centric design begins with the customer. Understanding who you’re designing for can guide the decision-making process when it comes to your product or solution. Product managers can use buyer personas to prioritize product releases and determine which features and bug fixes to focus on. They can also be used to validate feature requests and customer feedback by answering one simple question: does this address a key pain point or challenge for my ideal customer?
Here are some best practices to keep in mind as you draft your buyer personas:
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