We’ve all heard it a million times: content is king. That’s a little too generic, though. When you really think about it, it leads you absolutely nowhere.
A better metaphor is this: Content is King Henry VIII. And who are his six queens? Buyer personas! (With a better ending, of course).
As a marketer, you likely know just how how effective the right content at the right time can be for attracting, nurturing and converting leads. In any industry, emails, landing pages, white papers, ads and blog posts can steer leads from tepid interest to loyal customers. Buyer personas are key for all of those efforts to be successful.
Make no mistake: Intelligent content marketing is an art. To develop material that truly resonates with leads and drives them to the next stage of the funnel, you have to craft your content with hooks that grab attention and speak to specific interests. Impersonal emails with boring headlines get the delete key. Generic ads get nothing but glazed eyeballs.
Above all, readers must feel compelled by your content – or they’ll disengage and move on to the next thing quicker than you can Google Henry VIII.
So, back to our queens: Buyer personas. Outlining profiles that describe your actual buyer segments in depth brings your customer journey into clear focus. There you’ll discover when, why and how potential customers make those all-important buying decisions. And with that information, you can begin to master the art of crafting high-impact, influential campaigns – because you’ll understand your buyers’ challenges, pain points and goals.
This is just a scratching of the proverbial surface. Buyer personas offer several tangible benefits that can transform your campaigns:
Getting Beyond Assumptions
As human beings, we rely assumptions more than we realize. It’s easy to scrape a few clues together and simply assume that we fully understand our buyers and their buying habits. Too often, we fail to notice that our once-great sales plays are no longer relevant. Creating in-depth buyer personas shatter superficial demographic assumptions and reveal surprising buyers with unexpected motivations.
Blowing Away Existing Categories
If your company sells software that manages medical practices, you might think you understand the needs and challenges faced by doctors and healthcare administrators. But by analyzing real data and talking with customers about their daily lives, you’ll have more insight into which physicians and administrators need to receive which messages. A doctor in a private, small-town practice will probably have very different challenges, goals and budgets than a large hospital administrator. Outlining those differences can help you inject a precision and relevance into your hooks instead of wasting time targeting the wrong message to the wrong prospects.
Revealing Hidden Barriers to Purchase
Buyer personas don’t just reveal why customers are buying your product; they also reveal hidden barriers to purchase. By understanding a persona’s true priorities, you’ll gain much better insight into what kind of messaging will connect. For example, you may discover that a certain persona is looking for safety when buying a car and thats why they haven’t responded to campaigns that emphasize style and status. Now you’ll be able to develop a campaign advertising the safety of your cars and enjoy sales from an entirely new audience.
Identifying True Influencers
Personas are also helpful in situations where purchasing decisions are influenced by multiple personas. By outlining the perceptions, power and needs each person brings to the table, you’ll be able to discover the real influencer. It may not always be the executive with the corner office, or the director with final purchasing power. The true influencer may be someone completely outside the often-murky decision process. Identifying that person is critical for tailoring campaigns that hit the mark, as they’re the people who need to be convinced.
Better Product Insight
Buyer personas aren’t just for cultivating new leads, they also allow for deeper engagement with current buyers. The same analysis that reveals struggles and goals can reveal which features and products customers are using and which they’re not – laying the foundation for up-sell or cross-sell opportunities.
Providing a Funnel Framework
Complete buyer personas provide a framework for talking to your leads at each stage of the process. By knowing each persona’s questions in the initial stages and the internal justifications they need to make, you’ll be able to map content to their needs at each specific stage.
Alignment of Sales and Marketing
Buyer personas aren’t just for the marketing department. If a sales rep receives a new lead and identifies it as a specific persona, that rep now understands how to approach the lead and what kind of strategy to adopt.
Ultimately, buyer personas help you develop meaningful and appealing content by putting you in the shoes of your audience. By understanding your buyers inside and out, you’ll be able to frame the message from their perspective. Crafting relevant content involves more than simply mentioning a customer pain point. Adopting a certain voice, style, design and topic are all vital elements in delivering relevant and memorable content.
So while you’ll still want to pay attention to industry trends and high-level data, don’t forget to use buyer personas in your strategies. There’s no better tool to help you reach into the mind of a prospect and help them make that important final purchasing decision.