Inbound marketing is more important than ever in today's digital business landscape. According to HubSpot, “Inbound leads cost 61% less than leads from outbound marketing methods like billboards, direct mail, or radio advertisements.”
To have effective inbound marketing, it is important to know whom a company is reaching. A persona is best used for this practice. This blog will teach what a persona is and how to create a buyer persona to help improve a business.
What is a Buyer Persona?
A persona is a fictional character that a company creates to represent a segment of a company's users. Many personas are created to help identify customers in unique market segments.
Each persona will contain information about the customer's personality, benefits they have gained from the product, how they use it, their previous solutions and pain points, buying triggers, buying process, and the factors that led them to choose the product or service.
Personas give great insight for developing inbound marketing strategies. The best practice is two to four personas to focus on for a company. This blog will go in-depth on how to create a persona and make sure a company is targeting the appropriate personas.
Creating a Buyer Persona
When developing personas, one must go through the 4 stages of creation: quantitative stage, qualitative stage, drafting stage, and socializing stage. Each stage will allow us to make a target persona more robust and allow a marketing budget to be allocated effectively. Beginning with the first stage, Quantitative Analysis.
Quantitative Analysis is when one begins to look at all of their customers and gather user research. The company needs to gather data on demographics, revenue, and engagement.
Using data visualization software, they can break down the data and find user types who actively purchase from them, their location, and which ones are the most profitable. These groups are the starting point in finding who potential customers are. For example, your current marketing strategy could be focused on the persona that represents 70% of your customers.
But after analyzing the data, you may find that this portion of the market is only responsible for 30% of your total revenue. This reveals that there is a more profitable customer segment that should be marketed to. Next, let us learn a little more about the new segment.
In the qualitative analysis step, a company will begin to get a grasp of who the customer is and how the customer is interacting with the product or service. This process can be started easily by reaching out to existing customers who match the industry, company size, and department of the new target persona.
Using a sales automation tool makes this process easier by allowing a mass email to be sent to each contact, asking to set up an interview, and tracking which customers have responded and which will need follow-up emails. Once interviews are set up, it is important the questions asked give answers to help determine the following:
Each question should be the same for each interview so the answers can be sorted and analyzed. This information is used to craft the personality of the new persona.
It is the drafting stage where a company begins to create its new persona and get an understanding of the new customer. Make this generalization as detailed as possible as it will help in the inbound marketing process.
First, it is important to describe their personality as best as possible. State issues that would make them upset or ideas that would spark their interest and other personality quirks.
Then, address which industry they are in and which industry or industries that they serve. After this, generalize the common reason for them to begin using the product or service and how it has changed their work landscape. Generalize how they purchased the product or service and what it was like to go through the buying process.
Continue adding relevant information for the target persona to make them more robust.
Lastly, marketers will create an alliterated name such as “Marketing Mike” or “Construction Cathy”. This gives a “human” feel to the persona and makes the persona memorable and easier to refer to.
Finally, the socializing stage. It is here where a company will begin its outreach efforts in contacting customers that match the new persona. To show a good example of how to socialize, let's use "Construction Cathy" as our example.
A very brief description of this persona is "she is a contractor that builds metal frames for buildings and bridges and she purchases steel and other construction equipment from you. She switched from their previous vendor due to the lack of quality to your more premium building supplies."
"She often purchases and receives materials by contacting one of your sales reps, placing an order, and then shipping the order of supplies to her job site." To attract more customers like her, some inbound marketing strategies that can be created are as follows:
In summary, building a persona is a great first step to succeeding in any inbound marketing efforts. The persona will help to create accurate and relevant content, as well as keep marketing efforts consistent. Every company must be aware of what personas it is serving and the potential of more profitable personas that have yet to be identified.
Please read our blog on signs that you are attracting the wrong customers for more information on this topic. And, if you are looking at how to improve your sales, subscribe to our blog to receive our latest blogs.
For resources to help with Persona Creation, here is a free template. HubSpot also provides a persona creator tool.