If you read one of my recent blog posts titled Creating Personas: What Are They and How Do I Develop One, you should now understand what a buyer persona is and how we create one. If you haven't read that and you don't already understand buyer personas, taking a look at it before reading any further here would probably help you understand these theories a little better.
If you already have a good understanding of what they are and how to create one, now you might be wondering why buyer personas are important for you and how they can help your business. At it's most basic, understanding your customer will help you better understand how to sell your product or service. By understanding who your customer is, what they value, etc. you will understand them and how you can fit into their life. There are five overall ways that developing a buyer persona for your ideal customer can help you better sell to them. Let's look at each item separately and then address how they can all work together.
Identify needs and wantsBy evaluating the goals, challenges and objections we uncovered in the persona development stage, we know what they need from our business and what they want out of a company. Understanding these things is crucial in understanding how to sell to them and what you should offer them. It might even lead you to identify opportunities to develop new products or services to solve other problems they might have!
Understand purchasing decisionsUnderstanding how they go about purchasing something will help you understand where and when to get in front of them. Maybe you have a persona who does 95% of their research online before ever approaching a company. Knowing that will help you learn what to do in order to get in front of them early in the process with educational information relevant to what they're looking for and sell to them without directly selling to them. I'll explain what I mean by that in the example below.
Behavioral insightKnowing where these personas spend time on the internet and in the world. This will give you insight into how to communicate with them, how to reach new customers, what types of content to produce and where and how to promote it.
Targeted contentUnderstanding the needs, wants, goals, challenges, etc. of your personas allows you to better understand what type of content will appeal to them. Since you know what is valuable to them, you can target your content towards those values and develop content that is relevant to them.
EXPERT TIP: ALL of the content you develop should be targeted towards one of your personas and be information that they deem valuable. Remember, just because you as a business owner think that the information you're presenting is valuable does not necessarily mean your customers will.. It doesn't matter how important you think something is, if you customers don't find it valuable, they won't consume it.
Having buyer personas in place will also help with your email marketing through the use of list segmentation. If you segment your contacts based on your personas, when you are developing content that is specific to specific personas you can email that persona list with to get the valuable content in front of them without them having to seek it out.
EXPERT TIP: When you are asking a visitor to fill out a form on your site for a content offer, make sure to ask them a question that indicates what persona they fit into. This will help you add new contacts to persona lists immediately.
Now that we understand all the things that a buyer persona provides us with and how we can use the individual items to help us promote our businesses, let's look at a quick example of how all of these things work together:
Let's pretend we own a tire company in Denver who is trying to push sales of their snow tires. One of our personas is Outdoor Owen. Owen is an avid skier. Every year he purchases the EPIC Pass and tries to ski every weekend during the season. He lives in Denver but skis in Breckenridge. He's usually the driver for his friends to go to the mountains and really wants to make sure that his car is safe and performing well in the snow. He is 27, grew up with the internet and loves to Google things (because we don't have to wonder things anymore!). How do we, as the tire company, get in front of Owen and convince him to buy our snow tires? Let's take if from the beginning.
Based on our buyer persona, we know that Owen wants to make sure that his car is safe when driving to the mountains. This is something he wants and needs. We also learned that he's doing the majority of his research prior to reaching out to a salesperson at any company. That is how he goes about making his purchase decisions. Because gets all the information on his own before making a purchase using Google searches (a behavioral insight of this persona), we want to make sure we get in front of him in the right way, at the right time, with the right information.
Through developing the Outdoor Owen persona, we've learned that he starts out his buyer's journey not even knowing that he needs snow tires. Instead, he's trying to figure out how to get his Subaru to perform better in the snow. So maybe, in order to help him with that problem, we provide him with an ebook that outlines some tips and tricks for better winter driving. One of those tricks could be addressing your tires to make sure they're good for winter driving or investing in snow tires. Owen comes across this information through a Google search and fills out a form to download the ebook. In filling out that form, we ask him to answer a question about his lifestyle. One of the available options is "avid skier." By selecting this option, Owen has self identified himself as the Outdoor Owen persona and we automatically enrolled him into our segmented list for that persona so we can follow up with emails.
Once he's finished the ebook, we're hoping he's started thinking about snow tires and he wants to learn about why they're important for winter driving in Colorado. To help him in that stage, we might develop a video showing two different people driving I-70 in mid-December; one person with snow tires and one without. We know that this persona would value this information so we have created this targeted content specifically to address that. And we use our list segmentation from above to get that video in front of him.
Once he's convinced that he needs snow tires if he's going to be hoofing it up to Breck this winter, he starts looking into the differences between the types of snow tires. This is when he's ready to see some actual product information from us. So maybe we develop a chart that measures the differences in the types of snow tires and convinces him that ours are the best. By this time, we've convinced him that we are industry leaders and that our snow tires are the best and he's ready to buy! But we didn't do that by shoving product information at him immediately or bombarding him with sales emails or calls. We looked at what he values, what problem he is trying to solve and how he purchases. Then we used those findings to fit ourselves into his world.
Developing personas is a crucial component of understanding who your customer is and how to talk to them. Meeting your customer where they already are and presenting them with information they value in a way that they want to consume it will not only help you better understand these people, it will also build a foundation of trust and respect for your business and ultimately help you develop a stronger relationship with your customer.
Personas are a huge component of developing and implementing an inbound marketing strategy. Ready to learn more about inbound marketing, check out our FREE Inbound Marketing 101: A Beginner's Guide eBook today!