Demographic information is all well and good, but do you know who you are really selling to? I mean do you really know. Do you have a clear picture of who you want to attract, or are you like of those sleazy 3am lawyer commercials that promise huge cash settlements to anyone with a pulse and a landline. The best way to truly get everyone in the company on the same page and  marketing to the right people is to develop a set of buyer personas.

What is a buyer persona?

A buyer persona is a profile or story on the type of customer you want to attract to your business. Think of them as your dream clients. A great business persona starts with a name that puts them into a segmented group ie: Marketing Mary or Head of Purchasing Patty. These are the people you could be targeting. The persona also includes more specific details like age, gender, education, family status, etc. You also define what a day in their life looks like and what their pain points are.

So what is the benefit of what may seem like another useless corporate exercise that the marketing team wants you to do?

This exhaustive three-hour meeting was almost as productive as a well written email.

1. They are filters for your marketing content

Every time you develop an idea for any piece of marketing communication, you need to ask yourself – which persona is this for? You will come to one of two conclusions. It’s either going to be an idea that is or isn’t directed at one of your personas. If it is, great! Let’s pursue that idea. If it isn’t, there’s no need to waste any more resources on the idea. You’ll need to either put that idea aside or start brainstorming some ways to make it fit one of your personas.

2. They help keep staff on the same page

Ask your employees or coworkers who your perfect clients are. If everyone is giving you a different answer, then it may be time for the buyer persona exercise. Your personas are something that everyone in the organization should be able to recite on demand. That way, everyone knows the company goals and who its clients are.

3. Personas make a great organizational tool for your sales team

Sales teams are always looking for better ways to prioritize leads. By grouping your leads and customers by persona, it allows you to make stronger decisions on which leads to pursue. You’ll be able to rank leads by persona and go after the strongest matches first.

4. They make great segments for your marketing automation

Your personas can also be used as segmentations for workflows, email newsletters, etc. This means that you can create much more targeted emails and workflows by assigning each website lead a persona. It does take time to make sure each content offer is dedicated to one specific persona type, but once you’ve accomplished this your visitors will begin receiving much more focused content.

5. They help pre-qualify leads

Pre-qualifying leads can be a huge time saver. Think of any of the clients that you may have stretched yourself to work with and realized that they just weren’t the right fit. Think of how much time you may have wasted when you could have been working with someone who would have benefited more from your expertise. That’s where personas can help pre-qualify your leads. Your personas clearly define the people you want to pursue and those that you want to avoid, so you’ll spend less time pitching to the kinds of customers that weren’t right for you anyway.

When you’re doing the buyer persona exercise, remember that you probably won’t have your personas dead on in the first draft. Do some additional research and ask your current clients questions that will help define who they are. Pretty soon you’ll be winning your dream clients left and right. As your business evolves, so should your personas – so don’t be afraid to research and change personas as you grow.

Personas are really the first step in getting your business on track and ready to take the inbound marketing world by storm. Use them as your guideposts and they will help guide your entire business away from wasting less resources and toward keeping your goals on target.

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