If your embarking on an inbound marketing campaign one of the first steps you will have to take is to know who you are marketing to. Otherwise, you end up targeting businesses that have no interests in your product.
For example, if we were to run an inbound marketing campaign for our link building services we would have to come up with a plan to find out who needs this service, how much they typically spend on advertising, their company size and much more.
When you start to build this picture this is known as a buyer persona.
Industry surveys are a great place to start with a buyer persona. For example, in the Self Storage industry, you can find surveys that outline the average age of a customer, their marital status, how far they are willing to travel to go to a storage location and much more. All of this could then be used in a storage companies lead generation process.
Creating buyer personas if you have never made one can be difficult and if you have no idea who you want to market to, we have put together a list of questions you can ask yourself to create a buyer persona for your product/service.
What industry does your ideal client work in?
As we are an SEO agency we primarily deal with ecommerce companies. For you, this could be landscapers, builders, doctors, dentists and so on. You should also take this a step further if they specialise in their area.
Your ideal client could be in the cosmetic industry and specialises in porcelain veneers for 25-40-year-olds.
What is the size of their company?
Knowing the size of a company can help filter the right clients to your offer, for example at our company we know that our services, in general, are going to be too expensive for a 1 person sole trader so therefor we wouldn’t target sole traders with our marketing.
We also know that in our field of SEO things change very quickly so we have to make decisions at the same speed, and working with a company with 500+ employees would be very difficult to work with so we wouldn’t target them either.
What is the person’s job role?
Knowing the person’s job role who you are going to target will allow you to get your messaging right when creating the content for them or for when you reach out with outbound marketing.
If you sell a technical product you may want to target the CTO of a company while if you are selling a product that can help the sales team reduce costs and improve their performance you may want to target the sales manager.
Knowing the person’s job role will also help you when creating your content, if you are targeting lower-level staff you may need to create more in-depth content that handholds them a little while on the other hand if you’re targeting a higher level of staff you may not need to educate them as much on your product.
How is success measured?
For your marketing to be successful you are going to need to know how success is measured in that person’s eyes. The CTO of a company would be interested in your product if it helped them take advantage of new technology to improve their bottom line, they may not be interested in a service that helps retain employees.
At Weeare, success is measured in organic traffic gains for our clients, if a service was pitched towards us that could improve our client’s organic traffic we would be all ears, but if we were pitched on a new app design it wouldn’t make much sense to us and wouldn’t be a good fit.
What does their workday look like?
Knowing how often the person works, the time they work and where they work from can help when crafting a message or looking for places to advertise from.
If you know your product is a good fit for C level executives who like to spend their weekends at golf clubs or health spas maybe you could buy advertising space on the electronic boards within health clubs.
What challenges do they face?
The success of a business depends on the problem it solves and how it goes about solving that problem.
For your product/service to work, you need to go into detail on what problems your potential customers face and what it makes them feel like.
When you understand the personas challenges and how it makes them feel you can then target your marketing and your product around that.
With us, we know that our clients generally have hired SEO agencies in the past who haven’t produced results for them and they had no idea what they had done for them. As a result of this, part of our marketing is to explain our entire process and how the customer is kept in the loop throughout with a project tracker where they can see the work that has been done and is in the process of being complete.
Without knowing this was important to our clients we wouldn’t have built this tracker.
What websites or blogs do they read?
Finding out what websites they visit or blogs they read can help with your marketing because you know where they hang out. A dentist may read other dental blogs and if you wrote a piece on that blog around a subject they cared about such as how to get more Invisalign clients you could have a client in the making.
What social channels do they use?
Social media marketing is a huge part of a business and knowing where your clients hang out could save you months of frustration. If you know your clients hang out on LinkedIn then it makes sense to focus your marketing efforts on building your LinkedIn profile rather than making Tik Tok videos or posting 4 times a day on Instagram.
Problems with Personas
We believe that buyer personas are of value, but they do have their problems too. We interviewed 50 of our clients and found that 84% (42) of them built their buyer personas from assumptions rather than data from speaking to past clients.
We would recommend using data rather than assumptions, but this can be a next to impossible task.
Buyer personas are a useful tool when marketing your business and while they are useful it’s important to realise that they are just a tool and common sense should still be used.
People are different and your ideal buyer persona won’t match them 100%, so if your persona tells you they should act in one way but they don’t this is fine and you shouldn’t panic or cut off the sale.
You can alter your buyer persona as your business grows too and overtime you will have a better understanding of who your ideal customer is.