Marketing professionals constantly make references to buyer personas and the buyer’s journey, and it’s no surprise why. One of the most influential marketing innovations in recent years, personas factor into virtually every decision marketers make.
The success of your efforts depends in large part upon the detail and accuracy of the buyer personas, making it central to everything you do. With so much depending upon personas, your organization should know exactly how to create them and use them effectively to influence your target audience. In this post, we’ll define customer personas and list some best practices to help you attract the right type of attention.
Personas: Sketching Your Customers
Inbound marketing authority HubSpot calls buyer personas “fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers.” Think of each persona document as a dossier containing all the pertinent information needed to educate your team on the mindset, goals and obstacles motivating your archetypical customers. The persona should allow your team to develop content that appeals to the people occupying those roles, so it needs to be as specific and thorough as possible. When researching positions, gather details about the types of metrics your persona aims to improve, the pain points they grapple to overcome and the people they attempt to influence.
Other information to collect on personas include:
- Job descriptions
- Role within the organization
Interviewing current customers who occupy similar roles as your targeted customers is a great way to collect insights about personas. To standardize the process and ensure you assemble the necessary information, create an interview document to structure your conversations with customers.
Putting Personas to Work
You’ve built your buyer personas. Now what? With a better understanding of your target customer’s needs and objectives, you can begin developing focused content that directly addresses their unique interests. Rather than develop generic content in hopes of attracting every type of potential customer, personas guide content creators toward segmenting material for the greatest impact. Customer Relations Management (CRM) tools can aid you in organizing your prospects into persona types, which achieves even more deliberate content distribution.
When researching positions, gather details about the types of metrics your persona aims to improve, the pain points they grapple to overcome and the people they attempt to influence.
Using a CRM platform, your content creation team can assess which segments constitute a sizable percentage of your customer database and therefore warrant focused content. Consulting the appropriate buyer persona will provide the orientation necessary to draft relevant content that will appeal to your prospects.
The Role of the Buyer’s Journey Map
The buyer’s journey map is another useful tool to consult while drafting persona-specific content. A visual representation of the stages personas pass through from their initial exposure to your brand to final conversion, the buyer’s journey gives content creators tangible goals. Assign names to the major stages along the buyer’s journey to give content creators an idea of what actions or changes in mindset their content should motivate. Your team can consider the needs of prospects as outlined in the personas and the objectives prescribed by the journey map to develop the most effective content.
A Final Consideration: Negative Personas
In addition to defining personas for customers who warrant your special attention, define customers who may appear similar to ideal personas but who ultimately aren’t a good fit for your services. These disqualifying descriptions can be incorporated into your positive personas and equip content creators to differentiate between viable targets and poor prospects. They will also inform your overall content strategy by better focusing your organization’s efforts toward well-defined goals.
Once you have personas developed, your team is equipped to create tailored content that takes your customer’s challenges, objectives and needs into consideration.
Some examples of content that benefits from customer personas include:
- White Papers
- Blog Articles
- Case Studies
- Messaging Playbooks
Finding the Right Partner
With detailed personas in hand, your team can devise an effective content strategy and begin targeting the most promising leads with relevant information. But even the most disciplined and informed teams will occasionally struggle to maintain the pace required to maintain or increase customer engagement, and an agency can be an invaluable partner in gaining conversions. Agency partners can either develop tactics to execute your established content strategy or help you draft personas to anchor your priorities.
If you’re looking for help developing personas and building relevant content, contact AvreaFoster for a consultation.
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