As a newbie to inbound marketing, there was a lot to take in when I first came to SupaReal. Although I understood the overall goal of this approach - to bring potential customers to our clients - there was still plenty to learn to be able to deliver it, and deliver it well.
This included buyer personas…
Don’t get me wrong, I was completely onboard with getting to know an audience inside-out to help create the types of content they value. But the thought of building out full personas - with names and all - was something a little foreign to me.
But because SupaReal focus every inbound marketing strategy around well defined buyer personas, it was something I had to learn more about.
So, I read a lot - and I mean a lot. About what they are, how they work, how to create them, and the information you need to create them.
With this in mind...
What the hell is a buyer persona?
Buyer personas are your ideal customers, not your real customers.
Fictional representations of your ideal customers clearly defined using information like role and responsibilities, buying behaviour patterns, challenges and issues, motivations, and goals.
When it comes to buyer personas, you can never have too much detail. They are there to guide your marketing efforts and identify where you should be focusing your time to attract the valuable visitors.
Used right, they save time, money and resources.
But none of this really gets to the crux of the matter, i.e. the context of buyer personas in inbound marketing. So here I am, in our little corner of the web, offering my two cents on the subject.
Get off your butt and do something meaningful
Inbound is about delivering marketing that brings potential customers to you, rather than fighting for their attention or scaring them off with an obnoxious hard sell approach.
But to do this you need to know who these potential customers are, where they are hanging out, and what they need
Developing buyer personas helps to build your knowledge of this specific information - defining and surfacing all the good stuff. The stuff that, when used to focus your content marketing campaign, is going to make your ideal customer engage…
Once you have a grasp on that, well, the world is your oyster!
After all, people care about their own problems and challenges much more than your products and services, especially in B2B, and especially at the early stages of their buying journey. Focus on educating the consumer rather than selling and you’ll be well on your way to inbound marketing success.
Make it worth a little something
So we’ve established personas and inbound go hand in hand. But how exactly do the two work together?
Inbound relies on four fundamentals in the buyer’s journey:
To be able to sit back and crown yourself an inbound marketing royal, your strategy needs to focus on each of these stages. How can you attract valuable visitors and transform them promoters of your brand?
To solve relevant problems, attract valuable visitors, encourage them to become customers, and delight them so much so that they promote your brand to a relevant audience - you need to be creating remarkable, meaningful content...
Content that adds value, answers questions, solves problems, and keeps them coming back for more.
No, it’s not easy - nothing worth doing ever is.
But it’s certainly made easier when you have an idea of who the hell you are trying to reach and what their problems actually are.
Which brings us back to buyer personas! (Surprise, surprise)
They are the key to helping you create content attuned to the information needs of your ideal customers - the people you want to attract to your business. With them, you can demonstrate empathy with their biggest challenges. Without them, you kiss goodbye to any chance you had of making your customers’ experiences remarkable.
At the end of the day, it’s not about interrupting your customers, it’s about helping them.
...Yes, that’s right, marketing people love! Marketing that is useful and not just fluff and noise.
To successfully marry your content with relevant context you need a clear understanding of buyer personas and the buyer’s journey.
When it’s time for customers to choose, make them choose you
So what does it all mean?
Why are buyer personas considered so paramount to the success of inbound marketing?
Well, without them your marketing is going to lack focus - making it pretty bloody difficult to make any kind of connection with your ideal prospect (nevermind a strong one).
Remember, the goal of inbound marketing is to create more value, for more people, more often. So when it’s time for them to choose, they choose you.
Lack of knowledge and/or understanding of who your ideal prospect is, makes it near enough impossible to deliver any of that. So knuckle down, stop the pointless crap, and pinpoint your ideal customers. Stop talking about yourself all the time - focus on them!
Hopefully this has given you some context to buyer personas in inbound marketing!
There’s certainly a lot more to cover on this subject, like how content marketing can address buyer personas in each stage of the buyer’s journey… which will be coming soon. To catch it first, make sure you sign up to our newsletter!