Attract The Right Leads With Inbound Marketing: A Small Business Owner’s Guide To Buyer Personas
Inbound marketing isn’t about increasing leads from your website, it’s about attracting more of the right leads –the leads that are most likely to convert to sales, and the potential customers with the best likelihood of spending the most money and sticking around the longest!
This article is all about attracting the right kind of web traffic to your site, and this task largely starts by understanding who your target customers are, what problems they face, what makes them tick, and why they are interested in a service like yours.
The best way to do this is to create a buyer persona for each of the main types of buyer you deal with, which you can use to create targeted content that increases both leads and conversions.
What is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is a marketing term for an ideal customer type, in other words, the type of person you’d like to get in touch with you through your website, and the sort of person you generally communicate with when making sales. If you’re a B2B business, it’s important to note that your buyer persona is not another business. Your company might do business with precision engineering companies, construction contractors, or solicitors’ firms, but the buyers you deal with are people within these companies, with a certain job role and level of responsibility.
Each buyer persona document is a semi-fictitious, but representative, profile that builds a comprehensive picture of your ideal target buyer, using a series of exploratory questions. This information goes beyond the person’s job role to delve into their motivations, their typical challenges, their online browsing habits, and even their communication style. The more information you include, the more useful your buyer persona will be in tailoring your content to the specific needs of your target audience.
A note on ‘ideal buyers’
Your ideal buyer is someone for whom your products and services, and your business as the service provider, is the perfect fit to resolve their challenges.
These people are strongly compatible with your products and services and your way of working, with considerable overlap in terms of business philosophy, communication style, and ethos. It may not always be love at first sight, but focusing on your ideal buyer demographic ensures you spend your time and resources on people who actually need what you have to offer, and who appreciate working with a company like your own – if you’re a small family business with personalised, face-to-face service as your USP, there’s not much point targeting people who like to do business exclusively online, for instance.
This level of understanding makes the sales process faster and easier for everyone involved and helps create better and more profitable relationships.
It’s inevitable that your buyer personas will, to a certain extent, be modelled on your actual customers, but don’t simply fill the document in from what you know about your current buyers, as these people may not be typical of their buyer group, and they may not be the ideal type of buyer you want to attract.
What to include in a buyer persona
First, give your buyer persona profile a name e.g. Keith the Dishwasher Engineer – this keeps you focused on the fact that the persona represents a real person, not an abstract entity. Almost any information is potentially relevant to a buyer persona, so use the following set of questions as a starter framework and build up the picture from there.
- Job title (make a separate buyer persona for each role)
- Type of company they work in and its size
- Their industry/sector
- Typical career background – University, apprenticeship etc
- Level of experience and technical knowledge
- Who they report to
- Who reports to them
- Roles and responsibilities
- What they do on a typical day at work
- Qualities they value in their professional life
- Age bracket
- Family information (if known) – e.g. whether they are married, have children etc
- Level of education
- Income bracket
- What they do outside of work
- How is success measured at work – e.g. number of sales, project delivery KPIs, revenues etc?
- What are their career goals?
- What challenges do they face in meeting these goals?
- How do they look for solutions and what type of question do they ask?
- What issues do they typically face when finding solutions to their challenges?
- How could you help?
- If they didn’t turn to you, what would they do – e.g. go to a competitor, recruit in-house etc?
- What qualities do they look for in a service provider – e.g. price and expertise?
- What factors are essential – e.g. accreditations, awards, testimonials, X years in business?
- What objections might they have, and what could put them off – e.g. admin fees, long lead time?
- What factors influence their decision-making process – e.g. cost, sign off from their director?
- How does the buyer like to communicate – e.g. email, face-to-face, phone, video chat?
- How do they source information – Google, LinkedIn, industry journals etc?
- What social media platforms that they use?
- What industry platforms and forums do the use?
- Do they belong to any professional associations?
- Do they regularly attend any trade events or conferences?
- Are you able to meet their expectations?
- Have they got the authority to make a purchase decision?
- Are your products and services within their budget?
- Are they in the right industry for your products and services?
How you can use your buyer personas
Your buyer personas will become the cornerstone of your marketing and sales strategy and have many applications. Most importantly, they allow you to tailor your content to address the concerns of a specific audience and allocate your resources to target the people who are most likely to convert. Understanding your target customers’ communication style, moreover, lets you use language and terminology that connects with them on a personal and professional level.
To find out more about buyer personas and how you can use them to add greater personalisation to your online marketing and sales, please call us today on 01332 215152.
Image source: Unsplash