According to HubSpot's State of Inbound 2017 marketing survey, one of the top 5 challenges for marketers last year was securing sufficient budgets to be successful.
Said differently, whether you work for a small business or a large enterprise organisation, marketing budgets are restricted - and that means you need to find ways of targeting the right market segments to maximise campaign performance.
It's critically important that your buyer personas accurately reflect the characteristics of your ideal customer for the products or services you're selling.
WHAT ARE BUYER PERSONAS?
To effectively target your marketing campaigns, you could focus on demographics, the buyer's journey and behavioural characteristics. To be effective, however, you need a way to summarise all consumer data into easy-to-understand profiles which match your ideal customer for given products or services. These fictionalised representations of those ideal customers are sometimes referred to as buyer personas. WordStream defines buyer personas as follows:
"Simply put, buyer personas are composites of the values, behaviours, and characteristics of your perfect customers, distilled into unique summaries. Buyer personas can be very complex or quite simple, depending on the nature of your business and the type of person who typically purchases your goods or services."
THE CRITICAL IMPORTANCE OF ACCURACY
If you want your campaigns to perform with maximum efficiency, it's critically important that your buyer personas accurately reflect the characteristics of your ideal customer for the products or services you're selling. That means you need to ask yourself the following 4 questions in building each buyer persona:
1. WHERE ARE PROSPECTS ON THE BUYER'S JOURNEY?
The content to which you direct to a given buyer persona will differ based on where that prospect is in the buyer's journey. Some prospects with a given set of demographics and behavioural characteristics, for example, will be new leads, while others will be in the lead nurturing stage, and still others will be sales-ready. While you might send new leads an engaging welcome email, those in the education stage need more detailed information that helps them make informed buying decisions, and those who are close to making a purchase need even more granular information, like product features and shipping options.
2. WHAT ARE THE PROSPECT'S DEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTICS?
Demographics are key to creating accurate buyer personas. Let's say, for example, that your business sells maternity clothes. Your persona would probably need to target demographic characteristics like:
- Women who are in their childbearing years
- Women whose incomes are sufficient to afford your maternity clothes
That's a good start, but you also need to consider that some of your customers might be consumers who want to buy maternity clothes as gifts, perhaps for a baby shower. Said differently, to maximise sales, you need to consider all your prospective customers and incorporate their characteristics into your personas.
3. WHAT ARE THE PROSPECT'S BEHAVIOURAL CHARACTERISTICS?
Among the prospects who share demographic traits that make them likely customers for your products and services, some are more likely to make purchases than others based on specific actions they've taken. For example, within the group of prospects whose demographics make them an ideal customer for your maternity clothes business, some will have visited your website more than others, or viewed specific product pages, or downloaded content that makes them more sales-ready than others.
It's important that you do careful research to find out which specific actions are most closely aligned with buying your products. For example, you might find that the most important behavioural characteristic is the number of times a prospect has visited your site, or the number of product pages they've viewed. Equally important, you need to make sure the behavioural data you have is accurate and supported by a robust analytics package.
4. WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF PROSPECTS YOU DON'T WANT?
When you create PPC campaigns with Google AdWords, it's important to exclude consumers you don't want to see your ads—this because they're not likely to be interested in your products or services - by using negative keywords. In the same way, after you've finished creating your personas, you need to define negative buyer personas, those consumers you want to eliminate from your marketing campaigns. Essentially, your negative personas will be the opposites of your buyer personas.
Creating accurate buyer personas won't solve all your marketing challenges but doing so is an essential start. To learn more about the ways our inbound marketing services will help you drive more sales and grow your business, contact us today.