Creating Real-Life Buyer Personas
Imagine if you were given a restaurant menu that didn't describe the food items by ingredients. Instead, each item was talked about in terms of color, smell or texture. You'd probably get pretty frustrated and either end up walking out or asking the waitress tons of questions before making a decision.
While this example is pretty extreme, it has a lot in common with bad content marketing. Unless your blog and content offers answer customer questions, they're probably going to head to your competitors' website.
Buyer personas are a necessary tool for creating relevant content within your inbound marketing strategy, but are you really digging deep enough to understand your clients? You can compile all the data you want about age and sex, but will it really help you create content that's targeted towards personas? We're firm believers that your customer service and sales team is an essential part of building great personas, and here are 4 aspects of your persona profiles that you can't compile without their help:
Pain Points and Objections
What are your client's common objections to your product or service, anyway? Is it cost, color or taste? This data is unique to your company, and it needs to be tracked and adopted for best results with your inbound marketing strategy. Sit down with your sales team and ask them which questions they hear on a regular basis. It could be calls asking how green your company is overall and if you have any plans to reduce packaging waste in the future. Maybe your clients want to know why their content marketing isn't earning any inbound links.
Once you've tracked these questions, figure out how you can make a plan to resolve the questions ahead of time. For eCommerce websites, this could mean adjusting exactly how your product descriptions are written and formatted. If your customers want to buy green, it might just be time to adjust your efforts to emphasize your environmental responsibility and make improvements in this area. If your brand is small or you're not sure which questions are really driving conversations, start tracking this intelligence in an Excel Spreadsheet or document.
How Do They Communicate With Brands?
Just because your customers are baby boomers or millennials doesn't mean you can make any leaps about how they communicate their questions, concerns or complaints. The best way to determine how your real clients communicate with your brand is to simply keep track. Are they reaching out through email, phone calls or Tweets? For locally-focused brands, do your personas tend to prefer an in-person visit to any other method of contact? Marketing is never about your brand, it's about your clients and this method can help you focus efforts towards the channels that resonate best with clients and prospects.
Assess Their Savvy
How savvy and educated are your clients, anyway? Are they highly-technical types who are likely to work as software developers, or are they high school graduates who think using the internet for research still pretty novel? Ask your sales and support teams just what kind of questions they are asked most frequently to determine where your overall clientèle and each personas fall in the spectrum of savvy.
If you're wondering why you should care from a marketing standpoint, it all goes back to using your content to provide value to your readers. In an era where it's increasingly difficult to trick Google into ranking based on keyword strategy or other SEO tricks, providing value to generate social media shares is your best bet for ranking well. Your content calendar should revolve around answering your customers' FAQ at a level they can really understand, whether it's advanced or very basic.
It's a fact that some clients offer more towards your bottom line than others. We're not saying you should stop thinking about retaining clients who might fit into the "high maintenance, low-spend" persona model, but identifying the level of support each persona needs can help you attract the right clients through blog content, social media outreach and TOFU offers. CRM Analyst Ashley Furness recommends you examine the following factors:
How Often Do These Clients Call?
How Long Does Each Call Last?
How Often Do They Ask for Returns or Refunds?
What is the Support Volume Required?
Examining these segments from the perspective of resources required to keep them on board can be a powerful tool for increasing the overall ROI of your inbound marketing strategy. If you find that a persona known CFO Frank costs more in tech support hours than the total influx of revenue, it's likely time to cut back on efforts to attract this persona in the first place!