What's the point of blogging without targeting buyer personas?
(Real Life Healthcare Persona Example)
In the past they have been referred to as target markets or, your audience.
When you write a blog for your website, or create an offer with a landing page, who do you imagine will be reading it or taking advantage of that white paper?
Do you have a specific person in mind for your product as you create content for your website?
At Inbound Marketing Agents we have specific people in mind when we build our content and distribute it across media channels.
WHO ARE OUR BUYER PERSONAS?
We love to help small- and medium-sized businesses get their online marketing programs up and running. One of our buyer personas is the entrepreneur.
IMA owner, Bill Faeth, entrepreneur, and owner of several successful start-ups completely understands the buyer persona as it relates to a self-employed business person.
His input on this particular buyer persona and our interest in marketing to them has really helped IMA to keep a laser focus on that market niche.
In addition to the entrepreneur, we also write content that speaks to the marketing manager at medium-sized corporations who are looking to streamline their marketing processes.
The things that we write to each of these buyer personas can be very different, because each person has their own habits, needs and issues that we can help with.
There are other people we like to write to when we post on our blog, but the important thing to understand is that there is a purpose to each piece of content.
If you are trying to take advantage of inbound marketing in any way, who you are sending your message to has a big impact on:
- How you create your content,
- Which social media platforms you choose,
- When you send it out,
- How to plan your lead generation and nurturing strategy,
- How you optimize for search engines, and even
- How you design your website.
So, for just a while, let’s pretend that IMA just signed a medium-sized company that provides products for home health service agencies and doctor’s offices.
Their gross annual revenue is just over $10M a year.
They still aren’t ready to take on a full in-house marketing team and need our services to increase their reach to the agencies and physicians in town in order to sell their full line of health care products in a more efficient way and on a larger scale.
Their goals are to:
- Create more website traffic,
- Deliver more leads to their sales team, and
- Expand their reach so they can eventually market to a larger audience.
Let's get started.
WHAT IS A BUYER PERSONA AGAIN?
The HubSpot definition says that a buyer persona is a “fictional representation of your ideal customer based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.”
Essentially, you are going to spend a little time getting into the head of your buyer.
- Research their buying habits.
- Find out where they hang out online.
- Conduct interviews to find out what questions they ask when they get ready to purchase your product.
- How do they spend their free time?
- How does your product solve their problem?
BUYER PERSONA NITTY GRITTY
When IMA takes on a new client we conduct a full kick-off interview to find out about their products and services, their company and basically what makes them tick.
We also take the time to find out who our new client believes benefits most from their product and if they have done any preliminary research on who their buyer is.
You might be surprised at how many businesses are not exactly sure about their audience.
Using the HubSpot format, we come up with a complete profile on two or three people who we will be creating custom content for. Each client we represent has several buyer personas.
Using a real life example, let’s put together a buyer persona for a new client.
Health Products Agency is marketing to several people, but for this exercise we are going to concentrate on the buyers at home health agencies who need to purchase basic products for their care takers to make home visits.
They eventually want to increase their business reach and sell products to other, larger healthcare providers like hospitals.
As one of the buyer personas, we choose the purchasing manager at a medium-sized home health care agency.
At the end of this exercise, we will have a complete and well researched buyer persona for our client based on research and some good old-fashioned well-educated guesses.
BUYER PERSONA –WHAT’S IN A NAME?
When you create your fictional buyer persona, the name you choose for them should be memorable, and complement the product, the company and the persona you are creating.
For this exercise, we are going to call our persona Home Health Heath.
Doesn’t he just sound like the type of guy who works at a home health care agency and needs our client’s product?
Now it’s time to figure out a little about your persona’s job, their company and other pertinent information like their education and interests.
You might think that this information is irrelevant, however, when comes to creating a content calendar, designing offers and using language that is going to convert your buyer from a complete stranger into an eventual buyer, every piece of information is important.
- What is their position in the company?
- How long have they been working there?
- Where did they go to college?
- What do they do in their spare time?
Home Health Heath is starting to take shape.
To get a little more precise about our persona, you want know who they are, where they live and other information that can help determine how you go about creating messages that speak to them.
- Are they married?
- Do they have children?
- How much do they make?
- Do they live in the city or the suburbs?
Understanding Heath's demographics helps to determine other items in the persona.
The things that identify and make Home Health Heath stand out are what will help to create our content.
Specific words, phrases and articles geared toward Heath will be what catch his attention when he is searching online for a new product vendor because his current one is raising their prices.
- What is your buyer persona like?
- How do they like to receive their social media messages?
- What is the best medium to communicate with them?
Knowing the key things that distinguish a persona from everyone else online makes it much easier to pick keywords, create more targeted content and get results. Home Health Heath is beginning to feel more like a real person.
Every buyer persona has specific goals in their professional position that will affect how they work, communicate and make buying decisions.
- Do they want to move ahead?
- Are they ready to leave their company?
- How do they want to be perceived?
- What are their specific job goals and aspirations?
Knowing what makes Heath tick while he is at work can help marketing to create content that speaks to his specific desires.
Everyone has challenges in carrying out the daily aspects of their job.
These challenges might also be considered your buyer’s pain points.
What obstacles does your persona encounter every day that you can solve with your product?
These challenges are also going to be the basis for your content.
- How much time do they have to get things done?
- How much do they have on their plate?
- Is company politics an issue?
- Do they have obstacles like budgets or poor company missions and visions to overcome?
- What are the challenges specific to their position?
By understanding the things that Heath encounters at work that challenge him, you can create entire campaigns answering individual questions surrounding these obstacles. Heath has a problem and Health Products Agency can help.
HOW WE HELP
This is the part of the buyer persona where your business can get really specific.
It’s where your product and the buyer meet.
- What problems do you solve for the persona?
- How do you solve their challenges?
- How can you help them to meet their goals?
Knowing the specific ways that Health Products Agency can take away Heath's problems helps us tailor campaigns, offers and other content around his specific needs.
When you do the research on your buyer persona, a great way to provide relevant information is to actually interview one of your current clients or someone in the field.
Conducting an interview can provide a clearer definition of who you need to market to and how to do it.
In addition, creating a persona helps your marketing team to relate to a persona as a real peson and not a character.
Let’s say we interviewed Health Product Agency’s favorite client, HHS and found out some interesting information to put in the buyer persona.
Now it’s time to figure out what Home Health Heath might say if a sales person were to cold call him about Health Product Agency’s products and services.
- What would he say to the sales person to push him off?
- How would he try to get around a sales call?
- Why would he try to get out of spending time with a sales person and get back to his job?
Knowing how Home Health Heath is going to react to a sales pitch is a great way to get rid of the sales pitch and use your blog and other content methods to build trust in the buying process instead.
When you get ready to create marketing content for your persona there are some more questions you might want to ask.
- How do they want to receive marketing information?
- What tone should your blog take?
- What language do they like to be spoken to in?
- Is there a particular platform or other social medium that they prefer to get important information on?
Having this information on Heath puts you way ahead of the game when it comes to distributing your content. Instead of wasting time with blog content he won't respond to or putting an article on Facebook, when he clearly likes LinkedIn keeps a lot of guess work of the marketing process.
If your sales person were to come across Home Health Heath at a networking event, or actually take an elevator ride with him, what would they say?
After doing the research, the message they convey can be highly targeted and use just the right words to make his ears perk up and turn his attention to what you have to say.
A couple of simple, but highly targeted sentences can make all the difference between a polite goodbye and setting an appointment to go over a list of products and services.
When Inbound Marketing Agents creates a set of buyer personas for a new client, we send them off together with other information for approval. It's important that our client agrees with the audience we are going to be creating content for.
What do you think about Home Health Heath? Is he an accurate representation of a Product Manager in the healthcare field? Let us know what you think in the comments.
Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net