Businesses often struggle with the same marketing challenges, regardless of industry. Your messaging doesn’t resonate with your audience or your content falls flat. You feel like you’re reaching out to everyone and still not seeing results. Your sales and marketing teams disagree about what makes a good lead. Sound familiar?
You can begin to address all these problems with one foundational marketing tool: buyer personas. Buyer personas give you a clearer picture of who you should be talking to, which gets everyone at your business on the same page, guides the messaging and content you create, and helps you target the right people.
What is a buyer persona?
Personas serve as a compass for guiding marketing efforts in the right direction. They’re not just a generalized narrative of your target customer, but actionable documents to focus, test, and measure your marketing effectiveness.
If developed properly, a marketing persona is a powerful tool that can be used for both greater transparency with clients and greater success through targeted strategy.
Marketing personas include demographic information like age, gender, education level, and interests. But they’re more than just demographics. B2B personas also include firmographic data about the organization a persona works for (industry, size, revenue, etc.), the person’s role at the organization, their ability to make or influence purchasing decisions, and their goals and pain points.
Personas help you pinpoint the best messages, types of content, and delivery methods to use to connect with your audience where they are in the buyer’s journey.
In practice, personas help B2B businesses target specific roles at companies that fit their ideal customer profile (ICP). It’s also important to keep in mind that most companies have more than one persona.
Once you have personas identified, what do you do with them? Focus and optimize your marketing efforts.
Content development with buyer personas
Strong, personalized content is a cornerstone of an effective marketing campaign. Personas provide a wealth of demographic and firmographic information and can be used to optimize your content in a variety of ways.
- Content targeting: Include which specific personas you are targeting with each piece of content. Determine a frequency which best speaks to each of them.
- Content personalization: Tailoring content is key to reaching people with account-based marketing (ABM) campaigns. Personas guide what messaging to personalize and help you match your content to your prospect’s buyer’s journey.
- Brand voice: How does your persona communicate with their friends? How do they communicate at work? Are they more formal? Do they use slang?
- Language: If you have a global audience, what languages do your key customers speak? Is there an opportunity to reach out to a niche audience?
- Design assets: What types of assets best speak to your customers? Personas can inform you of your buyers’ preferences for consuming content, like images, videos, or GIFs, whitepapers and infographics, or blogs and e-books.
Determining digital platform strategy with personas
Where can you best reach your customers or potential clients? Personas can unlock that mystery and guide you in the right direction whether via social platforms, email, or your company website.
- Social platforms: Where is your key demographic most likely using social media? If older, maybe it’s Facebook. A younger demographic may be more likely to use Instagram or Snapchat. A professional audience is likely on LinkedIn.
- Email segmentation: Segment your email lists based on your personas and craft specific content related to them. Segmentation will also allow you to see which messages are most effective or receive the strongest engagement.
- Website: Create a user-focused design for your site and tailor UX to your target personas. Keep them in mind when auditing your existing site. Does it speak to them?
- Landing pages: Develop personalized landing pages based on your target demographics, which can then be integrated into both paid advertising and content development efforts.
Keep in mind a persona’s stage in the buyer’s journey—awareness, consideration, or decision—will also play a large role in what platforms you use to reach your audience.
Targeting paid advertising with personas
Targeting is a primary factor in the effectiveness of any advertising campaign. Personas can provide myriad opportunities to target your campaigns.
- Platforms: Similar to digital platform strategy, use personas as a roadmap for where to reach your audience based on age, gender, location, industry, job role, and more.
- Ad creative: What type of image, video, and copy will resonate most with your targeted customers or clients? Similar to content development, your copy should bear a tone that speaks to your personas.
- CTAs: Use a clear call-to-action that caters to your core audience and moves them further down the sales funnel.
Beyond content, platform strategy, and paid advertising, personas are useful across all marketing efforts, both digital and traditional.
Don’t treat personas as a starting point for your campaign; they’re a foundational element that should be the guiding light to all efforts that follow.