Why Using Buyer Personas Will Delight Your Customers And Improve Sales
By knowing who your customers are, you can deliver the right message and guide your business strategy, explains columnist Mary Wallace.
The purpose of “categories,” says author and entrepreneur Seth Godin, is to empower one to seem like a well-prepared mind reader and be able to provide what people need, sometimes before they even realize they need it, thereby “delighting” customers.
Buyer personas are one such example of categories. Marketers use them to gain a deeper understanding of buyers and their buying behaviors — and by using them strategically, you can both delight your customers and increase sales.
Buyer personas provide a detailed picture of a specific type of buyer’s problems, motivators, goals, and how they purchase. Companies typically have more than one persona to understand their different types of buyers (for example, Data Dan, Marketing Ops Matt, and Custom Acquisition Catie).
As buyer personas guru Tony Zambito explains on his site:
[blockquote]Buyer personas are research-based archetypal (modeled) representations of buyers, including what they are trying to accomplish, what goals drive their behavior, how they think, how they buy, and where, when, and why they make buying decisions.[/blockquote]
Know Your Customer
Working with buyer personas can help marketers clearly understand a customer’s needs, thus providing a solution that delights the consumer and, ultimately, leads to a sale. Inbound marketing information can help marketers categorize their leads, while outbound marketing allows them to solve problems and deliver value to their customers.
Digital body language, Google Analytics and intent data help marketers understand their leads to better categorize them. Data collected from predictive intelligence tools can enhance that knowledge. By looking at what pages each customer visited, and what emails they opened and clicked on, marketers can assign their leads to a given buyer persona.
This is more effective than using explicit data points such as title, because actions speak louder than words: Many times a lead’s title does not reflect the role he or she is playing in the buying decision. In addition, many customers may take on different or multiple personas during the buying cycle.
By leveraging these implicit data points, marketers can instantaneously respond to the category changes. Filters that include leads based on data changes are a better segmentation option than groups which require a manual inclusion or exclusion command from within a data store.
Segments built around buyer persona categories help marketers appear as well-prepared mind readers that provide customers what they want, sometimes before they even realize it. This is the route to personalization that CMOs are striving to achieve.
And what better way to deliver that personalization than a message focused on the customer’s needs and motivators and pointing to engaging content that will solve their problem or answer their question?
By aligning all content — from whitepapers and videos to blogs and infographics — around the needs defined in the buyer personas, marketers can deliver the right message with the right content at the right time.
If there are gaps in content alignment, this is the perfect opportunity to develop fresh content that has a needs-tailored, customer-centric message. The new content can align to the needs of a specific persona from message to medium. If there is no budget for new content, a blog post or third-party content from an analyst firm that speaks to the persona is also an option.
Lead nurture, lead enrichment, and lead engagement (response/reactive emails) are great places for buyer persona-aligned segments and content. The more customer-focused and personalized the message, the more it will engage and activate customers and prospects. In fact, data from HubSpot reveals that sending emails by persona increases click-through rates by 16 percent.
Personalized customer-focused emails will also mitigate unsubscribes from existing customers and prospects. Fifty-six percent of unsubscribes from a business or nonprofit email subscription happen because the content is not relevant, according to Chadwick Martin Baily.
Sales can also use buyer personas when they communicate with the customer, either through traditional channels or via social media. Buyer personas and segments help sales know who their customers are as well as their needs and motivators.
Buyer personas are the foundation for creating powerful personalized messages delivered across all channels of the marketing mix: site visits, events, outbound email programs, and social communications. The results speak for themselves: Marketers see a 19 percent uplift in sales when they personalize their Web experiences and 20 percent increase in sales opportunities when leads are nurtured with targeted content.
Leveraging persona alignment messages and content sales can continue the conversation that your marketing started in order to help solve your customers’ needs and delight them on a regular basis.