Are you sure you are talking with the right customers? Do they understand the message you want to send them? Are your customers satisfied with your contents? When they visit your website do they read your contents or do they go away after few minutes?
If you are not sure about the answer to all these questions and you want to know more about it, you are in the right place: thanks to this article you can understand how inbound marketing works and why the buyer personas are so important in this strategy.
Let me introduce the buyer persona with a story that I have read in the book “Buyer Persona” by Adele Revella: it’s the story of the first use of the concept of “persona”, an imaginary customer realized with the insights collected interviewing real people, introduced in 1998 by Alan Cooper in his The Inmates Are Running the Asylum.
He had to design a new project management software program and his objective was to build a user-friendly program. It was a revolution for that period, during which programmers were very technical people and the programs they produced were frustrating for common people. Since his purpose was to design a program created to meet the users needs “he decided to interview some of his colleagues who seemed to be software’s likely end users.”
After this interview he decided to create a persona, an imaginary user he called Kathy. In this manner it was easier for him to design a user-friendly program because “he could speculatively project the concerns and the expectations of his new software’s users, and mentally imagine their reactions to the various ways that he might design the solution he was developing”
It was 1983 but Alan Cooper’s considerations are still current. This story represents a great lesson for all companies that want to use an inbound marketing strategy for their businesses: when you promote your products, your services you have to wear your customer’s shoes.
You should know your customers, i.e. what they dream, the goals they want to achieve in their lives, the problems they are facing in a specific period of their lives the momentum of their lives.
If you are able to collect all these details about them you can produce tailored and useful contents that can educate and inform your customers
If you are not aware of them you are going to fail because you’ll provide your customers with contents that they are not interested in.
How can you understand your customers and their lives?
Buyer Persona is the answer. What is a buyer persona and how can you create it?
According to Hubspot a buyer persona is “a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”
Whatever your business is, you need to understand your customers in order to attract them through the right way.
The main keystone of the inbound marketing is indeed the buyer persona since its strategy is based on the idea that a company must create valuable and useful contents to promote itself, in order to reach people who are really interested in its products or services. Thanks to buyer personas it’s easier to understand which are the most relevant and researched contents for your audience, the kind of answers they are looking for and you can provide them to nurture them and convert them into leads and then from leads into customers.
Buyer persona helps you to achieve this important purpose.
To create the right buyer persona you need the marketing data about your customers.
Where can you find all these information?
- Contacts database;
- Form to fill in order to download some contents;
- Sales department;
- Google analytics;
- Social media;
All these channels mentioned above can provide you with a lot of data useful to create your buyer persona, such as:
- Keyword research
- Place (where they live)
- Products or services online research
- Websites they visit
Use these data at every stage of your Buyer’s Journey
The main fundamentals of an inbound marketing strategy is to attract customers with good contents from your website, blog and social media. The contents you realize for your channels must engage, entertain and inform. And you can create them in the right way only if you know well your customers.
The second fundamentals of the inbound marketing are: once you create contents for your channels you have to be sure that the main characters of your stories are neither your company nor your products, but your customers with their problems, dreams and fears.
And you can do that when you know your prospects and your customers and you have created a good representation of them, i.e. your buyer persona.
Once you have done it in the right way you can track the buyer’s journey and help your buyer persona at every stage with your contents.
“Buyer persona helps you to achieve this important purpose.”
Buyer’s Journey Case Study
Let’s imagine a buyer’s journey: you opened three years ago a cake decorating school. You are very happy about your activities but after three years you need to increase your business.
How can an inbound marketing strategy help you?
First of all it allows you to really understand your prospects and create your buyer persona. It’s easier than you can imagine. You can collect a lot of data querying the social insights of your facebook and instagram page.
You can use a powerful and free tool provided by Facebook, Audience Insight. It allows you to know all the data we were talking about previously that is gender, age, job, location, interests, the pages they have visited recently, the pages they liked and so on.
Analyzing this data you know something interesting about your buyer persona. But you need to go a little deeper inside the life of this imaginary customer, so you decide to send your leads and customers a survey. Then you’ll talk with your sales team.
After all these actions you finally know the life of your buyer persona, that you decide to call Anna.
Anna is 35 years old, she is a mom, she has two little children and she doesn’t work because her children need her and she wants to take care of them. Her dream is make special pies for her family birthdays. She has a low budget so she’s looking for some classes that are not expensive and they are located close to her home. She uses Facebook frequently and she does her research using the search engine.
All this information are useful for you because now you can suppose:
- Anna’s keywords when she’s searching online some cake decorating classes;
- Where you can attract her providing interesting contents (Google and Facebook);
- How to nurture her to convert her into a lead;
- Which contents are useful for her;
Let’s consider Anna’s journey and how you can help her with the right contents that you have realized thanks to the different insights from social media and survey.
When Anna googles “Cake decorating class + her location”, the search engine will give her your website because you have realized contents on your website and your blog with your main topic, cake decorating, and promoting your classes.
She’ll start to visit your website and she will be satisfied with your topics. So she decides to sign up to your newsletter and fill the form with her name and her email.
Tip1. You can identify the keywords that your buyer persona can use when he is searching a service or a product and you can use them in your contents, such as your website, your blog post or social media posts. In this way you can attract him with topics he is interested in.
Good job! You have converted your visitor into a lead.
Now you and your buyer persona are ready to go to the next level.
In this stage you can do lead nurturing, sending emails, promoting your free contents like your blog posts, ebooks, guides, video tutorials. All these contents must be customer-centric, they are realized for your customers, to solve their problems, to help them with their perspectives, expectations, dreams. All these resources are important to create a trust based relationship between you and Anna.
Anna wants to attend the classes but she has a low budget and she can’t go far away from her home. So you can send her a demo of a lesson, or send her an email
for her birthday in which you offer a good discount.
Tip 2: Knowing what are your buyer persona’s fears, problems and dreams helps you create valuable contents.
Now the relationship between you and Anna is good enough to go to the last stage of the buyer’s journey!
It’s time to buy for your persona. Anna is well nurtured with all your contents, she knows enough about your school, both you and her are ready for a live contact.
So you can call and invite her to attend a trial lesson.
Tip 3: Thanks to the data collected on your buyer persona you are able to have a personalized approach since you know which contents he is interested in, if he prefers a phone call or an email.
A personalized approach to your customers using the buyer personas is really important for your marketing strategy and for the development of your business. By Creating your buyer persona you are able to manage the buyer’s journey with very good results.
Would you like to start designing your buyer persona?
Begin by using our free template!