5 Steps to Capitalize on Your Buyer Personas & Audience Insights

Written by PAN Communications

 

“Effective messaging emerges at the intersection of what your buyers want to hear and what you want to say.” ― Adele Revella, CEO of Buyer Persona Institute

How well do you know your audience? Most emerging growth companies have a rough idea of their audience, but few take the time to lay out in-depth buyer personas early enough in the startup process. Implementing buyer personas will make your marketing strategy more effective and efficient.

Personas help you understand your customers (and prospective customers), and support tailoring content to their specific needs, behaviors and concerns to move them through the whole buyer journey, from acquisition to retention. This will ultimately help you hone in on specific pain points to increase user engagement and customer loyalty.

Start by setting up the right framework that provides a foundation of insight gathering to align with your audience behaviors. The steps below will guide emerging growth companies through buyer personas and audience insights.

Step 1: Define Your Audience
The strongest buyer personas are based on market research, as well as on insights you gather from your actual customer base and prospects (through surveys, interviews, etc.) and your website analytics. Start by collecting information about their demographics, industry, title, interests, content consumption and challenges. Persona outlines can be a couple sentences or paragraphs long, depending on your familiarity with your target audience and your data collection to-date.

The number of personas depends on your business, but to keep it manageable, start with two-to-three. Over time, use insights from the data you’ve collected to improve targeting. Understanding and refining your personas will allow for effective messaging and content promotion.

Step 2: Apply Personas to the Buyer Journey
Apply your insights to each stage of the buyer’s journey to better nurture leads and convert them into a customer. Create highly-targeted content that will pique the interest of your audience via segmentation by lifecycle stage, interests, budget, etc. When creating your social posts, blogs, website pages, landing pages and premium content pieces, consider the progress in the buyer’s journey (awareness, consideration and decision) and the personas’ goals and challenges, as well as the tone, style and delivery strategies across these stages – how does each persona prefer to receive their content as they move toward a decision?

A roadmap content strategy for your buyer’s journey will allow you to concentrate on attracting, converting, closing and delighting your audience and prospects. Content catered around the awareness, consideration and decision stages can later be used to create a workflow to move prospects through the buying process. Emerging growth companies that properly nurture their leads see more qualified prospects than those that do not cater to or anticipate the needs of their buyers.

Instead of starting from scratch, begin by identifying the marketing assets you have at your disposal. Conduct a content audit of all evergreen pieces and categorize them by the following criteria: buyer persona, buyer journey stage, marketing funnel stage and type of content. If you are unsure about a piece of content, ask yourself – who is this helping? If the content doesn’t support the buyer journey, consider making edits or tweaks to improve value. If you are a “blast the content” type of marketer, it’s time to change. Audiences need to interact with content at every stage of their journey – we call these micro moments, which call for a far more engaged approach with your buyer.

If you plan accordingly and are consistent in this approach, then you’re giving your brand the best chance at achieving ROI from your content efforts.

Step 3: Start Listening to Your Audience
To get impactful results from your personas you must make listening and engagement a priority. What exactly are their pain points? What are they passionate about? Take this information and develop content that taps into these emotions. If you don’t know your customers’ pain points, then do some research. Start listening to them across active social media channels, speak often to your current customers or integrate with your sales team. These are a necessity for staying ahead of the customer experience, and ensuring an impactful emotional connection that drives an outcome.

“…there aren't enough marketers or CMOs that are embracing their role as the champion of the customer – playing that customer champion role and driving home an understanding of the personas of the people you're selling into. Know that you can't create a persona around an organization - say OK we've got these target accounts we're going after, and that's fine, but buildings don't write checks.” – Matt Heinz, President and Founder of Heinz Marketing

Step 4: Messaging & Positioning
Buyer personas help improve positioning and messaging for your content marketing and sales enablement approach to align with your customers’ expectations. Successful lead generation comes from delivering a truly integrated message that captures the emotional attention of the connected customer.

To obtain this remember that your audience is looking for personalized one-on-one communication that anticipates their needs at that given time. Use humor, passion and empathy to build strong connections and be the industry leading expert that they expect. Deliver strong and thoughtful messaging that resonates and they’ll continue to come back for more.

Step 5: Refresh Your Personas
This isn’t a ‘set ‘em and forget ‘em’ project – you should regularly be looking at the data and refresh or change your personas as necessary. Utilize your learnings through listening and engagement strategies and continue to make updates. Research and survey your prospects and customers regularly to keep your personas fresh and reliable.

After developing your buyer personas, buyer journey roadmap, and the correct messaging and positioning approach, you’ll discover an incline in traffic, higher click-through rates, higher conversion rates, better margins and lower costs – all attributing to better marketing ROI. Combining buyer personas with integrated content and messaging strategies can truly take your brand’s campaigns to the next level.


Did you miss our first post with insights into integrated marketing and PR? How to Measure and Justify the Cost of Integrated Marketing & PR

Stay tuned for more from PAN Communications. Over the next few weeks you’ll learn about:

  • Integrated marketing and PR for emerging growth companies

  • Working with an integrated agency

  • The foundational and digital components of an integrated platform

  • How to market your next funding round