There's a pretty good chance that one of the main goals of your inbound marketing campaign is to improve your B2B lead generation. There are numerous strategies out there that can be extremely effective at generating leads if implemented into your overall marketing strategy correctly. However, the first step of creating an effective lead generation marketing program is understanding how to effectively reach your audience. This is accomplished through the creation of a buyer persona.
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What is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a fictional character that you create that represents your ideal customer. This fictional character is developed based on market research along with insights gathered from your actual customers, such as through the completion of surveys and interviews.
Without a buyer persona, the leads that you spend your time attracting, capturing and nurturing may not be the right leads for you. If a lead is never going to be interested in your services, then the last thing you want to do is waste your resources courting them. Having a buyer persona will help you to target leads that are actually qualified to buy.
When you create a buyer persona, you'll end up having a much better idea of who your client base is, what they are looking and what motivates them to purchase services and product such as yours. This, in turn, allows you to more effectively tailor your content to your target audience's specific needs, behaviors and concerns.
Sometimes, grouping all of your clients together into one buyer persona is impossible. In this case, you may have more than one buyer persona, which is perfectly fine. Some companies even have up to 10 personas. It all depends on how different and varied your clients are.
What is a Negative Buyer Persona?
On the flip side, you can also create a negative buyer person, a fictional character created based on the type of customer that you don't want.
For example, if you are selling basic accounting software aimed at start-ups, then your negative buyer persona would probably include professional accountants working at large corporations. Or say you're a commercial real estate company targetting businesses that need space for 100+ employees. Your negative persona may include a small business with less than 20 employees that is looking for spaces smaller than those you lease.
A negative buyer persona is helpful to have so that you know exactly who you shouldn't target with your b2b lead generation efforts. This can help you to save both time and money in the content development process and also when qualifying a lead.
How to Create a Buyer Persona
The following are some of the elements that typically make up a buyer persona:
- Job position
- Income level
- Research habits
- Pain points
Research is required to gather the information necessary to create a buyer persona - but it's well worth the effort to do so. The following are a few ways that you can gather information to help create a buyer persona:
- When creating opt-in forms, ask questions that will give you important information to help develop your buyer persona, such as company and job role. You can even include options to check desired services or main pain points.
- Ask website visitors participate in a survey via a pop-up form on your site. This can be easily accomplished with services such as Qualaroo.
- Call current and previous clients and ask them if they are willing to participate in a short interview to better understand why they chose to work with your company. Ask questions such as, "Where do you usually find vendors?" and "how/where do you research solutions to your business challenges?"
- Look at the information your social media followers have filled out on their personal profiles. Social channels like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are a rich source of valuable customer data. Note any trends you may see that can be helpful in crafting your persona.
How Buyer Personas Help with B2B Lead Generation
Once you've built out your personas, you'll be able to match your marketing strategy to their needs and motivations. The following are three basic ways in which you can use buyer personas to accelerate your lead generation activities:
- Create more effective content - Say you sell printing solutions. Your buyer persona is a male professional in his mid to late 40s. Content that revolves around providing solutions to common printing problems your buyer persona may have, such how to keep the cost of printing supplies down or how to streamline a company's printing process, will target the right kind of leads. However, content targeting college students is not. Having a buyer persona will allow you to create content for your actual target audience.
- Promote your content more effectively - Content promotion is essential to attracting new leads. One of the best ways to promote new content is by posting links on social media. How can your buyer persona help in this case? Different types of people use different forms of social media at different times of the day. If your buyer persona is a CEO, then LinkedIn is going to be a much better place to promote content than Instagram.
- Improve your ability to nurture your leads - If you have multiple buyer personas, then you can segment your email list by buyer persona. This ensures that you aren't sending out the same emails to different buyer personas. Instead, you can personalize your emails more to fit the needs and wants of your individual buyer personas, thereby improving your ability to nurture your leads effectively.
A buyer persona may take some effort to create, but it will have a huge impact on your ability to generate high quality leads by targetting your marketing efforts to the right people. When you know what your idea client is looking for in a service provider or product, you can deliver a highly tailored message that speaks to their needs. After all, sales is a conversation. How great would it be if you could answer client quesitons before they even need to ask?