The whole point of inbound marketing is to entice your target customers to come to you on their own accord, and you do this by providing valuable, directly helpful content that will help them reach their goals. Think of it as the antithesis of cold calling. But how do you go about creating the content that will attract the customers you want? Well, that depends on the customers themselves.
This is why you need to define your targets and develop buyer personas, essentially a composite profile of your potential and current buyers that clarifies whom you want to target and how. The more you know about your target audience, the more effectively you can draw them to you without wasting anyone’s time.
So, in the spirit of not wasting time, let’s take a closer look at how to build these personas.
Developing A Buyer Persona
What do you need to know about your buyers in order to craft content that speaks directly to their needs? Well, everything. Okay, I guess you don’t need to know what kind of pizza they prefer. But you do need to know everything that could possibly impact how they do business.
Start off with what you already know about your customers. Supplement that with information from trade magazines and general research. Think especially hard about the following considerations.
What are your buyers doing?
What exactly are your buyers doing at their jobs? Are they decision-makers? Think about your potential buyers’ job titles and what their typical day look like. Your job as a seller is to make your buyers’ lives easier. To do that, you need to know their pain points, which inevitably tie directly into their relationships with their colleagues. Ask yourself who their bosses are and how their performance is assessed. Or, if your buyers manage others, how can you help them pull that off smoothly?
What do your buyers want?
Presumably, you’re dealing with a group of professionals who show up to work with some sort of goals in mind. What are those goals, and what is it you offer that can help them reach their objectives? Keep in mind that there are different measures of what it means to be successful, so this isn’t necessarily a no-brainer. Don’t jump to conclusions about what your buyers are trying to accomplish.
What do your buyers look like?
You probably aren’t dealing with toddlers and teenagers here. Still, adults operate very differently depending on what decade of life they’re navigating. Generation matters a great deal, too. Are you trying to attract baby boomers, Gen Xers, or millennials? What’s important to each of those groups? Also think about education levels, political leanings, marital status, and concerns specific to folks in their geographical locations. Be wary of over-stereotyping, but remember that demographics matter.
What are your buyers’ auto-pilot settings?
You start brushing your teeth in the same spot every time, don’t you? Getting dressed, you either go sock-sock, shoe-shoe or sock-shoe, sock-shoe. Your buyers are creatures of habit and preference, too. When they have a question, they may be the type to instantly turn to Google, or they may be the type to stick their head out of their office and ask somebody. Some like email, whereas some like phone calls. Still others like in-person interactions.
Their jobs require a very particular set of skills. What are they? When they go hunting for resources that will make them better at what they do, are they turning to blogs, newspapers, trade publications, formal educational opportunities, or mentors? Which ones, specifically?
How do you build a persona from this information?
However you want, honestly. Tables tend to work well, but whatever method you choose should mesh with your personal work style and that of your team. Bottom line, persona targeting is about compiling data and organizing it in a way that helps you reach your audience where they are. How you organize persona information itself is irrelevant, as long as it helps you accomplish what you’re after.
So practice a little bit with groups you already know fairly well. Create a buyer persona for the collective of Disney princesses, or for the New York Yankees, or your 14 grandkids. The idea is to mush everyone in the group together and create a Frankenstein that looks like all of them at once. Have fun with it. Then, once you get a feel for the process, get started on the real work.
At Thomas, we know more about B2B buyers than anyone. More buying activity takes place on our platform than anywhere else on planet Earth. This puts us in prime position to monitor trends and patterns, making us experts on industrial buying habits and processes.
Effective industrial marketing calls for unique content that truly resonates with target customers, and our knowledge and expertise help our clients pull that off. Need help with your persona targeting? Reach out to our team today to discuss your options.