There are proven reasons why knowing who you are marketing to is extremely important to getting your message heard and reaching your audience in an effective way. Despite the fact that this is a relatively well accepted fact in the marketing world, it seems like many companies are still behind when it comes to utilizing the latest customer knowledge technologies and tools.
One of these tools that, well relatively common, isn't being used as often as it should be is buyer personas. Buyer personas are detailed, specific fake profiles of target customers. They are used to give marketers a very specific idea of exactly who they are speaking to when they create a piece of content.
When created and used correctly, buyer personas are central to a comprehensive marketing plan and extremely useful marketing tools to insure that you are consistently targeting your correct audience.
And yet, buyer personas are often overlooked or not taken seriously enough by marketers who assume that they already know who they are writing to, or who don't bother considering their audience when they write at all.
This is a grave error as content is written without a distinct buyer persona in mind often lacks clarity, focus, relevancy, and proper verbiage. This blog post lays out 5 huge benefits of personas that everyone can take advantage of if they take the time to create detailed personas for their company.
#1 Personas help you humanize your audience
Whenever you have marketing plan that failed, you can almost always trace part of the problem back to a misunderstanding of who your customer is. This misunderstanding can come from a lack of data, but it can also come from a failure to humanize your audience. This is precisely what buyer personas are for. When you create buyer personas, something shifts in the psychology of your marketing. Suddenly, you aren't just marketing to a bunch of blank faces. You are marketing specifically to Jamie, or Mark, or Jamal, and you have a clear image of who this person is. It doesn't matter that it's not a real person, because you know that this data is built on the information of your real customers. Being able to look at this persona as a person with specific attributes and feelings makes writing to them that much easier and will absolutely help you to write in a more efficient, effective way.
#2 Personas push you to ask the right questions
Another great thing about buyer personas is that they get your company thinking about the customer in the right way. In order to make a successful buyer persona, you need to ask your current and potential customers the right questions to get a feel for who they are. These questions are things like:
How old are you?
What is your job title?
Who do you report to at work?
What is your greatest challenge in the workplace?
What helps you get your job done right?
What resources are you lacking?
These questions help you create a buyer persona that is accurate and comprehensive, but they also help you to build up your company's customer knowledge database, which is something you should be doing anyway. In other words, making buyer personas is a great first step to becoming a more customer knowledge minded company in general. These are the questions all marketing departments should be asking their customers, buyer persona or not.
#3 Personas get everyone on the same page
Another benefit to buyer personas is that they are usually able to be used by everyone in the marketing department, sometimes even the entire company. Getting your team centered around two or three static buyer personas is a great way to unify your marketing message and get everyone on the same page. As a marketing department, you want to be sure that every step of your strategy is aligned. The content writers on your team are targeting the same specific niche as your graphic designers and your sales team. Buyer personas simplify this and get results in a really easy and effective way.
#4 Personas keep you focused in your writing
If one major benefit of buyer personas is humanizing your audience, the other is definitely keeping you focused while you brainstorm and write. It is so easy to get carried away when you are coming up with content ideas day after day. Having a specific buyer persona that you are always targeting to will be a little check point in your head that helps you filter ideas. Is this an article that Bruno would want to read? Will this statistic interest Bruno? Am I telling Bruno something he already knows? All of these questions are things you can ask yourself when you have a well detailed buyer persona next to you that you can reference, and it will save you a lot of time and editing later.
#5 Personas lead you to real potential clients
The last benefit of buyer personas that we will discuss here is that they open the conversation to help you find real leads. By doing research on Linkedin or Google+, you can match up your imaginary personas with real people that fit this description and begin targeting them. Buyer personas show you who your audience is and who your new customers will be.