How to Use Buyer Personas for Your Target Industries
For a marketing and/or sales-driven organization, having a well-developed sense of your buyer persona is critical. Personas reinforce and solidify your segmentation strategy and empower you to craft relevant messaging, offerings, and strategies for the prospects who mean the most to your business.
Why is segmentation so vital when it comes to customer experience?
These are just some of the ways buyers with different industry experiences, job titles, and educational backgrounds truly differ from one another:
- Concerns and pain points
- Business goals
- Busy times
- Industry related events
- Jargon, acronyms, etc.
- Buyer’s journeys
- Sources of news and information
- Expectations for vendor relationships
With so many differences, why would you address two totally distinct segments the same way?
To exemplify this point, we used HubSpot’s Make My Persona tool to create buyer personas in two different industries: Hotel CMO Harry and Manufacturing CMO Martha.
What’s great about this tool is that it not only facilitates a discussion around the demographic and behavioral characteristics of a given persona, but it allows you to understand why those differences matter in a business context.
For instance, it’s one thing to identify a difference in age, title, or education, but it’s more actionable to define how those differences impact different buyers’ communication preferences and purchase journeys.
Take a look at Hotel CMO Harry and Manufacturing CMO Martha to see how we used key differences in their industries to help define their behaviors and concerns.
Right off the bat, it’s clear that Hotel Harry and Manufacturing Martha have a lot in common. But they also have some pretty major differences.
Hotel Harry’s main priorities are distinguishing his brand from the competition, controlling his brand’s large online presence, and personalizing his marketing outreach. Manufacturing Martha’s concerns, however, are with building a brand presence, capturing the attention of potential hires, and proving that her marketing efforts are worthwhile.
By considering the elements in the bulleted list above through the lens of industry, we are able to identify Hotel Harry’s and Manufacturing Martha’s vastly different pain points, processes, and budgets. This is why your buyer persona-specific marketing efforts will likely resonate more strongly than those that don’t take these kinds of differences into account.
So now that you have these industry-specific buyer personas, what do you do with them?
What to do with your newly-minted buyer personas
As many as 85% of companies with developed buyer personas don’t know how to use them effectively.
To be effective, your buyer personas need to be part of everything your company does (not just your marketing and sales efforts).
How do you incorporate them into every customer touchpoint? What does every customer touchpoint even mean?
Every touchpoint includes all of your marketing, sales, and service initiatives. Now that you have industry targeted buyer personas, here are some ways to make your personas work for you:
- Create focused content
Write to your buyer personas, instead of about them. Imagine you are writing directly to Hotel Harry or Manufacturing Martha. What style of writing do they respond to? Hotel Harry might enjoy a relaxed, friendly tone, while Manufacturing Martha would rather you respect her time and get straight to the facts.
Once you’ve got the tone down, consider how they make their decisions and what problems they may be facing. Map out your content ideas based on your persona’s decision making processes. If your persona has a slow decision-making process with several barriers, like Manufacturing Martha, you may need to generate more content for each of the three stages of the buyer’s journey.
Hotel Harry, who has a larger budget and well-established CEO buy-in may be able to make decisions on his own, and therefore more willing to try out the next big thing. Manufacturing Martha, on the other hand, may not have the budget nor full decision making power. She may have to include more people in her decisions and may choose tried-and-true methods over the latest technology.
For Hotel Harry, you may want to write a piece on X Reasons You Need the Latest Tech. A piece about How to Get Budget Buy-In From Your CEO may resonate more with Manufacturing Martha. Make sure you are speaking their language, using acronyms and jargon only when appropriate.
Whether it’s an email, a tweet, a video, your website, or something else, write with your personas in mind.
- Distribute content on their preferred channels
Manufacturing Martha, who is trying to market her company to potential employees, may spend a lot of time on LinkedIn checking out what other companies are doing - and almost no time on Twitter. Hotel Harry, who considers himself to be a thought leader, may spend more time on Twitter. If you want your content to be consumed by your target audience, promote your content on the channel that your desired audience is using the most.
This means that you may need to reallocate some of your ad spending. If Manufacturing Martha and Hotel Harry aren’t spending much time on Facebook, you shouldn’t be spending much money there, either.
Timing can be an important factor as well. Martha may not be checking her LinkedIn after 5:00 pm, and Hotel Harry may only scroll through Twitter during lunch or after his workday is over. This is why it’s important to be thorough and specific when creating personas.
- Inspect existing content
Look through the content you already have, especially your blog posts and the information on your website. Does it align with the needs of any of your personas? Could you update it so it speaks to and solves a problem for your target personas?
If you can update it, great! Do it. If you can’t, check to see if it’s performing well. Research shows that poorly-performing content can actually hurt your organic search performance, so it might be time to hit that delete button.
- Consider co-marketing
Is there a different, complementary (non-competitor) company that Manufacturing Martha loves and respects? Ask someone from the company to write a guest blog, or create an ebook together. Leveraging the brand equity of a partner, supplier, or vendor will add to your credibility.
- Score and qualify leads
Does your contact possess a lot of the qualities of Manufacturing Martha or Hotel Harry? That’s a great sign! Take that into account when scoring and qualifying leads. If you know that your new contact Nancy is a Manufacturing Mary, then you should know she’s a promising lead and a potential customer.
- Prepare your sales team
Armed with buyer personas, your sales team can now better understand their target audience and the problems they can solve for them. They’ll be prepared when Manufacturing Martha says she is concerned about getting CEO approval, and they’ll be fully prepared to show her exactly how they can help her.
- Guide customer support
Train your production resources and your customer support team on buyer personas. When your company makes a deal with Hotel Harry, your service team will be prepared to offer him all the support he desires at the right time, in the right tone, and using the right tools.
Armed with this knowledge, your company won’t fall into that 85% who are using personas ineffectively. Put your buyer personas to work and you could experience:
- A website that’s 2-5 times more effective
- 14% improvement on email click-through rate
- 10% increase in email conversion rates
- 18 times more revenue from email
- Ads that are twice as effective as their non-segmented counterparts
What’s not to love about that?
Need help incorporating buyer personas into your marketing strategy? Our digital marketing team works in tandem with our user experience experts to help our clients craft buyer personas that are rooted in data and reality. Sign up for a free digital marketing assessment or get in touch with us today.