Qualifying Leads in a Digital Age: Use Buyer Personas to Create Targeted Content and Close Sales
In order to design and target marketing messages with any measure of success, you must first identify who you’re talking to. This is done by using the wealth of information you have on current clientele and, ideally, input from individuals that represent both good and bad prospects. This information is used to create buyer profiles, or personas, which are very specific fictional representations of the different types of buyers in your target market.
Now with the advent of social media and extremely targeted digital advertising, it is more important than ever to define who you’re targeting so that you can get the right message to that person at the right time. To cut through the noise look at many dimensions of your ideal prospects, identifying both personal and professional characteristics. With this information you can create a persona, and with knowledge of your sales cycle, begin to design a content strategy to reach, engage, and draw the prospect in to learn more.
Using Buyer Personas
Once created use buyer personas and knowledge of your sales cycle to create targeted content that will educate and help move the prospects along to a point when they are ready to learn more. This system supplements your sales function, producing high-quality prospects while decreasing dependence on intrusive outbound sales tactics.
What to Look At When Creating Buyer Personas
Buyer personas will be structured differently depending on the type of business you’re in, whether b-to-b or retail, and how your audience purchases. Information, such as household income, may be more important for retail but not even factor in when targeting an individual in a large organization, where you would want to look at budget and identify spend allowed.
Here are some general categories to get your started in creating your buyer personas:
What industry do they operate in?
Buzz words, mannerisms
How do they spend their free time?
Where do they live, geographically
How is their performance measured
Values and Goals
Where do they intersect?
How Do They Purchase?
Purpose for buying
Where and when do they buy
Brick and mortar
How far will they travel
Spend or Budgetary consideration
Who else will be involved in the purchasing decision
Factors That Influence Buying Decision
Customer Service and Support
Added value (i.e. continuing education/training, warranty, guarantee)
Ease of Use
Industry Information Sources
Prefer digital or print?
Using social media?
RSS, prominent and trafficked industry blogs and websites
Industry expert and leaders
How Can We Solve Their Problems?
Identify common objections
Designed for that particular individual: addresses challenges and objections; helps them solve real problems and achieve goals
Include a pitch-style statement that sums up how best to market to that person
Ideally, you will want the opportunity to interview potential prospects as well as look into current customers to get this information.
It is important to work closely with your sales team in creating buyer personas. You will eventually direct leads to them for a more intimate conversation about your products and services and communication when creating buyer personas will ensure this transition goes smoothly. Until that point, use your buyer personas and digital distribution tools (blog, social media, etc.) to create and deliver targeted content that educates and pulls prospects in, engaging them more and more as they move through the sales cycle.
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