Since we began working with HubSpot as a Partner Agency, our eyes have really been opened to the power of establishing well thought out and reliable buyer personas. We all want to target and talk directly to our target market, but in general, most business have not yet created buyer personas.
First, let's look at what a persona is.
According to HubSpot, buyer personas (sometimes referred to as marketing personas) are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. Personas help us all -- in marketing, sales, product, and services -- internalize the ideal customer we're trying to attract, and relate to our customers as real humans. [source]
When we start talking to a new prospect, typically one of our first questions is, "who are your target personas?" which is typically followed with an answer that is very general like, "mothers" or "anyone 21-50 years old". Those are terrible answers. They're essentially answers showing that a business has not gone through the process to establish a set of well defined target personas and by failing to do that, their content and marketing efforts are likely not resonating with their true target personas.
Let us give you an example of one of our target personas so that you can see the contrast:
Charlie is a CEO or Business Owner of a successful small or medium sized business and is typically 35-55 years old. He is college educated, but probably not in marketing or advertising. He lives in the suburbs of a major city (within 15 miles) and has an income of $250,000/year+. His major goals are to support his team, increase marketing qualified leads (MQLs), increase the conversion rate from leads to customers, and is focused on overall business growth. He has goals of growing his business by a minimum of 20% year over year and is very interested in making the job easier and more efficient for his team. Charlie is very ambitious and not interested in fluff (it's best to get to the point with him). He is challenged by his basic marketing knowledge and has been sold into marketing campaigns in the past with little success so he is justifiably skeptical of new ways of marketing.
Now, our personas are changing as our business grows and Charlie will continue to evolve as we go, but can you see the difference between our C-Level Charlie and something like, "anyone 21-50 years old"?
The key is that while anyone between 21-50 years of age may actually become a customer, it's important to drill down and find the 3-5 sweet spots and develop your target personas around those people.
Developing these personas will also allow you to target your marketing to the correct group. According to HiP, behaviorally targeted ads are twice as effective as non-targeted ads. TWICE!
It's not easy to develop your target personas, but HubSpot has developed great templates to set yours up here. I highly recommend checking it out if you're ready to start talking to your correct target markets.
Target personas are extremely important to a successful inbound marketing campaign. Want to learn more about what an inbound journey looks like?