Okay, so you’re sold on inbound. After all, it guides qualified leads to your digital doorstep. Keeps your prospects engaged. Converts them to customers. And ultimately, turns them into promoters for your business. I mean, really… what's not to love?
Obviously, these steps don’t just happen by flipping on a magic “inbound” switch. They rely on a strategically laid foundation – and more specifically, a well-developed buyer persona (or in some cases, multiple personas). There are numerous articles that define buyer personas, and explore how to develop them for your business, so we won’t go into that here. Instead, we’ll focus on why personas are a critical investment – and how they maximize your marketing ROI.
First, let’s take a look at the numbers.
The following figures are based on a MarketingSherpa case study. In that study, buyer personas were found to have added the following value for one particular client:
- 111% increase in email open rate
- 900% increase in length of visit
- 100% increase in the number of pages visited
- 171% increase in marketing-generated revenue
In this case, the increased email open rates suggest that prospects were not only easier to engage from the get-go, but interested in sticking around. Not only that, but more were inclined to make that glorious transformation from prospect to customer. This, of course, is the flagship function of relevant content – and creating that level of relevance simply cannot happen effectively without understanding the motivations behind buying behavior. Read the case study here.
Next, let’s zoom out a bit.
Because we’re talking about how personas lead to a greater return on your marketing spend, it only makes sense to look at the influence they have on each step of the Buyer's Journey. (Need to brush up on the Buyer's Journey? Read this.)
- Awareness: It can’t happen when you’re not there.
Your buyer persona reveals telling insights about where to find your potential customers. Which channels should you focus on – and which ones should you rule out? (I’ve talked to customers who categorically avoid social media, for example.) When and how often do they visit those channels? Are they searching online? From the moment your online prospects have expressed symptoms of a potential problem, you want to be in the right place, at the right time, to register on their radar – and without knowing their usual go-tos, your content strategy will be full of blind spots.
- Consideration: Time to tip the scales.
The better you address a potential buyer’s specific problems, the more likely you’ll create sustainable engagement in this stage. And the moment you do that, you’ve got an edge over your competitors. Remember, your buyer persona provides a collective voice to common problems a customer might face – so when you “get to know” your persona, you can custom-engineer your content to show prospective buyers why your company can best address their problems.
- Decision-Making: Speak to their hearts.
Personas do a good job of tapping into the emotional state during the decision-making stage of the Buyer's Journey. And while “emotional appeal” is a more prominent theme in B2C marketing – it holds an important place in B2B marketing as well. Luke Peake, Director of Uberator, says it best. “Converting a prospect with a 100% emotional message is unlikely, but in a marketplace full of strong options, how do you stand out? It comes down to a human connection.”
Remember, at the beginning of this blog you told us that you were sold on inbound. (Okay, so maybe we put some of those words into your mouth.) But the point is, if you believe in the power of inbound marketing, and its potential to boost your ROI, then you’re inherently sold on its most fundamental element; that is, the buyer persona.