Target Marketing by Persona: Shed Light on Your Shot in the Dark (January 2017 – Q1 Series: Quick Start Guide to a Successful Marketing Plan in 2017)

March 2nd, 2017 | by

Marketing–with its vast tools for email blasts, twitter posts and paid ads–has made it easy to reach thousands of people with the click of a button. But this method can quickly become more like a shot in the dark than messaging likely to reach a potential customer. Do you know who is receiving your emails? Are they decision makers at a company similar to many of your clients? Or are you simply reaching the intern at an organization that can’t even use your solution? Unfortunately for marketers, more often than not, it’s the latter.

According to Forrester, only 1% of generated leads actually turn into paid customers. That’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears for a relatively small payout. Recently faced with this dilemma ourselves, we asked: What can be done to tip the scales in the marketers’ favor? After a lot of research along with some trial and error, we’ve come up with the following tips:

Identify Your Ideal Buyer Persona

If you could describe your ideal prospects, what attributes would they possess? Do you perform better with companies of a certain size or in a specific industry? Is there a job title you seek out? Are there certain technologies or responsibilities they should be in charge of? These are the types of questions that need to be asked and answered before moving forward with a marketing plan.

Additionally, be sure to collaborate with your Sales team. They are on the front lines, interacting directly with potential customers and will know who is most likely to convert. According to HubSpot, businesses with aligned sales and marketing achieve 208% higher marketing revenue than organizations with fragmented teams. Both teams should agree on what constitutes a “lead” and a “qualified lead” as well as a process for passing them along to Sales. This allows you to go after the right people, setting yourself up for success as you try to move prospects down the funnel.

Download our Persona Discovery Worksheet here to get started.

Relevance is Key

Identifying the ideal buyer persona(s) will shape your messaging—resulting in better qualified leads for your sales team. Before you create content, write emails, or update your website, you need to actually know your audience and what they want to read. For example, relevant emails actually drive 18 times more revenue than widely broadcast emails, according to Jupiter Research.

In order to warm a prospect, effectively helping your Sales team down the line, your content should pique the reader’s interest, educate them on your product (that’s the whole point after all) and remain applicable to their work experiences and pain points. So, what pertinent information can you offer that will make your prospect want to take the time to read your email, newsletter, or blog? Keep in mind that the subject and messaging for an Executive is going to be different than if you’re reaching out to a Sales or Marketing Manager.

Give a Little Bit

In this world, it’s all about give and take; information doesn’t come free, particularly email addresses and other contact information. You have to give in order to get. So, a relevant ‘free’ offering such as an e-book, whitepaper, or infographic is a great way to introduce prospects to your product or solution. Naturally, you’ll want to collect as much information from them as possible before they can download anything. However, you must align the “value” of your content with the value of the information you’ll be gathering. Offering a one-page download? Ask for a name and an email address in return. On the other hand, a more substantial and “valuable” piece like an e-book or whitepaper warrants the collection of more information. You can require a name and email as well as a company name, department, job title, and maybe more for the download.

A word to the wise: don’t be greedy. Requiring too much information in exchange for your content can quickly scare off potential leads. Using your ideal buyer persona, adjust your forms accordingly based on the information needed to qualify a lead while keeping in mind the content’s value. The right questions on a form can also help sort your prospects into different categories/personas such as Sales, Marketing, and Executives, who can be nurtured with different messaging down the line.

Nurture, Nurture, Nurture

There’s always that one person who can sell ice to Eskimos…however, 26% of salespeople told HubSpot that prospecting is still difficult even when their lead is very knowledgeable about the product or services. One can only assume that prospecting is much harder when a lead has never heard of the product being sold. Enter marketing. The best way marketing can help sales is to push prospects through the funnel with product education, effectively increasing awareness.

However, even your perfect prospect—fitting every aspect of your ideal buyer persona—may not yet be ready to buy. According to HubSpot, a staggering 79% of Marketing leads never convert to sales—because they weren’t nurtured. Multiple touches via emails, newsletters, content offerings, drip campaigns, and more will help familiarize potential customers with your product. Warming a lead works even better when small customizations are made to the messaging, particularly showing how you can help your prospect directly as Mr. Exec, Ms. Marketing, or Mr. Sales (because relevance is key, right?). Once nurtured, primed and ready, a lead can then be passed along to sales to start the conversion.

Ultimately, identifying your ideal buyer persona is key when setting up a successful marketing operation. Knowing who is most likely to buy your product gives you a persona to target with relevant content, then nurture through the sales funnel before passing the qualified lead to Sales. Doesn’t that sound better than simply taking a shot in the dark?

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