Inbound marketing is a methodology that is designed to draw potential customers in by propagating a human and empathetic vision of marketing. By creating valuable content, services and experiences, organisations are able to build lasting relationships with customers, consumers and prospects alike.
A successful Inbound marketing strategy is grounded in the understanding that at the end end of the journey, customers become brand advocates and refer your business to their networks. By inhabiting the mind of the consumer, this methodology enables organisations to recognise and understand their consumers’ needs and provide them with solutions to their problems.
The key here is ensuring that your consumers have a personalised experience – a recent study by Blue Research indicates 94% of customers have discontinued communications with a company because of irrelevant information. Aligning your brand with how your customer thinks facilitates a whole new category of marketing, sales and service capabilities and ensures that you are consistently proactive.
So, how do you go about delivering this truly personalised experience?
The Buyer Persona
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers, based on an amalgamation of market research and data about your existing customers. Essentially, these personas enable organisations to test run interactions with consumers and ensure that they are always one step ahead. In doing so, businesses are able to reach out to customers in a way that that recognises them and acknowledges their needs.
Adopting a buyer persona is beneficial for a number of reasons. Firstly, it enables businesses to focus their time, ensuring that they are consistently targeting the right prospects. Secondly, it guides product development – the persona acts as a window into the future, and business can utilise this to ensure their product matches their consumer’s needs. Lastly, because the buyer persona can be made available throughout an organisation, it encourages different departments to align their goals and strategies resulting in a more productive and effective workforce.
How are they made?
Buyer personas can be created through research, surveys, and interviews with a mix of customers, prospects and those outside of your contact database who might align with your target audience. Detail is essential – demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations and goals all need to be taken into consideration, alongside analysis of sales team feedback and form fields. It is crucial to note that buyer personas must develop as prospects move through their purchasing journey. By amalgamating all of these research and data points collected throughout the stages of the buying cycle, businesses can start to realise their prospects visions. Depending on the size of the organisation, businesses may choose to have several buyer personas – each one representing a different version of their ideal customer.
Buyer personas are a crucial part of the inbound strategy – they are essential to achieving personalisation and empathy. The inbound methodology puts the customer first, and the buyer persona facilitates this. The buyer persona enables organisations to be proactive, to create content that resonates with their target group, and most importantly, to build a bond that competitors can’t match.