Buyer personas might be the most overlooked aspect of inbound marketing in existence. I would even go as far as to say this essential foundational inbound marketing effort is often shoved aside by many self-proclaimed marketing gurus and business owners as marketing textbook fluff.
Why you ask? Because it's hard. Because there is no value in it. Because we already know who our target customers are. Because this won't directly impact the bottom line. The list goes on.
I spent the previous week at Copyblogger's first marketing conference, Authority Intensive. Don't get me wrong... I was flattered to be among the annual conference's first attendees, and I was completely blown away by Seth Godin's keynote speech, but what I thoroughly enjoyed more than the household names and the impressive audio/visual display were the talks reinforcing just how important your brand's content really is. It's the driver for everything your business does online.... everything from traffic generation to lead acquisition.
Before setting our on any inbound marketing endeavor, it is essential to undergo persona development, as your findings should dictate everything you say and offer on your company's website. While there is a seemingly limitless amount of valuable information you should include in your buyer persona profiles, there are three different observations you can make, or extract from your sales team, that will instantly reveal the best topics to cover in your quest for content creation.
1. Frequently Asked Questions
Let's start with the basics here. I'm confident most sales teams out there would be well equipped to answer the simple question, "What are the top 3 questions you get most commonly from your prospects?"
With the answer to that question, you may now have your topics for your first three blog posts, or better yet, maybe one of those questions is deserving of it's own premium content offer. And as a premium offer, whether it's an eBook or a formulated spreadsheet, it should be focused on answering that prospect's specific question, in a more comprehensive way than the way a blog post would cater to the question.
The best part about this content, is that it can also save your sales time critical time in their everyday communication. Try equipping your sales team with blog posts or premium offers that answer these questions, and have them pass these along to their prospects as these questions arise.
2. Product or Service Objections
Here's another great slice of information to solicit your sales team for. What are the most common objections that they get every day from the prospects currently in their pipeline?
Do they believe your software is too expensive? Do they not understand how your product works? Are they unclear about the potential return on investment of the service? Just as with content that caters to specific questions, creating remarkable content that contests these objections from the very beginning is an incredible sales tool in and of itself.
Most simply put, what external challenges prevent your buyer persona from accomplishing their goals? And are these challenges known to them? If so, you've just been handed a golden ticket for content creation. Nothing makes a more attractive inbound marketing offer like specifically speaking to someone's personal or professional challenges. Think about it... if you went to Google originally to solve a problem, originating from an effort to accomplish your goals, and you landed on someones website to find out that they are offering something for free that will specifically solve your problem, would you take advantage of it? I sure would.
These three observations can be some of the most important factors to include in your buyer persona profiles, but just scratch the surface of what may be vital to explore. What other components are valuable to any buyer persona development? Let us know in the comments below!
May 20, 2014