What personas are and why you need them

understanding buyer personas

Hey, guys, I want you to meet someone. Her name is Patti Paltrow. She’s the practice manager for a plastic surgery practice. We’ll call her Practice Manager Patti.

She’s a hard-hitting industry vet, this Patti. Her primary goals are to bring in new business, retain patients, and ensure that she’s explaining practice needs to the marketing company she’s working with and have them execute it well.

A little more about our Ms. Paltrow: She is 35, she makes about $95k annually, and she is stressed, you guys. She’s stressed, because she’s stretched thin and she feels like she’s tied to certain commitments that can’t be passed off, so things inevitably fall through the cracks. She’s stressed because her daughter, Apple, is showing a clear attachment to refined sugar. She’s stressed because she can’t pick which dress to wear on the red carpet — no, I think I’m describing another Paltrow now. Sorry. Let’s move on.

Do you feel bad for Practice Manager Patti? Do you just want to say, “Hey, girl, don’t worry, this is all gonna work out in the end,” and like, give her some chocolate? Well, fret not. Patti’s fake. I made her up.

Well, technically, AGENCY H made her up. She’s an example of what a buyer persona looks like. She’s pretty important to the inbound process. We can tell you all about that after you schedule a free assessment with us. In the meantime, here are the basics of buyer personas:

What is a buyer persona, anyway?

HubSpot — the authority on all things inbound, you know — tells us that a buyer persona is “a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and what you already know about your existing customers.”

Essentially, the buyer persona represents your target audience. It helps you think of your audience as real people, so that when you’re writing content, designing a web page, sending an email, or writing an e-book, you can ask yourself: “Is this information going to benefit Patti? Is this CTA going to grab her attention? Does this email make sense to send her? What is Patti Googling right now? Am I in love with Patti?”

When you’re not asking those questions, you run the risk of creating content that’s not useful for your targeted audience — which is like working for the wrong reason. If your content doesn’t address the needs of your target audience, you might as well not have written it in the first place.

How to use your buyer persona

Let’s think about Practice Manager Patti some more. She’s got some challenges: She needs to get more people interested in the services her plastic surgery practice provides, but she’s not sure how; putting a newspaper ad or a billboard for a tummy tuck doesn’t seem like the right thing (and she’s right — it’s not). She’s also got budgetary issues to consider: She could hire an outside agency to handle everything, but she’s not sure how to determine if that’s a good use of funds.

So you know what you need to do: Develop an e-book about inbound marketing, write blogs that discuss the ROI value of inbound marketing, and craft some smart emails and social content directing Patti to those content items.

But your buyer personas can go one step farther for you. Patti’s age, income, and family life — the demographic information you have established for her — can help you determine what language to use in those offers. Patti’s buyer persona tells you that she’s more interested in Facebook than Twitter, more into Pinterest than Instagram, and more likely to read blogs that have a brisk, conversational tone.

Flesh out your audience with multiple buyer personas

The thing is, if we’re talking about what inbound marketing can do for a business, it goes beyond plastic surgery practices. Inbound works for just about every business model we can think of. So Patti Paltrow represents just one segment of the total target audience for inbound marketing (or for AGENCY H, however you want to look at it). You’re going to want a few more buyer personas to make sure you’re creating content for each segment of your target audience.

Once you’ve got multiple buyer personas, you can segment your contact list based on which ones fit which persona, and send each segment targeted email campaigns and write blog posts that appeal to each facet. This helps you personalize your emails — which, by the way, has been shown to improve click-through rates, conversion rates, and revenue.

Are you ready to develop buyer personas for your business? Do you have questions about your own Practice Manager Patti and how to develop content for her? Hey, we’ve got you covered. Contact AGENCY H today for your free assessment and get started on the glorious inbound path.