Getting manufacturing leads can be tough. Too many industrial companies rely heavily on a solid reputation and “word of mouth” to generate leads and close new business. This passive method of lead generation is too susceptible to sporadic leads and overall business lulls. Cold calling doesn’t deliver the results it once did, because people just don’t have the patience for “interruption-based” marketing.
To adjust to this shift in the way we do business, you need to be able to reach your buyers through a deeper understanding of who they are and what they’re looking for. Inbound Marketing is “the best way to turn strangers into customers and promoters of your business” (HubSpot), and the first step in building an Inbound Program is learning about your audience through Buyer Personas.
What are Buyer Personas?
Buyer Personas are semi-fictional, composite characters, representative of your real and potential buyers. This is way beyond simple demographic information. They are formed through a thoughtful, in-depth research process consisting of your sales team’s observations, industry trends, and interviews with your real customers. From that, a picture of your “ideal customer” is formed, focused on their various wants, needs, goals and challenges, as well as what kind of content interests them and where they go for information.
Personas are based on actual customer behavior, and they are the foundation for any Inbound Marketing campaign. The benefit, of course, is that by understanding your customers on a deeper level, you’re able to anticipate their problems and, in turn, provide resources to help them reach a solution.
Create your Own Buyer Personas with our Free Workbook.
How to Use Your Buyer Personas to Generate Better Leads
You’ve put in the time and done the research, and now you have one or more very thorough Buyer Personas. Great! – now what do you do with them?! It’s important to remember that your Personas aren’t ready until they are actionable.
Be sure to utilize these valuable next steps to make sure that your Buyer Personas don’t go to waste.
Create a List of Questions for Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
Understanding what problems and questions your buyers have and at which stage they have them is the most crucial step in allowing your Buyer Personas to become action plans.
This information will provide laser-focus to your marketing efforts, helping to reveal primary keywords, preferred content at each stage of the Buyer’s Journey, and the best content needed to help them solve their problems.
Create a Master Keyword List
From your Persona – and especially the list of problems, pain points, goals and questions at each stage of the Buyer’s Journey – you’ll need to create a list of master keywords that you’ll focus on throughout any campaign. Your master list will directly inform your blog topics, ebook subjects, and overall website content.
Create a Content Plan
Let’s put this all into action. Use your Buyer Persona information and master keyword list to create a content plan for the duration of your Inbound campaign. This isn’t just article topics; Persona-driven content includes blogs, emails, content offers (such as ebooks, whitepapers, product guides, and catalogs), case studies, infographics, video, and overall site page content.
Create New, Relevant Content
Use your Personas to create original content tailored specifically for your ideal buyers. Keep in mind their goals, challenges, questions, and problems. Focus on content that relevant to your audience, educational, and helpful. You’ll establish yourself as a thought-leader in your industry and a trusted resource for your buyers.
Rework Your Existing Content
Repurpose any existing content to effectively up your content production. An old blog article or ebook may need a new spin or some new material to be relevant to a new Buyer Persona.
Interact on Relevant Social Channels
Your Buyer Personas not only tell you what kind of content your buyers crave, but also where they go for information. Don’t waste your time sharing your Persona-tailored content on social channels that they’re not frequenting. Focus your efforts on the networks that will provide the most reach and make the biggest impact.
Continue Moving Your Leads Through Your Sales Funnel
Buyer Personas are the foundation for your Inbound Marketing program because they inform and enhance your marketing at every stage of the Buyer’s Journey. Their value goes way beyond lead generation; continue using your Personas to close those leads into customers and delight your customers into brand advocates and repeat-buyers.