The interviews, the surveys, the extensive research … the PowerPoint presentation you put together so you can properly unveil your personas in all their persona-y glory.
“Turns out, Sample Sally checks her Facebook religiously, but isn’t too keen on using Twitter,” you explain to your team, who are visibly dumbfounded by your amazing insights. “Also, Example Eddie hates Snickers bars,” you continue, "but he's quite partial to Toblerones."
Of course, after the ceremonial unveiling of the personas, there’s the requisite "I-just-made-our-company’s-buyer-personas" honeymoon period, which is typified by congratulatory handshakes from execs and a newfound “marketing rockstar" status that you maintain around the office for the next few weeks.
And then what happens?
Well, naturally, you take your carefully crafted buyer personas, put them on display on the lunch room refrigerator, and never think about them again.
Wait a sec ... what’s wrong with this picture?
Take Your Personas Off the Fridge and Put Them to Work
Marketing isn't arts and crafts. The goal here isn't to make something pretty that you can take home to Mom (sorry, Mom). Instead, the goal -- simply stated -- is to generate leads and convert leads into customers.
After creating your personas, you’ll have a better understanding of where your personas spend their time online. And -- ideally -- you’ll also know what their favorite online publications and news sources are. Armed with this knowledge, you can audit where you’re currently spending resources (e.g. on Facebook ads, retargeting, etc.) and reallocate those resources based on your persona research.
2) Reallocate your human resources.
The same principle can be applied to personnel: If you know the majority of your audience is on Twitter, you'll want to make sure you -- or someone on your team -- is regularly monitoring that network and engaging with people who belong to your target persona.
The goal here isn't to hunt people down (you're not Dog the Bounty Hunter ... are you?). Instead, you just want to make sure you're hanging out where you're personas are hanging out.
3) Use the lingo that your personas use.
Once you know how the people in your different persona groups communicate, start speaking their language! Use the buzzwords they use. Use the slang they use. After all, you're not some foreign entity that has maliciously transplanted itself into their world (if you are, Dog the Bounty Hunter is coming for you). You're a member of the community and have a deep understanding of how people in that community like to interact. Using their lingo should come naturally.
4) Segment your list of contacts by buyer persona.
List segmentation is the key to delivering more personalized experiences to your leads and customers. Once you’ve segmented your list by buyer persona, you’ll be able to do all sorts of fun stuff. (Just keep reading!)
5) Write an ebook with a specific persona in mind.
Creating buying personas gives you an enhanced knowledge of what your ideal customers like and respond to, as well as what they struggle with. Using those insights, you can create a targeted ebook that solves a common problem -- or answers a common question -- that a particular persona has. And if you’ve segmented your contacts list by buyer persona, guess what? You can easily share that ebook with just the group of contacts who you know will be interested in it.
6) Write blog posts with specific personas in mind.
You can target very niche long-tail keywords, and eventually, you may even decide to create persona-specific sections or channels for your blog.
7) Create a video with a specific persona in mind.
Of course, creating content for your personas isn't limited to ebooks and blog posts: There are tons of other content formats out there that a persona might prefer. In fact, you might discover during your research that one of your personas hates reading, and would rather watch short videos than read 400-word blog posts.
By catering your content formats to the preferences of your personas, you can deliver a more enjoyable experience.
8) Audit your existing content for persona alignment.
Perform an audit of all your content and try to figure out which persona each piece aligns with. If you discover content that doesn't align with any of your personas, you might to consider updating it or -- if it's had zero success in generating leads -- just get rid of it.
At the end of the day, to attract the right people, you need to create the right content.
9) Combine personas with lifecycle stages to map out content ideas.
In addition to targeting content according to personas, you can target content according to another dimension: lifecycle stage. Lifecycle stage refers to how far along someone is in your sales cycle (and how close they are to making a purchase).
By adding this dimension to the mix, you can ensure that you're not only creating the right content for the right people, but that you're also creating it for them at the right time. Want to learn more about content mapping? Download our free content mapping template.
10) Optimize landing pages for personas.
When you offer up a new piece of targeted content, make sure that the accompanying landing page conveys to your persona -- in their language -- how that content can help them solve a problem or add value to their lives.
11) Use dynamic content to tailor your website to different personas.
Say goodbye to the one-size-fits-all website. With dynamic content (at HubSpot, we call it Smart Content), you can display different messaging to different people based on what persona you have them assigned to.
12) Do some co-marketing with companies that your personas dig.
Whether it's a webinar, a co-written ebook, or simply a guest blog post, working with other businesses that you know a particular persona likes and respects can score you some serious street cred.
Let's face it: Businesses, like people, are often judged by the company they keep. So make sure you're always in good company.
13) Segment out your negative personas.
A negative -- or “exclusionary” -- persona is a fictional representation of who you don’t want as a customer. This could include, for example, professionals who are too advanced for your product or service, students who are only engaging with your content for research/knowledge, or potential customers who are just too expensive to acquire.
If you take the time to create negative personas, you’ll have the added advantage of being able to segment out the “bad apples” from the rest of your contacts, which can help you big time with lead generation and lead-to-customer conversion rates.
14) Put your negative personas on a dartboard and throw darts at them.
Just kidding, that’s not nice.
Voodoo dolls, on the other hand …
Have some other ideas for what you can do with your buyer personas? Let us know in the comments section below!
Originally published May 22, 2014 10:30:00 AM, updated July 28 2017