Who Ya Talking To, Willis? Understanding Buyer Personas

The specific and actionable goals that you set when starting an inbound campaign will determine the why of your inbound marketing approach, but you also need to narrow in on the what and how of your strategy, and for that, you need to understand the who.

(Don’t feel bad for where and when: they get ‘the Internet’ and ‘whenever’ respectively. Pretty big deals.)

The marketing world is made up of a whole lot of jargon-heavy buzzwords, most of which I feel are overused in conversation and underutilized in action. The one that does not fit that bill is buyer personas.

“Buyer personas” are something you may have heard discussed often by marketers and businessmen alike, and they may start to sound like just another conceptual idea. But if there’s one thing to be sure of when it comes to inbound marketing: buyer personas are the real deal. This deep understanding of who your ideal customers are makes up the foundation of your marketing efforts, and more so, the foundation of your business.

So what exactly are these all important buyer personas?

To borrow a definition from HubSpot, “Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers.”

Buyer personas put faces to the huge audience that’s out there, and allows you to understand the people you’re trying to reach actionably, not just conceptually.

No step that you take in your inbound marketing plan will be effective unless you know who you’re doing it for–who the marketing team is marketing to, who the sales team is selling to. Personas help you better understand your customers, and without that step, you’ll just be putting out content that speaks to no one or everyone–neither of which will be effective.

There’s a big world of consumers out there, and nearly all of them are searching for things online. And even though it might seem like a great thing to have a ton of eyeballs on your content, you don’t actually want to share your message with all of them because most of them aren’t the right fit for your business. You need to target the right people, to bring in the quality leads who are likely to become customers.

Knowing who you’re trying to reach will determine everything else that you do with your marketing approach–from how you design your website, to what content you create, to which social media sites you use. Like we said, this is an integral step in creating your online marketing strategy, so don’t get started without addressing it.