5 Things We Learned From Our Clients About Personas That Will Drive Better Leads

If the pot at the end of your nurture is not overflowing with qualified leads this St. Paddy’s day, it’s possible that you need to take another look at your content strategy to ensure everything you’re doing and creating is focused on the buyer. QualifiedLeads

As Erin Provey from Sirius Decisions said in her Content2Conversion presentation: “You need to move past the idea of an asset-driven content strategy. Buyer centricity is a philosophy. Buyer-specificity is a best practice.”

This may mean revisiting existing personas to make sure the information gathered is still relevant. Or, if you haven’t engaged in a persona project, it may be time to get moving!

Here are five things we have learned along the way from OUR clients that will lead to better personas which, ultimately, will lead to a better strategy and more qualified leads:

  1. Persona does NOT = Title. It’s so easy to go this route, right? You speak to four different titles and, therefore, have four personas. But that is not always the case. Everyone defines a role and title differently – especially when there are new titles and roles within an organization — not to mention all of the variations that could come from that title. We have learned to define a persona as a common set of traits and characteristics shared among a group of people – that could mean that 10 titles fit into that persona. Even if you think your personas are defined by title, approach your research without this predefined bucket and see what comes of it. You might be surprised by the results!
  2. You do NOT need a full-fledged persona project in order to start a demand gen strategy – but you DO need to move in this direction. The harsh reality is that we all need to show the value of what we’re doing and the investments we are making in content marketing. So quick wins are important and we can’t always wait around for the results of a long-research engagement. So tap into your internal SMEs, add questions to your content forms, and begin to tweak your content and strategy based on what you’re learning. In the meantime, conduct more formal research in the background and apply it as you learn it.
  3. This is my persona and I am sticking with it! I would love to tell you that you’ll only need to tackle a persona project once, pin it to your board and not have to refine it for another 10 years. But that is just NOT the case. People change, technology changes, needs and goals change – all of the time! It’s also not realistic to say you’re going to revisit your personas every quarter. (We would never get anything else done, right?) So let’s be realistic – maybe once a year you should set a goal for some formal research to validate that what you’re working with is still accurate and then on a quarterly basis relay on nurture results, questions on your forms, etc to help you gut check that your personas are still accurate and that the content you’re creating still contains the right messaging.
  4. “Touchy-feely” has a place. When we first started with personas, we stayed away from the “touchy-feely” types of questions. You only get a limited number of questions when you have someone’s attention, so it’s important to get what you need to know vs. what you want to know. Over the course of the last few years, thanks to our amazing clients, we have found there is a place for these types of questions, but only if it impacts the messaging and content you create. So now when we are determining which questions we’re going to ask for a persona project, we start with a huge list of qualitative and quantitative questions, and prioritize based on the impact the question will have on the messaging and overall content creation needs.
  5. Online surveys work! This idea that you need to have huge focus groups and 100 phone calls for each person is enough to drive us all to never sleep again. It’s not possible for most of us or even necessary. We are seeing incredible results with online surveys to prospects! Then, at the end of the survey, we ask the prospect if he or she is willing to speak to us for a 15-minute call for a larger incentive and are continually amazed at the amount of people willing to jump on the phone for a short time.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!