Whilst reviewing an inbound marketing campaign and having a lunch the other day with one of our customers, he asked me 'I have around 8 buyer personas I could sell to, how many buyer personas should we have?'. Now this is a great question.
As a certified HubSpot inbound marketer, it allowed me to preach a nerds view on our approach to developing buyer personas for an inbound marketing campaign.
So, I've created this brief article to detail and break down different areas to analyse when defining how many buyer personas you can/should create whilst building out your inbound marketing campaign.
Identifying buyer personas is paramount to understanding who your business should be selling to.
Think of it this way, would you open a vegetarian food boutique in the heart of cattle country? The answer is quite obviously not. It’s about aligning your sales and marketing strategy with the right customer demographic.
Do You Spread a Wide Net?
The endgame for any successful business is to maximise sales opportunities whilst providing an admired and respected level of service. Achieve this and you will build your brand reputation and grow your business.
It’s not about who you could sell too,
but the customers you want to sell to.
The Numbers Game
Is there an optimal amount of buyer personas? No, the number of buyer personas is entirely dependent on your business. A niche business will have fewer buyer personas than a business that caters to the masses, but that doesn’t mean that accurately identifying each one is any less important.
The Danger of One Persona Too Many
Every business must offer something of value to people that will value it. But many make the mistake of thinking that everyone will love their new cookie cutter, for example.
Too many, or unfocused buyer personas means you could be treading on dangerous ground. At best, you deliver a muddled message. At worst, you may fail to appeal to anyone!
You can’t please everyone.
Concentrate on pleasing those that matter.
Narrow Your Buyer Personas
Narrowing your buyer personas is a necessary exercise for any business. To do this you need to know your business – that’s the easy part! If your business has different revenue streams or targets multiple industries, creating a unique buyer persona for each. This affords you even greater levels of personalisation.
Knowing who you are, and who you’re not, will attract customers. Customers decisions to choose your business should be an easy one. Don’t emphasise that you sell fireworks if you only sell them for six weeks in October and November!
The more your inbound marketing campaigns evolve, the more you’ll be able to tailor content to specific personas. You can create content that reaches customers on a personal level – which adds more value to their experience.
Streamlining Personas by Their Behaviour
Know what potential customers are interested in and you will be able to create the right number of personas.
What are the hotspots on your website? Where is the most interest? How many have been converted from a visitor to a buyer?
Sometimes a persona can be less about who they are and more about what they want.
The Power of Niche Marketing
Just For Men is one of the most recognisable and best-selling men’s hair care brands, and with good reason.
Men know that the product has been developed specifically for them. It speaks to them on a personal note.
Haircare and beauty products are made with the same ingredients, but the industry has two separate niche personas – men and women.
When targeting one large demographic within a niche industry (such as men’s haircare/beauty products) it’s beneficial to create buyer personas for each specific niche, after all not every man uses Just For Men! By tailoring all content created around buyer personas, you can create more personalised selling opportunities.
Do Best Personas Equal Best Customers?
The answer is, well no, not really. All the statistical analysis in the world can’t account for one simple thing – people. They can be quite unpredictable.
Good marketers should look at who the best customers are. Often the results can be surprising. You may have developed such a strong reputation that everyone wants to use you.
Quicker business growth could be achieved by placing more of an effort on those personas that have unexpectedly made up a significant portion of your revenue.
Target the Customers You Want
Creating buyer personas can be a statement of ambition. They could be the customers that you don’t necessarily have but would like to have. Now, were certainly not saying create all personas with this ethos, but expansion is a fundamental part of continuing commercial success.
This long-term strategy will encourage growth – allowing you to branch out into different commercial avenues. After all, Harrods first opened its doors as a humble east-end grocer and tea merchant – and today it’s the epitome of luxury London shopping!
Creating the right amount of buyer personas means you provide potential customers with a better user experience, allowing your business to maximise its value and revenue.
Don't lose track
Whilst reading this article there may be times your mind wandered, thinking about what your reading and who your business should be targeting, even whilst we were finishing our 'chicken caesar salad', we had to pause and get the conversation back on track.
Remember, developing a successful inbound marketing campaign is about developing the buyer personas you want to sell to and those who are already giving you great success, Not, buyer personas you could sell to.
The goal of creating buyer personas, is to create a great, unique and personal user experience on your website that will resonate with the customers, so there is no exact number of buyer personas any campaign should have.
The main focus you should keep in your mind, is, keep your campaign targeted, don't get to general in your strategy.