If you’ve been looking into inbound marketing, you may have heard the term “buyer persona” bandied about. Buyer personas are critical for inbound and digital strategy, because they define your audience, allowing you to create content and deploy marketing techniques that will reach your ideal buyers, convert them to clients, and provide an exceptional ROI on your marketing efforts.
Buyer persona definition
A buyer persona is a fictionalized version of your ideal client types. The persona defines what these clients are like: demographic information like age and gender, job title, job responsibilities, purchasing power, and more. Creating a persona allows you to visualize and understand your audience better, which allows you to hone your content and marketing efforts to be highly effective.
How to create buyer personas
You probably have a good idea already of what your typical client is like. If you create plastic injection moldings of automotive components, you know that your ideal client is a sourcing specialist or product engineer for an automotive OEM, and that this client is usually male, in his late twenties to early forties, and is under extreme time pressure to source components. From your work experience, you probably have this same background information on your other client types (e.g. a Tier II supplier who makes automotive assemblies) as well.
Use the information you have, but don’t just rely on your assumptions. One effective method for understanding your ideal buyer is to interview your best clients. Find out about their job responsibilities, the challenges they face in their work, and how your company can help them and meet their needs. This information can help you
Simple example persona:
Sourcing Specialist/Product Engineer
Late 20s–early 40s
Sourcing components for vehicles
Working under extreme time pressure
Needs quick turnarounds, on-time delivery, products that can meet OEM specs
Needs suppliers with capability to produce high volume of moldings
To source quality components quickly, at the best possible price, from a reliable supplier
Your buyer personas can be as simple (like the example above) or as detailed as you like, and as works for your application. Once you’ve written buyer personas for your major client types (probably two or three different personas) you’ll better understand your buyers and your audience, and better be able to market to them.
Creating content for your buyer personas
The way that you take advantage of the personas that you’ve created is through creating targeted content that addresses those specific personas. You’ll need to create content—blog posts, infographics, social posts, ebooks, white papers, videos, etc.—specifically geared toward the goals and challenges of your buyer persona. Returning to our previous example, if you are creating content for OEM Oliver, you might write a blog post about how to select a plastic injection molding supplier, create an infographic about the plastic injection molding process from design to receipt by the customer, or publish an ebook about maximizing your plastic molding’s design to reduce structural and cosmetic imperfections. These pieces of content address the needs of OEM Oliver, which include finding suppliers (blog on selecting injection molders), quick turnaround times (process timeline infographic), and high-quality, spec-meeting components (ebook on minimizing defects). This content is useful and interesting to OEM Oliver, which may prompt him to read it, convert from a site visitor to a lead by providing contact information, or reach out for more information or even a quote.
Buyer personas are a useful and under-utilized tool for understanding the prospective customers you want to target with your marketing efforts. By researching and creating buyer personas and then creating content that addresses the needs of those personas, you can become visible to the type of person you want as a client and peak their interest about your company’s offerings.
The importance of inbound and digital marketing is undeniable in our increasingly digital world: we carry computers around in our pockets, everywhere we go, and we see everything through this new digital lens. As a sales professional, you know the importance too of embracing digital strategies. If your focus has always been on traditional outbound and push marketing methods, however, it can be difficult to make the transition. Here are a few things you can do to convert your sales team from outbound to inbound marketing.
Recycle mail content to email content
Any marketing materials that you’ve sent to prospective clients, you can probably send via email much more conveniently and at much less expense. This includes direct mail fliers as well as newsletters. You shouldn’t just scan a paper copy of your newsletter and send out an email blast, though. While much of the content may stay the same, digital newsletters and email marketing pieces should be made interactive—by directing people to your website or to contact your company—and should focus on relevant, educational topics that speak to your readers’ (a.k.a. your future clients’) pain points, rather than exclusively promoting your company.
Switching to email provides several advantages, such as lower initial cost and time-saving automation, but it also allows the recipient to opt-in (through a website submission form or through traditional methods of obtaining contact information) as well as opt-out. If leads can opt out of marketing materials from you, you know that they aren’t interested in your products or services, and you can focus your efforts on other potential clients.
Turn brochures and handouts into website content
Brochures are dying, and we’re really not sorry about it. That doesn’t mean that the work that went into your brochures should go to waste—it’s often a great starting point for developing website content. The content is already succinct and discusses your company’s products and services, which is what your site needs to do, too. Chances are that your brochures also contain professionally captured, high quality images of your products, key team members, and facilities, which could be incorporated into your website as well.
Business cards aren’t going away anytime soon, so keep handing those out, and include a link to your site to direct your leads to your website and the valuable information it contains about your company. Instead of forcing it on them with a brochure (that often as not, gets tossed immediately), interested parties, who are already looking for what you’re selling will find your site through search results, digital ads, and even the old standbys, like a meeting with a member of your sales team or through word-of-mouth.
Forget cold-calling, start posting
Social media is ubiquitous and inescapable—use that to your advantage. Again, it can save you money on advertising, and it has better reach than older tactics. We talk about LinkedIn all the time when it comes to B2B marketing, because it’s an excellent tool; want to target people with specific job titles at specific companies with information about your services or products? You can do that with LinkedIn. (Check out 6 Easy Ways to Make LinkedIn Work For Your B2B Marketing Strategy for more on LinkedIn.) There are numerous other platforms that can be of use, too, depending on your industry and target audience, and they all allow you to communicate with hundreds, thousands, even millions of people very easily, and it allows them to communicate and interact with your company as well, pulling them in, rather than pushing out to them.
Social media is also a great way to promote and get people interested in some of the things your company has already created. Take your white papers, reports, forecasts—anything that might be valuable and interesting to your target buyers—and digitize it. Turn those things into blog posts, ebooks, infographics, etc. and put them on the web. Then use social media to let people know where to find it and how it can help them with their business’s challenges. These strategies draw in interested parties, bringing the qualified leads to you, rather than the other way around.
Don’t think that transitioning from an outbound to inbound strategy means that you have to reinvent the wheel—you don’t. In fact, many outbound strategies are easily digitized and can even supplement your newly implemented inbound strategies. Start with the amazing content and resources that you’ve already cultivated, and work on making them digital friendly. When the leads start pouring in, your sales team will know just what to do.
Want to know more about digital strategy and how HADM might be able to help in your shift to inbound marketing techniques? We’d love to hear from you. And for more information on boosting your B2B’s inbound marketing power, check out this exclusive guide to Inbound Marketing, specifically for B2B manufacturers:
Pay-per-click ad campaigns are one of the best ways to generate immediate, qualified traffic and leads for home builders. They’re a top outbound marketing method because they’re amazing at getting your name out there, especially for keywords you know your target buyer is searching for. The only problem is, PPC isn’t inherently geared for local sales.
If you bid on the keyword, “quality custom home builder,” it’s likely that your ad shows up in the search results pages of a searcher in Texas, which doesn’t do you much good if you work in Michigan. Many home builders have started to combat this by bidding on keywords that include their location, like “custom home builder Grand Rapids,” but that’s just the start of a quality PPC campaign that targets local leads. To make sure you’re getting the biggest number of qualified, local leads, here are a few tips to optimize your home building PPC strategy:
Pick the right city
If you’re in home building, you know that for many builders, the city they advertise in isn’t always the city they actually build in. For example, we’re centered in Grand Haven, but many of the builders out here advertise themselves as Grand Rapids builders because Grand Rapids is a bigger city with a bigger pool of potential homebuyers. So before you even start your local PPC strategy, you need to decide which city names you want to bid on. It’s a good idea to do some keyword research first, to figure out what people are actually searching, and what your competitors are bidding the most on.
For example, if you specialize in bigger, urban homes, it probably does make sense for you to target those searching for home builders in GR. But if your niche is smaller family homes out in the country, then it might make more sense to advertise your building company in smaller area cities, like Hudsonville, Coopersville, Spring Lake, and Grand Haven. So, do some testing to see which cities get the most qualified traffic for your company, and go with those.
Choose low competition, high search volume keywords
In the same vein, you want to choose keywords that have low competition, but high search volume, as you’ll have to pay less to run those campaigns. If every builder in the area is bidding on general terms like “Builder in Grand Rapids,” you’ll have to pay a lot of money for leads that might not actually be that qualified. Whereas if you pick a long-tail keyword like, “affordable custom homes Spring Lake” you’ll pay for less clicks, but you’ll get more qualified traffic. Sure, less people are going to search for that long tail keyword, but the people who do are going to fit right into your niche clientele, and they’re going to be closer to making a purchasing decision than someone who clicks on a very general, “builder in GR” search result.
Location-based ad extensions
Google, in its infinite wisdom, continues to improve search results in favor of user experience. In their work to make searches turn up the best results for searchers, they’ve implemented location-based ad extensions, so local businesses with Adwords campaigns can display location information like address, business hours, and even how long it will take the searcher to get to your office. By implementing location-based ad extensions in your Adwords campaign, when someone searches “custom home builders near me” or some other location-related keyword you’ve bid on, your search result will come up similar to the one below, one of our own clients in the GR area:
As you can see, below the desktop ad itself, Google has placed the location of the Whitmore Homes office, as well as their phone number and their hours. This extension works even better on mobile, because each piece of information becomes clickable. So, clicking on the address would take users to a map, clicking on the phone number would dial up Whitmore Homes, and clicking on the information button would give a potential client necessary information about when the company is open, and what it is that they do. This is easily one of the best ways to get your company more local traffic from paid searches. Check Google’s site for more info on how to implement location based ad extensions in your PPC campaign.
Make your landing pages mobile-friendly
An insane amount of all internet traffic these days is conducted on mobile devices. If your PPC ads take visitors to a landing page that isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re going to lose money. By optimizing a landing page for mobile, you make it faster, more user-friendly, and better fitted to a smaller screen. This means that mobile users can navigate to, and around, that page easily, ensuring they’re more likely to convert. If your landing pages aren’t optimized, you’re going to lose leads as soon as that page doesn’t load in 10 seconds on their smartphones.
Have multiple landing pages
In addition to having mobile-friendly landing pages, you should have different landing pages corresponding to different PPC ads. Remember that not all of your visitors are going to come to your site ready to buy, so it’s a good idea to have landing pages that address each step of the buyer’s journey. Obviously, you’re looking to find people in the decision making stage, but some of the long-tail keywords you’re bidding on might target visitors who are just in the awareness or consideration stages. Make sure you have landing pages that address each of these visitors as well, so you can capture their contact information, offer them quality content that pulls them through to the decision making stage, and improve the number of leads you’re generating over time.
Landing pages should match ads
In the same vein as the above point, you want to have multiple landing pages, but they have to match the ad they’re put with. You can’t have an ad that promotes a really awesome coupon for local clients, and then lead them to a landing page where they can download an ebook on how to perfect their ideal floorplan. This will only frustrate the visitors who do follow your PPC ads, and deter them from coming back to your site. So, in addition to having multiple landing pages, make triple-sure that each of those landing pages match the ad they’re attached to. You’d be surprised at how often these sorts of mistakes happen, but double-checking is a key way to make sure you’re not accidentally losing potential clients.
Another very successful way to run paid local ads is to implement a remarketing campaign. If you’ve ever gone online shopping and ditched your cart, remarketing is the reason ads keep popping up on Facebook and Google for the exact things you had in your cart when you ditched. For homebuilders, remarketing can also be successful, especially if you link your remarketing campaigns to your “Contact Us” or “Request a Quote” page. This way, whenever a visitor seems ready to convert to a lead, but leaves the page before filling out your contact form, they’ll be reminded later of that decision when your remarketing ad pops up on their social media page.
It’s a great way to keep your company fresh in clients’ minds, and it’s also a good practice for targeting local leads, because it’s likely to be locals who were researching your website in the first place.
If you’ve got more questions about optimizing your home building company’s PPC strategy to generate more local leads, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We specialize in inbound marketing strategies for custom home builders, and would be happy help answer any questions you’ve got. To see how HA Digital Marketing has generated massive results for other home builders, check out the case study below: