Develop Buyer Personas for Your Content Marketing Strategy
Tailoring content for your potential customers is a crucial part of a successful marketing strategy. You not only need to cover topics they’re interested in reading about. You also need to present your brand as an industry authority.
Too many SaaS companies produce marketing content that doesn’t say anything interesting. It’s easy to bang out a 600-word blog post that reiterates points your peers already know. But that content never makes an impact. It rarely generates social media shares or backlinks and doesn’t leave an impression on the people who come across it.
Great content strikes a chord with the people your company serves. But before you can create that content, you first need to know exactly who those people are. You need to discover what their job entails and the challenges they face so you produce content that hits the mark.
In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about developing buyer personas (also referred to as marketing personas) for your SaaS company.
Who does your sales team talk to?
Every SaaS marketer knows who their product is meant to serve. However, if you talk to your sales team, you’ll likely find that they interact with multiple people from a single company during the sales process. That means you need to develop multiple personas and create content for slightly different audiences.
Here are three buyer persona categories SaaS sales teams commonly encounter:
- End users – The people your product is built for. They want to know about specific features and how your product is better than their other options.
- Decision makers/approvers – Managers or executives who need to approve the purchase. They want to know about benefits like expected ROI or increased productivity.
- Information gathers – Junior employees who are tasked with collecting primarily information to share with their boss. They want a high-level overview of your product’s features, benefits, and cost.
Your SaaS company may have multiple buyer personas within each category. The key is to define all the personas your company sells to and have content ready to share with them at different points in their journey. We’ll dig into that concept more in a later section.
Segment buyer personas by industry
If your company has diverse segments of customers, three buyer personas won’t suffice. Instead, think of end users, decision makers/approvers, and information gathers as your top-level categories. You should then have subcategories for each industry your company serves.
Industry-specific prospects require unique marketing messaging. They have distinct operational procedures, challenges, and terminology so grouping them with prospects from another industry will result in imprecise persona profiles. Segmenting high-level buyer persona categories by industry provides a clear picture of each variation of customer your company serves. When you see the difference between two separate profiles, you’ll understand why the exercise of creating buyer personas is important.
It’s easy to create content that applies to all your customers—and a large portion of your content will be intended for a broad audience. However, content targeted at a specific persona in a certain industry can have a huge payoff. It demonstrates that your company understands the nuances of their business and your software was designed with their challenges in mind.
What are each buyer personas’ pain points?
Intuitively knowing who your personas are isn’t enough. If you’re going to create content that resonates with them, you need to get beyond job titles and learn about the challenges of their jobs.
Your software was designed to solve certain pain points so those solutions should naturally be the focus of much of your marketing content. You should frame topics and messaging around your main value propositions—the benefits your software offers that your competitors don’t.
You should also produce content that responds to challenges your software doesn’t directly solve, particularly for your end-users. Remember, marketing content is meant to be educational and showcase your brand as an authority in the industry. As you develop your buyer personas, strive to learn about all their pain points so you can develop a library full of content that aids in their professional growth.
Developing detailed buyer personas
It’s important to go into persona development with an open mind. You don’t want to assume you know everything about the people who interact with your brand. But the question remains—how do you gather the information needed to create accurate persona profiles? Here are some tips for discovering who is typically interested in your product and brand:
- Start with your sales team – An obvious starting point is to ask your sales team who they typically connect with and the questions they’re commonly asked.
- Explore your prospect database – Go through your CRM or marketing automation software and see what job titles keep popping up.
- Conduct a social media audit – See who follows your brand on social media and what their role is. Keep in mind, followers will mostly be end-users of your product.
Phase two: Get in touch with your buyer personas
As we’ve said, knowing who your personas are isn’t enough. You need to get into the nitty-gritty and learn about their challenges. Some SaaS companies conduct an email survey but we recommend doing one-on-one customer interviews so you can collect all the information needed to develop thorough buyer personas. Here are some questions you should ask:
- What is your job title and role responsibilities?
- Who do you report to and who are your direct reports?
- How is success measured for your job?
- What skills are required for your role?
- What tools do you use (besides our product)?
- What industry is your company in? Who are your customers?
- How many employees does your company have?
- What is your company’s annual revenue?
- What is your company’s mission or long-term goal?
Pain point questions
- What are your daily challenges?
- What are your on-going, long-term challenges?
- How are you working to overcome these challenges?
- How has our product helped you overcome these challenges?
- Why did your company choose our product over others?
Professional development questions
- What do you want to achieve in your job in the next quarter, six months, year?
- What are your career aspirations beyond your current role?
- What will it take for you to accomplish your role-related and personal goals?
Learning resource questions
- What are your favorite websites for learning about the industry/profession?
- What are your preferred mediums for learning (articles, books, podcasts, videos, etc.)?
- Are you in any professional associations or social media groups?
These questions should generate plenty of information on your buyer personas. However, the reason we prefer interviews over surveys is because you have the flexibility to ask follow-up questions. By digging a little deeper, you’ll uncover little details that will ultimately take your persona profiles to another level.
Phase three: Convert research into persona profiles
Now you’re ready to create your persona profiles. Review the answers you collected from the interviews and look for common themes. Then package those common themes into short, descriptive profiles based on job titles. They should include the following sections:
A few sentences on what the persona does, how they do it, their level within the organization, and what they’re striving to achieve.
The typical challenges, big and small, their job presents. Pain points will be the focus of many of the topics you write about.
The common aspirations they have in their current role and long-term career. While marketing content focuses on pain points, it also needs to include solutions that help your personas get better at what they do.
Preferred content format and sources
The type of content they like to consume and the places the go to find it. You can develop content they’re likely to engage with and check out popular sources to inspire your topics.
Product and marketing messaging
A few points on the type of messaging that resonates with them. These are handy jumping-off point when you sit down to write for a specific persona.
Know your audience
At Boomjolt, we believe a successful content marketing strategy starts with having a deep understanding of who you want your content to influence. After developing detailed buyer personas, you’ll be able to build a content calendar full of topics that are guaranteed to get the attention of the right people.