Increase Email Engagement & Conversions: An Intro to Buyer Personas

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If you’re here reading the Sendlane blog, it’s a good bet you’re someone who is always thinking about how email marketing can increase your brand recognition and encourage more sales. You’re always considering the best messages to send and working to increase the size of your email distribution list. And you’re constantly looking for new ways to convert email subscribers to actual buyersBut how do you send the best messages that will build your customer base if you don’t know who your customer base actually is? That’s where buyer personas come in.

What Is a Buyer Persona?

Simply put, buyer personas are fictional characters who tell you what kind of content will best connect with your audience. This keeps them opening emails, clicking through to your website, and buying your product. By using their own historical data and researching industry trends, companies can create representations of their ideal customers. In return they are able to better understand what makes people pay for their product or service.

Why are Buyer Personas Important?

Buyer personas are important because they help you identify your ideal customers and target them more effectively in your content and messaging. As email inboxes become more and more crowded, you can’t just send out a mass marketing email and expect people to click on it. You have to personalize. Send targeted messaging to specific groups of people based on an ever-growing list of demographics. Get creative.

If all that seems overwhelming, buyer personas make it easier. They help you simplify and streamline your marketing strategy so you can always deliver the right message and build a better content and email marketing strategy. While the term may seem like just another marketing buzzword, creating profiles that represent your ideal customer is actually one of the more practical steps you can take to strengthen your overall sales strategy.

The best part about buyer personas is that you don’t need a professional consultant to create them for you. Using data you already have and a little bit of imagination, you can create buyer personas in just one afternoon!

How Do You Create a Buyer Persona?

Creating a buyer persona may seem a bit daunting, but it can actually be accomplished in just a few steps. We’ve broken them down below … let’s get started!

Step 1:

The first step towards the future is often reflecting on the past and that is no different when it comes to creating your buyer personas. Before you can start writing the story of your ideal future customer, you need to understand who are your current customers. Here’s a quick list of ten data-points we recommend having on file about your current clients:

  1. Location
  2. Age range
  3. Gender
  4. Employment type
  5. Job title
  6. Income level
  7. Buying motivation
  8. Buying concerns
  9. Websites visited most often (personal and professional)
  10. Interests or hobbies

If you didn’t capture information like this at the point of sale, consider sending out a short survey to clients asking them to answer a few questions. Keep track of all the information you receive and store it someplace that is easy to access and easy to segment based on the key information you learn.

Expert Tip: Consider offering a small incentive for customers who complete the survey, such as a discount on new products or their monthly subscription.

 

Step 2:

Start imagining what your ideal customer looks like. Get your team together and use all that data you collected to build the life story of this person. As with any well-told story, a good place to start may be with the five W’s you learned in grade school: who, what, where, when and why. Here’s a few basic questions to help you get started:

  • What is their gender?
  • Do they have a family?
  • What is their job title?
  • What is their annual income?
  • Where do they live?
  • What is their level of education?
  • What are their goals – both personally and professionally?

As you begin to dive deeper into the personalities, demographics and motivations of your ideal customers, a pattern will begin to emerge that will become your buyer persona. In fact, more than one buyer persona will likely be the result!

Expert Tip: Pull your customer service team into this exercise! As the direct connection between your product and your customers, they can be a huge help in creating ideal customer personas.

 

Step 3:

Now it’s finally time to actually create your buyer persona. Give them a name, write a short description of who they are, maybe even consider drawing a little picture to represent them! In fact, the best way for us to explain this might just be to create some buyer personas of our own:

buyer persona 1

buyer persona 2

Once you have your buyer personas mapped out, start creating email engagement strategies for each one. Tailor the images, words, call-to-action or incentives in each message for each persona and create automated workflows. These will reach every individual at the right time and place based on their persona.

For example, Marketing Matt may only check his email during the work day, but CEO Cindy might check it later in the evening after she puts her kids to bed. Just remember – knowledge is power and your buyer personas give you the best knowledge to engage customers through email marketing and encourage more sales. Now it doesn’t really matter what you’re selling – the marketing approach to these buyer personas is going to be pretty different right?

For Marketing Matt, you’ll appeal to his millennial personality. You’ll let him know that your product will make his life easier as a middle manager and impress his superiors with its ability to cut-down on costs and ensure more results. For CEO Cindy, you’ll appeal to her role in higher management and desire for a streamlined and efficient company. You’ll hook Matt with modern, image-heavy marketing, while Cindy will be drawn in with fact-based material that focuses more on statistical proof than social proof.

Pulling It All Together: How Do You Use Your Buyer Personas?

Expert Tip: Share your buyer personas with everyone at your company, from the product development team to customer service agents to (of course) sales reps. Everyone can use these to help them do their job better!

This is just the beginning! Start your free 14 day trial with Sendlane to test out more tricks of the trade as you start building buyer personas for increased email engagement and convert more sales.

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Caitlin Haines

Caitlin Haines

Social Media & Content Manager at Sendlane
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii and raised in San Diego, California, Caitlin has a passion for developing creative marketing content and is primarily responsible for managing the Sendlane blog, planning and executing effective social media strategies and being “in the know” on all new technologies, trends, and applications. When not focusing on increasing Sendlane's social presence Caitlin enjoys spending time with her close-knit family and her boxer, Cocoa.
Caitlin Haines