For every B2B company, one fact remains the same: it’s impossible to market to people who you don’t understand.
Whether you’re launching a new content campaign or are looking to fine-tune your content marketing strategy, you need to know your B2B customers before you can target them. The best way to do this? Buyer personas.
Using B2B buyer personas can help you visualize your audience and better understand how to meet their needs. But most importantly, it can guide your content marketing strategy. Understanding your target audience persona is the first step toward creating intentional content that reaches the right people with the right message, at the right time.
Let’s break down the basics of B2B buyer personas, including how they can take your content marketing to the next level.
What are B2B buyer personas?
A buyer persona, or a customer persona, is a representation of an ideal customer. Using data from market research, competitor analysis, and current customers, companies can build a profile based on the kind of high-value buyer they want to attract. This “profile” is often fictionalized, including everything from a name and occupation to a detailed description of their needs and pain points.
While a B2C buyer persona might imagine everyday consumers, a B2B buyer persona focuses on a key decision maker for a company — someone who could use your product or service to improve their own work. In fact, it may not be just someone. Research shows that 63% of B2B purchases involve more than three decision-makers — a 15% jump from 2017.
That means you need to target each of these decision-makers and influencers, from high-level executives to members of the sales team.
If you don’t know how to build a persona, the process is simple. A well-defined B2B buyer persona includes:
- General demographic information
- Information on their firm, agency, or business
- Educational background
- Goals and aspirations
- Challenges and pain points
Depending on the type of company and the B2B customer you’re targeting, you may want to include more information. Anything from marital status to company size can play a role in the process, if it's relevant.
The Importance Of a Detailed Buyer Persona
While buyer personas are an important part of marketing for all businesses, they can be especially critical for B2B businesses. With B2C customers, the choice to purchase can take a matter of minutes. For B2B businesses, though, the buying decision can be far more complex. It often involves multiple decision-makers and takes weeks (if not months).
To reach these decision-makers, you need to understand your intended audience. Beyond demographics, you need to know what drives them, what challenges them, and where they are in the buyer’s journey.
With the right information in hand, it’s far easier to build a content marketing strategy that cuts through the noise. Instead of generic, meaningless content, you can create targeted messages that get to the heart of what your B2B buyers are looking for. Reach them where they're at with the exact thing they need to hear, whether it's a direct sales pitch or an educational introduction to your brand.
6 Ways B2B Buyer Personas Help Create Intentional Content
Without a thorough understanding of their buyer personas, many B2B companies end up firing out generic content. But there’s no point trying to reach everyone with your content marketing. To succeed in the competitive B2B marketing space, you’ll need to capture the right person with a unique and personalized campaign.
Creating a customer persona helps you create targeted campaigns for every single prospect, even if you don’t know their names yet.
Here are all the ways B2B buyer personas can help you elevate your content strategy.
1. Enables the Creation of Content Tailored to Your Ideal Customer
These days, customers expect personalized advertisements from brands. And B2B is no different: 72% of B2B buyers say they want personalized engagement with the brands they work with.
A buyer persona can help you deliver content that appeals to your target audience. From tone of voice to content type, B2B brands can shape their content to align with the ideal buyer’s wants and needs. When you craft messages that resonate with your audience, it can increase the visibility of your content and improve its success rate with your B2B customers.
2. Allows Content Creation for Different Stages of the Buyer’s Journey
Even if you have the right messages, they’ll only be effective if you send them at the right time. Prospects who are just hearing about your brand will respond differently to marketing messages than prospects who are almost ready to buy. The right content needs to address the questions your B2B customers have at every stage of the process.
With a buyer persona, you can craft content that considers every perspective from all stages of the funnel. Having different customer personas at each lifecycle stage will help you map out a full spectrum of content, from broad educational articles to specific product breakdowns. It also ensures that your content reflects the pain points of everyone in your target audience, no matter where they are in the sales process.
3. Assists in Crafting Effective and Focused Marketing Messages
The best marketing teams rely on laser-focused targeting. When you refine your target audience by building specific buyer personas, you’ll know that you’re sending the most effective messages to reach your target audience.
Buyer personas also make it easier to segment your audience. For example, you can use buyer personas to divide your email marketing list into segments and then send different campaigns to different groups. This targeted messaging is both precise and effective, making it easier to connect with the right B2B customers at the right time.
4. Identifies Pain Points and Helps to Present Solutions
Every B2B brand has something they aim to accomplish or a problem they hope to solve. But it can be far more complicated for the B2B buyer. They may have more than one pain point to resolve, if not a whole list of them.
If you want to impress your B2B buyer, you need to know their pain points inside and out. Market research and data may already give you an idea of the pain points in your ideal customer profile, but the buyer persona is an opportunity to dig even deeper.
Think about the many different kinds of people you’re trying to reach. Each one has their own priorities and concerns. Narrowing your focus to address each buyer persona's pain points can take your content to the next level. Instead of appealing to generic pain points, you can hone in on the challenges each potential customer is facing. Then, present your brand as the perfect solution.
5. Provides Valuable Insights About Their Content Preferences
A buyer persona offers valuable insights into the mind of a B2B customer. When crafting these profiles, it’s important to consider the type of content each B2B persona would prefer. Figure out where they spend most of their time online, and then create content that caters to their preferences. For example, your ideal buyer might spend time on a certain social media platform, or they may prefer to read in-depth blog content or whitepapers. They may also be off social media entirely and can best be reached through email marketing.
With the help of a buyer persona, analysis of content preferences will tell you where you should be focusing your resources. It also ensures that the right content is delivered to the right platforms, whether it’s email, video, social media, blog posts, podcasts, or webinars.
6. Delivers Value to Reach a Wider Audience
Buyer personas help you capture the attention of more B2B customer in everything you do, from blog post ideas to website copy. Without personas, it can be a struggle to find out what your audience is most interested in or the topics they want to hear about. It may also be difficult to develop a strong brand voice with a tone that appeals to your B2B audience.
When you understand your audience’s voice, beliefs, and priorities, it’s far easier to develop content that gives them value. Whether it’s important information on industry developments or a comprehensive comparison of your brand and a competitor, B2B personas help you tailor your content to reflect what buyers want to see. Over time, a marketing strategy driven by buyer personas can even improve your reach to capture new leads.
Improve Your B2B Buying Process and Reach Your Business Goals
While it may be tempting to copy and paste from a pre-written B2B buyer persona template, it’s important to think about what makes your prospects unique. Even competitors in your same niche have a different definition of what makes their ideal customer.
Creating comprehensive B2B buyer personas is a critical part of any business strategy. Once you have a well-developed picture of the unique wants, needs, and challenges of your target audience, it’s far easier to develop impactful content to nurture those leads.
It takes a top-notch content marketing strategy to reach those buyer personas — not to mention making a sale. With Compose.ly as your content partner, you’ll have access to a network of experienced writers who can give your B2B content strategy the performance boost it needs to grow measurable results. Learn more about our services or contact us today to get started.