How a Buyer Persona Can Make Your Inbound Strategy Run Like a Well-Oiled Offense

Josh Horton

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The 2016 NFL season kicks off tonight with a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos. The one thing those two teams had in common? They had a great quarterback. 

The Panther’s Cam Newton is a young up-and-coming quarterback who is making a name for himself in the NFL. Meanwhile, Peyton Manning won the Super Bowl. He retired as arguably one of the best quarterbacks of all time.

“Alright, Josh, what in the world does this have to do with buyer personas and inbound marketing?” It’s a fair question, and one I’m poised to answer.

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Where to Start

When developing your inbound marketing strategy, think of your buyer persona as your quarterback. Your buyer persona is the center of your entire inbound marketing strategy, much like the quarterback is the center of the entire offense.

They say defense wins championships, but how many teams have won the super bowl without a great quarterback? You can count them on one hand. We’ve seen many teams fall apart when their star quarterback goes down with an injury.

Cars don’t run without engines. Offenses can’t function without a quarterback. But, most importantly, your inbound marketing strategy isn’t going to be successful without a solid buyer persona. Just take a look at the stats.

So we know that a buyer persona is important. Now let’s define it.

A buyer persona, very simply, is a fictional character based off of your best buyers. So, whether you’re a salesman or a CEO, you probably have some customers you like, and some you don’t like. When developing a buyer persona, you want to take all of the traits of your favorite buyers and smoosh them into one solid persona.

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More Than Just a Face in the Crowd

These personas are more than just demographics. They give your favorite buyers a story. You want to be where they’re looking, so it’s important to know: 

  • Their struggles
  • The problems you solve for them
  • How they found you
  • Where they’re at on the Internet
For example, let’s say I am a purchaser for a car manufacturer and you’re a salesman for a company that manufactures a very minute (yet crucial) part. So, as a salesman, how do you get in front of me? When I’m looking for a supplier, how will I know all about your company? You start solving my problems and presenting me with new opportunities before I even realize I have them.

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How do you do that? A well-researched buyer persona will define all of the problems and opportunities the purchaser has, and you’ll be able to create content to solve the smaller problems along the way.

Eventually, when a big problem arises and he needs a new supplier, he will certainly remember your company. Why? Because you’ve already solved one problem for him. Why couldn’t you help him again?.

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Not Your Father’s Marketing

Inbound marketing is a big shift from traditional marketing. It’s focused on understanding the customer. It wants to educate them by providing remarkable content exactly when they’re looking for it. You can’t produce valuable content if you don’t know who they are or what they’re looking for.

Tying it back to the gridiron, the offense can’t run a play if the quarterback doesn’t communicate it to the team. And that quarterback can’t call a play he doesn’t know how to run. So, how would you begin any tactic of an inbound marketing strategy without understanding exactly which purchases you’d like more of and which types of people you want to work with?

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A solid, well-researched buyer persona will help your team run like the Denver Broncos - not the Cleveland Browns.

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