Presented on November 16, 2012
If there’s just one thing you do in 2013 to improve your marketing and sales, it’s developing buyer personas. By developing personas of your customers, you’ll understand what drives their purchase decisions for your products and services – and how you can better market to them.
In our Buyer Personas webinar, Janet Driscoll Miller, President and CEO of Search Mojo, and Adele Revella, President of the Buyer Persona Institute, will explain the basics of buyer personas and how you can best leverage the gold mine of intelligence they provide – allowing you to target your content and advertising and generate more leads.
Presenters: Janet Driscoll Miller, President and CEO, Search Mojo, and Adele Revella, President, Buyer Persona Institute
Presented on November 16, 2012
Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to today’s webinar, ‘Get More Leads by Identifying and Targeting Your Buyer Personas’. My name is Kari Rippetoe. I’m Content Marketing Manager at Search Mojo, and I’ll be serving as your moderator for today’s webinar. We have a very interesting and informative webinar planned for you today with Search Mojo’s Janet Driscoll Miller and Adele Revella of the Buyer Persona Institute.
Before we get started, I have just a few reminders for you. If you have any questions for our presenters, we will be taking some time at the end of the webinar for Q&A, so please enter your questions in the go to webinar box at the right if you have any. Also, as always, we are recording this webinar and you’ll receive a follow-up email when the recording is available which will be early next week, Monday or Tuesday. Finally, if you’d like to tweet about today’s presentation, please use #mojowebinar.
Now, I’d like to introduce our presenters for today, Janet Driscoll Miller and Adele Revella. Janet Driscoll Miller is the President and CEO of Search Mojo. She has nearly 20 years of marketing experience, and in addition to her work in search engine marketing, Janet has a background in marketing communications. She holds a degree in public relations and communications from James Madison University and she is a frequent speaker at marketing conferences and writes for several blogs and print publications. Adele Revella is a marketing keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, and author of ‘The Buyer Persona Manifesto’ and co- author of ‘For Compelling Content, Let Your Buyers Be Your Guide’. A career marketer with decades of experience, Adele has approached the discipline from all sides; marketing executive, consultant, trainer and entrepreneur. Traveling the globe for more than ten years, Adele introduced Buyer Personas to thousands of marketers through a two-day seminar she developed and led for Pragmatic Marketing. Through the company she founded in 2010, Buyer Persona Institute, Adele leads workshops for marketers who seek the confidence to say this is what really matters to our buyers, so here’s the plan.
A little bit about Search Mojo. The company was founded in 2005 and specializes in all things search marketing, including SEO, pay-per-click, social media advertising, online reputation management, and content marketing. Search Mojo is headquartered here in lovely Charlottesville, Virginia, and we also have an office in Charleston, South Carolina. We’ve been featured in several marketing publications and blogs and we also speak at several conferences including SMX, MarketingProfs and Pubcon. Our clients include a variety of B2B and consumer brands, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions.
Before we get started, I’d just like to take a quick poll. What stage are you currently at with buyer personas? If you could just make a selection: I don’t know what they are and I came here to find out; I’ve read about them, but I’m still unsure; we’re talking about them, but not sure how to get started; we’ve built personas, but we’re unsure how to get value from them; or we’re using personas and they’re making a big difference. So please make a selection, and we’ll just give you a few seconds.
Okay, I’m just going to close this poll out. Thank you so much for your input, everyone. I’d like to turn it over to Adele at this point, Adele Revella. It looks from the results of our poll that there are still some folks who are attending today who aren’t sure what buyer personas are or they’re not sure how to get started, so you might be able to help them with that.
Thank you. Thank you, Kari. I appreciate the introduction, and I appreciate that I’ve got an audience here that’s so interested in buyer personas. As Kari noted, I’ve got to make a shorter bio, that was embarrassing to have it go on like that, but I have been around B2B marketing for decades, I’m not saying how many, and it’s always been clear to all of us in marketing that we needed to understand our buyers in order to make good decisions as marketers. What’s changed, and the reason this sudden interest in buyer personas, in my view, is that buyers are suddenly really much more powerful in the buying decision than they ever were, so now it’s really not the salesperson who’s driving the buyer to make the decision to choose us, it’s much more about how we market. This has really created an upswell of interest in buyers as a focal point for marketing. This is a good thing. It’s always been important, it’s just more important.
To really sort of demystify buyer personas, I just want to say that what’s important isn’t necessarily the way we present the information about buyer personas or buyer knowledge, but rather that we have much deeper insights into buyers than we’ve ever had in the past.
What I want to do here in the time we have available to us is to give you clarity about the kinds of insights you need to have about your buyers and sort of take the focus off of what’s the template for a persona, I mean, I have free templates on my website. You can get these things from a number of sources. I want to instead put the focus on what are the few things you need to know about your buyers that will make a difference to you. So whether you’re outsourcing your buyer personas or you’re building them in-house, what are the five things you need to know about your buyers that will really be a game changer for you as a marketer?
Essentially, what I like to tell marketers is you need to think of buyer personas in two parts. The first part of the buyer persona is the part that most people out there in the blogosphere are talking about. I’m fine with all of that conversation around what’s in the description of the person that you’re trying to market to, but generally, that’s not as important to the marketers I work with, especially in a B2B complex decision process, as the second part of the buyer persona, which is what I call the product, service or solution connection. This is what connects the buyer to a particular decision that you want to have some influence over.
So, focus if you like on your core buyer persona. I get really disturbed when the people out there in the blogosphere are talking about a B2B buyer and they say that you ought to capture whether they’re married, or whether they’re male or female, or what their hobbies are about, because at least in the kind of products and services and solutions I’ve been marketing, that data was really irrelevant. But get whatever you need in that area so long as you understand the second part of this.
In this case, what I want you to focus on is – I like to get marketers thinking about who are they going to have to persuade. I don’t care whether they’re the decision maker or just an influencer over the decision, but go ahead and give a label to each of these personas, and yes, it’s nice to give them a person’s name so they feel real to you. But that picture of what I have depicted here as a stick figure of a person isn’t as important as taking for each one of those personas and looking at the five insights, what I call the five rings of insight, that you see depicted here. This is all in context for the product or service or solution that buyer is looking to evaluate. What this means is we have to build product connections for maybe different campaigns we’re doing or different launches we’re doing, and we’re going to look at – what I want to do in the time we have available today is take you through what each of these insights is about.
Next slide. Here, what I want to look at is what do we mean when we talk about understanding the buyer’s initiative. What this tells us is what triggered, what happens on the day that this buyer persona goes out and looks to solve the problem that you’re addressing. We want to get clarity about something that’s different, who are the buyers who are searching for a solution versus all the other buyers out there who are living with the environment they’re in. Because if we’re marketing a product that has a problem, let’s say we’re marketing CRM, we know that all marketers out there need CRM, but what we really don’t know is what changes and what happens that causes that marketing person to start looking for a new CRM solution.
Next slide. On this slide, what I’m showing you is what usually happens in marketing. We sit around and we start at the right hand side of the slide, which is weird. Most all of us in this part of the world read from left to right, but we kind of do this backwards in my view by starting with what our product does and then coming up with – and this is pretty easy to do with people who are product experts – the benefits or results that our product would achieve for buyers who purchased it. Then what we do is we sit around in the room, usually, and we make stuff up about why buyers should want to have that pain relief. Then we go try to find people who match that criteria. And this is my concern when people are talking about buyer personas who are your ideal buyer. That’s a good concept so long as you didn’t make that up based on what you wanted the buyer to think about you, but instead, really started from real insight into how the buyers who look at your solution are making decisions.
On the next slide, what I show you is the very first question that we train marketers to ask when they can have conversations with recent buyers. This is the core skill that we’re hoping to embed within marketing teams is the ability to interact, engage with, have in-depth, 30 minute conversations with buyers who have just evaluated your solution, people who chose you and people who didn’t choose you, they either chose a competitor or they chose to stay with the status quo. But they evaluated you, so it’s relatively easy with just a few hours of training to learn how to ask that buyer this question: every interview starts with this question – take me back to the day when you first started looking for a new CRM solution, what happened on that day? That’s going to give you, with the proper probing techniques, it’s going to give you the answer to what was that buyer’s priority initiative, what was different about buyers who did decide to go out and evaluate your solution. This is going to look like ping points, but it’s going to be much more specific and much more about the buyer’s business than what you came up with when you reverse engineered the ping points from what your product does.
The next insight on the next slide talks about success factors. This is another insight that seems obvious. It seems like marketers should know what success their buyers will achieve, but without doing in-depth interviews with buyers, what you end up with is something like what’s on the next slide.
Usually, when I ask marketers about the results their buyers are going to achieve by using their solution, I get things like, well, we’re going to reduce costs. What marketers lack is the specificity of the second answer here, which is, despite the fact that this product will reduce costs in a number of areas, what really matters to buyers is reducing costs in a very specific way. And also what we lack without doing some good, engaged interviews with the buyers is to understand what is the emotional benefit to the buyer of having that happen. There’s quite a bit of discussion around whether B2B buyers should be treated like people, they have emotions too, only B2C buyers have emotions, now that’s incorrect. I can tell you, especially with multi-million dollar purchase decisions, there’s something personally at stake for this buyer in choosing you or choosing a competitor, and the more you understand what’s at stake and what’s at risk for them, the more powerful your ability to market to those buyers is going to be.
On the next slide, what I talk about is what I call the bad news insight. This is the one where we look at why buyers don’t want to choose us. It’s kind of interesting, this insight, because this is the one that marketers tend to know the least about, or if they do have this information, it’s really incorrect. Like, they’ve gone out and asked their sales people, when we lose a deal, why do we lose? Almost invariably, the answer is either something about a missing feature, it doesn’t come in red, or it’s missing some widget, or the other answer you hear from the salespeople is we’re too expensive. I’ll tell you, when marketers actually get in the right kind of conversation with the buyer, that’s almost never the reason. Even if it is the reason, there’s more to be learned from that.
On the next slide, I’ll show you a quick story here. This is Symantec, which is one of the companies that I’m working with and that has a powerful commitment to doing buyer persona work and has really invested a lot. They call this their Buyer First Marketing Program. This quick story, they were about to launch this product, they call it Endpoint Protection. For those of you that aren’t familiar with that, don’t worry, this is antivirus and spam and malware all packaged up into one product. This particular launch, you’ll see there in fine print, was to the small business owner, Small Business Edition. When the company was preparing for this launch, the product managers had come to marketing and said, here’s what’s new in this new release – this was their 2012 launch – and what we want to really focus on because it’s really new and we’ve really put a lot of money behind it is building this advanced detection network. And what this allows us to do, the benefit of this, the feature is advanced detection network, the benefit is we’re going to go find the viruses before any of our competitors. We’re going to be faster at finding viruses and updating our virus signature on your computer than any of our competitors.
Well, our marketing team, because they were out interviewing small business owners, knew that while that was probably okay to talk about, it wasn’t the core message that they needed to deliver to the buyer, because what they heard from the small business owner is, you know what, all the companies are fast enough at detecting viruses. We’re not worried about that. What we’re worried about is we don’t want antivirus running on our machines and slowing them down. We don’t want it to take five minutes to boot up the machine. We don’t want to take minutes to download our email. So this marketing team, through their buyer interviews, was able to have the confidence to say that our message for this launch shouldn’t be around the advanced detection network, it needs to be that this is a security software that won’t slow you down, get in your way, or swallow up your system resources. Huge win for the marketing team, and a huge win for the buyer who is now getting the information that they need to make a decision.
The next insight on the next slide is the one which there’s a lot of discussion about out on the internet. This is the buying process insight. Some people call it the buyer’s journey. Whatever, I don’t care what we call it. This is only one of the five insights we need for buyer personas, and that’s one of the missing points that people have is that they think if they go out and document the buyers journey, or the buying process, the job is done, and I really want to draw your attention to the fact today that there are four other insights that are critical here. But this is a critical insight. This isn’t to say it isn’t important because what this tells you is where your buyer persona goes, who or which buyer persona is critical at that step, and what specifically is going to have an influence over them.
Let’s look at the next slide, and you’ll see here the way that I’m presenting this. This data is for a small business buying laptop computers. The data in this slide, by the way, is completely made up, so if you happen to be the marketer for laptop computers, please don’t rely on this data, I made this up. This is another thing that makes me kind of crazy around what’s being done on the internet, trust me you guys, when companies get the real data around this, they’re not going to publish it on the internet, and they’re not going to let me share it with you. My clients would never let me share this real data with you because this is a source of competitive advantage for them.
Let’s look at this a little bit. They now know what that priority initiative or trigger is and they know that the small business owner is the key person that triggers that, and they know that what’s triggering that is her noticing that there’s new, lighter-weight computers out there, plus, in her company, the warranties are expiring on her current laptops so she’s decided this is the time to replace. And we know where she got that information. Then we now know, based on this chart, that she says to her office manager, go do some research, and she gives that office manager the information about what she’s looking for. But the office manager, in the process of the research, which we can see how they conduct the research, comes up with a couple of other criteria that are critical to her decision and identifies five solutions. Then she goes into an assessment stage where she’s still the key person, even though the economic decision maker, the person writing the check, is a small business owner. This persona is not key at this step, the office manager is key, and we know where she goes and what she does and how she’s narrowing the field. You can see here which persona is key at each step, what information or what questions they’re asking, and we also get to know through the next insight, let’s look at the next one – this is our final insight.
We actually know not just what questions she’s asking, but what answers she’s looking for. The buying process insight often tells us what questions, but as someone who has a career not only in marketing but also in sales and also running sales, I know that what we need to do is go beyond just knowing what questions they’re asking and actually knowing before we go out and write content or do our marketing or build a message what answer is going to be persuasive to that buyer. And that’s what the decision criteria insight looks like.
On the next slide, I show you what we would have come up with internally. We would have done a comparison between our product and our competitor’s products and sat around in a lot of meeting rooms, and the company could be very satisfied with the list that you see here on the left side of the screen. Why do people buy from us? Well, they buy from us because they’re looking to do business with a market leader, they want solutions that are easy to use, scalable, integrated, and at a good price. Perfect, except that this doesn’t have the buyer’s perspective on it. So it’s missing the detail around ease-of-use. That’s one of my favorite jargon terms, because what are we going to do as marketers, go out there and say our solution is easy to use? Well, trust me you guys, your competitors are saying that too on their marketing messages. They’re also saying they have scalable solutions, they’re also saying they’re fully integrated and they’re also describing themselves in some way as a market leader.
So what we need to do as marketers is be able to get inside the buyers’ head, and we do this through a really simple-to-execute conversation with buyers where we get to hear them talk at length about their decision criteria, about their buying process, about their barriers to doing business with us, about what outcomes or success they expect, and about what triggered that deal. When we have these conversations, we have a layer of precision and confidence in this data that is simply unmatched during the other technique. This is what you’re seeking. I don’t care whether you call what you deliver a persona or not. Sometimes I think that the hype around buyer personas is actually working against us because there are people out there talking about the five easy ways you can get this off of LinkedIn, or you can do it this way or that way. Those are all good ways to reach your buyer persona, but they’re not a good way to understand your buyer persona. To do that, you need to have a conversation with them.
Now I’m going to turn it over to Janet, because Janet’s got some things to say about how to, now once you know who your buyer is, how to target them.
Thank you so much, Adele. That was very good information. Now, I’m going to take what Adele has just mentioned to us about how to identify our buyer personas, and now that we’ve identified them, how do we begin to target them? Adele mentioned LinkedIn as an example, and LinkedIn is a great way to target once you know who your personas are and who you’re trying to go after. You really can’t always identify your buyer persona through just a tool like LinkedIn, but now we’re going to use LinkedIn and other tools in a way that we can target those people we now know so much about through our interviews.
The first thing I want to do is talk about how you have to map your content and messages around those personas. Taking the table that Adele had shown us in her fourth insight and looking at what we know that those different personas are interested in at different points in the buying cycle and different points at the five rings of insight, what we know is we know what their challenge is, what they want to know about.
For instance, in the key rings of insight column you’ll see that on the trigger step, the small business owner has a warranty that’s expiring and is looking for a lightweight option. So knowing that at that particular point in the buying cycle, what we can then do is make sure that we are providing content at that stage of the cycle that is speaking to that individual person with that particular individual information. For instance, if a lightweight option is an issue maybe at this point and we know that that person is looking to resources like the Wall Street Journal or a LinkedIn Group, this might be a good opportunity as an example for us to do some PR and get some stories published around our product, our laptop, about how great it is from a lightweight perspective.
So those are the types of content that might reach that person at that particular stage and using those particular types of resources as well. Again, as Adele said, this is all really made up information, but just to give you an example of how you might approach this and look at content and map your content and messages to each particular persona at the different stages of the cycle.
Now, I’m going to hand it off to Kari really quickly, and she’s going to go ahead and run a poll for us.
Yes, indeed. Our second poll today: do you currently do any social advertising or have in the past? Your selections: we don’t currently, but are thinking about it; we have in the past, but it didn’t quite work well for us; we’re running social ads now, but results aren’t promising; we’re running social ads now and they deliver great results; or we’ve never done any kind of social advertising. And this means advertising on platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn. I’ll just give you a few seconds to make your selection.
Okay. We’re just going to close this out, and it looks like there are some folks who are not currently doing social advertising, but they’re thinking about it or they might not be having great results from their advertising now. So Janet might be able to share with you some insights as to how you can get some more value out of your social advertising.
Thanks, Kari. We’re going to go ahead and start talking a little bit about social advertising and how we can use it for demographically targeting our personas.
So why would you use social advertising? You all know our name is Search Mojo, and clearly, we’re a search engine marketing firm, so why the heck are we talking about social advertising? Well, because what we know while search is very, very powerful and I think most of us as marketers know that organic and paid search are very powerful tools in our toolkit, the challenge is when we’re trying to target people demographically by their persona, many times search isn’t able to tell us exactly who we’re targeting in a search query. For instance, if someone searches for a particular keyword, we don’t necessarily know if that person is a government worker or a B2B person. We don’t always know that.
I just had a conversation yesterday with some students from UVA who were talking about needing to target government workers. They said to me, from a search perspective, from an SEO perspective and a paid search perspective, how can I target these government workers for a government solution? I said, you can’t, and you know why? Because government people aren’t like aliens that are different than everybody else on the planet, they’re going to search for the same keyword. If they’re searching for laptops, as an example, and they’re just a government IT buyer, they’re going to search for lightweight laptops, they’re not going to search for government lightweight laptops. That’s where you get into a real challenge with search. Search can’t always do all of the level of demand fulfillment that you want it to do because you can’t always target people individually by who they are as a persona. That’s why we talk about social advertising.
We started taking on social advertising for our clients as well as a way to compliment search because it offers a high level of demographic targeting. In Facebook, as an example, you can target people by things like the things they like; do they like barbecue, do they like tacos, do they like minivans, what do they like, what kinds of brands do they like, what kinds of things do they raise their hands and say that they like? You can target by gender. You can target by their status updates. If they say I need a vacuum cleaner – this happened to me, actually, on Facebook – I need a vacuum cleaner, what will people recommend? So you can target by things in their status update, by geographic region, by the school that they attended. For instance, I went to James Madison University, I get lots of ads on LinkedIn for different types of merchandise that feature JMU on them. Age of the person, we actually used this in a Facebook campaign for Selective Service at one point. What an ideal group of people to use Facebook advertising, because they have to target males when they turn 18 in the U.S., so Facebook was an ideal way to try and reach those folks.
On the other side, LinkedIn is fantastic for B2B, because unlike Facebook where people may not put things like where they work or some of their job history or their title, LinkedIn is just basically someone’s resume. It’s so fantastic because you can see things like the industry they work in, gender, title or function, geographic region, the company size with employees and how big their company is that they work for, and seniority level, as an example. All of those things are really helpful to target people from a B2B perspective. One other thing that’s really great about LinkedIn too that I don’t have here is you can even target people in certain groups. We’ve found that to be really effective, because let’s say there’s a group of people who say, I love marketing automation software. Well, boom, I can start targeting to that group of people if I’m targeting a solution about marketing automation software or some type of training, for instance. So you can look at people by groups as well, and there are a ton of groups out there that you can target on LinkedIn. It’s fantastic.
Now, I’m going to start off talking about Facebook. We have two options. If you’re B2C, oftentimes Facebook is typically the best choice for you, but not necessarily. It could also be good for B2B, but I do find they’re better for B2C options.
To give you a little bit of background on how you can advertise on Facebook today, you can use a CPM or CPC choice. In other words, you can pay by the impression or you can pay by the click on Facebook. You have the choice. It is a very high level of targeting. You can target down to very small minutia, it’s crazy. You’d be shocked at the things people put in Facebook and say they like. I actually had a call with a prospect the other day who sells pickles, and I said, I wonder how many people on Facebook like pickles? And it was like thousands and thousands of people in the United States who have raised their hand essentially and said, I love pickles. It’s amazing what people will actually tell you on Facebook, so there’s a lot of targeting there you can do to even just the smallest group of people that you may not even realize you could do that to.
There are several types of advertisements you can do. The first one is ads on Facebook or social ads, so they point to Facebook pages. The top version there is an example of that where you can click to like them on Facebook, like our page, that sort of thing. Then the bottom one is ads to URLs. This is an example from SMX’s upcoming show that’s coming up for I believe SMX Social, coming up here in a few months. You can click on this ad and actually go to their website and register for the event or learn more about the event. The challenge with doing things that are ‘likes’ on Facebook pages, we don’t normally encourage that much and the reason is that you lose a lot of tracking that you could get from Google Analytics and so forth when you keep people on Facebook. It’s not necessarily a bad thing entirely, but the other challenge with Facebook today is that if you have likes on your brand on Facebook and you post things to your wall, the challenge is that only about 10% of your fans see your updates. You have to actually sponsor those updates to push them to more fans. It’s Facebook’s way of making more revenue and I think it stinks as a brand, but that’s reality. So that’s another challenge you’re going to run into if you use Facebook and do it on the Facebook page.
The other great part about taking people to your URL is you can retarget people outside of Facebook. We’ll talk a little bit more about that in a minute, but there is also retargeting now available outside of Facebook through Facebook’s retargeting network. From the initial results we’ve seen from it, we’re hearing as much as a 16x result return on investment with retargeting through Facebook. So that’s something you might want to check out as well to extend the life of your ads even more to those folks that you’re demographically targeting and get to them outside of the Facebook application.
Here’s an example of Facebook targeting. This one I did for photography. You can see as I started to target that ad all of the different options, all of the different targeting options that are there. The other thing that’s really beneficial is it will show you the audience and basically what your suggested bid is from a cost-per-click perspective. One of the things that is, again, really beneficial about this is look at all of these types of photographers. So I can even target my content specifically to different types of people. For instance, you’ll see that there’s wedding photography there, so I might target a piece of content specifically towards wedding photographers. Let’s say I’m selling a digital camera and I want to talk about how this digital camera is great for low lighting, for candlelight weddings, or great year-round for indoor/outdoor, all sorts of things. I could make sure that those messages are targeted specifically to the type of photographer as well. So that’s really handy about Facebook.
The other thing that I’ll mention about Facebook advertising is sometimes you’re going to run into situations where people don’t necessarily raise their hand and say I am this type of persona. As an example, we were working with a government initiative to help young children learn how to swim. It was a situation where we’re trying to target moms on Facebook to let them know – moms with these young kids, let’s say about 6 years old and under, to make sure that they could learn to swim and get lessons because there’s so many drowning deaths for young children in the United States. For this particular initiative, moms don’t always – like, I’m a mom and I have a four year old, and I can tell you that I don’t necessarily say that on Facebook. Well, what I could do is figure out who the moms are by the things they like. For instance, if moms of young kids were my target, I might look for people who like things like Fisher-Price, or who like Gerber, and things like that. So looking at the different brands that they like and the things that they say on Facebook can help us understand better that they are a mom even if they don’t necessarily raise their hand and say that they’re a mom. So keep that in mind when you’re targeting on Facebook that you may not be able to say, I want moms, per se, but you may be able to cross reference different types of likes and different types of things to understand who that person is better.
Next, I want to show you the LinkedIn ad options. As I mentioned, LinkedIn is typically better from the B2B perspective. We find it to be incredibly good for our B2B clients and we use it ourselves. We marketed this very webinar through LinkedIn as well.
LinkedIn has two different ad options, similar to Facebook. There are LinkedIn display ads which is also called the LinkedIn Marketing Solution. It’s where you have an actual person at LinkedIn who is managing your account as well. Basically what is required is a $25,000 minimum insertion order over a three-month period. Now, the ad on the top there, the black ad, I think it says, Look Book, that particular ad is a display ad you would see, and these are display ads in LinkedIn. They run only on a CPM model, or a cost per impression model, and they have guaranteed delivery. That’s the real beauty of these is that you’re guaranteed you’re going get the number of impressions that you need for this particular campaign, so that is really helpful. However, sometimes I hear from clients, you know, $25,000 is a lot for a proof of concept and to really see if this is going to work. The other challenge we’ve run into with LinkedIn display ads is that sometimes you might want to target a bit more granular than what you’re able to do and they may not be able to guarantee the delivery. As an example, we have a nonprofit webinar that we run every few months, and we wanted to target marketers in nonprofits, and they couldn’t guarantee the delivery for us.
So we had to go with this other option, which we found to be just as productive for us, and that’s the self-serve ads. They are text ads and there are no minimums required, so this is great. You can start up tomorrow and put in your credit card and you’re up and running. They run on both a CPM, a cost-per- impression, or a cost-per-click model, so you have a choice, which is also nice. Like I said, there’s a much, much higher degree of targeting, and I’m going to show you what that looks like, but you have a lot more options to get more granular on this level with LinkedIn.
Here’s an example I did in going with the laptop example that we were talking about with Adele. If I was targeting office managers, I could go into LinkedIn ads and put in for instance office manager, and you can see people with just the title of office manager, there are 423,000 plus LinkedIn members with that title in the United States. Now I could also go to something like company size since we’ve mentioned it’s a small business, and I might say I only want office managers in companies that are let’s say 50 or fewer employees, and I can do that as well. You can also see here that what LinkedIn’s done is it’s suggested other titles because in a small business you wear many hats and you might have a different title, you might be an admin assistant or an executive assistant or a receptionist even and have the same job responsibilities. LinkedIn does a nice job of actually suggesting other job titles that you might want to consider when you put in your job title. So very, very effective. I will tell you that I have seen anywhere between $13.00 and $20.00 cost per lead on this, for any variety of B2B companies that we’re working for. I find it to be a highly effective form of lead generation for B2Bs.
Then what about organic traffic to your site? I would also say you could LinkedIn as well as Facebook honestly for this. Consider using a marketing gate for some of your content and use a social login on it. This is an example from Social Media Examiner and to log in to their content for the clubs, you can use the sign in with LinkedIn button. The beauty of this is both Facebook and LinkedIn have APIs that allow you to connect and create these buttons. You can then pull specific information also just through that sign in with LinkedIn button about that person’s profile. That is really beautiful because then you can do a lot more targeting even just on an organic side even if you’re not doing paid advertising to make sure that you’re really effectively targeting those people through their social information even if you’re not doing the advertising side. This is something we’re actually experimenting with here now at Search Mojo and we’re going to put this on our site as well. I’m also interested to see if by providing that button if more people actually convert because they don’t have to fill out a form. That’s another option to think about too from a conversion perspective.
Now, I want to touch briefly on retargeting. If you’re not familiar with retargeting, it’s a form of display advertising. Google considers retargeting, remarketing is what they call it, and it serves ads to people who have previously visited your landing page or your website. I look at it as a way to recycle clicks that don’t immediately convert. The beauty of this is I can use LinkedIn or Facebook, drive people to my site, and because I already know who they are demographically and which persona they are and possibly even which stage of the buying cycle they’re in, I can then stick them in a bucket and say this group of people should get this messaging. To give you an example, this is what a retarget looks like when it’s displayed. I’m a Redskins fan, I tell people, for better or for worse, for some reason I stay a Redskins fan, and I read this blog and you’ll notice on the right-hand side of the bottom right there’s a big orange ad for SEO software. I happen to be a customer of Advanced Web Ranking and use their software, so I go to their site. I’ve been targeted here and you can see the ad is showing for me because I’ve been to their site before. I always tell people how many football fans do you think read an ad for SEO software? Probably not many, so it’s pretty clear that this one was probably targeted to me because of my past visits to their site.
How does this social with retargeting work? How do we combine them to really gain more information? Think about it this way, if we had an ad targeted towards dog lovers, people who have raised their hand on Facebook and said, I love dogs. Let’s say I’m a pet supply store and I service many different clients, I want to know who my dog lovers are so I can make sure I’m telling them here’s dog food, not cat food. As an example here, we are targeting an ad towards dog lovers on Facebook and saying, hey, we have a dog food sale. When they search the ad in a social media platform such as Facebook, a landing page focused on the dog products would appear and then that person would then automatically be cookied or marked as a dog lover in my dog lover bucket of people. Then they would either respond to the offer and fill out the form, or they don’t, and either way I can then retarget to them on different sites through Google Ad Retargeting and over time convert them with other messages that are focused towards dog lovers. For instance, this one is to get a free doggie wash or what have you. So there’s lots of ways to use that and again extend the life of your campaign outside of Facebook and outside of LinkedIn.
You can also use this to nurture your personas. Once you have someone as an example marked as a dog lover, over time you want to nurture them and get them to buy more, so one of the things we can do, again, the user can either fill out the form or they’re marked or they don’t, but eventually we keep retargeting to them, they eventually fill out a form and they go into our CRM system or our marketing automation system. Ideally, if you have a marketing automation system, you can then continue to nurture that person because you can pull the information about that person being a dog lover down into your marketing automation system, attach it to that person’s record, and then you can keep emailing that person with specifically dog-related emails instead of cat-related emails maybe because you know that person’s a dog lover versus maybe being a cat lover. Not that the two are mutually exclusive in this case, but I just like to use that one as an example.
So with that, I’m going to go ahead and hand it back to Kari. That’s my part of the presentation, and Kari has a couple of announcements.
Great. Before we go into our Q&A, we do have a few questions. I just wanted to let you know about our upcoming webinar which is in three weeks, ‘Video Saved the Marketing Star: Amping Up Search with Video Content’, and that is December 6th. That’s a Thursday at 2:00 p.m. Eastern and you can register at that URL search-mojo.com/video-webinar.
Now before we finish up for the day, just wanted to have a few questions – we have a few questions from the audience and here you can also see some of Adele Revella’s e-books that you can download at buyerpersona.com These are free e-books that she has available. I am reading them actually, not as we speak, but I am currently reading them and they are a great read, so I highly recommend them.
Our first question, Adele, we’ve got so many personas to build, we want to know where to start. So what kind of advice would you give to this person?
Well, first of all, you probably don’t have as many personas as you think you need to build. Everybody imagines that they need far more than they really do. You’re going to find that out when you start interviewing them that really the differences that matter in terms of how you market to buyers, which is all about those five insights, will, once you start to capture those five insights for buyers and you see how similar they are, you’re going to realize you don’t need nearly as many buyer personas as you thought you did. So that’s the first thing. The second part is I like to get people started with something that’s coming up right away, some campaign or launch or initiative that’s critical and that isn’t going to be easy to pull off doing business as usual, and that really gives companies sort of the motivation to go out and invest in doing a few interviews in really seeing how people think.
Great. I’ve got a couple more questions for you, Adele, regarding interviews. First question is, you said that we need to interview recent buyers. Will they agree to talk to us?
Absolutely. Yeah, surprisingly. And I will say that the more time your buyer spent investing and doing the assessment of your product, vis-à-vis your competitors and/or the risk that they felt that they had in being wrong, sort of like how emotional were they about this decision, I call this the consideration factor. So high to medium consideration products, buyers are actually incredibly willing to talk to you, maybe five out of ten people will talk to you. Low consideration products are harder. You’re probably going to have to pay people to get those interviews. They’re going to be a little bit harder to conduct and your response rate is probably going to be closer to one in ten.
Okay, great. The second question that I have from a participant about interviews, how many people do you interview to get a good representation of your buyer personas?
Yeah, that’s one of the most frequently asked questions, and it’s a tricky question to answer because this is in a category we call qualitative research and that’s a quantitative question. I’ll tell you that in our experience over decades of doing this work, once we’ve interviewed between six and ten buyers, as long as we’ve segmented them properly, the return on investment on interviewing more in terms of new information we get is very low. So some of that has to – how many people do you need to interview and do you follow up with a quantitative survey to get a more statistically valid example after you’ve done the interviews? That has to do with how risky it is to be wrong about your personas. For most decisions that marketers are making around messaging and so forth where we’ve really been making stuff up, six to eight interviews is going to be plenty to get you feeling really confident about what you need to do.
Great. Thank you so much, Adele. I’ve got a couple questions here for Janet. Retargeting can be a little annoying for people who are not ready to buy, so how do you effectively time these retargeted ads so they’re not so annoying?
That is the million dollar question, isn’t it? That’s really a challenge. The first thing I would say is you have to decide who you need to retarget and then frequency is always a very important question. The first thing – for instance in my company, you have to decide do you want to opt people out when they actually convert. In some cases, you might have a company, let’s say the dog food example, once someone buys dog food, do you opt them out of retargeting because now they’re a customer, or do you keep them in the retargeting because every time you have a special you want to advertise to them. You have to really start thinking, first and foremost, about when you opt them out. In my company as an example, that’s really a bit of a challenge because my conversions happen offline. When someone actually becomes a customer for me it’s usually done offline, so then how do I uncookie them at some point, and that has to be done online. So you have to get creative about that, too. So you have to really think about how you want to opt them out, if you want to opt them out, that’s number one.
The second thing you have to think about is that frequency cap and how often you want to be showing the ads. Generally, we recommend starting with no more than three ad shows a day. Now, that doesn’t mean they are definitely going to see your ad three times a day, it means that will be where it’s capped. So that’s one thing to think about as well is how often you want to show it.
The other thing for us, one of the things we do here as an example once we have someone targeted, let’s say as a marketing manager, and we want to target a particular marketing manager every time we have a webinar. Well, they’re not going to see every webinar. We only turn on and off those campaigns from a timing perspective when it’s appropriate, so they’re not going to always see the same ads all the time. We switch them out and then we also have periods of time where they might not be seeing an ad at all. So that will help a lot as well.
The other thing I would just emphasize is the creepiness factor. There’s a lot of concern about the creepiness factor. One thing that I personally find creepy and we have not done are dynamic creative on the ads. You may have seen these before. This is probably more common when you have an e-retailer where let’s say I’ve put some things in my cart but I don’t check out, and then that e-retailer comes back and says in an ad later on, oh, we know you’re interested in these three things and it shows up in the ad. That tends to creep me out. That’s a personal issue for me, but you need to think about do you want to use that dynamic creative or not. I don’t believe dynamic creative is available in Google’s retargeting, but there are many retargeting platforms and we actually have a retargeting infographic available on our website if you’re interested in some of the leading platforms and some information about it. You can download that for free.
But that is definitely an issue, so you need to think about a couple of different factors there to really reduce the creepiness factor that retargeting can give. I will tell you that it is one of the best cost-per-leads and one of the best converting types of tactics we’ve used, so I wouldn’t shy away from of it because you’re afraid of creepiness, I would just make sure that you do everything you can to make sure that you’re not creeping those people out.
Okay, great. Thanks. And we have time for one more question. Obviously, Janet, you covered mainly social advertising in this presentation, but to use your dog owner example, there are over 300 targeting elements including dog owner in consumer mailing list databases and dozens available for e-mail targeting, so one of our participants asks, why not use these channels?
You can certainly use e-mail marketing. In fact, if you’re doing nurturing, you’re going to be e-mail marketing once you get people into your database. That’s just not something we particularly specialize in is the e-mail marketing. However, I will say when we talk about purchasing lists, I haven’t typically found them to be nearly as effective with the cost-per- lead. I have never, ever gotten a cost-per-lead from a purchased e-mail list as low as $13.00 cost-per-lead, and that may be because I don’t have a relationship with that person. I can tell you, my inbox is ridiculous. I probably have at least 300 or 400 e-mails a day, so unless I’m talking to someone I already had a relationship with, when I get random emails, they often just end up going in the trash. That may be one of the factors as to why I’ve not seen the purchased lists do well because if someone’s e- mailing you and you don’t have an established relationship with them, it can be tougher to get that relationship going.
Now that being said, though, it may be, and don’t quote me on this, but it may be more effective to go through a partner. For instance, I got one today. I follow MarketingProfs and I get all of their information, and someone sent me an e-mail through MarketingProfs and so since I had a relationship with MarketingProfs, I opened that e-mail and I looked at it. So I do think that has a factor in whether or not you will open the e- mail is how random the e-mail is coming from a random sender or if it’s through a partner like a MarketingProfs, so that’s certainly an option and it depends on how targeted the list lets you get, too. In some cases, your persona may be very, very targeted and in some cases lists have minimums and so forth. So it’s something you can certainly check out and I’m not going to say don’t do it. Everything in the world is worth testing, honestly. I always encourage people to A-B test everything, so it’s certainly worth testing and trying for your organization and seeing if that works for you, but I just haven’t received as good of a cost-per-lead on e-mail list purchases as I have from search and social. That’s why we don’t normally focus on them.
Okay, great. Thanks. And we just have some additional information for you. If you want to get in touch with Janet or with Adele, here is their contact information, and on the next slide we have also some social media information for Janet and Adele. And I’d just like to thank both Janet Driscoll Miller and Adele Revella for joining us today. We had a really great, informative webinar, and if you have any questions for either one of them, feel free to send them a note, connect up with them on social media, and we hope to see you at our next webinar on video marketing in SEO on December 6th. Thank you so much, and have a great weekend.