How Using Buyer Personas Can Make You a Better Advertiser

By Rachel Chapdelaine | Jun 30, 2016
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Why Should You Use Buyer Personas When Building Ad Campaigns?

Janet Driscoll MillerJanet Driscoll Miller, Marketing Mojo president and CEO, probably answers this question best in her article “8 Questions to Answer Before Creating Your Next Piece of Content” when she states:

“Personas should be at the core of everything you do. Given the amount of demographic and psychographic targeting options available, look to personas to help you develop content ideas, messaging, format and ad targeting.”

Content marketers often position buyer personas as fictional representations of a business’ target audience that should be considered during content planning and creation, but they can be much more than that. Not many marketers have realized the potential of buyer personas for the entire content marketing process.

You might have even heard colleagues say something to the tune of “Why do I need buyer personas if my team already understands our customers?” or “Why would I invest time into making personas when I could spend that time actually attracting website visitors?” Both great questions, but they seem to have missed one important detail: The power of a buyer persona lies not just within the information provided, but how it can be applied at different stages of the marketing process and across campaign types.

Let me elaborate: Buyer personas help marketers better understand a target audience’s pain points/priority initiatives, preferences, behavior, demographics, geographics, etc., AND target segmented audiences at different stages of the buyer’s journey through content marketing and advertising. Executing informed, targeted campaigns with the use of buyer personas can nurture your audience along the buying process, potentially resulting in new sales.

1. You Can Better Segment Your Audience

The allure of digital marketing is its ability to reach the right people with the right message at the right time. In order to advertise with a message that resonates, you must segment your audiences appropriately.

If you know that you want to market a product to a certain demographic or type of person, you are able to group the individuals with those common characteristics, such as job title, age, gender, income, interests, behavior, etc. By targeting your ideal segment, or target market, you can exclude those who do not qualify from seeing your ads and marketing content.

With certain types of digital advertising, this enables you to decrease the number of overall clicks, consequently reducing the cost of advertising, and, at the same time, increase the number of high-quality leads and website visitors.

2. You Can Better Identify the ‘Graphics

Demographics, psychographics & geographics help you understand your audience’s basic demographic information, behavior and interests, but this knowledge also enable you to find and market to people matching your defined personas.

Identifying target market commonalities and trends can help you craft a more appealing message, especially one that must be concise and powerful within a small ad space. Knowing online behavior — such as where personas spend their time, absorb content and are most engaged with brands — can assist you in choosing the right media to reach out to your personas.

Along with generalizations based on your observations and qualitative interviews with your customers, you should use social media, Google Analytics and marketing automation software data to help you identify trends for each buyer persona you develop. if you find this task to be challenging or too time consuming, I can certainly help you develop a set of buyer personas.

If you are ready to get going on your own research adventure, I suggest:

3. You Can Improve Ad Targeting

Using social media and analytics to both research customers and website visitors and target prospects can significantly improve your advertising campaigns and website growth. One of the companies we work with, Procera Health, saw significant results from a new Adwords campaign based on buyer personas targeting a new, much younger demographic. The highlights include:

  • Website revenue increased by 77%
  • New user site visits increased by 99.7%
  • Purchases increased 60% for the targeted demographic of 18 to 44 year olds

View more results from Marketing Mojo’s efforts in this case study: Buyer Persona Development Boosts Procera Health Revenue.

Whether you plan to retarget website visitors and leads or reach an untouched audience, all of the demographic, psychographic and geographic-targeting options below are available to you. These targeting options allow you to become extremely granular with your criteria, making your final advertising audience practically hand selected and pre-filtered.

AdWords Targeting

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Household income
  • Location
  • Users who have recently searched for similar products
  • Users with certain shopping history
  • Interests based on search history
  • Your website visitors
  • Competitors’ website visitors
  • Visitors of a specific site or page

LinkedIn Ads Targeting

  • Gender
  • Job title
  • Job function
  • Seniority level
  • Location
  • Company size
  • Company name
  • Industry
  • Skills
  • Group

Facebook Ads Targeting

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Status update
  • Job function
  • Company
  • School
  • Area of study
  • Location
  • Likes/interests (broad categories or specific interests)
  • Specific connections or friends of connections
  • Credit card history
  • Groups
  • Mobile user
  • Email list

4. You Can Better Understand How Your Personas Behave Online

When developing your personas, you can draw from your current customer list and identify similar individuals. You can then build off of the information you find online — look to social media, marketing automation, Google Analytics and AdWords to see how your personas present themselves, communicate with others, browse the internet, interact with your website, shop online, etc. If you have already defined your personas, you can use your online behavior information to refine your ad targeting.

You can further understand your buyer personas behavior on your website by creating custom dimensions in Google Analytics. For example, if you are running a LinkedIn Ads campaign that targets a specific job title, you could add a query string parameter to your landing page URL so that those who click on your ad and visit your website will be tagged with that title. With this information available in Google Analytics, you can see how people with certain job roles move through and interact with your site, including which pieces of content they prefer and pages they visit. Explore your customers’ running lead sources in your marketing automation software to determine how they first visited your site and which channels they have used to returned to it and convert.

5. You Can Keep Your Team Abreast & Standardize the Process

Saving all ad targeting information in a buyer persona document will allow you to provide your team with updates and pass on tribal knowledge to new employees, which, by evaluating past targeting options and campaign performance, can help you optimize future campaigns. Keeping a master buyer persona document can also make ad targeting efforts easier, faster and more accurate because the information can be consistently accessed by multiple users.

The Benefits of Using Buyer Personas for Ad Targeting

Hopefully by now, you can see the value in researching your current and ideal customers online and how it can bring your content marketing and advertising to the next level. Social media and website analytics data, augmented by industry research and quantitative studies, will help you better understand your customers and tailor your ads to their needs.

When you are able to reach prospects with the right marketing message in the right space at the right time, you will have greater campaign performance and higher return on investment. Buyer personas paired with the advanced ad targeting features mentioned in this article will enable you to do this throughout the buying process.

Have any questions about creating or using buyer personas for advertising campaigns? Ask them below or email me here.

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