When we talk about “buyer personas” during our strategy meetings with new clients, we are usually met with a puzzled expression and the comment “Buyer persona? What’s that?” In inbound marketing terms, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer, based on data and research. What we’re looking to create is a snapshot of your buyers – who they are, and what their demographic and psychographic data tell us about their needs and preferences. These personas can also be “ideal personas” i.e. the type of customer you don’t currently have but hope to obtain in the future. Depending on the size of your business, you might have one or two different buyer personas. Or you could have as many as 20! Once we have a clear idea of who your buyer personas are, we set out to create a comprehensive multi-faceted marketing strategy that includes attraction marketing. You attract the attention of your buyer personas by creating compelling content and attractive messaging that you know will be of interest to them. One day recently, it occurred to me that attraction marketing is not unlike how a matchmaking or online dating service works – only the match is between a company and a customer!
Finding Your Perfect Match
If you think about it, good matchmaking platforms have member profiles that are attractive and detailed so they will hopefully attract good matches. Here’s how most relationships typically evolve:
- Attraction– A nice headshot or video, some introductory sentences along with the type of person they are looking for will create an important first impression and will help attract the right match.
- Connection – If a connection is made and a conversation begins, the relationship will evolve if there is a sense of commonality based on mutual interests, needs and values.
- Commitment – If all goes well, the connection will deepen into a longer-term commitment.
In business, we also strive to attract the right prospect who will be a “perfect match” for us – someone who is in need of our product or service, who will be attracted to our business, and who will hopefully convert into a customer. In both cases, it is attraction, compatibility, and commitment that are the adhesives that make the relationship work. We word it a little differently in inbound marketing terms, but the principles are the same.
The Attract – Engage – Delight Stages in Inbound Marketing
In Inbound Marketing terms we call it Attraction, Engagement, and Delight. Let’s dive a little deeper into these three stages and find out how creating engaging, educational content helps attract the right buyer personas that continue to guide them through the buying process.
- The Attract Stage– The attraction stage is all about providing high-value content including things like blog posts, social content, e-books, podcasts, and webinars that will attract your desired buyer personas. Content should be both relevant and informative about their pain points so that you encourage customers to want to find out more about your business and how it can help with the problem they have. Offering free, downloadable content will not only pique a potential customer’s interest, it’s an important part of SEO (search engine optimization) and the perfect way to generate great leads. It also helps you build a reputation as a thought leader in your sector or line of work.
- The Engage Stage – Engaging in a meaningful conversation gives you the opportunity to provide insights and solutions that address a customer’s pain points and goals, so they are more likely to trust you and eventually buy from you. This is also where lead nurturing comes in. However, since the goal is to move to the next phase, the delight phase, it is more important to build a lasting relationship than to just ‘make a sale’. One of my favorite quotes related to building the relationship is from customer service expert Shep Hyken:
“Don’t focus on the sale, focus on the person.”
- The Delight Stage – When a customer decides to purchase a product or service, it doesn’t end there. It’s important to continue to provide outstanding service in the form of help and support so customers continue to feel happy about their purchase. In this way, their success is your success. If they are delighted with their purchase and their overall customer experience, they are usually also loyal – they may even become lifelong fans of your business – so they are likely to recommend your business to others.
In summary – you want to attract the right kind of customer, for your customer to be delighted with your product or service, and for the relationship to last. When this happens, it truly is a match made in heaven!