Chief Operating Officer, 10+ Years of Digital Marketing Experience
June 23rd, 2016
Any marketer worth their salt will tell you buyer personas are key to building an effective marketing strategy.
The actual process of creating buyer personas may be time consuming, especially if you plan to interview quite a few customers, but it is nevertheless valuable.
When it comes to creating a website with a logical flow for your users and copy that actually gets them to convert, buyer persona research is one of the first things I look at, but let’s face it; if current data isn’t strong or up-to-date, the last thing I want to do is spend another 30-60 days researching before I can take action.
In this article, I will share a simple process to help you get things off the ground more quickly -- and it all starts with looking deep into your buyer persona by getting customer feedback.
Step 1: Gather Prospect and Customer Feedback with these 3 Valuable Resources
You likely have several opportunities to start gathering prospect and client feedback right at your fingertips, including these three valuable resources.
Before we get into them, remember to review all data you get against the 5 Rings of Buyer Insight:
Priority Initiative: What was going on in their lives/company that made looking for a solution a priority? This is where you can pick up on pain points.
Success Factors: After choosing a solution, what does success look like for your prospect? Pick up on benefits they’re hoping to obtain and features they think will solve their issues.
Perceived Barriers: What would stop a prospect from moving forward with you? Listen for what issues they have, false perceptions they may have about you and any historical situations that may cause red flags when looking into your solution.
Decision Criteria: What will their decision ultimately come down to? Price? Features? Understand what could be a deal breaker and what you can leverage for competitive advantage.
Buyer’s Journey: As your prospects educate themselves on how to solve their problem, what are they doing along the way? Pick up on where they go for information, who they trust, who is involved in the decision process, and what they find helpful.
In addition to understanding what’s important to your customers and prospects, you can also understand the language they use when describing their situation for your copy and pick up on perceived barriers that may be out there so you can address them.
Resource #2: Sales Conversations
Your sales team is talking to prospects all day long. They have countless call notes and emails to dig through to understand your prospects’ needs and goals.
If you have an updated CRM, call notes can be a gold mine. Figure out who is involved in the decision process and what is important to each. This is key for websites with specific persona-related pages.
A super creepy tip:Crystal Knows is an application that can aid your sales team in understanding the personality of your contacts and what language will resonate best. Take this tool’s suggestions up to the marketing department to further refine the copy you use. -- but always remember to test!
Resource #3: Website Polls
All the Hotjar fans out there may be familiar with polls, or pop-up surveys on websites.
By creating one-question polls on key pages of your site, you can ask your visitors what they’re looking for, what’s missing on your pages, and if the content is helpful.
You’d be surprise how many people like filling these surveys out and the awesome information you get to inform your website content strategy.
Bonus Resource: User Testing
This isn’t exactly a current prospect or buyer, but the information is still vital to an informed website conversion strategy. UserTesting offers you a chance to watch and listen to real people in your target market navigate your site.
Testers record their screen and talk out loud as they go through your site, noting things you’re doing a great job on and things that are difficult to find.
If you consider trying it, set up specific tests for them and find out if you think your website performs as you hypothesized.
You will get some great data on the best way to present information on your site, especially as you start evaluating the hierarchy of your content.
Step 2: Create Marketing Messages That Converts
Now that you’ve got some great data around the 5 Rings of Buyer Insight, map it back to what you offer, how you present it on your website, and how you can write copy that converts.
When reviewing your prospect and customer data with this in mind, answer these questions:
What is the single most important thing your buyers are looking for? What does success look like?
What features do they care most about? Dive in further and figure out the benefits they’re really hoping to get from having feature x, y and z.
What red flags do you need to address?
What are your prospects currently doing? How do you fix that?
What tone and language will resonate with your buyers? Are you super awesome and chill, professional and polished, or provocative and bold?
What words do you see used over and over again? Can you fit them into your overall tone? (If not, evaluate your tone!)
Are they confused on your current website? How are they currently navigating and is this matching what you have learned about their buyer’s journey?
Once you answer these questions, apply it to major conversion optimization opportunities.
Key Messaging Opportunities
Start with your homepage value proposition. Illustrate who you help, how you help them, and how that help is different than competitors. You have all the ammo you need from your research, including actual vocabulary your prospects and customers use, so this should be a cinch.
Move on to the structure and flow of your content. Are you talking about the right things on your homepage? Do you have the right feature pages to educate your prospects on the items they’ve told you they care about?
Pull this research into your overall website traffic strategy. You have real questions and language to formulate blog titles, ad copy, and content for social media.
Step 3: Setting Up Your Website Conversion Tests
A word of caution, don’t willy nilly change everything on your website just because your research said so.
We practice these steps as a part of our growth driven design methodology, but as with all website changes (i.e. button color, text, etc.), you need to set up tests to see how your buyer persona actually responds.
Just like in elementary school science class, you’ll want to set a hypothesis, design your experiment to test against that hypothesis, and then measure results to understand if the updates you made had any real impact.
Remember, the goal of website optimization is always to improve your conversion rates, traffic, etc. and anything that doesn’t do that (or makes your performance worse) will need to be revisited.
Using a data-driven approach to your website optimization, along with the added layer of buyer-driven strategy, you can allocate your resources to yield more return.
With these 3 simple steps, you’ll have a deeper understanding of what your personas want and what information to present. Need help optimizing your website and implementing these strategies? Talk to us!
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