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8 Ways to Use Buyer Personas to Build Your Content Arsenal (E-BOOK)

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Looking for inspiration to fuel your content strategy? Look no further than your buyers.
Your buyers are the best source of insights to confirm what content you should be producing to grab their attention and influence their purchasing decision. This e-book explains how buyer persona insights can be used to support your B2B marketing strategy and sales enablement and generate a wide range of content. This includes your value proposition, customer success stories, content marketing pieces, sales playbook, objection handlers, provocative insights, buyer checklist, and message blueprint.

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8 Ways to Use Buyer Personas to Build Your Content Arsenal (E-BOOK)

  1. 1. Eight Powerful Ways to Use BUYER PERSONAS to Build Your Content Arsenal By Gordana Stok, Buyer Persona & Content Marketing Consultant 8
  2. 2. Looking for inspiration to fuel your content strategy? Look no further than your buyers. Your buyers are the best source of insights to confirm what content you should be producing to grab their attention and influence their purchasing decision. That’s why interview-based, buyer personas are increasingly becoming a popular tool for understanding what’s important to buyers and how they tick. When you interview buyers who bought from you and your competitors, you’re essentially asking them to tell you a story about their buying journey. Not only will you capture the cold hard facts around how they made their purchasing decision and why, you’ll understand what motivated them, both personally and professionally, and the biases that factored into their decision. What’s more, there’s nothing more powerful than hearing buyers describe their journey, with all of its bumps and joy, in their own words. 5 Rings of Buying Insight™ is a powerful methodology for interviewing buyers and capturing deep and actionable insights about their journey.
  3. 3. 5 Rings of Buying Insight™ Reveals why some buyers make your solution category a strategic priority while others choose the status quo. Reveals what pain points buyers are looking to eliminate and improvements they expect to see. Reveals why some buyers would not perceive your company or solution as their best option. Reveals which buyers are involved in the decision and what resources they trust to guide their decision. 5 Rings of Buying Insight is a trademark of Buyer Persona Institute Reveals what criteria buyers use to evaluate solution options and make a purchasing decision, and why. PRIORITY INITIATIVES SUCCESS FACTORS “Our industry lives on razor-thin margins. When revenues took a dive due to market conditions, we had to find creative, new ways to cut costs.” “I like to read case studies but they have to be detailed enough that I can determine whether the solution will work in my environment.” “We can't risk going with the smaller guys. I mean what if they go out of business? How would we get our data back?” “Our goal was to reduce paper and shipping costs by 50% by getting new customers to complete applications over the web.” DECISION CRITERIA “It has to be easy to use. That means customers should be able to complete applications without having to install any plug-ins.” BUYER’S JOURNEY PERCEIVED BARRIERS
  4. 4. Insights to Action 8 Ways to Use The best thing about interview-based buyer personas is that the insights can be used immediately to generate a wide range of content in support of your marketing strategy and sales enablement. Continue reading to learn about the eight ways buyer persona insights can be used in your content to give you a competitive edge. Buyer Persona Insights: • Value Proposition • Customer Succes Story • Content Marketing • Sales Playbook • Objection Handlers • Provocative Insight • Solution Checklist • Message Blueprint
  5. 5. 1 Value Proposition When you hear buyers express their pain points and needs in their own words, along with the criteria they use to evaluate solution options and make their purchasing decision, it becomes crystal clear what needs to go into your value proposition. Buyer persona insights will help you to succinctly communicate the value of your solution from the buyers’ perspective using language that they understand, rather than confusing or meaningless marketing-jargon and sales-speak. It will become a whole lot clearer how to write attention-grabbing headlines, short blurbs and elevator pitches, and narrow down the benefits and capabilities of your solution to the top five to seven points that matter most to buyers.
  6. 6. When you interview buyers, you’ll capture inter-esting anecdotes about their buying journey and the emotional impact it had on the different people involved. Buyers will readily share the facts and requirements that shaped their purchasing decision, as well as the doubts, fears, relief and joy they experienced as they went from status quo to successful implementation – especially if a lot was at stake for them. 2 Customer Success Story This makes for significantly more powerful and entertaining, storytelling than the standard “problem-solution-benefits” case study format. Use these insights as the foundation for a follow-up interview with buyers to capture how their world has changed for the better since implementing your solution, and to tell their inspiring story.
  7. 7. 3 Content Marketing If you’ve ever struggled to come up with ideas for content marketing, your struggles are over! Every buyer persona insight can be turned into a content marketing piece that you know buyers will find relevant and want to learn more about. A typical buyer persona generates between 10 to 15 key topics that you can easily break into sub-topics and package up in different lengths and formats to align with the different stages of the buying journey and provide buyers with the information they need to make an informed purchasing decision, while also serving as lead generation and lead nurturing assets.
  8. 8. Sales Playbook 4 Buyer personas will earn marketers new found respect from their sales counterparts. The insights can be used to create one of the most actionable sections of a sales playbook – how to engage with buyers. Your sales team will know: • Who to target within the buyer’s organization and what role each person in the decision-making team plays • When buyers will be most receptive to hearing from them • The most critical pain points and needs to focus on • What to say to buyers to persuade them to choose your solution instead of your competitor’s
  9. 9. Your sales team is well aware of the objections that your customers and prospects have had with your company or solution. But what about the buyers who never contacted your organization in the first place? Buyer personas contain insights about the real or perceived barriers that may cause all buyers - both known and unknown to you - to eliminate your solution from consideration. Use this insight to create content that proactively addresses buyers’ objections or clarifies misconceptions about a topic that may lead them to believe you’re not their best solution option or go back to the status quo. Publish the content on your website and third party sites to educate buyers and increase your chances of being short-listed for evaluation. 5 Objection Handlers
  10. 10. Provocative 6 Insight A buying insight often missing from an organiza-tion’s sales and marketing knowledge base is what triggers some buyers to make their solution category a strategic priority and do something about their problem, while others choose the status quo. This insight can be effectively used to reach buyers even before they have an identified need with thought-provoking content that says, “You may not have experienced this yet, but it’s coming. This is why you need to do something now, and this is what others have done about it.” By demonstrating your subject matter expertise in this manner, you’ll position your company as a trusted advisor and get ahead of the RFP process.
  11. 11. Product Checklist and Competitive 7 Comparision Chart A common request from buyers is they’d like a solution provider’s website to make it quicker for them to assess whether their solution is worth short-listing and easier to compare competitive offerings. Armed with the knowledge of what criteria buyers use to compare and evaluate solution options and make their purchasing decision, you can easily turn these buyer persona insights into a product checklist that confirms you understand and meet all of the buyer’s requirements. The criteria can also be used to build a chart that compares your features and capabilities against your competitors’, making it a handy tool for sales.
  12. 12. Message Blueprint Use the insights you capture about buyers’ expectations as the launch pad for building a solid message foundation that will help guide the development of all your marketing and sales content. This is done by identifying the strongest capability of your company and solution to meet each buyer expectation, while providing a proof-point to back up each claim, responding to a possible objection or misconception buyers might have about your ability to meet their need, and - if applicable - providing a reason why your competitor can’t meet their need or their approach is inferior. 8
  13. 13. Aligning Your Offering with Buyers’ Needs Buyer Expecation Expection 1 Expection 2 Expection 3 etc. Capability 1 Capability 2 Capability 3 etc. Proof Point 1 Proof Point 2 Proof Point 3 etc. Weakness 1 Weakness 2 Weakness 3 etc. Objection 1 Objection 2 Objection 3 etc. Response 1 Response 2 Response 3 etc. Our Capability Proof Point Competitor Weakness Buyer Objection Our Response When you align buyers’ expectations with your capabilities and arguments in this manner, you’ll be sure to communicate the value of your solution from the buyer’s perspective, instead leading with features and functionality. Second, you’ll map out the logical progression of ideas needed to persuade buyers why they should buy from you instead of your competitor. Not only will your argument be complete and rock-solid, it will almost seem conversational in tone - like a friendly, back and forth banter between you and your buyers. Third, because you’ll do the heavy lifting in terms of identifying WHAT needs to be communicated to support buyer’s expectations, your creative resources can focus on what they do best: HOW to communicate the messages with maximum impact. This will reduce the time and cost of producing your content assets, while making sure all your internal and external content contributors stay on message.
  14. 14. Conclusion Q. Q. Q. Q. Q. Q. The insights you capture by interviewing real buyers of your solution will ensure that you create more relevant, engaging and persuasive content. You’ll know precisely what information buyers are looking for as they move through their buying journey, and how to capture their attention using language that they understand and can relate to. You’ll then be able to craft content that speaks directly to their pain points and needs and helps them to make a more informed purchasing decision, while influencing their views on how to successfully solve their problem and persuading them to purchase your solution instead of your competitor’s.
  15. 15. About the Author Gordana Stok is a Buyer Persona Institute Certified Practitioner and Content Marketing Consultant with end-to-end, content strategy and development experience spanning marketing, sales and support. During her 20-year career, Gordana has had the privilege to work with many B2B start-up, mid-size and enterprise companies - both as marketing communications manager and an independent consultant. Her responsibilities have consistently included crafting content targeted at B2B buyers, C-level executives and end-customers across a wide range of industries. CLICK HERE to visit Gordana’s website or connect with her on social media.
  16. 16. Other Buyer Persona Resources This e-book provides answers to frequently asked questions about buyer personas, and the methodology used to interview and capture deep insights about buyers. CLICK HERE to view the e-book. This infographic compares the pros and cons of three popular buyer persona methodologies. Co-presented with Adele Revella, President of Buyer Persona Institute and inventor of 5 Rings of Buying Insight. CLICK HERE to view the infographic.

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