In modern marketing, how your strategy shapes up will depend largely on who you’ve deemed your target buyer, or persona(s).
In this article, I’ll look at a few different types of businesses and give you some insights into how to piece together a marketing strategy that gets results.
What You’ll Learn
- What is a Persona?
- How to collect data to build persona examples
- Persona examples by industry (and how to market to each):
What is a Persona?
Buyer personas are a key part of any company’s marketing strategy.
A persona needs to be carefully crafted to embody your ideal customer. That means taking the time to research and compile data to represent a fully fleshed-out persona example. Typically, they’ll be assigned names like CEO Craig or HR Manager Hannah.
Or, maybe in a B2C context you’d have Millennial Micro-influencer, Mary or Stay at Home Mom, Sally.
In any case, these characters are a fictional composite that represents your target buyer. Most often, companies come up with multiple personas to target and the unique qualities that encompass each.
When doing research and deciding on your target persona examples, aim to answer questions like:
- Where does your target audience work?
- What kind of language Is typical in this industry?
- Do your customers use Facebook or prefer Instagram? LinkedIn?
- What are their specific pain points?
- What is their income?
- What does their personal and business background look like?
- What is their lifestyle like? Do they work full-time? Do they have a family? What is the cost of living in their area?
- What motivates them?
- What are their fears and challenges?
Are they an executive director looking to save time? A marketer that needs a better automation tool? Maybe it’s someone who needs to unclog their sink or they need to find an outfit for a wedding.
Goals vary based on what you sell, as well as whether you’re a local services company, an e-commerce brand, or you’re in B2B sales.
For each of the questions above, you need to figure out how your product fits in. Define what you do and align that with what your customers hope to accomplish when they visit your website.
Where to Collect Data For Persona Examples
There are many ways you can go about collecting the data needed to inform your marketing strategy across the entire buyer’s journey.
- Talk to Your Customers–The best way to understand your customers is to actually talk to them. Try to book a few interviews with your best and worst customers to gain an understanding of what’s working and what’s not. Seek to uncover pain points and challenges, as well as behavioral drivers, preferences, and demographic details.
- Lean on Facebook’s Insights—Facebook’s analytics are one of your biggest assets when it comes to understanding your audience.
- Use Google Audiences—Google’s new audience reports are another place where you can find information about customer preferences, interests, and demographics, and review them along with their actual behaviors as they move through your site.
- Leverage Social Listening Tools–Because it’s not possible to talk to every single customer, bringing in a platform like AgoraPulse, Mention, or PitchBox can clue you into mentions across the web that may give you some insight into what customers think about your brand and what they expect you to deliver.
Now that we’ve got a sense of how to find persona-building data, let’s zoom out a bit. How do these composite profiles connect with the type of business you run?
Before you get started with your Google Ads campaigns or cranking out blog content, you need to figure out what you hope to accomplish with your strategy. Is the goal to drive traffic to a website or a physical store? Book a hotel room? Sign up for a free trial?
Or, maybe the goal is more about sharing content. Whatever it is, you’ll need to use language–be it in blog posts, on landing pages, or display ads–that make this clear, and appeals to the persona examples you’re targeting.
Below, I’ll add a sample persona to each business case to help show you how to cater to different interests.
Persona Example 1: For B2B Sales
For this persona example, meet Marketing Matthew.
- Demographic: Marketing manager/director in a tech or finance company. Manages small team of about 4-6 people and reports directly to the CEO. His main responsibilities are generating leads, managing communications, and increasing brand awareness across different marketing channels.
- Goals: Hopes to generate more leads and increase traffic to his company’s website.
- Pain points/Challenges: Too much to do, not enough time to complete everything on the to-do list. Doesn’t have enough resources to take marketing strategy to the next level.
- How to measure success: Leads, traffic, new subscribers, brand awareness.
- Go-to Information Sources: Matthew reads sites like Moz and Hubspot for the latest industry updates, uses Twitter and LinkedIn.
It doesn’t matter if your business sells IT management packages, manufacturing equipment, or CRM software; if your core offering is high consideration, you need to approach things a bit differently than your counterparts running a plumbing company.
When we talk B2B sales, we’re talking about industries with some of the following characteristics:
- Trial offers/subscription service (think SaaS companies)
- Long sales cycles
- Custom quotes
- A lead qualification process
Sales and Marketing Need to Hash Out a Strategy
Marketers are responsible for increasing brand awareness, running paid ad campaigns, writing content, and scheduling social media posts, among a long list of other tasks.
Salespeople develop relationships with those people who respond to marketing efforts and work to determine what their needs are and how your company’s offering can fill that need.
But often there’s a disconnect between marketing and sales, especially when it comes to defining your target market, and even what makes a lead qualified.
So marketing messages might not line up with sales reps’ perception of what you do, much less how those reps communicate your value proposition during their interactions with real people.
Because you’re staring down a long sales funnel, both sales and marketing teams need to get together to map out the customer journey, and review how customers find their business, become a lead, and ultimately, what makes them finally sign the contract.
If you’re targeting a persona example like Matthew, marketing teams need to create content that gets him to the website.
This might be content that covers lead generation best practices and perhaps the benefit of using AI or chatbots to offload some of the work that a small team struggles to keep up with.
Once you’ve worked through the process of mapping these touch points and the intent that goes with them, you’ll have a sense of what kind of assets you’ll deliver at each stage, and from there, come up with a way to drive traffic to those assets.
Google Ads for B2B PPC
PPC is a killer strategy for B2B teams that want to collect leads, drive downloads, or book appointments.
Industries like insurance, financial services, SaaS companies, IT services, and others depend on lead generation to bring people into their sales funnel.
From there, they will take that lead through a series of steps that allow them to determine whether this person is likely to buy.
For B2B sales, you’ll want to approach your ad campaigns with a strategic approach. Consider how you’ll target ads to each stage in the buyer’s journey–sign-ups, conversions, or even a conversation with a chatbot are all solid options.
A paid ad that speaks to Matthew’s goals and challenges might capitalize on his interest in marketing automation.
For example, if he types in something like “marketing automation software small teams” that might trigger a paid ad that, when clicked on, leads to an eBook or case study that gives him a sense of why this might be the best solution for him.
Chatbot Lead Generation
I know, we’ve been talking about chatbots a lot these days. But it’s for good reason; they’re an incredibly valuable asset when it comes to speeding up your lead qualification process.
We go over this in more detail here, but chatbots can be used as part of a paid ads strategy, both within the Facebook ecosystem and on Google.
You can also use traditional paid ads — i.e. Google Display ads to drive traffic to your website, and include a native chatbot on your site that asks qualifying questions.
In some cases, you may even want to try using bots to replace your lead generation forms.
Software like Drift is designed to collect user information in a conversational setting, rather than prompting a user to fill out a contact form. This can be beneficial for a B2B business as it feels more personal and less sales-y.
Facebook Lead Ads for B2B Sales Persona Example
On Facebook, advertisers have a few options when it comes to generating leads using the platform’s ads and audience insights. As we’ve mentioned before, advertisers have the option to choose from several objectives, including lead generation.
Facebook’s Business page defines this as getting people to take an action that indicates interest in completing a transaction. And, if you choose this option, you can include a form on your ad, so potential leads don’t have to navigate away from the social platform to fill out a form.
Within these contact forms, you can ask visitors to add email addresses, as well as other pieces of contact information that can help you determine whether this contact is the right fit for your business.
Lead ads can be also be used as a way to collect newsletter subscribers or get visitors to request an estimate, book a demo, or schedule a follow-up call.
Depending on your industry, LinkedIn might be one of your best bets when it comes to social media–both paid and organic.
If your audience spends a lot of time here, make sure you post high-level content on LinkedIn Pulse and in industry-specific groups, which allows you to share ideas with like-minded professionals.
As you spend more time interacting with groups, you may even want to start your own. Just keep in mind that your group isn’t the right place for aggressive sales tactics.
Rather, you’ll want to use this as a way to build a following and make connections with your audience–it’s a brand awareness campaign for the buttoned-up set.
LinkedIn’s paid ads can work well here, too. The professional social platform offers several ad options from text ads (a la Google Search) to sponsored posts and lead generation ads.
Persona Example 2: For Multi-Location Companies
Multi-location consumers span a wide range of industries. In this case, though, let’s assume we’re targeting Sandra Student, a local coffee shop customer.
- Demographic: Sandra is about 22 years old and makes $28,000. She works full-time and attends classes part-time. She’s a digital native who is active on social media and looks out for discounts online.
- Where Does She Find Information? Social media channels like Facebook and Instagram, Google.
- Painpoints/Challenges: Needs a quiet relaxing place to do homework.
- Goals: Saving money, finding a local place to relax, get some work done between classes and her full-time job.
Multi-location marketing involves a lot more than adding multiple addresses to your website’s contact page.
While companies in this category span a variety of industries and customer personas, the marketing approach is similar whether you have a network of fitness studios like Orange Theory, brick-and-mortars in malls across the country like Sephora, or global outposts like Marriott.
As you consider your marketing approach, you’ll want to evaluate a few key areas:
- Do you offer the same thing at every location?
- Are the locations spread across the country or the world?
- Do you have multiple locations in a particular state or county?
- Are there multiple customer bases you serve?
- Does each location require a different type of content?
While you might have a target persona like Sandra for all of your coffee shops, consider how she “changes” based on where she lives.
Maybe you’ll add local discounts based on what’s going on in the community or your menu changes based on location. In any case, these differences should be reflected in your webpages.
Create Unique Content for Each Location
One of the problems we run into quite a bit is duplicate content.
If you have multiple websites or you’re copying content over from one location’s home page to another, Google’s bots will pick up on the duplicates.
Use Location Keywords
Location keywords are essential for creating content that gets the local market on the site and eventually, in the store.
You’ll want to make sure you incorporate location keywords into your PPC strategy as well as in your web copy and any landing pages that link back to your ad.
You can run keyword research through tools like:
- Google’s Keyword Planner
- Answer the Public
- Keywords Everywhere
Now, location keywords might not be the best fit for blog posts.
In the past, we used to see a lot of keyword stuffing aimed at getting local audience eyeballs on the page. Today, that practice signals to Google that you’re trying to cheat the system without providing any real value.
Go Local with Paid Ads
If you’re putting resources toward paid online advertising, take steps to localize your creative.
To market to these persona examples, you’ll need to add your local keywords and city name into your headlines and copy and utilize location extensions where possible.
Within Google Ads, you can optimize for “near me” searches.
To participate, advertisers must have extensions enabled so ads can display with all relevant details. If you’re targeting Sandra, you’ll want to optimize for voice and mobile so you’ll show up in her search results as she moves from place to place.
Include your Google Customer Reviews and Google My Business pages, plus your local phone number for best results.
If you’re a retail store with multiple locations, another option is Google’s Inventory ads, which allow local shoppers to check if an item is in stock before driving to a store.
Create Google My Business Pages for Each Location
Now, the most important listing will be your Google My Business account.
Signing up allows you to show up in the Google Maps results and build your reputation with positive reviews. What’s more, if reviewers include their city or other local terms in their write up, that can give your SEO a little boost.
If you haven’t listed all locations yet, this article on optimizing your GMB account will walk you through the steps. Once you’ve verified your listings, you can complete your profile by selecting “Info” from the GMB dashboard.
According to Google, those companies that add photos see 35% more clicks than their counterparts that don’t upload photos. Which makes sense–would you book a hotel room or eat at a restaurant without looking at any photos?
Beyond Google My Business, you’ll want to register with the local Yellow Pages, Bing Places, Foursquare, Yelp, and if you’re in the hospitality game, sites like TripAdvisor.
Persona Example 3: For E-Commerce Brands
For e-commerce brand persona example, let’s take a look at Cindy.
- Demographic: She’s a 32-year-old, introductory sales rep who makes about $45,000 per year.
- Goals: Her main goal is to find narrow width shoes that she actually likes that won’t break the bank.
- Pain points: Has very narrow feet, which makes it difficult to find shoes at a brick and mortar. She finds shopping online similarly frustrating, as many sites don’t offer the option to filter by shoe width.
E-commerce brands generally work in the B2C space, so, there’s going to be a slightly different approach here when it comes to getting people interested in your brand and what you have to offer.
Where a B2B brand with a high-consideration product, be it a SaaS tool or an expensive piece of equipment can benefit from creating a ton of content from video tutorials to knowledge base articles and general interest blog content, B2C products—especially apparel, personal care, or even food, depend more on creating a visually engaging online presence.
Content Should Center on Building Brand Identity
As you start thinking about content, consider what kinds of platforms your audience uses and how you can connect with them on those platforms. For online stores, your primary goal will be driving conversions.
However, to do that well, you’ll need to showcase your brand’s values and reinforce your identity. Whether you’re running an email marketing campaign or creating hashtags for your user-generated content campaign, everything you do needs to maintain the same tone, showcase your products and service, and work toward creating an affinity toward your brand.
Content should focus on getting users to take action. The most obvious example is directing customers toward a specific purchase—but it might also be sharing a social media post, entering a contest, or uploading a picture with a branded hashtag. Just make sure to stick to one CTA per piece of content so the directive is clear and actionable.
You should also be creating content that speaks to the problems your product solves.
In the case of Cindy, she’s looking for a shoe brand that specifically produces narrower than average shoes. If that’s your brand, you need to ensure that you’re targeting keywords in your content that will lead Ciny to your store.
Use Lead Magnet Pop-Ups
Lead magnets are anything that qualifies as a way to capture someone’s information for later marketing. In B2B, you can add things like eBooks, case studies, and guided demos to your sales funnel to collect information on the journey from initial contact to sale.
With e-commerce, you’ll instead, want to approach your lead magnet as another way to present an offer—a discount code or rewards program—in exchange for their email information.
For e-commerce brands, there likely won’t be a ton of focus on content marketing, at least not in the traditional sense. So, what you’ll want to do here is focus on building an audience across multiple channels. Think email, Instagram, and of course, Facebook Messenger.
Use Messenger ads to get people to chat with your bot and prove your value by helping them find items, answer questions, or process a return.
So, let’s say Cindy is on your Facebook page. She might ask a question about whether you carry a certain type of shoe in her size. Starting a conversation with the bot allows you to start delivering ads directly to her inbox, so anytime there’s a new style coming out, she’ll get an update.
Once enough people engage with your brand, you can start promoting Sponsored Messages to that audience. Because Messenger ads require explicit opt-in, you’ll need to be careful that you don’t undermine the trust that you’ve worked so hard to obtain.
Sign Up for Google Customer Reviews
Most people check out customer reviews before they book a service, eat at a restaurant, or purchase a product. So, positive reviews can make a difference when it comes to getting new customers in the door at all locations.
People are just as likely to trust other online reviewers’ opinions as someone they know personally.
Make sure you come up with a follow-up strategy that helps you collect online reviews. You might send an email after the service was performed or deploy a quick message on Facebook Messenger. On that note, if you feel that your reviews could be better, you may want to interview customers or send a short survey to identify where efforts could be improved.
Google Shopping is still part of Google’s PPC network, but rather than pay per click, marketers upload their entire product catalog and Google’s algorithm determines what to display based on how well your SKU descriptions match up with searchers’ queries.
Meaning, if you have a large selection of narrow-width shoes in your catalog, Brandi will see options from your store in her SERP results. What’s great about this is, narrow shoes are a very specific search, so turning up exactly what she was looking for is a great way to increase traffic–and likely conversions.
We go over the specifics here, but it’s worth mentioning that Google Shopping ads aren’t designed for everyone. The brands with the most visibility tend to be those with the largest inventory and the most reviews–which let’s face it, might mean going up against Amazon.
Because Google ads offer price extensions, this is also a great place to advertise if your product is priced competitively. Remember, one of Cindy selling points is affordability, and she’ll be far more likely to click on product advertising a reasonable price.
Persona Example 4: For Local Services
Here, we’ll turn our marketing efforts toward the persona example Stay at Home Mom Sara.
- Demographic: Rachel is 36, married and has two kids. She has a background in marketing and is setting up an internet business, but spends most of the day at home taking care of the kids. Currently, Rachel and her husband are living on his income from a high-paying finance job.
- Challenges/Pain Points: Rachel and her husband Dave are feeling some financial pressure, they’re trying to downsize their home and move into a more affordable property.
- Go-to Information Sources: Rachel tends to look at social media sites for information such as Pinterest or Facebook.
Local services companies tend to target the homeowner, offering services like plumbing, landscaping, and HVAC repair.
The basics of local marketing are relatively simple.
You’ll want to generate awareness about your brand and build a reputation within your area as a trustworthy, high-quality service provider. As such, Google requires all local service providers to pass a background check and submit any certifications or licenses required to work in that field.
Below, are a couple of critical things to keep in mind as you put together a local services strategy. And just a hint, Google’s multiple platforms play a significant role here.
Google Local Services Ads
Google Local Services Ads work a bit differently here than your typical text campaign. For one, local services don’t rely on keywords to trigger results. The idea behind it is that everyone looking for an electrician in a specific area will probably type in something similar, so competing for keywords doesn’t make sense.
While that makes things easier when it comes to keyword strategy, it means that optimizing your account is similar to trying to make it into the featured snippet. Make sure you follow the EAT formula, creating in-depth blog content that educates, informs, and takes on a conversational tone. If you play your cards right, the Google Assistant might even read your listing out loud.
So, if Sara types in (or asks Google) something like “best plumber near me” she’ll get a selection of the top-rated plumbers closest to her home.
Focus on Building Loyalty
As is the case with any local business, Local Services providers depend on positive reviews to turn a profit.
Be sure you sign up for all local review sites from Yelp to Google and encourage your customers to leave positive feedback anywhere you have an online presence.
If a customer like Rachel wants to learn more about a Local Services provider, she’ll probably check Yelp, Google, or Facebook before making any booking decisions. She’s letting a stranger into her home, with two small kids, after all.
Once she finds someone suitable and they do a great job, chances are she’ll be happy to write a review.
Just be sure to follow up with a link right after the service asking for a rating–and include a thank you note for good measure.
Wrapping Up Persona Examples
I know we’re just scratching the surface when it comes to building a marketing strategy around different business personas.
E-commerce depends on visuals and likeability, while local services companies depend on convenience and trustworthiness. So, the former might focus on producing entertaining videos or slick product catalogs, while the latter may spend more energy on lead generation and referrals.
The main takeaway here is that brands need to think about every element that comes into play when it comes to reaching their business goals.