As a B2B marketer, you’ve already heard all about how personalization increases engagement and conversions. And it’s true – providing buyers with content relevant to their specific needs and buying stage can take your marketing efforts to a whole new level.

Many marketers have invested in marketing automation and contpersonasent management solutions with personalization capabilities. These solutions let you change what content a buyer sees, such as articles targeted specifically to a buyer’s needs and interests. This means buyers can immediately find what they’re looking for – helping to boost buyer engagement while reducing the likelihood they’ll grow impatient and quickly leave your site.

But before you get started with personalization, there are essential steps you need to take to ensure you get the most out of your marketing investments. The first of these steps is building in-depth buyer personas – these will serve as the foundation to successful content targeting and personalization.

Buyer personas are representations of the actual buyers influencing or making decisions about your solutions, and you need to build them before you can create personalized content for them. But building buyer personas that enable personalization requires more than just mere templates and high-level demographic information. Rather, you need rich, in-depth personas that are developed in collaboration with key internal stakeholders and validated against your CRM data. Comprehensive personas let you understand what type of content and information your buyers want – in other words, what’s valuable to them. After all, content should be about your buyer, not your company.

Here are some tips on how to develop and leverage buyer personas for your personalization efforts.

Build a Rich Buyer Persona

In our infographics, the essential layers of a buyer persona and example of a buyer persona, we highlight the attributes comprising a useful, robust persona and how to gather these insights through interviews with customers and Sales.  While all of these attributes are essential, there are buyer persona attributes that are particularly relevant for developing personalized content, including:

  • Personal goals
  • Current business challenges
  • Current fears
  • Primary need for a solution
  • Desired outcomes
  • Concerns or major questions about a solution
  • Primary buying criteria

This information allows you to determine the content topics most valuable to a particular persona, so you can tailor their experience on your website and create better targeted content and messaging for emails, blogs, and campaigns.

For instance, say you want to start out simple with your personalization efforts. Now that you have your key personas fleshed out, you can segment your audience on your homepage. Have a tab, for example, for digital marketers and a tab for online publishers so they can easily find content relevant to them.

Or, at a deeper level, you can develop content, for example, based on the buyer’s concerns or major questions about a solution. Say your buyer persona reveals that your CXO buyer is worried about long integration times and length of time to see an ROI. He will not consider – and he will not let his team consider – your solution if this concern is not addressed immediately. So in your personalization efforts, you know to share case studies, analyst reports, and whitepapers early in the buying journey that prove your quick integration capabilities and fast ROI delivery.

Deliver the Right Messages

Marketers must have the right messages to personalize. Taking into consideration your overall corporate messaging and the information within your buyer personas, you should list, in order of importance, the key business benefits your company offers that matter most to each of your personas. When developing these benefits, think about the top challenges they’re looking to address and the solution criteria most important to them. There will be many places, such as web copy, whitepaper descriptions, or email headlines, where you can easily swap one message for another depending on the persona and their buying stage.

For example, one of your key corporate messaging themes may be ease-of-use. Your buyer personas tell you that for your Director of Marketing persona the benefit to focus on is marketing agility, and for your app developer persona the benefit to focus on is seamless SDK integration.

Map Your Content

You will need to review all of your content and then map each piece – including blogs, offers, whitepapers, ebooks, case studies, testimonials, etc. – to each of your personas. Be sure to actually document which persona each piece of content is targeted to. You can take this a step further and also map this content by buying stage. Continue documenting all content you create moving forward. This will both improve and speed your personalization and content targeting efforts.

Continually Update Your Personas

Developing personas should not be a one-time project, or even one that you revisit just once a year. Personas are constantly evolving, whether due to new market trends, new technologies, or organizational shifts. To ensure your personas are accurate, they should be refined on an ongoing basis. A buyer persona solution that lets key stakeholders easily share feedback and that integrates with key CRM and MA data ensures that personas are always up-to-date. As a result, you better understand how to adapt your content accordingly. Especially when it comes to personalization, where the tiniest details are critical, taking a proactive approach to personas is imperative.

Developing insightful buyer personas through collaboration and ongoing refinement is not just a good idea for personalization – it’s absolutely essential to enabling personalization. Building your personas, determining the best messaging for each persona, mapping your content to your personas, and ensuring currency and accuracy of your personas are all necessary steps to undertake before getting started with personalization. The good thing is that executing these steps is not hard or time-consuming when you’re leveraging the right tools and best practices. And the result – you will create content that is meaningful to each of your buyers, get the most out of your marketing automation investments, and provide more targeted interactions that drive engagement.