Creating Buyer Personas for Email Marketing Campaigns

|by Amy Birch

Inbound marketing is all about creating content that your contacts want to read. 

Sending the same message to everybody is a recipe for a marketing disaster. You should cater for the different needs, desires, and ambitions of your email recipients in the content you create. 

Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of the type of person that you wish to target with your marketing collateral. These can help you create perfectly tailored content that performs.

Read this post to find out how.

How to create buyer personas for email marketing

Creating buyer personas for email marketing is a key part of developing a strategy for your email campaigns. 

You can use these semi-fictional representations of your target customer to predict what type of content they will read. 

These representations should be formed from a combination of existing customer data and insights from market research. You could even ask your existing customers a set of questions to collect information about how they interact with your company.

To create a buyer persona that you can use for your email marketing strategies requires you to think like the person you are targeting. 

Brainstorming is a great way to quickly generate ideas; gather ideas from as many people as possible to create the most comprehensive data set. The more specific details you can gather about your ideal customer, the better as this will give you a clearer picture of what they want to hear.

It’s often useful to get your sales and marketing teams in the same room to chat through their requirements too as they’ll often have different targets and ideas but are all working towards the same goal.

The information you need to include in the buyer persona

A buyer persona should include a wealth of information which is useful or influential to marketing purposes in some way. 

Whilst it's not always possible to collect detailed information about customers directly, being able to predict how they'll behave and react increases the likelihood that you will produce relevant content. 

Econsultancy recently reported that personalised emails had a higher open rate than their generic counterparts. As a result, expect a higher open and engagement rate from campaigns which are created specifically for an individual recipient.

Some details such as what a person likes to read in their spare time may seem irrelevant to your purposes. However, we suggest jotting them down anyway when brainstorming about your buyer persona. 

Include as many details as possible as this helps you to imagine how a person may think or act or even feel. Playing on the heartstrings of your email recipient can improve email performance in some cases.

We even suggest giving your buyer persona a name. Although they're fictional, giving your buyer persona a name brings them to life. Calling your male buyer persona Dave and your female persona Jane, for example, gives you a reference point for all your email sends. 

We suggest creating a picture of your ideal customer if you can; this helps focus your mind and confirms the identity of the person you're targeting. After detailing your buyer persona’s physical attributes, desires, professional background, and demographics, it shouldn’t be too difficult to imagine what they look like.

Some suggested fields for creating your buyer personas are given below:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Profession/Role
  • Interests
  • Devices Owned
  • Reading Habits
  • Favourite Brands

Extra buyer persona considerations

Great, so you've created buyer personas for each of your perfect customers detailing everything you can think of about them. 

There are two further personas that you now need to create: Your Company’s Advocates and The Industry Influencer.

When creating the buyer personas specific to your company, you should also consider your company’s advocates. Creating content for your company’s most avid supporters means that they'll continue to promote your brand in a positive light. Even if the individual doesn't make a purchase after reading your content, they have the potential to sway the opinions of others.

Create a buyer persona focused on your industry influencers. Your industry’s most well-known figures are likely to have a large social following and cast a large influence. Impress them with your content and you're likely to see your popularity rocket. Producing content tailored to your industry’s influencers increases the chance that they'll share your content on social networks – improving your brand visibility.

Using buyer personas for email marketing

Each email campaign that you send should have a pre-defined goal. 

When sending an email campaign, you should choose which buyer persona you're targeting before creating the email. To be successful, you first need to identify how you're going to analyse campaign performance When setting email marketing goals, consider why you're sending the customer an email at this point in time:

  • Is it important to drive email opens so that your email recipients read the copy enclosed in your campaign?
  • Are you simply aiming to build awareness of your brand?
  • Do you want the customer to convert as a direct result of receiving your email?
  • Is the email recipient ready to convert?
  • Is your email list segmented appropriately for this email send?

Consider how you expect the recipient to react to your email campaign and try to pre-empt any questions or problems that they face. 

If your target audience all seem to struggle with one specific problem, solve it for them in an email campaign. This is a great way to quickly boost your popularity and show people that you're engaged in what they're thinking and feeling.

After you've created each email for your intended buyer persona, consider whether it's specific for the campaign goal. Review your campaign and check whether each element of your email is tailored for your intended recipient. 

The process doesn’t stop when the email is delivered. In order to be effective, you need to monitor campaign results to check that your tactics are working. Gather feedback and adapt your campaigns accordingly.

Things to consider when creating emails for your buyer personas

  • The subject line and preview text: Consider what your buyer persona needs to see in their inbox to open your email. Will recipients be swayed by an emotional plea or are they more likely to be convinced by hard facts and figures? Split test small adjustments to your email subject lines and preview text; although only minor changes, these may make a significant difference to campaign performance.
  • Lead generation: When creating a lead magnet for lead generation, it's important to consider the type of person that you wish to target. To create an attractive resource, marketers need to be aware of what is likely to attract their target customer.
  • Email copy: People change the way they speak according to the person listening. We think email marketers should apply the same principle to emails. Tailoring email copy to the recipient may take time but will improve the way your content is received. Whilst it's important to be consistent with your brand messaging, small adaptations to your email copy change the way your message is perceived.
  • Segmentation: Segment your email list to discover opportunities within your existing customer base. When creating a buyer persona, the personas need to relate in some way to a segment of your customer base. Segmentation allows you to identify coherent customer groups which you can target. The persona works in conjunction with the segment to build a more detailed and coherent picture of the recipient.

The benefits of using buyer personas for email marketing

Once you've identified your perfect customer profile you can start to use this to influence the way you attract new customers. 

When using multiple buyer personas across your business, it's important to tailor your emails to each. Different personas are likely to interact with their emails differently, open them on different devices, and respond to email copy differently.

Here's an example:

If you've identified a young, fashion-conscious mother as your buyer persona, a relaxed, conversational tone is likely to be effective. You may also consider how the mother will interact with her emails; she's likely to be on the go meaning that it's important to optimise your emails for mobile devices. Furthermore, she's likely to prefer a brief email with clear visuals depicting the product that is being marketed. You can use these insights to ensure that your emails are designed and written accordingly.

Summary

Creating buyer personas for email marketing can help you stay on track with your marketing strategy. 

Ensure that all of your marketing materials are designed specifically for your target audience by using buyer personas. As inboxes are becoming increasingly overcrowded, you need to produce emails which catch the eye of the recipient. Making emails more personal and tailored to your recipients is an excellent way to improve email performance.

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