How to Build Buyer Personas for Lead-Generating Websites
Despite investing time and money in a professionally designed website, many B2B companies are still struggling to generate leads online. But why?
In our experience, B2B websites often fail to attract attention from the right audience.
In today’s digital marketplace, personalisation is the key that unlocks the lead door to a steady stream of inbound enquiries. If traffic grows but conversions and sales don’t follow, there’s usually a disconnect between what the buyer is searching for and what your company is offering.
It doesn’t mean it’s the wrong audience; but it does mean you need to take a step back from the “sales mindset” and look at the website through a potential client’s eyes.
It’s also possible that the design and messaging didn’t create an easy path for leads and potential customers to follow or it’s not set up as an effective inbound marketing website.
To help visitors follow a specific conversion path on your website, you should create buyer personas and implement a buyer enablement strategy for each.
Gartner defines buyer enablement as “the process of providing customers with information that helps them and enables them” to complete the buying or inquiry process.
Why are so many companies failing to provide website visitors with “buyer enablement” pathways online?
1. Marketing has changed
Most B2B teams are still capturing leads from trade shows, industry events, and old-fashioned networking. The website serves as an online brochure and is not designed to convert visits into leads.
2. Increased competition
It’s harder to get heard online and keep prospects engaged. More businesses are competing for attention of often saturated markets. Companies are investing in marketing automation technology to put their brand in front of consumers 24/7.
3. Budgets are limited
Company leaders expect a return on investment from digital marketing efforts. If your website isn’t generating enough interest or capturing leads for the sales team, it can be difficult to get more marketing budget approved for a website redesign or conversion optimisation.
So what’s the secret to a successful lead generating website?
At Hub Masters, we guide our clients to create content for buyer personas in a three step process:
- Define the most qualified and best fit target customer (audience targeting).
- Build primary and secondary buyer personas that are part of this audience.
- Outline the buyer’s journey and create enablement content.
Let’s clearly define these processes and break each of the steps down into manageable task lists using the example of an IT consulting firm.
Don’t have time to read the entire post?
Make sure you get a copy of our User Journey Mapping guide before you go
Define your ideal customer
By defining your best fit customer you can start to understand their goals, challenges and pain-points more accurately. Once you have a deeper understanding of these challenges, you will be able to develop content that resonates more clearly.
To help with this part of the process we suggest reviewing any data in your CRM or speak to the sales team to gain insight. Who are your most successful clients? What common traits do they share? How do they buy online?
Build Buyer Personas
Today’s consumer is looking for answers to their questions, seeking information, and searching for trustworthy brands, not a sales pitch.
Studies show that B2B customers spend time doing independent research online before contacting a company. If your company is going to capture their attention online, you need to do more than show up in a list of ads or the first page of Google.
Your design and content should speak directly to your buyer in a format that works for them; it needs to speak to their specific persona at the right time.
Does the definition of buyer persona change from B2C to B2B? No, it does not. Shopify is primarily a B2C storefront, and their definition matches a B2B buyer persona:
So many marketers avoid building buyer personas because the process can be time consuming.
You don’t need to invest in days of planning or endless meetings to define your buyer personas. Click here to make a copy of our Buyer Persona Templates in Google Slides and share it with your team; it won’t take long to start building a basic persona profile once you starting talking to your sales team or looking at data that you have stored in your CRM.
The Buyer’s Journey and Sales Enablement Content
Your company’s biggest time investment should focus on defining the buyers’ journey and creating content that enables sales.
HubSpot does a great job of explaining the relationship between these two items:
If you begin researching your buyer’s journey but find the process challenging, you’re not alone. At Hub Masters, we’ve created an internal process to help our clients identify the journey. Send us a message or book a quick consultation and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.
Understanding bounce rates to help optimise enablement content
A higher than average bounce rate is calculated from single page visits (bounces) divided by total sessions. In other words, the bounce rate tells us that the website isn’t giving visitors the information they are searching for or they can’t easily find it on your website.
You can view the bounce rate for individual pages on your site in the Behavior > Site Content section of Google Analytics. Google bounce rate measures the percentage of single interaction visits to your website.
According to Similarweb, the average bounce rate for business service websites is closer to 40%:
Audience targeting is the first step toward finding the right “enablement” language and reducing the bounce rate of new website visitors.
Google defines target audiences as being “made up of segments, or groups of people with specific interests, intents, and demographic information…”. The help section in Google Ads breaks down segment types even further:
- Affinity: Define audience passions, habits, interests
- Detailed demographics: gender, age, education level, income, age range
- Milestones: For B2B companies, focus on career and personal live milestones like promotions, family changes, etc. (we’ll help you connect these dots in the next step
What questions can you ask to help develop enablement content?
- What industry topics do our best clients find the most interesting?
- What are they passionate about in the office?
- What’s their usual education level?
- What’s the median age? Salary bracket?
- What career milestones are they pursuing?
- What type of personal milestones have they reached or are they pursuing?
Building a broad audience targeting list can be completed with Google Ads data, or by compiling common traits among high-value clients. Again, audience targeting gives you a framework for creating more in-depth personas in the next step.
It’s quite a process, but one that is well worth it!
The fastest way to build buyer personas and identify key steps in the buyer journey online is to talk with your sales team members.
If your sales team doesn’t have specific feedback to offer, gather a list of the top questions that prospects ask when they make contact. Consider creating content around answers to those specific questions in a variety of formats and offerings. Publish the content and begin measuring results.
Website usability and conversion optimisation can be a complex, multistep initiative, and the process may look different for each industry.
Getting started is a step in the right direction, and if you get stuck along the way, call on Hub Masters to help you.