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How to Make SaaS Inbound Marketing Work for Multiple Personas

By Kristen HicksApr 27, 2016

saas-inbound-marketingWhen your SaaS product gets into the hands of the right people, it can make a huge difference for them. You’ve seen it. If you can get those people who really need what your software can do to the point of trying it out, then the hardest part of your job is done.

You already know inbound marketing can help with that, but there’s still one big problem: The “right people” for your product don’t fit neatly into any one category. Maybe your software is equally useful for B2C and B2B customers, or maybe it can serve different but equally valuable purposes for different demographics.

You want to make sure your SaaS inbound marketing campaigns are designed with your audience top of mind, but how can you make sure you reach everyone with relevant information when their needs and concerns are different?

While it’s tricky, it can be done. Here’s how.

1. Determine which personas should be your priority

When companies start building out personas, it can be easy to go overboard. Trying to focus on too many personas at once is a rookie mistake.

You don’t need a persona that represents every possible type of person that might ever need your technology. Figure out which customer types are the most valuable to you and focus your efforts there.

Don’t worry about leaving people out if the personas you focus on don’t accurately reflect all of your customers. That’s not their job. In addition to helping you get inside the heads of your prospects, they’re also meant to help you clarify your focus.

You can’t be everything to everyone, so focus your attention on the few (usually three to five) audiences who can best use your product.

2. Identify the benefits and priorities common to each

When you’re confident you’ve narrowed down the list to the main personas that are most important to your company, the next step is to figure out what they have in common. What challenges do they all face? What does your software offer that benefits all of them?

CopyHackers suggests drawing out a Venn diagram to help you better identify the benefits that are useful across personas. This exercise helps provide you with an easy shorthand for where to focus when creating any marketing materials or messaging that should appeal to everyone, like your tagline or the copy on your website home page.

You can provide more specific, relevant messaging in other spaces, but you will need an overall message and positioning that speaks to everyone.

3. Build out separate campaigns for each

The unfortunate truth of marketing to multiple personas is that it means more work. The upside is, of course, the ability to deliver more relevant messaging your prospects will actually respond to.

Irrelevant messaging isn’t just wasted effort on your part; it can hurt your reputation with prospects or even drive them away entirely. Twenty-nine percent of people say they’re less likely to buy products from a company that presents them with irrelevant messaging, and a whopping 54 percent say they’ll unsubscribe after a marketing message that’s not relevant to them.

That shouldn’t be surprising. If someone comes to your website through a PPC ad targeting their persona, but then finds themselves on a page all about the benefits your product offers to another persona, you can bet they’ll bounce and see little need to return.

That makes it well worth the work to build out distinct inbound marketing campaigns for each persona to ensure you’re delivering relevant content and messaging to them each step of the way. Be sure to deliver distinct search ads, content, landing pages and emails specific to their needs and interests.

4. Make it easy for people to find the content that’s for them

Everyone that comes to your website should have an easy time finding what they’re looking for. While we discussed the importance of developing an overall messaging that appeals to everyone for spots like your home page, that doesn’t need to be the only messaging visitors find there. Include a clear visual indication of where your visitors should go next based on which persona they fall into.

When you visit the Buffer site, for example, you get a summary of the overall benefit of its product: “A better way to share on social media,” followed by tabs that let you choose between Individuals and Teams, so any visitor can be sure to see the messaging that’s right for them as they move down the page.

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ExamSoft does something similar on its landing page, with general positioning followed by an option to Select Your Business. Once you do so, you get customized positioning for that specific persona. It offers the same choice on its resources page; visitors can easily limit the resources available based on how relevant they are to their industry.

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Creating content that specifically addresses the needs and interests of each persona is important, but it’s just as important to make sure your target audience can find the content you’ve developed for them without much effort.

5. Make sure your internal data keeps different segments clear

This is important for two reasons:

  • If your internal records don’t keep up with which leads and customers fall into which persona category, you’ll end up sending them irrelevant information (and we already saw how damaging that can be).
  • To improve your marketing efforts over time, well-organized analytics will give you a clear picture of how your specific campaigns are working for your different personas.

Don’t send emails to your individual users about how your software helps business teams collaborate. You’ll be wasting your own time and worse, wasting theirs.

6. Get really good at repurposing

Having specific marketing campaigns built around multiple personas will be more work than targeting all your marketing to one, but it doesn’t have to mean a multiplication of your efforts. Some of the work you do for one campaign can be slightly tweaked so it’s relevant for another.

HubSpot has different blogs for different personas: one for agencies, one for general marketing information, and one for sales departments. Instead of writing three times as much content, whenever a topic they cover could be useful to multiple audiences, HubSpot writes slightly different posts on the same subject with tweaks that make them relevant for each.

A recent post on alternatives to sending a “just checking in” email was published both on their sales and marketing blogs. If you look at the two posts side by side, you’ll see that they cover the same territory—the writer didn’t have to completely rework the whole post and what it was saying—but there are enough little changes to make it a different post that’s crafted more with each specific audience in mind.

Creating great content is a big investment. Any opportunity you can find to make your marketing efforts stretch further is worth considering, and repurposing your content for different personas when it’s relevant to do so is a smart way to get more out of your efforts.

You know an audience is out there that needs what your software can do for them. It’s your job to clearly identify who they are, what they need, and make sure you get the right messaging to the right people to help them find you so they can give your product a try. It’ll take some hard work, careful planning and good organizational skills, but with these tips, you can deliver relevant inbound marketing campaigns to all of your important personas.

PIVOTING YOUR PLAN with Inbound Marketing

Additional Topics: Tech Marketing
The Author

Kristen Hicks

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based copywriter and content marketer specializing in helping businesses connect with customers through content online.
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