No one knows more about using the new Real-Time tools and strategies to spread ideas, influence minds and build business than David Meerman Scott. He's a marketing strategist, speaker, advisor to emerging companies, and author of ten books including three international bestsellers.
In early 2008, Bozeman, MT based RightNow Technologies kicked off a project to rebuild the company Web site around buyer personas.
As you probably know, a buyer persona is distinct group of potential customers, an archetypal person whom you want your marketing to reach.
Creating a site based on buyer personas gets you away from an egotistical site based on your products and services (which nobody really cares about, after all). What people do care about are themselves and answers to their problems, which is why buyer personas are so critical for marketing success.
"The RightNow persona development exercise was broader than just for creating Web site content but was designed for all marketing content," says Steve Bell, Product Marketing Manager for RightNow. "The goal of the Web site project was to turn RightNow.com into a Website that Sells. We created the new Web site with conversion paths for each persona, and more overall conversion points than the original site."
To help people at RightNow build appropriate information for the site, detailed buyer personas were created for four different personas:
- Atul - Director of IT (technical evaluator of RightNow Technologies)
- Chuck – CS Director (operational prospect for RightNow Technologies)
- Oliva – SVP (a RightNow Technologies strategic prospect)
- Trinh – Financial Analyst (a RightNow Technologies information seeker)
"Chuck's content is built around his specific needs 'I need to...', which are illustrated on the home page and take him down a specific conversion path," Bell says. "Olivia, who is more senior, is more focused on strategy and is more brand conscious. So a big part of the banner areas on home page are dedicated to her, such as 'Weathering the Storm'. The CEO blog and the customer experience strategies are also targeted at Olivia. There is a brand new technology section dedicated to Atul."
Bell and his team developed details about each buyer persona. The best way to do this is to interview representatives of your buyer personas. As an example, some details about Chuck’s goals include:
- Chuck wants to improve his team's efficiency, due to his inability to fund new hires to keep up with demand.
- Chuck wants to decrease his staff's call and email volume, so they can spend more time with customers who really need help instead of routinely answering the same questions.
- Chuck needs to find a solution that doesn't involve IT and can be implemented quickly.
- Chuck wants to improve customer satisfaction, but he assumes that will happen if he can reduce his team’s call and e-mail volume.
It's worth clarifying that the detailed information about your buyer personas is for your internal information and shouldn't be posted onto the site. However, what you learn helps you to create valuable information to be posted on the public site. For example, you’ll notice on the RightNow site that there is a list of questions on the left navigation. The links that these point to are specifically built around buyer personas. I need to transform my call center I need to capture customer feedback I need to add live chat
According to Bell, the results have exceeded expectations. Here are a few before (August '08) and after (November ‘08) metrics:
- 4x increase in overall conversions
- 5x increase in live demo request conversions
- 3.4x increase in Flash demo conversions
- The CEO blog is new and now has subscribers in the thousands
As the RightNow Technologies example shows, there are clear benefits to marketing based on detailed understanding of buyer personas. In particular, when you stop talking about you and your products and services and instead use the web to educate and inform, you will be more successful.