How Buyer Personas Can Enhance Your Email Marketing

The days of considering your target audience solely through statistical averages are over. Modern digital marketers use buyer personas, hypothetical customers that are based on both quantitative and qualitative research.

You probably already know about the importance of audience research. Put simply, you need to know not just the demographics of your average audience, but also their pain points, motivations, and reasons to engage with a brand like yours. Through a buyer persona, you can concretize the research to create more relevant and actionable marketing tactics--including email marketing.

Rather than targeting a 25-35 year old professional female living within a 50 mile radius of your business, you're now looking to direct your marketing toward Jennifer,  a 28 year-old sales executive living in Sampletown. As a result, you're able to better direct your messaging, creating more personal emails that succeed in driving your leads through the funnel. That's how buyer personas can enhance your email marketing. 

1) Focus on Value

For any email to succeed, it needs to deliver actual value. Simply being the 100th email in your audience's inbox advertising your expertise is not enough to gain attention when the average U.S. person now receives more than 100 emails every day.

But how do you know what that value is in the eyes of your audience? Demographics may not give you enough clues. A persona, however, does. If you create a profile of a hypothetical ideal customer, you can use that information to estimate exactly what that person might find valuable.

The most successful emails address and solve pain points, and are valuable enough for your audience to take action and share. By establishing buyer personas, you can accomplish both of these goals at the same time.

2) Personalize Your Messaging

In email marketing, personalization is not optional. To succeed, you need to make sure that each message you send not just adds valuable, but also makes each of your recipients feel like the email is directed specifically towards them.

There's a reason that personalized emails receive 27% higher open rates and 11% higher click through rates according to one 2016 study. Given the above-mentioned crowding issues, you need to make sure that your content relates directly to audience needs. And through buyer personas, you can get closer in accomplishing that feat.

Think back to the example mentioned in the introduction. Can you more easily personalize your email toward a 25 to 35 year-old female, or sales executive Jennifer? The answer is obvious. The more real the audience seems in your mind, the more effectively you can segment your recipients and increase the personalization within the email.

3) Drive Contacts Through the Funnel

Finally, don't underestimate the value of buyer personas when it comes to driving your leads through your sales funnel. At its core, this is where email marketing is at its most valuable; after all, it's a core nurturing mechanism in any type of marketing automation and inbound marketing context.

To move from new lead to sales qualified, your contacts need a consistent experience that reliably touches on their pain points, while also creating a sense of value and loyalty toward your brand that is otherwise reserved for existing customers. Creating a qualified sales lead requires between 7 and 13 marketing touches, and many of them will come through their email inbox.

Using personas, you can maximize the effectiveness of each of these touches while simultaneously minimizing cognitive dissonance. Rather than treating each email as its own entity, you begin to recognize them as a string of closely connected tactics following a common goal and core message. Success, in this case, is generated not just by your individual emails, but their combined value.

In short, buyer personas can significantly enhance your email marketing. You will not only improve the personalization and relevance for your audience, but also create increased value while more effectively guiding leads through your sales funnel. A simple exercise in creating these personas, then, can lead to considerable improvements in your email marketing efforts.

Bryan Caplan