Today I am going to discuss the concept of inbound marketing and the buyer persona.

What is inbound marketing?

The concept inbound marketing is a technique which covers online business relations and is primarily focused on earning audiences interest through various mediums.  These mediums include white papers, blogs, SEO, social media marketing, podcasts, videos and other content that will attract your target audience.

What is a buyer persona?

A buyer persona is defined as your ideal customer and it is important that you know everything about them but it is how you obtain all the information about them that is the challenge.

How often do you get a personalised email (well supposedly personalised email) that is either addressed to your surname or no name and very rarely do they get your first name right?  It is not even a topic that you are interested in. How do you feel when you get that email? Don’t know about you but I generally delete them, if they want to send out personalised emails they should know who I am and what I am interested in.

Databases that companies keep generally don’t have your correct or complete details and with the POPI Act, the storage of personal information is going to be a challenge.

POPI refers to South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information Act which seeks to regulate the Processing of Personal Information.

Personal Information broadly means any information relating to an identifiable, living natural person or juristic person (companies, CC’s etc.) and includes, but is not limited to:

  • contact details: email, telephone, address etc.
  • demographic information: age, sex, race, birth date, ethnicity etc.
  • history: employment, financial, educational, criminal, medical history
  • biometric information: blood type etc.
  • opinions of and about the person
  • private correspondence etc.
Processing means broadly anything done with the Personal Information, including collection, usage, storage, dissemination, modification or destruction (whether such processing is automated or not).

Some of the obligations under POPI are to:

  • only collect information that you need for a specific purpose
  • apply reasonable security measures to protect it
  • ensure it is relevant and up to date
  • only hold as much as you need, and only for as long as you need it
  • allow the subject of the information to see it upon request

(information on POPI taken from https://www.popi-compliance.co.za)

Now whilst the Act has been signed into Law it has not been given a commencement date as yet but it is important to be mindful of what the requirements are under this Act and how it will affect email and other inbound marketing campaigns.

How do you get to know your ideal customer?ideal-client

How do you get to know your ideal customer, what his or her likes and dislikes are so that you can tailor your communication with them?  One way is to conduct buyer research studies consisting of questionnaires which they would need to complete, but normally they won’t complete these unless you dangle a “carrot” in front of them either offering a free white paper, chance to win a prize or similar and you can then collect relevant information about them.  The  challenge is keeping the information current and constantly engaging your audience.

Researching topics they would be interested in so you can fill in all the required gaps and keep them constantly engaged with you.  Write interesting blogs, record topical podcasts, share relevant content and promote social interaction.  Before you send out that email ensure that you address your customer personally, it is not good business practice if you don’t and it will no doubt irritate the receiver of the emails.

By understanding your customer’s demographics, role, and business problems, you can create better targeted content, emails and offers for them, be seen as a thought leader, grow your followers and expand your community and through these means you will get to know more about your ideal customers and grow your business exponentially.

Lastly, don’t send out that personalised email if you don’t have all of your buyer persona’s information, because it will end up in the deleted items box without being read!