The awareness of the importance of the brand persona is growing among agencies and their clients. Unfortunately, there are areas where its potential is not being fully used. Since the persona defines the target audience, its use in sales should seem obvious. In B2B website development, however, its role is somewhat neglected, although it is just as important. After all, in this area of business, the website is not just a sales tool, but a virtual salesperson.
Buyer persona – what is it and why should you use it?
A buyer persona, also known as a customer persona, is a fictitious profile of an ideal customer that the company wants to target. This is the person who will either bring profit to your company, leave a positive review, or contribute to further collaborations with other customers. In other words: a buyer persona is the customer who helps your business grow.
Being based on data analysis and surveys, this profile reflects your patrons: their demographic characteristics, behaviors, and interests. Used correctly, this information can have a huge impact and bring in tangible benefits. Knowing them, you will have an understanding of your customers’ needs. You would be able to improve and personalise your offerings and marketing efforts. It will even positively impact the collaboration between your teams. (If you are interested in this topic and want to explore it in depth, read my previous article: What is a persona?).
The topic of the persona is particularly interesting in relation to the B2B market. Here, the customer journey is usually more complex than in the B2C environment and involves more people with very different agendas and levels of decision-making power. Whereby the sale of a product itself usually takes place outside the company website.
In this article, I will focus on this particular sector. Explaining how to use the buyer persona profile to convert prospects into customers, i.e. how to design a website based on the buyer persona.
Customer-centric web design
Think of buyer personas as your customers and therefore users of your website. This will help you gain a full understanding of their needs. Needs that drive your target audience. To profile them, you need to describe their demographics and characteristics. Identify their problems and find the ways to communicate. Once you have this information, you can take advantage of customer-centric web design. An approach you should always take; not just consider; when creating a website.
Customer-centric web design is an approach that focuses on the future users of the website. Here, the user-customer is the main determinant in the project. Once you recognise the persona as such, you can create a service based on their profile. A service that provides a positive experience for the user and meets their needs:
- by having a user-friendly interface
- containing important information – for the customer
- and facilitating the purchase decision
Ergo: it meets the needs of the target group on the one hand, and the business goals of the company on the other.
This mindset seems pretty obvious, but unfortunately not always. It is not uncommon to come across websites whose target audience is impossible to define. With inappropriate copy, outdated design or bad navigation. Certainly, you can’t expect these sessions to end with a prospect conversion. However, if your website was created with a buyer persona (target audience) in mind, it will become a powerful tool for your business and something the user will enjoy using.
How to use the buyer persona when building a B2B website
One of the reasons a potential customer visits your website is to find a solution. By using your prospective customer’s profile when creating the website, you can focus on their problems and address them. Providing effective solutions. Use all the elements of the website to grab their attention and point them in the right direction. This way, you make it easier for them to find the information they are looking for.
What elements should you focus on?
1. Information architecture – buyer persona path to conversion
Having a clear goal is essential when creating a website. Most B2B companies will choose lead generation as their goal. But what about the needs of the customer? From the user’s perspective, the website should primarily provide information. So how can you combain the interests of these two groups and build the service that meets their needs?
The process of creating a website architecture is the best moment to do this. Map the user’s conversion path, plan their movements on the website. Satisfy their needs and increase the chance of getting their contact information. It is good to start with the strategically important pages – the offer page and the case study page. Followed by the home page and the rest of the sub-pages. Make sure each of them has a contact form to fill out at the end – because this type of conversion is our primary goal. You can create the path in a plain text document or use a tool like Cugle. During the mockup phase of the project, you can go over it with the designer. It’s always good to look at at least three different scenarios where the prospect is ready to contact you or make a purchase:
- New user
- Returning user
- User from the end of the funnel
Page navigation, blog and landing pages
At this stage of the project, special attention should be paid to page navigation – placement of CTA buttons or sublinks in the text.
These elements increase the chances that the user will move around the page along the model path we have established. We will take a closer look at CTA buttons later in this article.
When creating the website architecture, we should also analyse the function of the blog in terms of sales process support. To avoid wasting the potential of blog traffic, we should consider including links from subpages to the offer or case studies and direct contact options in the post structure.
Another aspect to consider are the landing pages. These should be easily accessible from both – paid channels ( by URL construction ) as well as from the website level. This is because they allow for personalisation of content and can be an effective place for persona conversions.
2.Copywriting – the language of your buyer persona
Copywriting is like two sides of the same coin. Where one represents the imige of the company, its voice. The way it wants to be seen. But the other manifests what potential customers need to hear in order to be persuaded to buy its products. If the copywriter knows the buyer-persona profile and the company’s brand, he can find a way to satisfy both. When you know the problems and needs of your customers, you can craft copy to address them. Include in your offer all the solutions and answers they are looking for. The narrower the product niche and the more defined the customer profile, the easier it is to create the content. If the brand has multiple buyer profiles, consider dynamic content. Landing pages categorised by the prospect’s product knowledge can also be helpful.
Try to use the language your customers use, but don’t forget the character of your brand. The copywriter should find a harmony in his writing style. He should talk about your products the way your customer talks, keeping your brand image in mind. Using mind maps can be helpful in product description. Create them based on your buyer profile. They can serve as a glossary of sorts that copywriters can draw inspiration from. To describe the key benefits from the customer’s point of view, use an X and Y matrix. It allows you to identify a unique selling proposition for a particular customer profile, but also the market position of the product in relation to the competition.
3.Design – who is your boss?
Website design is another area where you should consider your buyer persona profile. In terms of usability, navigation, and access to information, the persona profile can be very useful. The designer should use graphics to highlight the most important information to the user. A user-centered design can make the prospect engage more deeply with the website, but also guide their movements. The user will be led to the information they are looking for. Graphics should complement the content and grab the visitor’s attention. You can use micro-animations to trigger the desired action (e.g. click, scroll). CTA buttons can point out where the user can find the information that is important to them.
When it comes to content, the designer should present it in the form that is most accessible to the visitor. Think charts, infographics, or videos. Knowing the customer’s interests or the industry they are in can be very helpful in making decisions. Information such as age or gender can be used to create a ” building blocks” on which to base the project. All of this information and elements can help tailor the content to the user’s preferences. Especially if the visual side is usually dictated by the company’s branding.
Matching the needs of the client with those of the prospect can be a challenge for the designer. No one will deny how important it is that the client likes the website he paid for. However it would be a mistake not to consider the user’s feelings in this matter.
In the time when design solutions are selected, it should be clear that the profile of the peronas is the profile of the end user. The user who will fill out the contact form, which proves the effectiveness of the website.
4. Functionalities for B2B – increase your chances with the client
Knowing the hurdles that the B2B buyer persona has to overcome on the path to purchase. Having the information about what they need to make a decision. You can consider what kind of on-page functionalities will help with their conversion.
The B2B customers who make the decision to contact you, need detailed data. Information that will allow them to evaluate the product and ensure that it meets all their needs. In such cases, dedicated solutions are very helpful. Calculators, search engines, planning tools. Even newsletters can educate customers coming from the early stages of the funnel. Try to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think about what form of contact they would prefer. Do they like chatting with salespeople or do they prefer the written form? Maybe a face-to-face meeting is what they want? Think about solutions you can use, like a live chat or video conference. Never make it difficult for them to contact you or try to force them to do it your way. Honestly, that’s never a good start to a business relationship.
Before you decide which of the above functionalities to use, prioritise the needs. Decide which ones are essential to converting the prospect and which ones are just a friendly “hello” in his direction. Use the MoSCoW method (Must Have, Should Have, Could Have, Won’t Have) to evaluate solutions. This is a great way to show the client the number of options and makes it easier to select the ones with the highest potential.
5. CTA Buttons – within reach
Call-to-action buttons can increase the conversion rate. They are another element in design where the persona profile should be taken into account.
Whether it’s a slogan or a creative message, there is no formula for a successful CTA’s. However, if you know your customer profile, stop looking for generic solutions. Think about what best fits his or her nature and needs.
It’s great if you personalise your CTS’s. Moreover, if they complement the content and are a natural continuation of the reading. Such a solution can be used in the case of a landing page that relates to a specific topic, or in the blog post. In the case of pages with a broader range of topics , CTAs should clearly communicate what happens when they are clicked. This will surely encourage your user to click on it.
Equally important is at what point/moment the customer is on the purchase path. A user who is aware of their needs will listen to different arguments than someone who wants to download a trial version of your product. To engage them at different stages of awareness, you need to place CTS in line with their buying path. If you plan the course of events in the right way you would be able to use those information. They also will show you which of the users spent the most time on your website.
6. Page Tags – find what you’re looking for
Tags allow you to categorise website content. By defining them using profiles of your prospects, you increase interest in your products. Tags are another tool for your B2B customer to find the solution they are looking for.
If you know what questions your customer has when they visit your website, you can help them find the answer by tagging the text. You should always place tags on content in blogs and case studies. These are the first places the prospect will look for information.
A category scheme system is equally important. It’s more general than tags, but just as helpful for the buyer persona. Categories can help the prospect find the problem and search for a solution. As with tags, you can use the same classification method for your blog, portfolio, and case studies. If your offer contains more solutions, you can use this system on your main page as well.
7. Strategic Assumptions – at last but not least
If you want to use the customer-centric approach, you must first present the profile of the customer. This presentation must be made before the team starts working on the project. The agency that has the profile of the ideal customer must discuss the project goals with the client. The best time to do this is before the actual work begins, workshops are ideal for this.
The main focus should be on the purpose of the website. Clear questions should be asked. What role does the website play in the company’s strategy? What role does it play from the customer’s perspective? As a business owner, we would expect the website to increase the number of conversions. As users, we would like it to satisfy our need for information. At the same time, we must not forget the representative aspects, of having a new, more attractive website. In the initial stages of work, we should look at all the goals and establish how we want the website to work. It is equally important to determine how the success of the goals will be measured. This will allow us to track the success of the project. To do this, we can compare the old and new versions using the data history, taken from Google Analytics.
Another thing to consider is the number of languages on the website. It is worth looking at this from several angles. Count all the markets the website covers. The cultural differences may also require adaptations in text and design. It needs to be investigated whether the same arguments apply to Anna from the UK as they apply to Anna from Poland.
With Buyer Persona to Success in B2B
I hope this article has helped convince you about the benefits of the buyer persona profile in web design. These include increasing engagement, reducing bounce rate and improving lead quality. By being able to meet the needs of both the customer and the website owner. The road to get there can be bumpy, but I promise it’s worth the effort.
Despite the obvious benefits, it can be difficult for the agency to convince the client to this approach. That’s why it’s good to suggest the customer-centric attitude at the very beginning of the project. Develop the persona profile together with the client – if the company doesn’t already have one. Involve him in the whole process of creation. This way, you’ll not only help him understand it, but also discover the value and opportunities their offer. Plus, it can often lead to interesting conclusions. In my career, I’ve often seen these processes influence the way companies present their offerings. For instance, additional services were added, or two were combined into one. Sometimes even the company’s value proposition was improved. Not only does this result in a website that converts well, but it also can make clients deeply reflect on their business.
B2B website – a virtual salesman
In conclusion, if you want to use this approach and ultimately benefit from it, you need to keep in mind that an ongoing website requires constant analysis. This will help verify if the assumptions made are working and the solutions used have achieved the expected goals. It will show if the persona is reflected in the organic traffic of the website. Like the customer who uses it, the website behaves like a living organism that is subject to change and needs regular updates. I think this phrase is especially important when we talk about the B2B sector. In this market, the website, like a virtual salesman, has to listen to the needs of the customers. Looking for new ways to win them over.