For a period of time, inbound marketers viewed paid advertising as a form of heresy. It was deemed “interruptive,” “annoying,” and some even considered it cheating.
The truth, however, is that paid advertising does have a place in inbound marketing. And when done correctly, it can enhance your existing inbound marketing program.
But if you’re a small business, spending a lot of money testing the efficacy of social advertising can be daunting. It’s important for you to make the most of your time and shorten the learning curve as much as possible.
One of the best ways to do that is by focusing on one of inbound marketing’s most foundational tools: buyer personas.
Developing the right persona is the starting point not only for your content creation, but also for your paid ads. Your personas will inform the audiences that you will target on different ad networks. They’ll also affect the copy you write, the offers you create, the advertisements you run and the way you interact with your customers.
Because buyer personas are so foundational, it’s important to be thorough when researching your ideal customer. The more information you have, the more creative and effective you can get with your ad targeting.
When conducting research, it’s often helpful to start broad, then get into specifics. If your business doesn’t already have an established customer base to interview, look at competitors who have found success in your field. Scan their social media pages to see the type of people commenting and use your findings to help you identify different customer types (you may have more, but start with two). From here, you can iron out the details. Establish demographic information such as location, age, gender, race, marital status, earnings etc. Next, move into the psychographic details. What are your persona’s attitudes, interests, lifestyle, values, motivations?
Don’t be afraid to ask more out-of the-box questions like: What forms of media do they primarily use? What music do they listen to? What TV shows do they watch? What are their concerns or struggles? The goal with this is to humanize your persona as much as possible. Finally, give them a name that allows you to quickly recall which persona they are (Finance Fran, Manager Matt, Landlord Luke, etc.)
As the online space becomes more crowded, the importance of ad targeting has only increased. It is essential for advertisers to tap into a niche audience that is actively searching for what their business has to offer.
Thankfully, the personas you’ve built are an excellent jumping-off point for the granular details you can address with Facebook ads. Demographic information you’ve gathered will inform your ad targeting while the psychographic information you’ve laid out will help you write copy that resonates with each of your personas.
Once you’ve established your persona’s general demographic information and interests, you can narrow your audience even further with “detailed targeting” which allows you to include and exclude people based on a variety of criteria. You can also set up a Facebook pixel on your site so you can retarget audience members based on the landing pages they’ve seen.
Buyer personas are by no means set in stone. They are constantly being modified or altered based on the information you’re receiving from your audience. As you start to grow your following, you’ll notice trends and common sentiments that will continue the evolution of your personas.
You may find that some of the assumptions about your personas aren’t realistic - and that’s ok. The beauty of paid advertising is that it allows you to measure how well you’re connecting with your personas. This vital feedback can help you refine their characteristics even further, and gain a deeper understanding of their online behavior.