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Buyer Personas: It’s Time to Get Emotional

By May 11, 2016May 13th, 2019

At some point, we’ve all made purchases based on an emotional impulse. Whether it was that new must-have putterer from the golf store, the fit tracker that promised to help capture ever calorie you burn or even just a candy bar in the checkout line at the grocery store — whatever the item, very rarely do we actually need these things. But something about them made them irresistible at that moment of purchase. And though we may later regret, or question why we made that purchase,  due to their size and cost, rarely do they create any financial hardship.

But for many small to medium B2Bs looking for business solutions designed to get their organization to the next level, the same can’t always be said. You may think that because of the financial risk to the organization emotions don’t play a factor in the decision-making process. But the fact is, when it comes to making purchasing decisions, the personal value a B2B solution offers has twice the impact of the business value it provides. What that shows us is that B2B prospects can become emotionally attached to the brands they choose and a smart marketer will learn to tap into that emotion.

The first question you may ask yourself is what exactly is personal value?  According to businessdictionary.comPersonal Value is a code of ethics and belief system of an individual.  Although it’s a pretty cut and dry explanation, understanding the personal value of your target market is a different story. So how exactly do you create an inbound marketing strategy that will press the emotional buttons of your prospects? Buyer personas.

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. A well-developed buyer persona will give you the tools you need to create campaigns that touch your prospects emotions – good and bad.

Address fears and pain points

Humans rarely decide to make a deep meaningful change when their life is smooth or at least status-quo. Change is more likely to occur when the situation around them become uncomfortable or painful. This is true in both your prospect’s personal and business life.

When creating a persona really digging down and finding fears and pain points will help you create messages that keep your prospects emotions in the forefront and helps them to move down the path of change and to a product and/or service that can help them solve that issue.  Questions that can help you reach these fears and pain points include:

  • What is the worst that could happen to your persona if their problem isn’t eventually solved? 
  • How would this make your persona feel? 
  • How might their boss react (if applicable)? 
  • What would their friends think? 
  • What could happen to their career or lifestyle? 
  • What could be the financial consequences?
  • What could be the professional consequences? 
  • What could be the personal consequences? 
  • What is your persona secretly afraid of? 

What’s in it for them?

While touching upon pain points and fears is important you must also not forget the positives too.  Remember personal value has twice the impact on a B2B purchase that business value does. As marketers, we need to show how our product or service can enhance the life of the person with the buying power. Now this enhancement probably won’t come in the form of a brand new car or luxury vacation, instead, it will be something more emotionally tangible like having them viewed as a stronger, more successful leader, or make them more popular with their team.  Here are a few questions you can ask your prospect to discover what’s in it for them:

  • What good things could happen to your persona if their problem is solved? 
  • What would their “perfect solution” look like? 
  • What is it that they really want, more than anything else? 
  • What would they be willing to pay almost anything for? 
  • How can your product or service match up to your customer’s real needs and desires? 
  • How can your business help solve your customer’s problems? 
  • What is it that you are committed to providing your customers? 

If your organization is struggling to sell your product or services it’s time to get emotional. Look at your current buyer personas and see where you can add in emotion.

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Larry Levenson

Larry is passionate about inbound marketing and is a HubSpot Certified Trainer. He's learned the "secrets" of leveraging HubSpot to make marketing hyper-effective and customizes that information to help our clients meet their goals. Larry lives in Prescott, AZ, and when not at work, he is hiking or hanging out with teenagers as a volunteer with Boys to Men USA.