Have You Seen These Inbound Marketing Characters?


Just as there are different characters in life, there are different characters in inbound marketing, and each one requires a different kind of attention. You wouldn’t, after all, treat a visitor who just Stumbled Upon your site in the same way that you would a repeat visitor who not only reads, but also shares every bit of your content. Right?

Still, regardless of what kinds of visitors you’re getting, you can still learn something from them. Familiarize yourself with the profiles and be on the lookout for ways to help your site traffic and improve your conversion tactics.

Let’s take a look at the case files, shall we?

Exhibit A: The Lazy Surfer

Natural habitat: Varies. Quite a few Lazy Surfers are native to office cubicles, while others are found primarily in living rooms across the globe.

Distinguishing characteristics: Glazed eyes. Puddle of drool nearby.

Favorite movies: Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Bio Dome, Dazed and Confused.

Favorite food: Bagel Bites.

Known information: The Lazy Surfer is probably arriving on your site from StumbleUpon or a similar path. He isn’t very engaged and almost never converts to a viable lead.

What to do if you spot a Lazy Surfer: This species is not particularly harmful, although they’re not providing the kind of site traffic that you want. Don’t feel that you need to cater to them in any way.

Instead, take to your analytics and follow The Lazy Surfer’s trail. StumbleUpon can send traffic to your site in droves, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to hang around (or that it’s the kind you even want). Investigate your inbound traffic. Make sure you know what’s bringing them to your site, how long they’re staying, and whether they’re dropping off or clicking through.

Though The Lazy Surfer will certainly not be the focus of your conversion tactics, you can make use of the traffic to work on enhancing your site’s user experience. Do some A/B testing. Try some different layouts on your landing pages or some new keywords for your site. Give a different site design a run. Just realize that this isn’t the kind of traffic worth catering to.

Exhibit B: The Budget Shopper

Natural habitat: College dorm rooms, efficiency apartments, and households with children (among others).

Distinguishing characteristics: Appraising facial expression; carries a coupon wallet; has several “compare prices” apps on her cell phone. May or may not also operate a successful Mommy Blog.

Favorite movies: Confessions of a Shopaholic, The Devil Wears Prada, Little Women.

Favorite food: Anything made with homegrown fruits and vegetables.

Known information: The Budget Shopper has a lot of potential to be a great lead. This all depends, however, on your business and the campaign.

What to do if you spot a Budget Shopper: If you don’t want this kind of traffic, choose your keywords carefully. You don’t want to imply that you’re a “bargain,” which would draw them to you. If you include an application or some other form of content gating that alludes to a higher price tag (again, through careful keyword research), they will be deterred.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to attract budget shoppers, then you want to make sure you include keywords like “bargain,” “deals,” and “offers.” Offer them coupons and hold promotions. Maybe even have an email campaign or newsletter geared specifically toward them.

Exhibit C: The Passionate Newbie

Natural habitat: College classrooms, the intern’s desk, networking events

Distinguishing characteristics: constantly referring to personal organizer app; business cards always at the ready; asks a lot of questions. The Passionate Newbie also nods thoughtfully before replying, “That reminds me of this great blog post by <insert chosen industry professional name here> that I read. Have you read it? You should read it. I’ll send you the link. There. I just tweeted it to you.”

Favorite movies: No time for movies!

Known information: The Passionate Newbie is probably not going to find you through search, but by way of a breadcrumb trail. They consume a lot of information and love to share it with their extensive social media following.

What to do if you spot a Passionate Newbie: Celebrate! This is probably the best kind of traffic you can get. After doing the happy dance, though, go check your analytics. Pay attention to your highest visits per landing page. If you use Google Analytics, use the “Visitors Flow” to find out where else they go on your page – and the path they take to get there.

Once you have this information, you can begin to analyze a little bit. Is there a certain post that’s getting a lot of attention from this crowd, or is it more of a topic that you cover? If it’s a post, determine a few ways to repurpose that content so that you can hopefully keep those Passionate Newbies hanging around while also attracting others. If it’s a topic, keep producing great content on that subject (and repurposing your content).

Of course, you know some of the information in these profiles is all in good fun. But you see that, in the story of your inbound marketing, there are a variety of characters. Conversion tactics will vary, and sometimes – as with The Lazy Surfer – they won’t be necessary at all.

With any of these visitors, you can create email newsletters or contests and other promotions that are tailored specifically to them. Be aware, though, that with a character like The Lazy Surfer, you may not want to invest the time and resources unless they become more engaged.

The bottom line: know your audience and identify your targets. That way you know the role these characters will play for you.

What other character profiles would you add to this list? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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Renee is a writer currently living in Central Pennsylvania (whatever you've heard is probably true). In addition to writing for CEM, she serves as the Managing Editor for Business 2 Community and pursues her dream of once again renting her own apartment (preferably in Philadelphia), if only to house her ever-growing collection of books. She received a BA in English from Susquehanna University and an MA in English from George Mason. She's still waiting for someone to write a song about her life so she can just quote the lyrics for her author bios. Catch up with her on Twitter , LinkedIn, or reneedecoskey.com.

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