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How can you increase visibility for your business and brand and generate more leads for your business? One of the ways is through strategic content marketing. The goal of your content is to reach a larger audience but your content needs to speak to at least one persona in order to make that impact.
“Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them.” – Doug Kessler
You create content for your target audience but defining your target audience is not enough. You have to dig deeper and understand who they are in far greater detail. Creating personas can further improve your content marketing strategy and how you connect with your audience.
You can talk all you want about your products and services but at the end of the day your potential clients decide who they want to buy from and who they want to do business with. An ad might bring them to your website but you have less than 15 seconds to make an impact. If your content is not clear and your CTA is not obvious, they will click away as fast as they came to your site.
Why not help them out by giving your target audience something of value by creating content that is truly relevant and benefits them.
Every business is unique and so are the audiences. This is where the value of your target audience comes in. This is where creating a buyer persona becomes so critical.
Ever wonder why McDonald’s has done so well? Ok, yes they have most certainly created an incredible turn-key franchise business that can be set-up and established anywhere in the world, but they also understand what it takes to create a memorable brand. I think one of the top reasons McDonald’s has done so well is a result of the extensive research and development they have done of their buyer personas.
What is a buyer persona?
The buyer personas you create should be an exemplary illustration of your ideal target customer. In a B2B environment it may also be referred to as a client persona. Let’s look at a basic B2B persona client.
The basic criteria would likely include:
- Their name, where they work, job title and role
- Demographic details such as: age, gender, salary, education, family and location
- Goals and challenges – priorities, barriers, pains they are experiencing
- Problems they need you to solve
The depth of buyer personas can vary from one business to the next. So you may want to go even beyond the basics and dig deeper into some insights as it relates to your business. Such as:
- What is their buyer journey?
- Decision making process
- Social media platforms they use
- How they search for solutions (i.e. keywords, phrases, referrals etc.)
- Technology, etc.
Reasons why you might want to create a buyer persona:
- You’ve never thought of it before
- Not sure what your marketing message should be
- Not sure what content to create and/or where you should focus
- Marketing a new product or service
- Marketing on a new channel or platform
- Creating new marketing strategy and/or campaign, etc.
The benefits of a buyer persona:
The buyer persona you create becomes the foundation of how you strategize and deliver your marketing content and material. By identifying your ideal persona you may surprise yourself at how easily you can quickly ascertain what marketing efforts have worked in the past and what would likely work for your next strategy.
Once you have identified your buyer persona you can easily create specific strategies and actions that connect with your audience.
The world of marketing has changed. It is conversational, it is social.
Your content marketing and social media strategy is based on your targeted buyer persona. Your general company brand message on your website is part of your branding and covers your overall message but that is not necessarily how you connect with your audience.
For instance, if you’re in the business of selling widgets your company brand page would describe what you do and what you offer. It would include keywords for your targeted industry etc., but your marketing strategy is more tactical than that.
You need to take your company brand, vision, culture and content and parse it down to help identify your buyer personas and how it would benefit them. Creating a true benefit through value based content marketing strategies that speak specifically to that target audience.
How do I create a buyer persona?
Internal research – audit
1. Identify your ideal customer (could be current or one that you would like)
2. What made them your best customer in the first place and what sets them apart?
3. How have they contributed to your business and marketing objectives?
4. Where do they fit in your marketing funnel?
Utilize your data analytics to gain further insights into your ideal buyer persona. From Google Analytics to your social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, your data intelligence provides invaluable information on your audience. Just don’t get caught up in the sea of data but definitely extract the insights you need to further define what makes up your ideal buyer persona.
5. Conduct interviews with some of your key ideal clients.
Buyer personas are research based. By taking a scientific approach to creating an ideal buyer persona you are creating a strategy that is backed up by research. One of the easiest ways to do this is to talk to your existing clients. Focus groups, surveys and interviews with ideal clients, etc.
It all comes down to asking the right questions and listening. Actively listening and understanding your target audience. Understanding their pains and becoming a trusted source to help them.
Not only put yourself in their shoes but have a conversation with them. Try to get into their heads. How do they think? What key words would they enter into Google when seeking your business? Not what ‘you think’ they would enter but what you know they would enter through discovery. By talking to your ideal clients you will gain incredible insight into their drivers.
Try to identify between 1-5 buyer personas per strategy at a time otherwise your efforts start to get too broad and you begin down the slippery slope of creating content that is targeted to everyone but speaks to no one.
Creating buyer personas allow you to be more strategic with your business.
Buyer personas help you make better and more informed decisions for your business. Just as we look to the science of data analytics to help us understand metrics and the performance of a business blog to help make informed decisions, a buyer persona helps us make more informed decisions on the content we create and share.
Take the opportunity to learn something unique about your audience. Develop a deep understanding of your audience and humanize your marketing efforts by doing the research and taking the time to create your buyer personas.
Use these personas to help guide your content marketing and social media strategy. They allow you to make sound scientific marketing decisions that will drive your business to success.
Diana Davies-Harju, Director of Marketing
Looking for ways to connect with your clients and potential clients? Contact us to learn more on our strategic approach to content marketing and social media. The Science of Content Marketing – helping you capture and build the unique expertise of your business and brand.