According to Julie McLaughlin from the Engagement Factory, creating powerful content and being heard and noticed means understanding your target audience perfectly and knowing what they need and how they make decisions about your product.
Creating relevant, high-quality content is more important than ever. Customers have come to expect brands to automatically know and cater to their needs and interests without them having to share any information. So how can you obtain insight into your target audience and make your content strategy extremely targeted to your customers? The answer is buyer personas.
Here are the five steps to creating one:
Step 1: understanding what a buyer persona is
A buyer persona is a fictional representation of a real customer. It is an example of the people you want to sell to – the profile of your ideal customer. Buyer personas play an essential role in bringing the customer’s needs into your content strategy, making your content marketing highly effective and allowing you to be a step ahead of the competition.
Step 2: researching your target audience – locate and recruit your participants
To select your target audience, look at job role, company size, industry sector and other relevant factors for the ideal business want you to acquire as a customer. For example, an expensive but comprehensive solution may want to target CEOs of large companies, but a smaller and more niche solution may prefer to target start-ups.
In order to generate the right amount of data and draw some comparisons, you will also want to interview an equal number of clients and prospect accounts. We recommend 10 of each, which will provide enough data to build an accurate profile.
Step 3: creating your questionnaire and conducting revealing buying interviews
The interview itself should focus on the following aspects of the person’s profile:
– Their responsibilities.
– Their level of decision making.
– What/who influences them.
– What they see as factors and barriers to their success.
– What their challenges and priority initiatives are.
– How they like to interact with their suppliers.
You can’t create marketing messages that appeal to your customers if you don’t know what makes them tick.
Step 4: building insightful buyer persona analytics
In order to create useful insights from your buyer persona, you first need to transcribe the interview responses. From there, you can start building up your profile based on similar responses and demographics by looking out for patterns around certain factors.
These include: motivations, buying triggers and questions they ask themselves along the way during the buying process. You may find it useful to note some quotes that are relevant, and that you may wish to highlight in the next step.
Step 5: sharing your buyer persona with others and taking action
The insights obtained through buyer persona research are an essential first step to a buyer-centric approach that will allow you to create a powerful content marketing strategy focused on the specific needs of the target audience at each stage of their buying journey.
The next step is to share that profile across your sales and marketing organisation and start driving that personalised message that will lead to higher conversions.
You need to focus all your marketing efforts on the findings around:
– Decision making: how your target audience makes decisions and what factors can accelerate or slow down the decision-making process.
– Information sources: what their main sources of information are.
– Consideration criteria: what criteria are important when considering your product/ service.
It doesn’t all stop here. Turning buyer insights into a successful nurture campaign takes quite a bit of additional work. The buyer persona insights will have to be used strategically to produce the best content for the best results.