If you have been tasked with creating or updating your business’ content marketing strategy, it can be hard to know where to start. You may be of the opinion that content is content and it’s really not that important, but that way of thinking could not be further from the truth. Content will always play a crucial part in any marketing strategy, and maximising it to the best of your ability will ensure you constantly keep leads and conversions coming in.
If you are unsure of where to start the process, buyer personas are a good place. Some strategists may not think this step is needed, however without knowing who your target audience is you will never be able to narrow down and focus your content where it is needed.
What is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a fictional character that represents your customer audience. They are completely made up, with a name, age, family and back story. They will have a pain point that you will need to meet either through a service or product that you offer. Buyer personas will help give you a better understanding of what your customers want from you as a business.
For some, the idea of a buyer persona is new. Once you are able to fully understand what a buyer persona is and why it is so important to your business, you will get to see the value in taking the time to plot yours out.
But, why are Buyer Personas So Important to your Business?
Buyer Personas not only help your marketing team but they work to help the whole business understand the customers you are trying to attract and connect with. Your team will be able to relate to your customers better and enable them to create positive relationships that will see one off customers turn into repeat clients.
From a content point of view, buyer personas will become a critical part of your strategy to help drive content creation down a path that really hones in on what customers want. Don’t forget that content is everywhere, it is on your website, throughout all of your marketing material and used in follow up communication.
Think about it, do you really know who your typical customer is? What do you know about them? Does your product or service really meet their needs? Could you be making their experience more positive? Buyer personas will help give you the answer to these questions and enable you to tailor your content and overall business messaging much better.
If your business is new you may not really know who your customers are and that’s ok. Starting out with one or two buyer personas is a great start. As your business grows you will be able to revisit your buyer personas and expand on them or even change your personas completely. If you are already established as a business you should be able to come up with three to five different buyer personas.
Steps to Create Buyer Personas
Once you are ready to start creating your new buyer personas, there are a few questions you will need to answer in order to make sure you have as much information as possible on each persona. These include:
Additional information may be required depending on your business but this will get you off to a great start. Don’t forget, personas will vary business to business so you will need to tailor these questions to suit your needs. If you are struggling to identify buyer persona identifiers there are lots of useful templates you can use such as these Persona Templates from Hubspot.
Other questions you may like to ask to know more about the persona could include:
Now that you have your questions laid out you will need to fill in the answers.
How to Create Buyer Personas
There are three main ways you can find the answers to your buyer persona questions.
1. Website Analytics
You are probably using analytics to keep track of a number of points across your website but analytics can give you great insight to the users that are frequenting your website. Not only will you be able to learn about the people using your website but you will be able to find out exactly what tools they are using to get there.
What can you extract from analytics to help with buyer personas?
This will help answer a number of your buyer persona questions and give you insight into what services or product your users are interested in.
2. Social Media
Social media is a really powerful tool that gives you direct access to your customers. Platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram will give you a window into the behaviour of your customers.
Keep an eye on the types of people interacting with your profiles. Are they young mothers? Sports fans? Entrepreneurs? Watch to see what they are saying about your brand, do they ask questions or give reviews and feedback? This is all great information that can be used in your buyer personas to identify pain points and help you work towards finding a solution.
3. Ask Your Customers
No one knows your customer base as well as the customers themselves. Surveys are a great way to ask your customers exactly what you want to know. Keep in mind that many users do not feel comfortable giving away personal details or their life story so keep it short and only ask the questions you really want answers to.
This is another way that you can use social media to your advantage. Consumers love to interact with brands through social platforms and if you ask them a question that you want an honest answer to you will find many users are only too happy to give their feedback. This lets customers know that you are listening to them and gives them the feeling that they play an important part in the decision-making process.
If you have access to sales staff that are on the road or bricks and mortar stores, then you can ask them to conduct short interviews that directly ask customers what their pain points are.
How to Use Buyer Personas to Improve Content
So, once you have put in all the hard yards, how do you use your buyer personas to improve content? Developing detailed buyer personas will allow your team to create content that engages with your target audience. This will also allow you the opportunity to personalise your content to reflect the different stages of the buying experience.
Website messaging can be re-hashed and tailored according to what you know about your buyer personas. Email blasts can be revitalised and segmented by buyer personas to address particular pain points and help increase conversions.
New landing pages can be created based on your personas and drilled down to include information for particular persona groups. For example, if one of your buyer persona groups is specifically looking for children’s clothing then you want to make sure your content reflects this. There is no point showing them information about the latest men’s office wear trends as it will just push buyers to competitors who give them exactly what they want.
If you are looking to implement paid advertising or if you are already using paid advertising then you will be able to use these new personas to target your audience into groups and show them ads that address their needs and wants.
Taking the time to delve deep into your customer database will help you identify your audience and find solutions to their problems. Solving a customer’s problems not only makes for a happy customer but it makes for a happy business.
Involve your whole team to come up with different personas and see what information they can bring to the table. You never know, your team mates may provide a different perspective that you had never considered before. Coming together as a team to work on buyer personas will give your customers a better user experience while helping keep them engaged with your brand as they go through your sales funnel.
Want to learn more about buyer personas and how they can work for your business? Consider attending the Content Strategy Workshop, running in Sydney on the 19th October 2017. Jam packed with tips and advice from an industry expert, you will be putting together a strong content strategy in no time.