If you’re in marketing today, chances are you’ve heard about buyer personas. If you haven’t taken that leap to develop yours — or if it’s been longer than 12 months since you revisited your personas — it’s now time to dedicate time to it.
What are Buyer Personas and Why Do I Need Them?
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on your brand’s data and research. What are the benefits of creating buyer personas? Well, in the content marketing world, personas are the key to further success. They help focus your time and energy on tailoring your content, messaging, product development and services to meet the specific needs, behaviors and concerns of the members of your audience.
Having a deep understanding of buyer personas is critical in driving content creation, product development, and really anything that relates to customer acquisition and retention. It’s all about how you obtain customer data and market research within and outside of your business.
Adele Revella of the Buyer Persona Institute, a leading voice in persona development, notes, “In the simplest of terms, marketing’s role is to increase awareness, consideration and preference for an organization’s solutions among a market of prospective buyers. The end goal, of course, is to enable sales and win more business.”
Traditional marketing tactics are becoming less effective. As everything is evolving, today’s buyers are different. Information is readily available, and buyers are always consuming brand research, both consciously and unconsciously. Creating an effective content marketing strategy and plan is critically important.
Understanding your target market is critical in building a successful strategy. Knowing your audience and their buying stages is the first step in figuring out how to appeal to them.
In our Content Marketing Guide, we note, “A good content marketing plan creates a consistent brand the way you want it, as the customer self-educates. Quality content helps you become a trusted resource, an ally. And who doesn’t love an ally?”
Your buyers are people too. Creating buyer personas will help you learn who your consumers are and how to market to them. It requires an investment — the more that you understand and humanize your customers, the more relevant and effective your messages will be. It goes beyond demographics and job titles; it goes into the pain points your customers and prospects deal with every day.
People don’t want to buy a product just to own the product. Consumers are looking for a solution to their problems, something that will benefit them greatly, etc. “People don’t buy insurance for the sake of insurance, they buy the feeling of security and certainty. They buy coffee to feel alive and energetic. And they buy a new expensive car to feel significant (and superior to their neighbors),” says Shelley Walsh for Search Engine Journal.
Five Steps You Can Take Today
What are some practical concepts when creating buyer personas? Here are five steps you can take to further develop your personas:
- Discover trends about certain leads or consumers of your content.
- Use form fields that capture important persona information. What are your personas’ interests? What are their motivations? What are they looking for as consumers? What does a typical day look like to them?
- Consider your sales team on the leads they are interacting with the most. What generalizations can you make about the variety of customers you serve?
- Interview customers and prospects to discover what they like about your product, service or brand. Do they love your reliability, consistency or mission? Have they been using your product for years? These are all essential components in discovering your buyer personas. Have they stopped using your product or service? Finding out why may help you develop your persona even further.
- Research patterns and commonalities that you notice throughout your consumers and business. Share what you have learned about your consumers and their potential personas.
Building Your Audience
Now that you have developed buyer personas, how can you build your audience?
Connecting with your consumers is one of the most beneficial ways to maintain and grow your audience. There are many approaches for developing strong consumer relationships, deepening audience engagement and activating your community members as brand evangelists.
Trust and uniqueness are key components of building an engaged audience. Uniqueness is something you provide that no one else does. It could be a style of speaking, writing or selling, or it could be a structure or form of creation.
Become your audience. Immerse yourself in your community and surround yourself with the topics you discuss. Put yourself in the position of your consumer. What are you looking for that they could relate to? Or even, what can you both relate to as a whole?
Your content should aim to get into the mind of the reader; helping them visualize a problem, object, event or situation without it being present to the senses. By properly identifying your audiences and understanding their wants and needs, you are going to kill the game.
Alex Birkett, a leader in developing content strategy, notes, “If you can create a connection with your audience and capture their attention and loyalty, it’s clearly a powerful thing. It brings you leverage, insights and direct response marketing capabilities [that are] unmatched.”
By creating buyer personas and getting a greater look at your audience, your engagement will increase. With the right content at the right time, you are destined to grow your audience. It’ll make things easier for your business to expand its content marketing endeavors to reach a broader audience that falls into any of your various buyer persona categories.
Content marketing isn’t just simply about creating content — your objective is to drive content creation through buyer personas.
We created a Content Marketing Guide to help you connect with your audience. I gave you a few sneak peeks throughout this article in hopes to catch your attention!
“Buyer personas and content marketing are like chocolate and peanut butter. While it’s true that you can have one without the other and they are both delicious in their own right, the combination is so much better.”