When building your content marketing strategy, you may think you have it all laid out — you know what product or service you're hoping to sell, you've set up your story, and you know what social media platforms you're looking to use. You've set up your Instagram account, and registered your business on every social media platform that fits your company. As far as you're concerned, you're all set and ready to go when it comes to creating ongoing content on your blog and off of it to help your company shine.
Unfortunately, you're still missing one very important step.
Do You Know Who Your Audience Is?
We've successfully utilized buyer personas here at Waypost, and have found them invaluable when it comes to building a targeted content marketing strategy that really works. Even so, we've had some clients where we needed to go beyond buyer personas in order to really get to know their audience. If you don't know your audience, you don't know who you're talking to.
That can leave your content lackluster and unclear, with multiple 'voices' or seemingly contrasting marketing tactics. Prospects just feel like they're just being sold to, rather than participating in a conversation. With the new buyer mentality, you need to ensure that your potential clients or customers don't feel like you're just another salesman knocking at their (digital) door.
What can you do to really know your audience? We have a few tips.
Don't Sell to a Series of Dots
Did you ever see those coloring books as a kid that had one page that was just black dots that, when connected, created the image of an animal or cartoon character? If you don't put the right amount of work into building your buyer personas, you're just selling to a half-drawn picture. If all you know about your persona is that he's the CEO or she goes golfing on Wednesday mornings, that just isn't enough information to accurately tailor your marketing strategies. Do the work! Make sure that you build your personas using:
- Regular surveys and meetings with clients to maintain up-to-date information
- A-B testing (such as sending out the same email with different subject lines) to find out which approach works best
- Up-to-date analytics reports, allowing you to pinpoint what's working and what isn't
- Filtered keyword research, telling you exactly what potential prospects are searching for
- The online behavior of prospects, to find out what questions/concerns you could be answering
If you put the work into building your personas, the odds are good that once built, they'll do much of the work of targeting your audience for you. Don't just rely on those personas, though. You also need to...
Leave the Office
Here's the thing — you can spend all day on the phones taking surveys of potential customers without ever truly getting to really know them. Rote answers to quick survey questions are great for when you're at the very early stages of building you buyer personas, but when you're really working to know your clients or customers as people, you'll want to ensure you have some real, in-person contact. It's important to build that personal connection, and you can't build a personal connection if your clients never actually see your face.
Don't rely on conference calls and emails; go where your clients are. Meet with them on their home turf or favorite local restaurant—wherever they feel most comfortable. You'll be able to see the most authentic version of them. Get to know why they chose you and what they are getting out of their ongoing partnership with you. This will help you ensure that your marketing strategy is squarely aimed at the most thorough version of your personas.
Don't Make Assumptions
We often assume that particular behaviors are a result of specific personality attributes. For instance — when someone cuts in line in front of you at the coffeeshop, your first assumption may be that they're a jerk just trying to save a measly minute on their morning commute.
That may not be true. It's also possible that they've received bad news that morning or are dealing with certain stressors that leave them distracted. The parent of a very young child may be sleep-deprived and so desperate for that first cup of coffee that they honestly aren't paying attention. The same goes for building a sense of your audience — don't make assumptions about who they are based on a single behavioral choice. People are complex, and your buyer personas and audience targeting needs to mirror that complexity. While buyer personas are carefully kept generalized, so as to represent the largest possible group of relevant prospects, they should never be so general that they are represented by a single behavior pattern.
Follow Their Journey
Don't just build personas who are in the first stages of what is often called the Buyer's Journey. You want personas that can carry you through every possible stage, from the first time they are inconvenienced by the status quo right through after they've chosen to work with you and purchased your service or product. What happens after that? Your client's journey isn't over, and your buyer persona shouldn't end there, either. It's important to continue to delight your clients even after they've chosen you, and having personas targeted for after the choice is made will allow you to know exactly what kinds of content are best-suited for delighting a current client as opposed to one who is still a prospect.
Tell Your Story
If it all seems like a lot of work... well, it is. That's why a truly thorough content marketing strategy is best planned and executed by a dedicated team with experience and up-to-date knowledge on the best way to market to the new customer mentality. At Waypost Marketing, we tailor your strategy from the ground up, from mobile-responsive website development through inbound marketing tactics like blogging, social media, search engine optimization, email marketing, and more. Interested in more information? We'd love to hear from you! Just click the banner below to schedule your consultation, or give us a call at (864) 288-6162.