Zerys for Agencies Blog

Better Client Communication Starts With a Process

Posted by Rachael Gerkensmeyer

shutterstock_127288934One of the most important aspects of ensuring client satisfaction is making sure the content you create for them effectively achieves noticeable results. In addition to growing a customer base, engaging quality content helps build a client’s brand and gives them an opportunity to stand apart from the competition. If you expect to really come through for your clients, it’s essential to make communication a priority.

You have to tap into your clients’ true expectations and make sure that the whole team is always on the same page, or you may just risk the longevity of your working relationships. Here’s how you can create a communication process to work from that will help you maximize client satisfaction and achieve your business goals:

Send Out Questionnaires

A great way to keep communication wide open is to send out small questionnaires to your clients when you send them completed projects. You don’t have to send one out with each project completion, but shoot for doing it two or three times a month so your clients have ample opportunity to reach out with questions, concerns, suggestions and compliments.

Ask your clients for feedback about things like word usage, formatting, presentation, topic choices and voice implementation. After a while, you should start to see some patterns with your clients which will help you to avoid content creation techniques that they aren’t crazy about as time goes on.  

Pay Attention to Undertones

When having a conversation with clients on the phone or in person, it’s important to pay close attention to their undertones to make sure you aren’t missing an underlying message. For example, if your client agrees with your content plan by simply nodding or humming in agreement instead of confirming with the word "yes," they may be a bit uncomfortable with some or all of your plan.

To gain some insight, you can probe a little by offering a couple of alternatives or asking for suggestions. When an alternative suggestion is offered by your client even if they’re telling you that your progress is satisfactory, chances are that they’ll be a lot happier if you implement their suggestions – even if it means a bit more work for your team.

Always Clarify Details

When clients send you details about an upcoming project, it’s always a good idea to recap those details in your own words and send the recap back as confirmation that you understand the project. This will give your clients an opportunity to make clarifications based on your feedback if something it misinterpreted.

This technique can be used to clarify questions that come up in the middle of a project. Once your questions are answered, shoot a quick recap of the conversation back to your client to confirm your understanding and to create a document trail or written record of any changes that have been agreed upon.

Keep Basic Records

To ensure that you don’t have to make clients repeat their preferences and other details that have already been previously established, keep a basic record for each client that outlines the important stuff as it comes up, such as color schemes that should be used when including visual aids, subheading preferences, voice/tone and language requirements,and research needs, just to name a few.

It’s also helpful to notate passing comments in these records, like when a client mentions that they prefer the word “peruse” over “check out” in their content or when a client’s planned work droughts are expected. Before you know it you’ll understand your clients as if they’re your personal friends.

By using these steps to create your own custom communication process, you should find that you get better content results for your clients, thanks to the benefit of more direction and the need for less guesswork.

The Evolution of Content Agencies - Staying Relevant

Posted by Rachael Gerkensmeyer

shutterstock_288373937Staying relevant as a content agency means keeping up-to-date on all the latest content creation and marketing techniques, especially if they’re proven to be effective. Once a tactic no longer works, you have to move on quickly so ensure that you don’t end up spinning your wheels and wasting both you and your clients’ valuable time. Luckily, following the trends by keeping tabs on popular search engine news and content marketing research can keep your agency relevant so you aren’t left trailing behind the competition. Here are some things you should be doing right now:

Local Targeting

If you’re working with clients who run a brick and mortar business or serve local customers in-person, it’s a good idea to create content that targets locally based consumers. For example, instead of simply writing about how to get stains out of vehicle carpet for a car detailing company, discuss natural products or specialized services available in the client’s local area. This technique won’t yield you millions of hits from around the world, but it will ensure that the leads your content does create are made up of those most likely to be interested in the products and services you’re ultimately promoting.

Mobile Accessibility

Google’s latest big algorithm update involved scouting out websites and content that is optimized for a mobile experience on smartphones and tablets. So in addition to making sure that the webpage your content will be posted on is easy to navigate on small screens, you need to create short, succinct paragraphs within your content so it’s easy to follow while scrolling.

Frequent subheadings help to break content down into small digestible parts so readers don’t get lost if they have to look up from their screen or tend to another task in the middle of reading your content. Short paragraphs and unique subheadings also happen to look good on larger computer screens, making it easy to streamline your content and make it accessible to a various types of Internet users.

In-Depth Pieces

While short pieces aren’t necessarily a no-no, they shouldn’t make up the bulk of the communications you create for your clients. Focusing on long form articles that provide in-depth insight, information, solutions, and reviews will help you generate more recognition for your clients’ brands and establish them as knowledgeable authority figures within their product or service niches.

When creating long form content, start with an outline that answers the traditional “who, what, when, where, why, and how” questions as this should help you better understand your target audience and how you can meet their needs more effectively. Of course you don’t want your readers having to scroll through several pages to read one article so when you find that the word count for a specific piece starts edging over the 1,500 mark, consider creating a series out of it and split the content up into a couple of different pieces before publication.

Visual Engagement

Visual aids do a good job of helping readers better understand the information that’s being presented to them. Colorful visuals that relate to your content will help to bring it to life, and even draw in those who wouldn’t normally stop and take the time to read an article they come across.

General photos that represent the idea of your content, infographics that back up statistics and obscure information, as well as animations that exaggerate aspects of the topic at hand are all effective options to consider. The bottom line is that every piece of content should accompany visual engagement whenever possible.

It’s important to keep in mind that if quality isn’t made a priority, no content marketing trends are likely to produce the results that you and your clients are looking for. 

3 Things to Remember Before You Tackle B2B Content

Posted by Don Musacchio

shutterstock_222453112For many content marketing agencies, marketing directly to consumers has been the primary focus of their clients. However, that is changing. 81% of buyers say that their business' purchasing process begins by searching the Internet. Many buyers are following industry trends on their social media accounts. Business to business marketing is undergoing the same digital transition as consumer marketing. This is great news for your content marketing agency because your business opportunities are expanding. You can now create marketing strategies and content for B2B clients.

While the fundamentals of content marketing are the same, producing content strategies for B2B customers may require some adjustment on your part. Here are three things to remember before tackling content for your B2B clients:

Longer Buying Process
Consumers can make decisions fairly rapidly, even decisions involving substantial investments. Businesses, on the other hand, have a more involved buying process. It takes longer for businesses to make a purchase. In addition, many purchases involve service contracts that last for a long time, so the business may not be able to simply opt for new services whenever it wants. For example, if a business has a contract with a printing service that involves renting copiers and printers, it may have a two or three year contract. If a business is at the beginning or middle of this contract, it may not be in a position to consider competitors for some time.

This makes lead generation and lead nurturing an important part of B2B marketing. When buyers interact with your client's content, they may only be kicking the tires and doing research in anticipation of the end of their current contract. They may not be ready to buy for another 18 months. Your content may capture the important information about this prospect, but instead of passing this information directly to the sales team, it should go to a lead nurturing program. The prospect should continue to receive emails, news items and technical information about your client without attempting to sell the product. Good CRM software can identify when a prospect that has been in the lead nurturing process starts to exhibit behavior that shows that he is ready to make a purchase. Then the information can go to the sales team for them to make the connection.

More Involved Decision Making Process
Businesses may have multiple people in different departments involved in the decision making process for the purchase. For example, a company that sells medical devices to hospitals and research facilities may have to deal with doctors, technicians, buyers and administrators in order to win a contract. Each of these people will have different concerns, goals and interests to promote in the purchasing process. A content marketing agency will have to produce content targeted at each of these different groups in order to succeed. The key to working with B2B clients is to understand the different audiences that might be involved in the purchasing process and create content that appeals to each of these different audiences.

Solutions-Oriented Content
While much of content marketing aims at offering solutions to problems, consumers tend to want more entertaining content and make decisions based on emotional factors. Businesses, on the other hand, have different motivations to purchase. They are looking for solid solutions to their problems. Your agency must provide this content. You have to start by offering the practical benefits that your client's products and services can offer without the emotional sugarcoating that is sometimes found in consumer-oriented content marketing. Your content must demonstrate that your client is an expert in the field who can be trusted to provide effective solutions to their customer's problems. This involves establishing real thought leadership in the field. You will have to interview your client's technical and sales staff in order to create content that is technically rich enough to attract the prospect's interest.

In addition, your content can support the sales team. By interviewing your client's salespeople, you can find out what questions they are constantly answering and what objections they often face. Then you can produce content that addresses these questions and objections. The salespeople can then refer prospects to this content instead of constantly answering the same questions.

Content marketing is not just for businesses selling to consumers. It is also very effective in B2B marketing. With just a few adjustments, your agency will be ready to take on B2B clients and tackle their content needs.

Creating a Winning Topic List for Your Clients

Posted by Rachael Gerkensmeyer

shutterstock_242783257As a content agency representative, coming up with the right topics for your clients is essential if you expect to get the results you've committed to working for. If you continually use the same variations for the topics you create, you'll find that your content ends up too familiar to competitive pieces already floating around on the Internet. It's essential to keep things fresh, viable, and unique to not only attract new readers, but to keep them coming back for more. Here are three steps you can use to create winning topic lists for your clients:

Step 1: Doing Some Research

Keyword research is one of the most important aspects of developing effective topics for clients. Keyword research offers an opportunity to learn about the basic interests of your target audience so that you can better meet their needs. Keyword research is about getting the right audience to your content – those who are more likely to have an interest in the products and services your content is ultimately promoting.

Your keyword research should be the basis for every topic you develop. But you'll need to be creative and come up with topics that have not already been saturated on the Internet. The other methods in this list will help you do just that.

Step 2: Gaining Consumer Insight

After getting your keyword research done, it's time to dig deep and gain some insight into what your target audience is interested in so you can develop topics that they're more likely to read and share. This can be done in a number of effective ways including:

  • Visiting and interacting in forums where your target audience frequents.
  • Adding surveys to websites that you manage.
  • Reading user comments that have been left on previously written content.
  • Researching what competitors and their audience are talking about.

You can also be straight forward and ask your readers what they want to learn, which types problems they need solutions for, and even how they like their content delivered. This won't only give you some topic ideas, but you'll find that readers appreciate the personal connection and attempt at understanding them.

Step 3: Establishing a Unique Storyline

It's important to design your topics in a way that draws readers in and engages them with a storyline of some kind. Take your topic and turn it into its own spectacular story that your readers can relate to. If you've got an article to write about MP3 players, put yourself in the shoes of your audience to determine what might trigger them emotionally. You may great results outlining the challenges of sticking with a workout regimen as a busy mom, and outlining how an MP3 player can help moms get the most from the little time they have to workout.

The idea is to go beyond generalizations by tapping into specific demographics within your audience and fleshing those angles out one at a time. Don't worry about alienating a part of your audience when developing targeted content because you can reach everyone who might be interested in the products and services you're promoting by simply diversifying your topics.

Good keyword research, understanding your audience, and crafting ideas that meet their specific needs will help you effectively create fresh topic ideas that gets your content noticed and sets the brand you represent apart from the crowd.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Content

Posted by Don Musacchio

shutterstock_169845773If you run a digital advertising agency, you are probably familiar with the difficulty of establishing the effectiveness of what you do for your clients. You are asking your clients to spend a lot of money to develop content marketing campaigns, and they are going to expect results. The difficulty lies in identifying the best ways to measure and report results.

Setting Expectations
You are an expert in getting results on the web. You can generate Internet traffic, increase page views, enhance engagement on social media, build an email list and many other critical activities. Your clients many not understand the value of all these activities. They want to see a good return on their investment. Clients could care less about page views; they ultimately want to see increases in sales and revenue for their business.

Integrating Business Goals
Before you start setting up marketing strategies for your clients, you need to sit down with them and understand their business goals. They are hiring you to help meet these goals, so you want to be specific about what they are hoping to achieve with your help. For example, a business goal may be to build brand awareness. Another business goal will be to increase sales and revenue. Yet another goal could be to generate new leads.

Once you identify and prioritize the business goals of your client, you can identify the key performance indicators that will tell you whether you are achieving these goals. By tracking these KPIs over time, you can show your clients that their business goals are being met. Monthly reports on KPIs are a great way to show the client that your strategies are effective.

Bridging the Gap Between KPIs and Goals
There are a wide variety of metrics that agencies can track for their clients digital marketing campaigns. The key is matching these key performance indicators to business goals. If you tell your client that their page views have increased by 3% this month, this means nothing. But if you tell them that page views are an important part of brand awareness, the client can see that they are meeting their business goal. Here are some examples of how key performance indicators match up with business goals:

  • Build Brand Awareness: Many client want to promote their brand. They hope that by positioning themselves as a trusted expert in their field, that people will turn to them to solve problems. Content that builds brand awareness is effective when more people engage with it. Agencies should track overall traffic to the website, page views of specific pages, downloads of white papers and ebooks, social mentions and links back to content.

  • Engagement is another important business goal. Engagement customers are loyal to the business brand and return for repeat business. They also promote the brand to their connections. Engagement can be measured by social activity online. Comments, likes and shares on social media demonstrate engagement.

  • Lead Generation: Many companies are looking to increase the number of leads that they capture from their digital marketing. This goal can be measured by the number of time people fill out forms on the webpage. It is also measured by email and blog subscriptions as well as the conversion rate of leads to customers. Since most businesses have multiple ways of generating leads, lead attribution is going to be important. It is critical that your client identify the initial point of contact so that the effectiveness of the various marketing channels can be measured. This is especially important for mobile marketing where prospects may use the touch dialing feature to initiate a call from the website itself. These lead should be attributed to the mobile marketing strategy and not to other forms of advertising.

  • Sales: Many clients are interested in the bottom line. They want to see increases in sales. This is fairly easy to track. The difficulty is similar to lead generation. You have to attribute each sale to a particular marketing source. You want to track both online sales and offline sales. In addition, you should get reports from salespeople and customers about the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

The key to establishing the effectiveness of your digital marketing is to relate your metrics to the business goals of your client. When this happens, you can demonstrate how your efforts are producing desired results for your clients.

3 Useful Tools to Help You Create Even Better Content for Your Clients

Posted by Laura Holton

shutterstock_122324287Whether you want to increase productivity, improve the quality of your content, or generate more ideas, there are numerous tools out there to choose from. As it can be difficult to know which are worth using and which are a waste of time, we have created this list featuring three of the best.

1. Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer

Titles are just as important as the body of your posts. Without an attention-grabbing title, you have no chance of drawing your readers in. To use the Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer, simply submit a title of 20 words or less and select a category that best describes the industry of your client from a drop-down list. The tool will provide you with an Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) in the form of a percentage. Creators of the app recommend that you aim for a minimum of 30 percent, but between 50 and 75 percent is ideal. The tool also gives you a classification that expresses how your headline will affect your audience: intellectually, empathetically, or spiritually.

2. Hemingway

Named for the concise writing style of the greater writer, the Hemingway app is a free web tool that assesses sentence structure, style, and readability to ensure content is easy for your audience to consume. After you submit your content, the app will tell you how many sentences are hard to read and how many are very hard to read along with instances of adverbs and the passive voice (including a recommendation of how many you should aim for according to your word count). All the above are highlighted in the text through a color-coded system, and you can make corrections to the text within the app.

3. HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator

If you are running out of ideas for new posts and you want to avoid generic content, you may benefit from HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator. Simply input three nouns into the boxes and the tool will generate five fresh, inspiring headlines (or a week’s worth of blog post titles, as the app calls it.) Usually, the titles are perfectly coherent, but some may need some minor grammatical tweaking.

Once you start using these tools, don’t be surprised if your clients comment on the higher quality of your blog posts, the greater engagement they are receiving with their content, and the unique ideas you are producing.

When the Content Well Runs Dry...3 Ways to Find Your Inspiration Again

Posted by Rachael Gerkensmeyer

shutterstock_124449988Coming up with fresh content for multiple clients can be a draining process. With so much pressure to deliver uniquely crafted content on the same topics time and time again, facing a dry well of ideas once in awhile is a serious possibility. But as you know, clients aren't concerned with how you come up with the ideas for their content as long as you deliver what they need on time – so it's important to push through those content idea droughts by coming up with new brainstorming methods and techniques. Here are three effective options to consider:  

Keep a Running List

Every time you sit down to think up new ideas for client content, write everything that comes to mind down whether or not you think it's helpful at the time. Keep your list handy so you can refer to it when you're having a hard time developing new ideas on your own. You might be surprised at how often your list provides inspiration for a new angle or aspect that you've never thought of before.

Create two or three basic categories for your list so you can keep your ideas organized, which will make it easy to refer to the ideas that correspond to the particular niche that you happen to be working with at the time. Storing your list electronically will give you access to it through your Smartphone or laptop no matter where you are when the ideas start popping up.

Consider Feedback

A great way to compile new ideas, angles, and insights for content creation is to dig into reader comments that have been left on content that you've previously published for your clients. Readers often leave hints about what kind of content would be well received by offering constructive criticism, asking questions, and providing personal insight into the topic at hand.

You can also frequent consumer forums to learn what topics are buzzing within the community, and which aspects or angles of those topics have a demand for fresh content. You'll likely get plenty of fresh ideas from forum posters to help you craft original titles and topics your clients (and their readers) will love.

Put a Spin on Keyword Research

When doing keyword research on a particular topic for the hundredth time, jot down a few off-topic ideas that somehow relate to the original niche that you're working with, and see if you can work those topics into your content by searching for keyword phrases that combine the two ideas. For example, if you're researching keywords about decoration ideas for an apartment community client, you can branch out your ideas to include furniture refinishing, do-it-yourself woodworking projects, or even carpet stain remedies.

In addition to taking advantage of these tips and tricks, one of the most important things you can do to reinvent topics so they're fresh for readers is to think outside the box every time you brainstorm. Try to come up with one new way to infuse different ideas into your content preparation process. 

The Art of Finding the Right Voice for Content

Posted by Laura Holton

shutterstock_60934993The delivery of your content is just as important as the information it contains — and this is where voice comes in to play! When you work with a number of clients, mastering the art of creating the perfect voice is more critical than ever because each of your clients is targeting a different audience. Every company needs a unique voice that represents their brand, allows them to stand out from competitors, and enables them to build trust with their audience. These tips will help you find the right voice for every one of your clients, increase the number of readers to your posts, and lead to greater engagement and more conversions.

1. Create Personas

Whatever persona you choose will depend on what is relevant to your clients’ products or services. Work with your clients to create as detailed personalities as possible using any relevant demographics and statistics. This may include age, gender, occupation, salary, location, values, and goals, to name just a few suggested by Buffer.  You can gather the information for your persona by website analysis, asking your clients about their customers, researching through social media, and talking to the customers directly through surveys and other means.

2. Think about Style

Once you have a clearer idea of your target market it is time to figure out what type of voice your audience will respond to best. Several factors come in to play to take into account when developing the style of your voice:

  • Formality: Addressing your audience with the correct formality will determine how well you connect. Bear in mind that formality comes in an array of shades, and you need to use your personas to determine what will resonate best with your target audience.
  • Vocabulary: Use your personas expertise and understanding of subjects to decide the degree of technicality of your vocabulary. If in doubt, explain terms, spell out acronyms, and keep your language simple. However, if you are reasonably confident that your audience will understand how the industry speaks, avoid going into unnecessary depths to explain as this may bore your readers and might possibly appear patronizing.
  • Person: The last style consideration is whether to use first, second, or third person voice. In most cases second-person voice is best because it enables you to involve your audience. And when you involve your audience they feel like they are a part of what it is you are trying to accomplish. However, if a client prefers you to take a particularly professional tone, you may like to opt for third-person voice. Reserve the first-person voice for talking about experiences from the client’s point of view, of course, but to ensure that you still relate to the customer, use at least a few second-person pronouns such as you and your. Generally your client will tell you how he wants the information displayed and what voice he prefers.

3. Identify the Qualities of the Brand

Finally, you need to infuse an element of the brand into your voice. Interview your clients to ask them about their motivation for starting their company’s, what message, concept, and values they are selling to their customers, and how they feel that they are different from the competition.

Distilled recommends that you condense your information so that it is specific to what the client is asking for. This can be achieved by using words and phrases that express the company’s goals, ideals, and expectations within the marketplace. Your last challenge is to apply these findings into your content. For example, if your client’s goal is creativity, consider using an upbeat voice to inspire your audience. If the brand is proud of being trustworthy, take a more authoritative tone and focus on being informative.

When you start working with a new client, developing a new voice from scratch may seem like a lengthy process but it will be well worth your effort. The right voice enables you to connect with readers and gives your content a greater impact. Plus, provided you take all of the above into consideration, you will only need to complete the process once and thereafter you will be able to make slight adjustments now and again as you monitor the effectiveness of your content.

7 Ways to Create Email Content That Converts

Posted by Jennifer Gemmell-Adams

shutterstock_118101760In the trending landscape of personalized pop-ups, microinteractions, and other marketing strategies that have migrated toward a dominant focus on mobile-friendly content and design, some marketers feel that email marketing is losing ground as a viable and effective tool in their marketing arsenal.  Can email content still generate viable leads and increase your conversion rates?  Of course it can, and here are seven ways you can revitalize your email marketing strategy with content that converts:

Less is More

You've likely heard (too often) the phrases "keep it simple, stupid" and "less is more."  Are you putting these phrases into practice with your email content?  If you are sending emails that divulge an excessive amount of information, people won't be motivated by a desire to know more -- because you've already told them too much.  Your email content should be a teaser to introduce recipients to something and give them a glimpse of what awaits if they take action.

"More" is More, Too

While many so-called marketing experts advocate the use of a prominent call to action in a highly visible location in your email content, others will tell you to practically stuff your email with CTAs.  This doesn't mean it should be little more than a page filled with "click me" links, but you should include a variety of opt-in options at different points in your content, from start to finish.  People have different points at which they reach a decision to enter a marketer's sales funnel, so make sure you have an open door waiting for them when they choose to take that step.

Encourage Engagement & Reward Loyalty

When introducing your subject matter in an email,  the content should address the recipient's level of engagement with your company, brand, products, or services.  Are they already a customer, or are they still at the window-shopping stage?  How long have they been a customer and how often do they make purchases?  Do they or have they provided successful referrals?  Your email content should approach the recipient on their level of engagement and encourage them to take additional steps into your sales funnel.  You should also offer unique "rewards" for loyal or long-term customers.

Personalized and Dynamic Content

If you've already compiled some information about your email recipients such as age, gender, occupation, or basic interests, you can personalize your email content.  Dynamic content generates conversions because it addresses your recipient individually and can speak to their individual needs, wants, problems, or questions.  You can also include offers or information that may be restricted to individual traits like gender or marital status.

Mobile-Friendliness is Essential

Email content should naturally be mobile-friendly because more people than ever before are using smartphones and other devices to access Internet content, including emails.  They are making purchases, doing research, connecting and communicating personally and professionally -- all while they are on the go.  This means your email content needs to be accessible, viewable, and actionable on a mobile device so the recipient can take action immediately.

Test, Measure, Tweak

As always, you should perform A/B testing for your email marketing strategies and use an effective analytics or other metrics measurement tool to evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies so you can make adjustments as needed.  Stay on top of current marketing trends and don't be afraid to think outside the box and implement unconventional or innovative strategies; keep in mind that sometimes the simplest changes can make the biggest difference.

Content Essentials

Don't neglect the essential components of your email content while focusing on strategies for improving your email conversion rates.  Attention-getting subject lines, provocative first paragraphs, and the basic format of your content (plain 'vanilla' black and white text versus vibrant colors and appealing images or videos) are critical parts of successful email content and are often the singular motivating factor in getting the recipient to open, read, or click in the first place.

If you do choose to include images or video in your email content, keep in mind that some smartphones automatically disable the display of this type of content.  You should use responsive design strategies for your email content to ensure readability across the broadest spectrum of devices.

As you refine your email marketing techniques and take your content development to the next level, you'll be able to determine what is working most effectively toward helping you reach your marketing goals.

Does a Buyer Persona Really Matter When You Create Content?

Posted by Laura Holton

shutterstock_278847149Buyer personas are more than just a collection of demographic information; they are a detailed characterization of your ideal customers. Your buyer persona should have a name, a face, a career, a family (or not), and a few hobbies. They should drive a specific car or have a dream vacation planned. In other words, your personas should be just like real people. With all the work and thought that goes into creating a buyer persona, it can be tempting to skip the process. You already have a pretty good idea of what your target market is like. Why go through all the fuss, right?

Buyer Personas are an Essential First Step

The process of creating a buyer persona is more than just an administrative task or busy work. The process helps you get to know your customers and prospective buyers better, and helps you to refine your target in a solidified way. As you go through the process, you'll be looking at everything from educational backgrounds to fantasy cars, and through this information you'll get an understanding of what the needs and interests of your buyers are.

If you skip this process and dive right into content creation, you run the risk of creating content that is totally off the mark. Not only are you wasting your time with the creation, but you might also be wasting the time of the salesperson who has to spend time with leads who are not a good fit for the product.

What Buyer Personas Do for You

In a nutshell, buyer personas give you the ability to create content that speaks to the reader instead of at the reader. You'll gain the advantage of understanding the psychological factors that influence buying habits and decision making. That way, you can fine-tune your content in a way that addresses these factors. 

For example, if you are marketing luxury vacation rentals, it is not enough to know that your target market tends to be men who are over the age of 50 with an income well into the six-figures. If your rentals are beachfront properties, you might be looking for men who grind away in the city and need to get some fresh air. You might need to know that they are motivated by ease of lifestyle, or that their primary concern is a good return on their investment. It could also help to know that they have adult children that might want to share the space.

Looking for Leads in All the Wrong Places

Without a well-defined buyer persona, you might be picking up all the wrong details or failing to highlight the most important factors. You might leave out the fact that the market for luxury housing in this area weathered the recession and is stronger than ever while spending too much time talking about the nearby water park. In other words, you might fail to address the motivations of your best targets because you're casting your net too wide. The result, of course, is missing the target.

In fact, almost 75 percent of online consumers get frustrated when content appears to have nothing to do with their interests. When you create buyer personas first, you will be able to segment your strategies so only the most relevant content reaches each individual, and the rest is left out. Any content you create that discusses the water park or daycare facilities will only be directed at your personas with kids in the mix. Content that focuses on money will be directed at those who are serious about their investments. 

In Other Words, Buyer Personas Matter

Take the time to create detailed personas. Flip through some stock photos and give your persona a face and a name. Create enough different people to cover your best targets, but not so many that your messages are diluted. And, most importantly, do all of this before you create any content so you don't waste anyone's time with misguided content.