Buyer personas are a central piece in a content marketing strategy. These profiles of your ideal customers help you to determine the best content to attract people that fit your profile who are searching the Internet for information. The more you can focus and refine your buyer personas, the better your marketing will be. That is why it is important to develop good buyer personas when you get started with content marketing. It is also important to adjust these personas as you go so that you can improve the results of your marketing.
What Is a Buyer Persona
Your buyer personas represent the customers that you want to target. A buyer persona will list important demographic information about your ideal customers, but more importantly it will identify the problems, needs and desires of these people. Then you can create targeted content that helps solve problems and fulfill desires for this group.
For example, if you are a personal trainer, you may have a few distinct groups of customers. Some people may be in great shape and want a real challenge to go to the next level or compete in a sporting event. Others may want to get back in shape and need a push to get started. Men and women may have different approaches to fitness. You want to make sure you develop buyer personas to reflect these differences.
The key question is how to develop and adjust these buyer personas for your own business. Here are a few tips to get you started.
One good place to start is your past experience. You know your customers, so you can start to develop profiles of the key types of customers for your business. You know what problems they have that you can solve or any desires that you can fulfill. These are good initial guesses, but you will probably need to improve on these as you continue to create content and develop data on your marketing efforts.
You can also ask your sales teams about your customers. They deal with customers everyday, so they know what their frustrations, hopes and dreams are. They understand what the key objections are for your products or services. And they know what the initial assumptions are about your customers. This is a place to begin developing buyer personas.
If you have a budget that allows it, you can conduct market research, obtain data on your customers and build buyer personas based on this data. This is a great way to refine your buyer personas beyond an initial guess based on your past experience. You may have to outsource this work to marketing experts, so it may require a significant investment. The cost involved may be worth it because a more focused buyer persona will yield more conversions from prospects to customers due to your effective content strategy.
You can use focus groups to gather information. These are small groups of people with common characteristics who participate in a guided discussion about a product or a service. The results of this discussion provide valuable insights into what content will best attract this group.
Ethnographic research is also important for developing buyer personas. This research uses face-to-face interviews and observations of people in their natural environments to draw conclusions regarding future behaviors. Ethnographic research will observe the behavior of your potential customers to tease out their pain points. You can then develop a content strategy that these customers will respond to.
You can also rely on traditional market research to provide data for your buyer personas.
Ask Your Customers and Prospects
You can get some great information from your current customers, from people in your funnel, and even from people who looked at your business but did not make a purchase. Create a survey to gather information and offer some kind of incentive or coupon for filling it out. There are lots of questions you can ask your customers, but you want to focus on how your business can solve their problems.
Another way to look at your customers is based on the analytics of your website. You can find out a lot of demographic information from your analytics. You can see the social profiles of people who are currently interacting with your website and social media presence. This can give you a lot of information about your prospects.