As a business of any type, your overall marketing goal should be to target relevant consumers and effectively push them through the conversion funnel until they’re customers. And while the latter portion of the goal is thoroughly discussed and emphasized, very few organizations take the time to unpack the first part: targeting relevant customers.
This is especially important when it comes to content marketing. How can you possibly craft high-converting content if you don’t first know who your customers are and what pain points they have? As this infographic mentions, “If only one out of ten people in your target audience needs your solution, and 9 of them aren’t prospects, you’re wasting 90 percent of your time and resources.” Is that something you can afford to keep doing?
The Importance of Buyer Personas
As Jakob Marketing Partners points out in this blog post, “Relevant content marketing with informative and/or entertaining content that users want will always have a place in digital marketing.” The key parts of that statement are “relevant content marketing” and “content that users want.”
With those truths as the focus, you can begin to see why it’s important to craft detailed buyer personas for each of your target audiences. Depending on what types of products and services you sell, you may have anywhere between one and five different personas. Ideally, you’ll have only one or two, but it’s necessary to work through each independently and thoroughly.
Characteristics to Consider
A buyer persona is essentially a profile of your ideal customer and includes various characteristics, preferences and buying habits. Whether you complete all marketing in-house or outsource, whoever’s working on the content creation side will need these profiles. While you won’t be able to hone in on every possible customer, these generalizations can help you maximize your efficacy.
Keep these characteristics in mind:
- Age and gender. Start with the easiest parts: age and gender. Not only are these relatively simple to determine, but they can also tell you a great deal about your target. For example, a 75-year old lady is completely different than a 16-year old boy. From the very beginning, you can cross off certain criteria and zone in on others.
- Occupation or profession. For B2B businesses, profession is a pretty easy factor to determine. However, B2C businesses may find it more challenging to accurately determine occupation and profession. In this case, it’s much more likely that you’ll narrow it down to a couple different industries or job types – such as manual labor or desk job.
- Education level. An oft-overlooked, yet important factor is education. This is especially true when crafting personas for content marketing, as it can tell you a lot about how your audience consumes the information you produce. For example, a buyer persona that consists of a master’s degree will probably find graphs, statistics and case studies more valuable than a consumer with only a high school education.
- Income/spending habits. Make sure you spend some time researching the income and spending habits of your target consumers. This helps you understand how much they can reasonably spend, what level of discretionary income they have and when they’re likely to purchase versus save.
There are plenty of other characteristics and factors to consider – including political and religious beliefs, hobbies, free time, geographical location and more – and you should never rush the process. Continually ask questions and never settle for ambiguity. The more you know, the higher ROI you’ll get on the content you produce.
Thanks to the abundance of resources available on the internet, you can find much of the information you’re looking for online. However, you may find it necessary to conduct focus groups, interviews and field studies to glean other facts.
After crafting detailed personas, you can then develop a content strategy that addresses specific problems, needs and beliefs. Furthermore, you’ll be able to build more valuable distribution and publishing partners to meet your consumers where they are.