Smart content marketing is a very cost-effective way of reaching new leads, particularly when compared to traditional advertising and outbound marketing. And the best part about using content is that you can cast a very wide net for a relatively low cost, since you’re not paying per impression or direct mailer. But beware how wide that net gets – aiming for too large an audience can often dilute what could otherwise be a very effective content strategy.
The antidote to broad, watered down content is simple: buyer personas. Creating a specific profile for the type of customer you’re looking for (whether it’s B2C or B2B) will help you tailor your content to speak directly to those likely candidates, and trim the fat so you’re not wasting thousands of words on an audience that will never convert.
Research has shown that refining and targeting your content to specific personas can dramatically improve the efficacy of marketing efforts – we’re talking about 14% higher CTRs on email campaigns, contributing 18 times more revenue than untargeted broadcast emails. Think it’s too good to be true? Check out this infographic from Single Grain.
B2B Buying Profiles & Process
In the world of B2B marketing, buyer personas are twofold: you’ll need to identify the types of businesses you hope to engage with, and then the people at those businesses who you’ll be selling to. It’s likely you already have a general sense of who you do business with most, but take the time to go through your sales figures and CRM records to identify similarities across your best buyers, and to track which types of buyers you see most often.
Related Class: How To Create a Content Segmentation Plan
The next step is thinking of the specific people at those companies you hope to reach, and really fleshing out their profile. It’s not enough to say, “I’m targeting middle-management at tech companies.” What types of managers are most interested in what your company offers? What pressures are they under at work? What concerns do they have about the work they do? And most importantly, what role do they play in the buying process?
The B2B buying process gives us a clear example of when personas are needed – the marketing message you use for your first contact at a new company (typically called the ‘initiator’ in personas) should be very different from the one you use to convince C-level executives to okay the order. Just because they work at the same company doesn’t mean they have the same pain points and concerns. Your content should be tailored to touch the right nerves for the right people, whether it’s budgetary concerns for the CEO or efficiency issues for the team manager.
B2C Buyer Profiles
For B2C businesses, buyer personas are relatively straightforward – although that definitely doesn’t mean they’re easy to create and get right. After all, selling directly to customers can often mean you have a much more diverse audience than B2B marketers have.
But even if you think your products or services could be perfect for everyone under the sun, you shouldn’t keep your content marketing general to reach them all – or you’ll just lose them all! At the arts organization I work for, we mainly count on baby-boomers and retirees for our audiences, but we’re also nurturing students and young adult audiences as well. We certainly don’t use one-size-fits-all content to hit both demographics!
Related Class: Blueprint for Content Marketing Strategy
You have a wealth of information at your fingertips to help you create accurate buyer personas: website analytics, social media, CRM data, and more. Insights on Facebook will tell you a lot about your followers, like age, gender, location, etc., and you can do your own research to discover more about their interests, hobbies and family situation.
Once you have the general outline of a persona (young mothers in the New York area, 40-something golfers, etc.), fill it in with as many details as possible. Poll your customer service team for ideas and anecdotes if you’re uncertain. Give that persona a name and a photo, so it will be easy to write content just for them (and all your other personas too, of course).
I’ve just scratched the surface here – if you’re interested in learning more about creating and using buyer personas in your content marketing, there are many resources available to you. Your next step should be to check out this OMI class: Building a Digital Persona to Drive Strategy.