“Are You Talking to Me?” – Your Guide to “Persona-Centric” Content Marketing

Travis Bickle may have had a problem much different than today’s marketers, but the fundamental question he asks still rings true when trying to gain the attention of customers.

new-mayor-meets-travis-bickleToday, as marketers and business owners we’re dealing with the challenges of market fragmentation more than ever before. Social media has given us the unprecedented ability to reach large segments of the market with a message tailored to address individual needs and offer solutions to individual challenges. Creating customer-centric content that is specific and valuable to your target audience is the most effective method for turning prospects into sales.

Do you know who your customers are? Do you know where they go to gather the information they need to make buying decisions?  You need to get inside the mind of your customer to understand their motivation and pain points and then create content of value that addresses these concerns. This “customer-centric” content then needs to be delivered through the appropriate channels.

The most effective method of reaching these potential buyers is through the use of personas. Personas encompass who your customers are and the motivations that drive them to make buying decisions. Once you understand these elements, you can then determine where they go for information and to which channels you should allocate your resources.

Developing and using data-driven personas is critical to the future of your online search and digital marketing success. 

Exactly What Are Personas?

Personas are fact based and researched fictional representations of your ideal customer. They are created using quantitative and qualitative data along with known buyer behavior to build archetypes of your target audience. This data tells a predictive story about your prospects based upon past behaviors and attributes.

The first step to building personas lies in your existing sales data. Your files contain detailed information like:

• What product or service was purchased

• When and how often was it purchased

• Client’s name, company name and title

• Any additional information: location, purchased online or in-person etc.

This information shows trends and patterns in purchasing. If you’ve also collected demographic information like marital status, household, income, age, and sex, add this information to paint a clearer picture of your ideal customer.

Next, employ the fundamental basics of good storytelling. Your factual persona is expanded using educated speculation to develop the story. You should use and answer the 6 questions:

• Who are your ideal buyers?

• What are they looking to accomplish through their purchase?

• What are the goals driving their decision making process?

• Where do they buy?

• When do they buy? Is their buying need based, seasonal, or impulsive?

• How do they find information? Where do they congregate online?

• Why do they make their buying decision? What is the deciding factor?

Adding Detail

Adding detail can further refine your personas.  The object of understanding your buyer is to develop relevant, valuable content to address their needs. Always answer questions working from the perspective of your persona. Consider:

• What is a typical day in their life?

Do they work from home, the road, or an office? Do they spend more time at home or at work? What do they enjoy during their leisure time? What do they drive?  Understanding the human factor of your customer allows you to develop a deeper understanding of what motivates them to act.

•  What problems are they working to resolve?

How can you make their lives easier? Are they researching a purchase or looking for information? Offer solutions through targeted content.

• What do they value most?

Once you understand their problem, you can position your product as the solution by addressing their needs and offering them the value they are seeking.

• Where do they search for information?

With so many channels available, it’s important to determine where your personas go for guidance. Are they active on social media? Do they read trade publications online? Once you understand where they go for information, you’ll know where to allocate resources to reach them.

The Benefits of Personas

Personas help you to gain insight into your ideal customers, understand their motivations, and then adapt your content strategy to address their concerns. Building archetypes by answering these questions, as your persona would, will help you to narrow your marketing focus and direct your message to the channels most likely to spur action.

Buyer personas help you to:

Determine the content relevant to your target audience.

• Understand where they go to search for information and what they will respond to, whether it’s blog posts, video, text or images.

• Understand who your customer are, their motivations and how to effectively craft strategies to provide value.

• Focus on growing your business by targeting and reaching out to the people most likely to respond to your message, then building lasting relationships by providing them value.

Developing a deeper understanding of your potential customers can give you a deeper insight into your own business. Focusing your message to meet the needs of your customer will drive traffic to your website and increase your sales. It’s a proven marketing approach that works.

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