To be successful with content marketing, your content must be catered to the customer. Buyer personas (also called marketing personas or customer archetypes) act as the framework for creating targeted messaging to the right people. Personas should be central to any business and aid in the development of your content strategy. Your organization’s offerings, industries or verticals will impact the number of personas to create. It is typical for a company to have anywhere from two to eight buyer personas. These personas can help you determine your focus, messaging and strategy to match your ideal customer in a particular segment.
Quality is an important component of content marketing. Creating content that is directed specifically to your ideal customer is the essential piece of successful content marketing. So how do you ensure that your content is relevant and attractive to your ideal audience?
Build buyer personas.
From website development to social media, buyer personas can be used in several different ways. Let’s dive in!
What is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is a detailed description of someone who represents your target audience—your ideal customer. Creating buyer personas helps you see your brand through the customers’ eyes. Buyer personas are one of the most important aspects of your business and marketing strategy. To sell to your audience, you need to know their likes, dislikes and what motivates their decisions. By analyzing their patterns and behaviors, you can create a content marketing strategy centered around their objectives.
Traits of a buyer persona
Once you identify the traits of your buyer personas, you’ll be able to build messaging that aligns with the expectations of your ideal customer. Understanding these traits will also help save time and money. You will develop a higher probability of reaching your target by providing the exact service they are looking for. Furthermore, it will keep you grounded and focused. No one can be everything to everybody; developing robust buyer personas keeps planning in check and streamlines not only the marketing message development process but the full scope of business development and outreach.
How to create buyer personas
Developing buyer personas takes time. Use a combination of what you know about your current customers or client base, who you want your ideal customer to be and information you gather by asking direct questions to your customers.
For example, if you are gathering information from current customers or prospects you may ask:
- What makes you comfortable doing business with us?
- Where do you go for your information?
- What communication channel(s) do you prefer to use for getting information about products or services?
- What are your main concerns, problems or pain points?
- What is important in your decision-making process?
Building a persona is a multistep process that requires extensive research. But it is a powerful technique to approach your customer in the most effective manner. Here are some tips in creating a persona:
- Determine what benefits your product provides
- Get to know your ideal audience
- Create minimalist persona templates
- Educate full teams about your personas
When your personas are complete, you should have a document, PDF, slide or other visual that outlines these important pieces of information. Personas should be shared not only with everyone on your marketing team, but anyone who has a touchopoint with a customer or supports business development. For more information on building personas, check out our post: “How to use buyer personas in your content marketing strategy”.
Agile personas and societal impacts
The way consumers make purchase decisions has changed recently as the world continues to navigate new ways of work and socialization due to the effects of COVID-19, economic downturns and social unrest. These changes impact your personas. Think agile persona development—review these regularly and have true conversations about the changes you see in your customers’ habits and needs.
The way we approach brands has evolved and the way we build our companies has been redefined. According to Harvard Business Review, the pandemic truly challenged brand loyalty. The EY Future Consumer Index found that up to 61% of consumers, depending on the category, became willing to consider a white label product, let alone switch name brands. That dynamic coupled with growing consumer awareness and activism precipitated during the social unrest of 2020 should make brands very focused on the values they express. This is just one example of many on how external factors in the world around us affect what we know about our customers.
In an Accenture survey, 76% of business leaders agreed that current business models will be unrecognizable in the next five years. As the economy shifts, consumer habits take a different direction and the new patterns will determine your new persona. Harvard Business Review also notes that the keys to weathering crises and preserving bonds with consumers include:
- humanizing your brand
- educating consumers about change
- assuring stability
- revolutionizing your offerings
- tackling the future
How often should you review personas?
Business models change. Buying habits change. The world around us changes. While your core target market may not change, your personas will. Buyer personas are only effective if they match your customers at the time in which you’re using them. That’s why it’s a good idea to revisit your personas once a year—the same as you would your business plan and overall marketing strategy. As technology evolves and consumers change the way they gather information, it can shift the way you execute your content marketing. You also want to keep up with the latest trends so you can incorporate new marketing efforts into your strategies.
How can we help?
Persona development is an important step in a successful content marketing strategy. Our team has extensive experience working with organizations to research and create personas that match business needs. Contact us to learn about our services; let’s work together!