One of the important objectives of a content marketing strategy is to effectively engage with customers and key influencers. To accomplish this, you must provide these audiences with a continuous stream of information that is uniquely relevant to them — information that solves a problem, answers a question or addresses a top-of-mind concern.
Successful content goes beyond surface conversations and delves deep into issues that our audiences face. So, how can we be confident that the content we are creating is meaningful?
It all starts with understanding the people we are talking to.
Today, many companies in the B2B sector are developing detailed customer personas in an effort to know their audiences better and engage with them more effectively.
A customer persona — sometimes referred to as a buyer persona — is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and data. Personas include, but are not limited to, customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations and goals.
If you’re like most companies, you likely have more than one customer or buyer type to define. In the building products sector, for example, your buyers could include architects, builders, specifiers and contractors — all of whom tend to have different motivations and goals.
So, how do you create an effective customer persona? Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Five Steps to Creating A Successful Customer Persona Strategy
1. Identify the needs of your customers.
Before you begin the process of developing your customer personas, it’s important to understand what motivates your audiences. You’ll need to know the following:
- What problems are they dedicating their time and resources to solving?
- What information do they need to accomplish their goals?
- What trends are influencing them?
- What are the metrics they equate with success?
- What aspects of your product will they assess in evaluating you vs. your competition?
2. Conduct research.
The strongest buyer personas are based on both quantitative and qualitative research. So, do your homework. Conduct surveys. Interview your customers. Dig deep to discover insights that will help you craft messaging that addresses their unique needs.
While your own personal experiences and interactions with these audiences may help you form the general outline of each persona, research will enable you to fill in the details that are critical as you move forward with your content strategy.
3. Make some key judgement calls about what you’ve learned.
Customer personas should be highly detailed. But, too much detail can get in the way of creating effective content. So, look at your information with a critical eye and ask: Do these details impact how my audiences engage with my brand?
In the B2B sector, for example, the customer’s gender and marital status are likely irrelevant, as is information about hobbies and musical preferences. So, as you create your customer personas, be careful to incorporate only the critical data points. These can include, but are not limited to:
- Educational background
- Job title and responsibilities
- Job performance measurements
- Common challenges they face in their profession
- Blogs/publications they read
- Associations/professional networks
As you formulate and refine your customer personas, you may want to call on experts, like Point to Point, who can offer valuable insights in building targeted and effective profiles.
4. Reevaluate your personas regularly.
Market conditions change. People change. Your organizational goals change. As a result, motivations and priorities change. As the business environment evolves, your customer personas will need to evolve as well. So, be sure to reexamine your personas to make sure they remain accurate. As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to review your personas each year as you establish your company goals.
5. Use your customer personas to create focused content that will engage your audience.
Consumer personas will help you and those in your organization communicate with your customers not just as customers, but also as human beings. With detailed personas in hand, you will have the information you need to create content and messaging that appeals to your target audience on a highly personal level. By keeping these personas in mind while writing, you will be able to tailor your content to your audience’s interests, behaviors and unique lifestyles.
What’s more, knowing your readers’ preferences can help you distribute your content through the most appropriate channels.
Customer personas can be used in all stages of content marketing — from lead generation to closing the sale. The time you put into creating customer personas will pay off exponentially as you begin to engage with your customers in a more meaningful manner.
Contact Point to Point to learn more about building an effective customer persona.