Content marketing starts with one thing: understanding your audience, whether it’s a prospect or customer. Sounds simple in theory, but it can be difficult to collect the important info.
The buyer persona is a short biography of the typical customer. It comments on the buyer’s background, daily activities, and how they deal with their current set of problems. The more experience you have in your market, the more obvious the personas become. You want to know how a buyer is researching, discussing, reviewing, reading, watching or otherwise engaging with content that influences their decision to buy.
The marketing materials developed from the persona perspective, and not a product point of view, are likely to communicate answers to the same problems that your sales team will discover in his first few meetings with an individual buyer.
Buyer personas can be further classified into:
Evaluating Buyer: gathers information about purchase options and reports findings and opinion to the economic or technical buyer.
Economic Buyer: controls the ultimate decision to release funds for the purchase.
Technical Buyer: has technical expertise that influences the purchase decision.
Ordered: actually orders the product or service.
Obviously, not all of these roles may be necessary, it might have a great deal of overlap in many situations. Your quantitative and qualitative research will indicate which roles are important to create.
1. Interview your buyer personas
Once you identify who your buyer personas are, you need to interview those buyers. Take 20-30 people who fit each persona and ask them open-ended questions that are not necessarily related to your product or services.
You can also review your customer database and talk to your customer-facing staff, conduct phone surveys and polls of your customer database, and ask questions/monitor conversation online – Twitter, blogs, Facebook, private discussion groups, or LinkedIn groups. Finally, supplement your data with insights from industry sources.
Key questions to ask:
- Who are your typical buyers? It’s common for there to be several, but challenge yourself to narrow down on one the first time around. You can build out secondary personas later.
- What are their typical demographics?
- What are their key motivators in life, at work?
- What are their biggest challenges and obstacles to success, at life or at work?
- How do they consume information today?
- Who influences their decisions?
2. Create profile(s) for the persona(s)
Take the information you have gathered from your interviews and come up with a profile for each group. Remembering about the needs and how you can solve the problems of your different target audiences, this is so critical that some companies have placed images of their buyer personas throughout offices and on the walls of conference rooms, so every single action is created thinking of a specific persona.
When you know your audience – your buyer personas, then you become able to engage with them. So you get sure that your message has been reached, heard, read and understood from the right people you want to reach.
Truly understanding the market problems that your products and services solve for your buyer personas, you transform your marketing from mere product-specific, ego-centric gobbledygook that only you understand and care about into valuable information people are eager to consume and that they use to make the choice to do business with your organization