Hello DeClustered Marketing readers, so every time I talk to anyone about content marketing, they ask me the same question, “where do I start?”. Here I’m going to break down a great starting point for your content marketing, the personas. Don’t worry, I will go over everything as detailed as possible and by the time you finish reading this, you’ll be a persona making champion. Just a quick warning, this might be a bit long, but I really wanted to make sure you had as much information as possible…So, let’s jump right in!
What Are Buyer Personas?
Personas will help you truly uncover who you sell your products and services too. Think of buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customer. What do I mean by fictional? I mean you literally give them a fake name and personality, which mimics your real life clients and customers. Understanding the buyer personas will allow you to make it easier to write your content for, this way you can tailor your content to the specific needs, desires, behaviors, and concerns of different buyers.
The best buyer persona designs are based around market research as well as all the insights you can gather from your actual customers from surveys, interviews and interactions. Depending on your business, you could have one to two or as many as 10 to 20 different personas. I highly recommend that you start with 1 to 2. Which 1 to 2 do you want to start with? I usually like to start with the ones that generate the most number of calls or the fastest money. Eventually, you will build all of your personas and have the ability to tailor your content to each of them. Just a heads up, try not to pass more than 6 or you’ll have a really hard time trying to do this on your own.
What Are Negative Personas?
As buyer personas help you create a representation of your ideal customer, a negative persona can be thought of the customer you don’t want. Yes, you want to make sure that you’re not writing content for that guy you gives you hell and never buys anything from you. These negative personas can include professionals who are too advanced for your product or services, student who are only reading to do research for a project and customers who are too low level for what they purchase. Don’t exclude buyers who you can cross sell and upsell by mistake. Make sure you really qualify these negative personas.
How Can You Use Personas?
As mentioned above personas help you create personalized content for your ideal clients and/or customers. You can also use content marketing to segment your customer lists when you do eMail marketing, thus offering a very personalized emailing system. This way if someone buys a shirt, you’re not trying to sell them a hammer (you know who you are Sears…), but I will get into this in another blog post.
The biggest thing here is to try to combine the content you write with the lifecycle state (i.e., how far along someone is in your buying funnel or sales cycle) in order to allow you to map out and create highly targeted information. Overall, you’re really tailoring information in order to help them move down the funnel to a conversion or sale.
How Do You Create Personas?
Okay now here is the real meat and potatoes…
Buyer personas are made by research, surveys, interviews and communications with your sales teams and talks with your customers. The research should include a mix of customers, prospects and people outside of your database who really align with your target audience.
So, how the heck do you do that? Here are some quick tips
- Interview your current customers in person or over the phone. Truly work on understanding what they liked about your product or services.
- Look over your contact database to and try to find trends about how certain leads, customers or potential customers found and read your blog or your website’s information. Did they spend 5 minutes looking through 5 to 10 pages before they filled out a contact form?
- Talk to your sales team. Why? They are on the front lines of your company and they will have valuable input on how different customers behave and act. You might find that you have customers that are on the fence and three days later they call to place an order.
Overall you want to look for patterns here.
Making Your Personas Come to Life
Here is how you will begin to classify your personas and make them come to life. These will be the people and personalities you will want to tailor your information too.
You want to give your persona a back story. You want to make sure this isn’t some off the wall information, but truly based on the research that you conducted. Here are some things you want to consider:
- What is the job of your customer/client?
- Are they the head of HR? Are they the CEO/CMO/COO/Everything Under the sun?
- Do they have a family? Are they married with children?
- Is this persona male or female?
- What is their age range?
- How much do they earn?
- Are their two incomes in the house? If so, then what is the total?
- Where do they live?
The identifiers are based around their demeanors and communication preferences.
- Is this persona calm? Angry? Stressed out?
- Does the assistant screen their calls?
- Do they ask for collateral to be mailed? Do they use a fax?
- Are they old school or are they up with the times?
What is the personas primary goal and secondary goal?
- Are they concerned about keeping their employees happy with low turnover?
- Are they support for the legal and financial teams?
- Are they just trying to get something without be upsold?
What Can We Do?
What can you do in order to help your persona reach their goals? How can you help them overcome their challenges?
- Make it easy to manage all employee data in one place
- Integrate their legal and finance teams systems
How should you describe your solution to your persona? You have to really think here based around all of the previous steps of information.
This is how you will sell your persona on your solution. This is what a really brief pitch should be based around. This should be no more than one to two lines. It has to be extremely precise and to the point. Make sure you base your pitch around the exact information that this persona has talked about.