Last week, the Content Boost editorial team completed an experiential based exercise in which we each interviewed another member of our team and created buyer personas for our teammates based on a product or service they might be looking to buy. The buyer persona task served a few purposes: sure it was great for team-building, but more importantly it forced us to put on our strategic thinking caps (it was also a great way to break up the work week).
Above all, the goal for the activity was to continue honing our ability to get inside the minds of consumers. Our clients cut across a number of industries and subsectors, so it is critical that we’re able to quickly understand their target audiences’ wants and needs. Only when we are able to close our eyes and picture those personas as living, breathing consumers can we create the kind of content that drives brand engagement.
In other words, before we can help our clients talk to their target audience we have to understand what those consumers want to hear.
As a marketer, you likely rely on some kind of pre-created buyer persona already. But one of the issues we see a lot here is that these personas don’t go deep enough or are not explicitly written out anywhere. It’s not enough to describe an ideal customer as “a small business owner looking to cut costs.” You have to be able to answer questions like:
- What specific pain points are driving the business’s growing operational costs?
- What level of awareness does the business owner have of your offerings?
- Is the business owner in a position to make an upfront investment to lower long-term expenses?
- Does the owner favor a high-touch approach or want little to no involvement in the process?
Take the last question as an example. If the business owners in your audience skew toward favoring a hands-off approach where a project “just gets done,” you need to know that before you write blog posts or email marketing targeting those individuals. You are going to want to avoid using phrasing like “We work with you hand in hand” or “we’ll walk you through the project step-by-step.” That kind of wording is more likely to turn your target audience off than create greater engagement because that’s not what these business owners want in their vendors.
If your company has recently updated buyer personas that provide you with the requisite knowledge, you are off to a good start. Of course, you still have to meet the challenge of creating enough quality content—no easy task itself.
For those marketing departments working without buyer personas, a content strategy vendor can be extremely valuable. If you have already compiled the research for a persona but simply haven’t gotten around to creating a formal document, a content services provider can assist you by either working closely with you or taking charge of the task. If you are still in the research planning phase, a content strategy vendor can help you think about the kinds of questions you will want to ask and the information to focus on.
Either way, with a little help, it won’t be long before you can close your eyes and picture your target audience in detail.