In the days before online marketing, one essential question that had to be answered in order to plan, develop and deploy effective marketing was “Who is the target prospect?”
For those engaged in Content Marketing, a thoughtful and considered answer to this question has never been more required. And without it, success will elude you.
What’s a Persona and why do you need one for Content Marketing?
In today’s parlance , the “target prospect” has been replaced with a “buyer persona.” In a nutshell, a buyer persona is a distinctly defined potential customer—a prospect. Think of it as a fictional, detailed, representation of your ideal customer that you want to reach with your content and marketing message.
A persona profile should include essential demographic information including title, household income, education, skill sets, organization type, preferences, likes/dislikes, habits, and geography.
More importantly, you need to understand the attributes that affect and influence the content that you will create for this individual including:
- | Challenges
- | Needs
- | Context
- | Conditions
- | Aspirations
When you identify and provide detail about these attributes, it reveals important triggers that can influence your targets to engage with and act on content.
This will also help tailor content and marketing messages for different personas. An example might be instead of sending lead nurturing email to everyone in your list, you can segment and customize your content by persona with tailored messaging to meet their unique needs and challenges.
In B2B, most decisions are made by committee, so you need to develop a persona for each member in the purchase decision-making process. For many organizations, this suggests considering several distinct personas. They may include the following types:
- | Initiator
- | Influencer
- | Decision-maker
- | Buyer
- | User
- | Gatekeeper
If you sell multiple products or services to different audiences, consider creating a persona for each person involved in the buying process.
Listening can be rewarding.
Content marketers often want to know how to create the right kind of content that their buyer persona is interested in. If you follow these 3 guidelines, chances are you’re headed in the right direction.
- | Invest time to listen
- | Discuss problems you can solve
- | Serve your content in channels where targets prefer to find it
It’s essential to be able to use their words, not your own so that your marketing is genuine and not centered around your issues, your biases or product features that may not be relevant.
Anyone creating a persona for marketing should include the perspective of the people touching your buyers on a daily basis—the sales team. And as any qualified sales representative will tell you, there are usually multiple persona profiles that change through the sales process.
The marketing content that you plan, create and deploy should align with each of these personas. It should meet their needs and address their challenges as they move through a sales funnel—from a suspect to > prospect to > a converted and paying customer.
Lee Oden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, shares how a buyer persona can be used as an effective strategic component in online marketing.
Who are you talking to?
Are you defining your target prospect with a detailed buyer persona before you begin any content creation? Share what’s working for you.