Content marketing is only worth the effort when you create content that provides genuine value to the reader. If you're not doing that, you shouldn't be wasting your time. But if you want to create high-value content on a consistent basis, you really need to target the right readers. And that means you need a buyer persona.What's a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a representation of your target customer. While it should include basic demographics such as gender and age, a good buyer persona will also contain details about their likes and dislikes, behaviour, goals, hopes, fears and more. You might even give your persona a name.
A detailed buyer persona allows you to create content that resonates with the very people you want to engage with. It also goes further, helping to direct your entire B2B content marketing strategy and make key decisions.
So how can you set about creating a buyer persona? Here are five steps to nail it in no time.
1) Brainstorm Their Pain Points
First of all, you need to know what problems your customers have – and how your products and services help to resolve those problems. So start off with a good old-fashioned brainstorming session.
Sit down in a group with two or three other people and throw out suggestions:
- How does your product make your customers' lives better?
- Which problems does it solve?
- What are their concerns, both personal and professional?
- What are their challenges?
- What keeps them awake at night?
Once you work out their pain points, you can be more specific with your B2B content marketing strategy and target your content more accurately, so this is a great starting point. But brainstorming will only get you so far, which leads us onto the next point…
2) Interview Your Existing Customers
Asking your existing customers their opinions will take you a long way towards creating your buyer persona. But how do you go about interviewing them?
Start by sending out a quick email to recent customers asking them a question that encourages a response, and you will soon find out which customers are the most open to providing feedback.
Then just ask. Tell them how much you want to provide products or services they love, and ask if you can call them for a five-minute chat. You'll be amazed by what you could learn in a few minutes on the phone, and many customers will be flattered that you are paying them so much attention.
3) Read Your Customer Feedback
Another way to gather useful information from your existing customers is to find out what they are saying about you in their feedback.
You will find out the exact features that your customers like about your products from your customer feedback, testimonials and reviews. This includes things like why they chose you, what stood out about your business, what they were happy with, disappointed with, etc – and this is all fantastic data for creating a buyer persona.
As a bonus tip, jot down some of the exact phrases that are being used to describe their problems, solutions and your products – you can use these in your marketing material to better connect with them.
4) Ask Potential Customers
Your existing customers can provide you with a lot of great information – but potential customers should not be ignored.
Collecting information from your potential customers might seem harder to achieve, but actually, there are a number of ways you can gain customer insight into their thought processes.
One of the simplest ways to gather this information is to launch a survey on your website for new visitors. You can use a tool like Survey Monkey. Although you can’t just ask anyone to take part in this, you’ll need to find the right participants - you could use a market research supplier. By doing this you will not only understand how your customers think and feel but what influences their buyer journey too.
To improve your response rate, you could always offer an incentive or a company discount to make participating more attractive.
5) Create a Live Document and Update Your Buyer Persona
Try to sit down as a team and work on your buyer personas in a regular workshop. You don't need everyone involved in this – perhaps just two or three core members of your team.
Once the workshop is over, put one person in charge of adding the notes to a document in Google Drive, and share it so you all have access to the copy. From there, you can use this as your live document that you can add to over time, then you can update it whenever you think of something important. That way you'll ensure that you are always thinking about and refining your buyer persona so the content you create is always on target.
A buyer persona is an investment – get it right, and it can improve your B2B content marketing strategy as well as other marketing activities.
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