Buyer Personas: The Keys to Content Marketing

PamDyer
Pam Dyer Marketing Maven, SolutionsIQ

Posted on February 9th 2014

Buyer Personas: The Keys to Content Marketing

Customized content can help drive your prospects through the sales funnel and ultimately convert them to buyers. 

buyer personas content marketing Buyer Personas: The Keys to Content Marketing

But first, you need to understand your customers. Do they live in suburbs or in the city? Do they watch reality shows or PBS? Are they always online or are they oblivious to Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks? Where do they go for advice when they’re thinking about making a purchase?

One of the basic tenets of marketing is to define your target customer. You can’t just begin creating content for your website, social channels, or email campaigns on an ad hoc basis in hopes that someone – anyone! – will find it useful. You need to learn about what your audience values, the problems they’re trying to solve, and where they are in their decision-making process in order to give them what they’re looking for and address their needs through content marketing. Enter buyer personas.

What are buyer personas?

Buyer personas are tools that help bridge the gap between customer experiences and expectations and the assumptions that brands make about their target audiences. Based on real data about customer demographics and behavior, they include educated guesses about personal histories, motivations, concerns, and pain points.

Here’s the original definition courtesy of Tony Zambito, the creator of buyer personas and today’s leading authority on the subject:

Buyer personas are research-based archetypal (modeled) representations of who buyers are, what they are trying to accomplish, what goals drive their behavior, how they think, how they buy, where they buy, when buyers decide to buy, and why they make buying decisions. 

Formulating this user information helps you look at your target customers as individuals rather than members of a large nondescript group. These people may not exist in the real world per se, but their jobs, daily routines, beliefs, preferences, problems, and challenges do — all of which must be addressed if you want to move them through the sales cycle from initial consideration to making a purchase decision:

content marketing sales funnel Buyer Personas: The Keys to Content Marketing

The benefits of using buyer personas for content marketing

Developing buyer personas creates 3 primary advantages for marketers:

  1. They improve the return (ROI) on strategic marketing activities. Most companies have limited marketing funds that have to be allocated to many marketing initiatives. Personas enable you to develop cost-effective marketing strategies that are predicated on how your target customers are most likely to act.
  2. They assist with objective planning. Creating marketing content for a specific target audience is difficult/impossible if you don’t understand how that segment is likely to respond. A buyer persona provides the information and context you need in order to make objective decisions about how to construct your marketing messages.
  3. They foster the development of strong brand messaging. It’s great that you want your marketing content to cast as wide a net as possible, but the inevitable result is message dilution – since it’s not succinct and targeted, it will reach far fewer people. Buyer personas help you craft and tailor your marketing messages so you can achieve the best possible outcome.

In my next post, I’ll discuss how to get started with creating buyer personas to inform your content marketing goals.

PamDyer

Pam Dyer

Marketing Maven, SolutionsIQ

I direct marketing initiatives at SolutionsIQ, a leading Agile services provider. My blog, Pamorama, is all about how organizations can optimize their online presence and branding with social media marketing. My goal is to help businesses understand how to use social networks to find leads, increase sales, and improve branding via digital marketing on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and other social networks. Topics include blogging, inbound and content marketing, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

I'm featured in Forbes as a Top-50 Social Media Power Influencer and a Top-20 Woman Social Media Power Influencer. I’m very grateful to my audience for reading and sharing my content, and proud to be associated with the many impressive people who are also recognized.

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Comments

I love the funnel you have drawn up very similar to how I explain the concept to my clients!

Glad you like it, John -- thanks for reading!