Buyer Personas & Content Marketing Strategy
George Chilton says make learning about your customers and building comprehensive buyer personas your priority for this year’s content marketing strategy.
What’s a buyer persona?
In content marketing and advertising a buyer persona (AKA customer avatar and customer profile) is a comprehensive description of your ideal customer, designed to help you understand their needs, challenges and responsibilities, so that you may develop effective marketing campaigns.
How exactly do buyer personas help?
By pinpointing a typical customer’s pain points, questions, doubts, and day-to-day issues, buyer personas can help you develop a meaningful and valuable content strategy and content calendar tailored for your specific audience(s).
In turn, this will help you create a sticky site or blog, develop lead generation assets to grow your audience, build your mailing lists, better target your digital ads, and ultimately sell more.
Without a well researched buyer persona your marketing efforts will be hit-and-miss, your content will typically be less focused, your conversions will suffer, and your ROI will be lower.
What are the basics of client profiling?
- Dive into data – Established companies can start by using data insights – that is data gathered via sales, social media, Google Analytics, market research, app installs, downloads, and so on. Look at demographics, revenues per customer, customer lifetime values, purchase channels, interests, challenges, professional and personal goals, etc.
- Segment your audience – Segment your customer data (in ways that make sense to your business) in order to build specific target audiences. Your aim is to understand who you are selling your products and services to and how you are doing this, so that you can better develop and aim your content and ads at the customers who bring the most value to your business.
- Build your buyer personas – Each buyer persona you make should represent a market segment you are targeting. You can also include negative buyer personas in order to avoid targeting customers who cost too much to acquire or website visitors who bring your business little or no value in return.
- Content and marketing strategy – Once you understand your audience segments and buyer personas, you can begin to develop content that will resonate with them. Use buyer personas to create content calendars, offers, discounts, that will appeal to the customer and offer solutions.
- Omnichannel marketing – Target the channels where your audiences hang out, use analytics to discover when and where your segments are most active, and deploy remarketing campaigns to follow your audience, for a more comprehensive omnichannel approach.
- Benchmark content and optimise – analyse click-through rates on the campaigns you headlines you create, note bounce rates, conversions and sales, and establish benchmarks to work from and key performance indicators (KPIs). A/B test headlines, calls to action, content types, audiences,channels, etc. in order to continually optimise and improve your content output and ROI.
How do I make a buyer persona?
Building audiences is a core feature of the Google, Instagram, Facebook and other ad management platforms – and they offer some extremely powerful targeting tools.
Not only can you target by location, income, demographics, interest, likes, app installs, etc, but you can create lookalike audiences, integrate your mailing lists with social media to garner insights, and much more. You can drill down, and find the people who need your service, who’ll love what you do, and who are extremely likely to buy from you.
Google Analytics, for example, breaks down demographics and other a wide range details about your current online audience. Here we can see the average age of a web visitor:
In this example from Google Analytics we can see that the average website visitor or customer is more likely to be male:
Social media insights can also give you a look into interests, job titles, page likes, and so on. The example below is from Facebook:
However, while platforms can offer decent qualitative and quantitative data on your audience, nothing beats asking your audience directly. It can be simple as talking to the people who are currently using your product or service.
Call them up and conduct 5 minute interviews, or send them surveys find out their problem, needs, what they love about your brand, and what they think could be improved.
What questions should I ask my clients to build a buyer persona?
Unless you really know your audience segments, ad targeting comes down to guess work. And worse, if you haven’t done your homework, content will only resonate with your segments by chance.
The more detailed your buyer persona is, the better. The following set of questions will give you a head start on developing your own tailored approach.
Example b2b buyer persona questions
1. Age bracket:
3. City/country of residence
4. Level of education (high school, college, masters, MBA, postgraduate diploma, doctorate, etc.):
5. Are you currently taking any courses?
6. If so, what do you hope to achieve?
7. Favourite news sites:
8. Favourite brands:
9. Favourite social networks:
10. Do you shop online? Why or why not?
11. Hobbies and interests:
12. What does your company do?
13. How do you fit in / what is your position at work?
14. What are your main responsibilities?
15. Are you in charge of anyone?
16. Who do you report to?
17. What programs or tools do you use at work?
18. What are your biggest challenges at work – either in your own job or in general?
19. What do you love about your job and why?
20. What don’t you like about it and why?
21. Do you travel for work?
22. If so, what challenges does it present?
23. Where do you see yourself in a year’s time?
24. And in five years’ time?
25. What do you need to do get there?
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