Buyer Personas: The Key to Targeting Your Content Marketing for Real Results

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If you really expect your content to connect with your customers in any meaningful way you need to make sure it’s laser targeted to address their needs. And how do you do that? By developing accurate buyer personas.

A personal touch goes a long way when trying to make a connection with someone. Generic pick-up lines aren’t going to get you too many dates, and generic content won’t bring in many leads. To make an impression and start off on the right foot, whether at the bar or on your blog, you need to make sure the person you’re reaching out to understands that you’re right for them.

By better targeting your content marketing efforts to concentrate on what you know your buyers are after, you immediately improve your chances of generating and nurturing leads. Instead of wasting months throwing topics at the wall to see what sticks, you know exactly how to focus your social messaging, blog posts, white papers, case studies, videos, and more to get the most bang for your buck.

Find Your Feet Faster

Right off the bat, buyer personas help get your content marketing on track. Since they are essentially descriptions of the decision makers involved in purchasing a product, buyer personas not only offer the demographics, firmographics (the characteristics of their organization), and the roles of each of these individuals, but also their motivations and the problems they face.

By understanding each buyer’s problems, you can group a company’s decision makers into distinct profiles based on their unique needs and roles to give you a buyer persona framework.

With that framework in hand, you’re able to tailor your content to include solutions that you know will resonate with each buyer group. You immediately know what content to produce first, and your framework serves as the guide for a scalable content strategy.

Develop Your Buyer Personas

When thinking about your buyers, remember that B2B customers aren’t motivated by the same factors as B2C customers. Demographics and geography may have no impact at all on their decision-making process. Firmographics are also potentially of little relevance, because your buyers are first and foremost motivated by their occupation and responsibilities within the organization.

Following the three steps below and you will be developing effective buyer personas in no time:

Looking for real-life examples? Learn from the best!

buyer personas examples

Buyer Personas: 7 Companies that Know Their Customers

  1. Think in terms of archetypes: Your buyers are individuals, but they will share certain characteristics based on their roles.
  2. Rank personas by influence in the buying process: You’ll want to narrow down your target personas to a manageable number.
  3. Flesh out your profiles and focus on “sticking” points: Uncover what keeps each persona from buying your product or service. The deeper your understanding of this key point, the more effective your insight into each buyer persona will be, so speak with actual individuals to learn more.

As your personas develop, continue adding color to them by digging deeper into their goals, their current solutions to their problems and where there’s room for improvement, their daily activities, and what types of media they consume. Start reading what they read. Try understanding where they spend time on the web to figure out the best method for reaching them. The more human you make your personas, the better chance you stand at truly connecting with them.

For more how-to insight on practical next steps, read Karen Goldfarb’s 21 Tips for Creating Buyer Personas.

See ROI Sooner

With content marketing now typically accounting for 33% of a company’s total marketing budget according to Content Marketing Institute’s 2013 benchmarks report, companies can’t afford to take an unfocused approach to their content. The time and resources needed are better spent with a thoughtful, buyer persona-driven strategy guiding them.

Give every piece of content a stronger impact with a personalized approach to begin seeing a return on your company’s investment sooner. Not only will you improve your content marketing’s effectiveness, but since it’s a growing piece of the overall marketing picture, your entire strategy becomes more successful, too.

Add the Highest Octane for Your Lead-Gen Engine

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Your Savvy Secret Weapon for Creating Optimized Buyer Personas

The goal of your content marketing efforts is always to feed the lead machine. You want to generate new leads and keep moving them down the funnel. With B2B content marketing, however, you’re not typically dealing with just a single decision maker, so there may be different buyers involved at each stage of the purchase funnel.

Buyer personas become even more important as you nurture leads, since every person involved in the buying process will have different problems they need solved. With the research done beforehand, your personalized content will address the needs of every person involved, ensuring that you get buy-in across the organization.

Without buyer personas to guide you, research and trial and error are required to feel out what works for each decision maker. Show up with your homework already done, and you can skip right to developing a content matrix to map out the best process for nurturing leads. Then, the content calendar can be arranged to focus on the content needed to turn leads into sales.

Just like in dating, the more personal the connection, the better your chances of success. Move right away to start generating and nurturing leads by using buyer personas to guide your content marketing.

Looking for a One-Stop Guide to Utilizing Content Marketing Effectively?

By building out a targeted content marketing function, even small marketing teams can create and distribute the content they need to support their company’s go-to-market strategy by generating leads, nurturing them at key points throughout the buying process, and, ultimately, driving sales.

It Takes a Content Factory!covers everything you need to know to transform your marketing with content that works.

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  • Design a strategy to align your content with your buyers.
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Marketing Manager, Pricing Strategy

  • jcrowe_openview

    Great article on an extremely important initial step of content marketing that is too often overlooked or shortened in an attempt to rush leads down preconceived funnels on unvalidated terms. The goal should be to discover as much about each buyer’s process as possible and uncover (then demonstrate) how you can help empower them to achieve their goals.

    I’m curious, Brandon, what are some indications that a company can be confident that it has identified/developed effective buyer personas? And is this a process it can simply go through once or is it an exercise it should repeat at certain intervals?

  • Great article on buyer personas, which improve every aspect of BtoB marketing. But don’t just focus on archetypes, but also focus on why or why not to purchase your products and services.

    Find New Customers is trained in buyer personas by the Buyer Persona Institute.

    http://www.findnewcustomers.com

    • Brandon Hickie

      Jeff,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I absolutely agree. The
      question one wants to be able to answer are who, how and why individuals are
      going to act during each stage of the buying process. Knowing the answers to these questions will
      empower the marketing and sales team to make their interactions with each
      persona more personalized and targeted on the individual’s needs and therefore
      more effective.

      Thanks,

      Brandon

  • Good Post and highlights one of the three pillars of Content Marketing. Marketers are only now beginning to understand the sheer volume required for success. I recently went through an exercise with an insurance client:

    * Number of Peronas = 5 (not enough)
    * Number of Topics = 30

    This program now requires 150 Content elements to be developed on a regular basis…..but we are not done.

    How many stages in your buying funnel? 5?

    So now we have 750 content elements needed…and on a regular basis. None of this is write it once and be done. Fresh content is just as important as relevant content.