What if the best way to gain customers, was not through advertising? The cliché the customer is king can be taken quite literally in the digital era. The consumer of today decides when they want something delivered, which brand they purchase or even where they purchase it. Digital consumers have plenty of information available and they are not afraid to use it. However, it’s not only the digital consumer that has a plethora of information. Businesses have the data they need to deliver the right content as well. It’s time to start using that data to provide the right content at the right time.
Buyer Personas 101
Everything starts with the right content. Identifying the right topics can be a challenge at first, yet it doesn’t have to be. Through the right buyer personas, you will know exactly which content to publish. A persona acts like a guide through your ideal customer’s mind. Here are some questions to get you started: What do they enjoy doing? What do they dislike? What are their main worries? And don’t forget the more personal side. How old are they? What type of job do they do? Are they married? The list goes on. Once you have an answer to all these questions, you can start writing up your persona. If you don’t know where to start, you can download our buyer persona template here.
Before your persona is completely finished, you need to answer the hardest question of them all: What will his/her name be? Try to make it something catchy, so that your marketing team will never forget their names. Have some fun with it and be creative. Personally, I like using alliterations as names for my personas. If you can’t find a fitting name, try using websites like behindthename for some extra inspiration. Here’s an example: your company manufactures bicycles. You make everything from BMX bikes for daredevils to the classic city bike for grandma. Possible persona names could be Risky Ricky and Safe Susan.
Now that you know who you’re writing for, it’s time to check where they interact with your brand. Let’s go back to Ricky and Susan. Ricky might be an avid follower of your Instagram account and YouTube channel, while he doesn’t visit your website. Susan on the other hand, enjoys reading your blogposts and follows you on Facebook. That’ll help you determine which media gets which content.
Keep your colleagues close, but your personas closer
Now that you have your personas in place, make sure that you use them in every step along the way. When you are trying to come up with content ideas, think about things just as your personas would do. Let’s bring Safe Susan back for a minute. You know she’s 68 and that she has two grandchildren she is quite protective of. She’s worried sick every time they ride their bikes to school. So why not start a children’s safety month in September when the first day of school starts? This is a perfect way to brand your company as responsible and it gives you an opportunity to sell other accessories such as helmets! One month down, eleven to go and this year’s content planning is full.
The next level: Buyer Journeys
With your buyer personas in place, you know a lot about your customers. Sadly, that doesn’t mean every single person that fits the bill knows about you. They are in different phases of what we call the buyer journey. Your goal should be to get your potential customers to the next phase. Here’s a short breakdown of every phase, including examples of, you guessed it, Safe Susan:
- The awareness phase: Someone can’t become your customer if they are still unaware of your existence and what their own need or issue is. Even if they are a perfect fit for your persona. This is why you should create generalist content that isn’t based around a certain product, but around a problem your persona’s experience. If Susan googles “bike safety tips”, your article can show up and save the day. A perfect introduction of your brand to a potential customer. Because first impressions are incredibly important.
- The consideration phase: Once your persona arrives in the consideration phase, they have identified what their issue is and they are looking for more information. After reading your stellar article on bike safety, Susan realized that her grandchildren don’t wear helmets. In order to protect the little rascals, she wants to get them the best helmets possible. Alas, she knows next to nothing about bicycle helmets. That’s where you swoop in and save the day with an article titled: 5 Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a New Helmet.
- The decision phase: This is where your persona starts thinking about what they will buy. Susan has made a selection for three different helmets that are guaranteed to be safe. This is where your e-commerce platform starts to matter. Is your online store clear and easy to use? Is it well integrated with your content platform? Make sure that the transition is seamless so that the environment stays familiar for your customer.
- The retention phase: Retaining customers is far more profitable than acquiring new customers. Through the right content, Susan will feel like you are speaking her language. You know what she wants and understand her. You’re not just a brand, you help her keep her grandchildren safe. In her eyes, you care as much as she does. That’s the digital experience you need to provide.
Congratulations, you have won over the digital consumer
You have succeeded where many companies have failed. In the modern digital age, you need to be relevant to your consumer. The digital consumer doesn’t want to be pushed, they’ll do their own research. That is why it’s important for a business to provide the right content at the right time in the buyer journey, so that they will come straight to you. And this time, without the need for an ad that disrupts their precious time.