If you've ever tried talking with someone who doesn't seem to listen to you, you know how annoying it can be. You try to make a point, but they just run over it like a steamroller and talk about something that interests them.
Why is this so frustrating? Because, even if they don't mean to, these people send the message, "I only care about me. I don't care about you. You don't matter."
No one likes hearing this. Especially not potential clients--after all, why give money to someone who doesn't respect you? That's why it's so important to understand buyer personas and the buyer's journey--it helps you create content that tells customers, "We understand you, we value you and we have what you need."
You talkin' to me?
To communicate effectively, you need to know whom you're trying to reach. You'd think this would go without saying, but far too often, marketers, content creators and other business-people seem to forget this simple truth.
Lots of times, website content reads like a big banner ad. It boasts about how great and wonderful a company's products/services are, but it doesn't really factor in what potential clients may be looking for.
At this point, some of you may think, "Hey, wait a minute--We know what our customers want! We've been working with people for years! We know how to talk to them!"
If thoughts like these popped into your head, great! You're in a position to leverage your existing client base and attract even more business. If you don't have a lot of customers right now, don't fret--you can still get information from the ones you do have to fine-tune your content and messaging. As you gain more clients, you can make adjustments and improvements.
How can you do all of this? By doing two things:
Build and refine your company's buyer personas.
Figure out where your personas fall along the buyer's journey.
Building Buyer Personas
Basically, buyer personas are kind of like the ideal reader that books on writing always tell you to envision. They're composites of your existing customers' characteristics. They give you a foundation and focus for all your content marketing efforts.
You build buyer personas by getting information on people who've already bought your products/services. This information could include:
Married or Single
Size of Business
Position in Their Company
Internet Search Habits
The more information you can get on your customers, the more details you can add to your personas. And the more details you have, the more you can tailor your content to resonate with them.
Buyer's journey Stages
You've probably had moments in your life where you seemed to meet just the right person at just the right moment. Maybe they were a close friend, a mentor, a boyfriend/girlfriend, somebody like that. Whoever they were, they gave you something you needed at that particular time.
Creating and refining your buyer personas helps you become that right person for your customers. To make that connection, however, you need to figure out the right moment. To put it another way, you need to know where they're at on the buyer's journey.
The buyer's journey has three stages:
Awareness: The buyer is figuring out that they have a problem but hasn't really defined it yet.
Consideration: The buyer clearly understands their problem and is seeking a solution.
Decision: The buyer has decided on a solution and is ready to make a purchase.
In order for your potential customers to find value in your content, it needs to align with the stage they've reached. People don't want to read stuff about pricing and technical data when they haven't even figured out their problem yet. Conversely, they don't want to go over stuff they already know if they're weighing solutions.
Put the Pieces together
Assembling buyer personas and figuring out which stage of the buyer's journey they've reached can be challenging. It involves gathering and organizing a lot of information. Even seasoned marketers can have a hard time figuring out the pieces they need and how they all fit together.
That's why Tribute Media came up with buyer persona worksheets. They include tips for getting info on your clients and keeping it organized. Once you've compiled the necessary data, you'll have a solid foundation for your content marketing strategy.
Ben joined the Tribute team in 2014. He holds a B.A. in English from UC Santa Barbara. In addition to writing content for Tribute Media, he is a regular freelance contributor to *Boise Weekly’s* music section.