- Marketing content has to be relatable.
- Create a buyer persona to target.
- Don’t just base everything on demographics.
- In B2B, industry-specific content can work.
- Pain points are the metric that matters!
When you’re creating marketing content, you need to know your audience. That much is obvious. But what do you actually need to know about them?
It seems a simple question. But how you answer it will determine the success of any content you create. Good content is relatable to its audience. It’s not just about mirroring what they think, but using that relatability to move them along the sales funnel.
This brings us back to our original question: what do you need to know? To answer that, we need to think about buyer personas.
What’s a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is a fictional person who represents your target customers. This is who you should picture when you’re creating any content. Then you can focus on relating your content to that person.
You may need more than one buyer persona depending on what you’re marketing. Still, the principle is the same – you create the persona and target the content accordingly.
Next we’ll have a look at the component parts of a buyer persona. We’ll soon get to the most important of all. But first, let’s look at the most traditional and why it’s flawed.
Traditionally, buyer personas were based on one-dimensional stereotypes. They were rooted in demographic markers like age, sex and ethnicity. But here’s the thing: taken alone, these only give superficial insights.
The reason why is pretty simple. They don’t determine how useful your products or services are. So if they’re all you’re focusing on, it’s going to be hard to write relatable content. Also, your customer base is probably quite diverse. This means you could end up alienating one section of customers by focusing on another. So what else can you do?
This means vertical segmentation of your customer base – in other words, tailoring content to a specific industry. What you’re trying to do is find a niche need and explaining how you can meet it.
This can certainly pique a customer’s interest. For instance, if you sell something that’s especially useful in the education sector, it makes sense to target content at people in education.
There are still pitfalls here though. Chances are that your audience knows the sector better than you do. This means you really don’t want to write as if you’re in the industry. It won’t be genuine and they’ll see right through it. Still, if you get the tone right it can work.
Of course, you can’t base everything on vertical segmentation. Otherwise you take the same risk as with demographics. If you’re targeting one set of customers, that means you’re not targeting the rest. It’s still a good tactic, but it’s best not to overdo it.
Demographics and verticals are only getting us so far. They’ll help decide who you’re targeting, but not how. Which brings us to the most important metric of all …
The metric that matters
Two words: pain points. Most people don’t buy things for the sake of it. We do it to solve problems. We buy snacks because we’re hungry and drinks because we’re thirsty.
Whether you’re doing B2B or B2C marketing, your customers will have pain points. This is the experience they share, and it’s what you can make your content relate to. Why? Because you’re selling the thing that makes their problem go away!
This achieves our two core objectives. It makes your content relatable, but it also moves customers along the sales funnel by showing how you can solve their problems.
What’s a good way to find out customer pain points?
Chances are that you’ll have a reasonable sense of this already, especially if you’re gathering info from customer-facing members of your team. But there’s a great way to get more concrete info: surveys.
If you survey all new customers as a matter of course, you’ll start to build up an evidence-based picture of their shared experiences. We’re not talking about long surveys here – just a few simple questions.
We’ll give a few examples:
What caused you to leave your old provider?
What one word would you use to describe your experience with your previous provider?
What was going on in your business at the time you decided to choose us?
What was an unexpected side effect or outcome of working with us?
What word would you use to describe us?
These are just examples and you wouldn’t necessarily need every single question. The point is to prompt people to explain briefly why they left their old provider, and why they chose you. In other words, you’ll find out what their old pain points were, and how you resolved them.
You should start to see patterns in the responses. Once you’ve identified common pain points, you can relate new content to those. That way you’ll know you’re addressing experiences that your audience is likely to share.
Shared experiences are what your customers have in common. Relate content to those, and you’re likely to get so much more out of your marketing.
If you’d like advice on any of these subjects, get in touch!