Customized content can help drive your prospects through the sales funnel and ultimately convert to customers. To be able to achieve this you need to know and really understand your customers. This is where the Persona Mapping process comes in. Do they live in suburbs or the big city? Do they watch documentaries or reality shows? Are they constantly online, or do they not even know what Facebook is?
Basically, it’s about learning what kind of needs your customers have and at what stage in the decision-making process they are most likely to be responsive. So how do you get that intelligence? We believe it starts with developing buyer personas in order to really get to know what your target customers look like and what their pain-points are.
You can’t even begin to start creating content for your website, social channels, or email marketing before you know what kind of content will resonate with your target market, what needs to be addressed, what they’re looking for, and what they value.
Here are a few steps to get you started:
Research. You need to collect both qualitative and quantitative data in order to paint a picture of your ideal customer. Depending on what your customer base looks like, it might be through online surveys, focus groups, in-depth interviews, social media, emails, etc.
Segment. Based on your research, give each persona a detailed description with as much information as possible. It can be a name, job title, company name and/or demographic info. Even though these are fictional representations of your real customers, it might help to come up with a photo or illustration of what they may look like.
Identify. Tap into the qualitative part of your research and try to answer questions like: “What kind of information are they looking for?”, “What motivates them to make a purchase?”, “What are their biggest needs and challenges?”, “Where do they hang out online?”, etc. The more detailed you are, the easier it will be to create customized content. Focus on what information you need in order to send the right message, to the right person, at the right time. Finding out that one person likes underwater basket weaving doesn’t really help you formulate a strategy; Finding out that patients are looking for pain management alternatives to narcotics actively seek out peers on forums to find out about their experiences, does.
Share. It’s important that your entire company is aware of who your target customers are, not just marketing and sales. Create a buyer persona template where you can easily organize and present your findings. Have people from different departments give their input on if or how they would interact with these buyer personas and what their traits are.
Create. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and every time new content needs to be created you should stop and think, “If I was customer X – what would I want to know right now?” Your entire strategy should be rooted in your personas to ensure that every tactic you deploy is in line with overall business objectives.
If persona mapping is not done correctly or without everyone in the organization on board, it can easily become an exercise you do simply to check it off your best practice’s checklist. Even if you do feel like you know your customers and can do this without even asking them – think again. We believe that not only will you learn a lot about your customers, but also increase your effectiveness and ultimately your marketing ROI.
ParkerWhite can help guide you to the right buyer persona strategy and align all your marketing tactics with your customer’s desires. Interested in partnering with us? Give us a call!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2012 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.