In a world of information overload, it’s more important than ever to be clever with the abundance of data we have at our fingertips. This is especially true if you’re devising or refreshing your content marketing strategy. If you don’t know who you’re talking to and what they’re looking for then really, what’s the point? Your message and sales aspirations are guaranteed to fall short of the mark.
Data: a very good place to start
The best place to start? A buyer persona; aka an in-depth, data-driven profile of who you’re selling to, or an accurate collection of need to knows when talking to your customer group. A good buyer persona can become the foundation of everything you do going forwards – it offers direction and allows for more precise, relevant messaging and targeting, supported by a clear understanding of your audience’s decision-making trends.
And why is that important? Well, “If you can’t engage with your potential customers in a relevant and contextual manner, you will lose their trust and interest. Once you have lost someone’s trust and interest, it’s hard to get that back.”
How well do you really know your customers?
As customer demands for personalisation and targeted services continue to increase, it’s more important than ever to use data to gain insight not only into your core audience, but any niches or smaller groups you may not be aware of. And often, it can be these smaller groups that make the real difference. Niches are proving to be more influential than ever, especially with the growth of social media platforms and the accessibility of real-time content. While before they were on the fringes, they now have a platform for sharing interests and building like-minded followers.
Numbers don’t lie
Granted, not everyone likes numbers and stats – especially at this kind of volume; however, data is consistent, it’s reliable, it doesn’t lie. And it’s one of the only ways to make sense of a buyer’s often emotion-led purchasing decisions and understand where they might be encountering pain points in the sales funnel. Buyer personas offer an effective way to interpret this data and whether through descriptive or visual means, can offer an invaluable reference point for every decision made in your content strategy planning.
Numbers making your head spin? There are a whole host of identity management tools out there perfect for collating data and building customer profiles, which can then be crafted into your ideal buyer persona. Sites like HubSpot are a great place to start, as a guide to the kind of information you should be looking for, how to manage and analyse it.
As a starting point, here are some of the areas you might want to look at to start crafting that all important buyer persona:
- Industry worked in
- Business area and difficulties faced
- Geographical location
- Job role
- Day-to-day routine/needs and wants
Get as much data as you can, the more detail the better, as it’ll allow for more accurate analysis of common trends or patterns. Be thorough in your data collection; with a high level of detail and variables you’ll come out with better solutions for supporting your customers’ engagement and buying journey.
There’s no such thing as too much information
How far should you go? That completely depends on the nature of your business. Bigger businesses with multiple offerings might require a number of buyer personas. The most important thing to remember? When you’re dealing with such large amounts of data, look out for common characteristics between your individual buyer personas, group them together and try and create a complete picture that’s easy to interpret.
When data talks, listen
So, let’s get down to some key takeaways. Ideal buyer personas are a great way to use available audience data and create a more targeted and specific content strategy. Data is the most reliable and accurate way to get to know your audience and, when used well, can highlight areas in which your customers need a little more help or guidance. Whether you’ve chosen to adopt a visual style to bring your personas to life, or it’s in written form, make sure to return to it as a reference point regularly. Keep them up to date, so if anything changes, you’ll be the first to know about it.
And remember, the answers you seek are already out there. It’s just case of interpreting the data.
Now is the time for businesses to pool relevant data in preparation for advanced data-driven campaigns later down the line. We’ve created a brand-new guide to help B2B marketers get on track.