What You Need to Know
Think of the last presentation you delivered. Chances are you spent a good deal of time and energy putting it together, making sure you crafted a message that was well supported and tailored to that particular audience of colleagues, clients or prospects. Now, imagine trying to give that same presentation to a group of your friends over appetizers at your next dinner party. Does it have the same effect? Probably not. In fact, your new listeners are likely to be annoyed and more than a little confused at this unexpected shift in conversation. The lesson here holds as true in our personal lives as it does in our marketing strategies: No matter how clever, well developed, or interesting your message is, without the right audience, it will not produce effective results.
As content marketing and inbound strategies cement their foothold, producing quality content that resonates with buyers has become one of the most effective methods for generating brand awareness. Developing that content is not going to produce nearly as much interest, however, unless you understand exactly who you are developing it for and where to reach out to them. If you want your content to resonate, you must make it relevant and accessible to those in your market.
Your Buyer Persona
The first step in this process is getting to know your audience. This includes studying your market demographic trends. Average age, income, gender and occupation are all factors that inform what media they are likely to be paying attention to, as well as what they are likely to be interested in. Social media audits on all of your active channels, as well as interactions with followers, can help you round out your buyer persona with details regarding demographics and other pages or companies they may be interested in.
Consider conducting surveys and polls, as well as taking advantage of particular information fields in forms on your website, which provide you with the opportunity to be very specific in the answers you would like from your audience.
This will allow you to narrow in on things like company size, industry, needs and trends. You can also get a clearer picture of consumer interests and hobbies. Once you have conducted your reconnaissance, bring it all together to create a comprehensive buyer persona that allows you to craft relevant messages and place them directly in front of your audience.
What to Say and How to Say it
In today’s marketing landscape, it is obvious that consumers are drawn to content that provides value. Luckily, with an understanding of our audience, crafting and delivering pieces that address their needs and interests becomes much easier. Focus on topics that will capture attention, and present them in the best formats for the platform you are using. Ideally, you should strive to create targeted content that informs, educates or entertains.
For instance, a book publishing company might post interviews with authors and share those on social media channels. A clothing company might find that sharing images from runway shows on visual channels like Pinterest or Instagram is more accessible for its audience, while a financial firm will most likely utilize more traditional media, as its clients are more likely to be consuming media in the forms of print publications and industry-specific blogs. When considering where to share your content, it is a good idea to compare your audiences with that of certain publications, websites or radio stations, and consider advertising or sharing your content in places where your audiences overlap significantly.
Stages of the Buyer’s Journey
Much of the advice about messaging tends to highlight ways to capture a potential client’s attention at the beginning of the purchasing process. While this is an invaluable aspect of creating your campaign, you must also consider how to create content that will be valuable to your audience in other stages of the process. At the first stage of the buying journey, creative campaigns and educational content placed as articles in magazines, or as banner ads on websites, help to create interest. In the second stage of the buyer’s journey, they will look at your brand more specifically. Here you can use testimonials or demonstrations, as well as articles and blogs on your own site to solidify your image as an expert in your field. At the final stage of the buyer’s journey, include offers such as free trials or consultations to encourage buyers when taking the plunge.
In order to truly provide value to your audience, you have to understand what they value and where they are looking for it, otherwise it will fall on deaf ears. Knowing how to create your message, where to place it, and when to share it is vital to creating an effective inbound marketing strategy.