Whether you have a ten person company or a team of ten in your marketing department you’ll be well aware of how important content is for driving visitors to your site and then onward down the sales funnel. But it’s not just enough to bang out a ton of content and drop it into the ether; if you’re not talking to your target market about the right things, in the right way and at the right stage of their buying journey then your hard work might be in vain.
Luckily, there are a couple of tactics you can employ to help you refine your content strategy and put you on track for reaping greater return.
Defining your audience with Buyer Personas
This technique will assist you in gaining focus to your content by identifying what your ‘typical’ consumers are looking for. A great way to define your audience is by creating several Buyer Personas. To do this you will need to conduct a bit of research into your current customer base, which can be done either by interviews or surveys. Try asking questions to establish information in the following areas:
- Background information: age, gender, job title and income
- Information sources: where they get their content, format preferences
- Objections: where might they object to your product if put through the sales process
- Pain points: what frustrations do they have with products and services in your industry
- Free time: hobbies, favourite tv shows and films
- Educational background: highest level of schooling and place of study
- Purchasing decision making: establish the importance of price, quality, durability, availability etc when deciding on a potential purchase
When this information is collated it can be used to identify several personas (your customers won’t all be exactly alike).
Refining your content
Now you have done your research and identified your buyer personas you’ll need to develop different content for each persona group. Use the information you have gathered to decide how you are going to talk to them and the best way for you to reach them. There are so many different ways to reach an audience nowadays and many smaller companies tend to stick to a few that they are comfortable with, but for maximum impact you should explore all avenues.
You can depict this very effectively by using the different stages of the sales funnel to define objectives and make suggestions for suitable content driven assets that can be used at each stage.
The tone of content is also crucial and shouldn’t be underestimated. At the top of the sales funnel content should be anything but salesy. Consumers will switch off completely if they get even a sniff of sales content. Keep it light and easy to digest and add a bit of humour if the situation suits. Each persona will move through this stage at a different pace, so you may find that some personas will need to consume more of this content before moving forward.
The middle of the funnel is all about starting to engage with the consumer and building a relationship with them. Content should still be fairly generic, educating them on the industry with white papers, interviews, demo videos and webinars. You’re still not coming on strong but are providing the information they need to help gently inform a decision.
The late stage is all about converting to purchase. They’re already familiar with you and now you can talk to them in a direct manner. Content should highlight how your products will benefit them, which case studies and testimonials are particularly good for.
Don’t stop there though! After a purchase has been made you need to continue to learn about your customers so you can delight them at every opportunity by providing valuable, knowledgeable content that addresses their needs and concerns. This will strengthen your relationship and encourage them to promote your business to others.