So, you’ve created your B2B buyer personas. You’ve brought together a broad range of customer-facing colleagues to build the full picture. Opinions have been captured. Decisions have been made. You’ve even managed to enlist the help of a couple of friendly customers along the way.
Sure, a few things may have been missing from your buyer personas at first, but you’ve made the necessary tweaks. Now, teams are looking at products and services through the eyes of your customers. Business development managers are talking about solving customer problems rather than focusing on product features.
The buyer persona names are taking hold too. On Zoom calls you’re hearing things like “yeah, she’s definitely a Marketing Megan”, and “that’s the best way to connect with a Finance Franky”. Everything is going great.
The time has come to give your buyer personas an extra boost and place them at the heart of your content marketing strategy. Here are some of the ways your new-found customer insights can really make your content connect.
Improve your tone of voice
When you want your buyer personas to make a real impact on your content marketing strategy, the corporate identity guidelines are a great place to start. Take a fresh look at your company’s tone of voice (ToV) document.
ToV can often be crafted around internal preferences. Perhaps yours has been based on how directors want the company to sound. Sometimes the inspiration comes from the way that bigger competitors are positioning themselves. Or it’s all about carving out a personality that sets your business apart from everyone else.
That’s all great, but because buyer personas tend to be created after the corporate identity guidelines, there can be a disconnect. Make sure your ToV takes its cues from your buyer personas.
Your ToV is all about how you speak to your customers. And now you know how your customers speak and listen. You also know the issues that they care about and the places they get their information. Even the kinds of words and phrases they like to use. All of this will help you breathe new life into your ToV.
And if your business doesn’t yet have ToV guidelines, now you’re perfectly poised to act on it.
Use the right channels
Thanks to your buyer personas, you know where all those eyeballs are pointing. You know what your audience reads, when they read it and why. You’ll be able to judge whether an email to a prospect in the manufacturing industry is likely to get more attention on a Saturday morning. Or if a LinkedIn ad aimed at decision makers in accountancy firms will generate more traffic when it points to a video.
All this granular information is indispensable, but it’s often overlooked. Now you’ve done all the hard work, use your data to shape the beginnings of a stronger content marketing strategy.
You’ll be building better content, connecting with contacts in the right way at the right time, targeting your paid ads more effectively and increasing your ROI. Feels good, right?
Identify the pain points
Pain points are one of the most important parts of your buyer personas. When you know what keeps your contacts awake at night, you can show them how you can make their problems disappear.
But a pain point is not just the problem or challenge that your potential customer is having. It’s more complex than that. It’s the impact the problem has on the person and the wider effect that it has on their business.
Let’s say you’ve identified a contact who is telling your sales team that she doesn’t have time to talk. She’s in HR and she’s harassed, stressed out and under pressure.
But you check your buyer personas and she could be a HR Harriet, who feels like there’s just not enough hours in the day. That’s because she’s using systems which are taking too much time and effort, and she always has a nagging feeling that there must be a better way of doing things.
Boom! Now you have the seeds of a strategy. You can test the water with the right content and build a connection based on HR Harriet’s preferred methods of contact. It’s all in your buyer persona.
Although pain points can be very specific to an individual, you can group them into categories. This approach gives you a more focused way of resolving them. HR Harriet’s pain point is concerned with productivity. That’s one of four key types of pain point, which are:
Problem: Systems, products or services are taking too much time and effort.
Solution: Focus on ways to free up wasted time and emphasize ease-of-use features.
Problem: Systems, products or services are currently too expensive or not providing enough value.
Solution: Focus on better ROI or more attractive payment terms. You could emphasise lower price point, but it is not your only option.
Problem: Service and support are falling short. There’s not enough help and it’s difficult for the contact to find answers or even get their point across.
Solution: Position your company as a partner. Emphasise pre-sale and aftersales support, use inclusive language, like “we”, “together” and “us”.
Problem: Anything that creates friction or reduces communication between departments. A process problem could stop internal data being used effectively or it could just get in the way of people doing their jobs.
Solution: Focus on ways to communicate better and connect people, departments and systems together.
Applying strategies around the four pain point groups is a simplification, but it’s worthwhile. It provides you with a strong starting point. Go back to your personas and group the pain points. Create clusters that will inform your content strategy and reinforce the benefits of your products.
Understand the goals
Different buyer persona types will act in different ways at different stages of the sales funnel. That’s because they have their own separate goals.
They may be looking for ways to alleviate the same pain point, but they’re going about it in different ways. The end product could be the same, but the journey to reach it will be different for every persona type.
And that’s one of the best things about a well-crafted buyer persona. It will tell you what your contact’s end goals are. Most things that matter to your audiences are built on pain points and goals. That means, once you understand the goals and you know what motivates your audience, you can begin to superimpose all this information on the buyers journey.
But you don’t want this information to stay sat in your buyer personas. Set it free. Place it at the very centre of your strategic marketing plans. Now you’re building a content structure that really connects with people and moves them through your sales funnel. Fast. And that brings us to the content.
Create your greatest content
This is it! You’ve addressed and improved the ToV. You’ve identified the right channels to use, and the right times to use them. Solving pain points and identifying goals is part of your everyday life, and all that information means your content can cut through the noise.
You have all the elements of a stellar content marketing strategy. It’s time for a content audit.
The content audit is the glue that binds your content marketing strategy together. It gives you a delivery framework. Build a matrix that identifies which content type is needed by each persona at each point within the buying cycle. Use this to identify the gaps in your current content. Ask yourself:
- How do my audiences prefer to consume their content?
- Does my existing content have the right ToV?
- What content am I missing?
- What are the key messages I need to communicate to each buyer persona?
- How do I want them to feel at each stage in the buyers journey and how can my content influence that?
- What content support does the business development team need?
- Which pieces of content can I give away and which need to be gated content?
- Does the content journey match the sales funnel?
- Has my content covered the key pain points and is it aligned with audience goals?
Now you’re well on your way to building a stronger content marketing strategy. The buyer persona work is about to pay off and, before too long, you’ll begin to see an uptick in your ROI.
Working as a Digital Marketing Consultant since 2004, Lee helps SMEs win more business through developing effective digital marketing strategies. He is a dedicated Liverpool FC fan, dog lover and loves long country walks (and a cheeky pint) with his dog, Banjo. Do you publish content yourself, or need content for your own website? If you’d like to collaborate on anything at all, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.