Unique, timely content that informs and entertains can turn potential buyers into loyal consumers. To create relevant content, you must understand the issues and desires of your audience. These insights can guide your content strategy, ensuring a better experience for your consumer.
Use the following strategies to understand your target market better and increase your bottom line through streamlined content creation.
Step 1: Create Buyer Personas
Creating buyer personas for your target audience helps you better understand their needs. A buyer persona is a detailed description of your ideal customer, crafted through market research and hard data gleaned from existing customers.
Buyer personas make it easier to tailor your content and can help you transform product development tactics, consumer services, and messaging in campaigns. The buyer persona is a crucial piece of the puzzle; it provides insight into the specific needs and interests of your consumers, indicates relevant background factors, and explains their motivations to buy your product or service.
As you form a buyer persona, include customer demographics, buying patterns, goals, and motivations. The more detail you can provide, the more valuable the persona. When surveying existing customers to collect important data, be sure to ask the following types of questions:
- Describe your educational background.
- What is your profession? Job title?
- In which industry do you work?
- What are your biggest challenges?
- Describe your demographics (marriage status, children, age, etc.)
- With accurate answers, you can begin to form content based on demographic interests and needs.
Let’s take a look at an example buyer persona from HubSpot. We can see below Betty’s likes and dislikes and the different needs that she has as a consumer. It’s important to remember, though, that you will probably need more than one buyer persona as your target market likely consists of multiple consumer types. Create as many buyer personas as you need to represent your target market thoroughly.
Step 2: Identify Pain Points
Uncovering pain points that led previous customers to your door can help you pinpoint the motivation for potential customers. Take a close look at your most profitable customers: what was it that motivated them to buy your product or service? Recognizing buying patterns for these profitable customers can help you create content designed to draw in similar, lucrative prospects.
Surveys are a simple, effective way to determine your target consumer’s main problems. Survey results can help you come up with potential solutions, and show you how to best present these solutions to your target audience.
Surveys are a quick way to gather information, but to ensure accurate results, you must ask the right questions in the correct way.
- Keep It Simple: Make it easy and convenient for people to access, understand, and answer your survey questions in a minimal amount of time. Be brief; lengthy questions may lead to survey abandonment. Write easy-to-understand questions, and keep it short.
- Avoid Yes/No Questions: If your question can be answered with a simple yes or no, change it up. With these types of polar questions, you won’t have the opportunity to analyze customer reasons and motivations. These close-ended questions won’t give you any important information, and will likely just reaffirm things you already knew.
- Ask One Question at a Time: Don’t inundate your customers with a bevy of questions at one time. Instead, ask question by question to get accurate, precise responses.
- Use Open-Ended Questions: Ask respondents to write a comment or paragraph in response to your question. This lets consumers write exactly what they’re thinking and provides more detailed insight. Provide a text box, and limit the number of characters that can be used to avoid essay-length responses.
Not only do survey results give you insight into how your customers are thinking and feeling, but they also serve as exclusive content that no one else has. SmartMove, a division of TransUnion, makes use of this strategy by surveying their customers and including the survey results in a blog post. By using their proprietary data, SmartMove can be confident that their content will resonate with their target market.
Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management (CRM) is crucial. Use CRM software to handle your relationships with clients and track consumer activities, real-time data, and sales.
Want to please your customers? Solve their problems. A recent report from Harvard Business Review found that 81 percent of customers will say something negative about your product or company if they find you can’t solve an issue.
CRM software can help you circumvent this negative press. Because this software collects all data from a customer into a single system, you can access everything from email marketing results to purchase history to online chats. With this data in hand, you can analyze an individual customer’s pain point, leaving you better prepared to offer products or services that solve their issue.
One of the main ways CRM data is used to create content is in email marketing campaigns. Harry’s, a shaving brand, created an email to encourage users to share the product with their friends. By using data from their CRM software, they were able to determine which customers were satisfied with the product and therefore more likely to recommend it to others.
Taking advantage of social media is integral to success. Customers use digital platforms to express their views and opinions, making social media channels a viable well of information for your business. Use social media to tap into a cache of detailed, current data on how customers interpret your company’s product or service. Understand how customers are talking about your offerings, and use this insight to tweak your content strategy.
Go beyond counting “likes” on posts. Look at conversations, comments, and shares to gain further understanding of customer needs and motivations. You must monitor your social media channels and listen to the opinions of your audience to better serve them.
By monitoring what their customers were sharing on social media, Oreo discovered a trend – customers were experimenting with new ways to eat an Oreo. Knowing this, they created a web series called Oreo Snack Hacks in which they feature well-known chefs creating recipes with an Oreo twist. Through social listening, Oreo was able to understand their customers better and create relevant and engaging content.
Step 3: Determine the Appropriate Channels
The quality of your content won’t matter if it’s not distributed to the appropriate channels. Choosing the correct channels to deploy your message is crucial. Where is your target demographic most likely to see your information? Blogs? Podcasts? Twitter? Facebook? Yelp?
Blasting your company content onto every available channel is a waste of time and resources. Reaching your customers means communicating with them through their preferred methods and channels. Not all channels will serve your aims; some will be well-suited to your business while others will prove fruitless. Evaluate consumer feedback, analyze the reach of your current channels, and pay attention to your industry’s social media trends.
How do you find which channels your customers are on? Sprout Social provides demographics for each of the leading social media platforms. Using your buyer personas, find where your target market fits in based on this data.
Bottom line? You don’t have to engage in every social media channel; focus your efforts on the ones that best suit your customers and those that can help you build relationships. Focus on quality communications, and don’t spread your social media efforts thin by trying to utilize all channels.
Step 4: Define Key Benefits
Don’t explain what your product or service does – explain what it does for your customer. Indicate the problem you’re helping them solve, and define the benefits that will directly resolve their issue. Speak with your target audience to determine the questions they’re asking – then pepper your content with the answers.
Benefits serve as your selling point, and will indicate the answers to consumer questions like “What will I get out of this?” or “How will this product make my life easier/better?” The most enticing benefits are those that provide financial or emotional gain. Emotional returns are linked to making the customer feel better, while financial gain sees customers making money or saving money.
For example, Colorescience, a beauty brand, uses language in their product description specifically to appeal to the consumer’s emotional side. By explaining how simple the product is to use, Colorescience is demonstrating a significant benefit that is important to many consumers in the beauty space – quick and easy application.
Informative, unique content is at the core of business success. Understanding your audience can help you better attract customers and serve their needs through strategic content creation. Utilize these strategies to understand your target market better and make valuable content that will serve your business aims well.
Nicole Stelmar is a managing editor at 365 Business Tips, a new site geared towards helping small business owners grow their business. Nicole specializes in helping entrepreneurs master the art of content marketing and improve their digital presence.