How Well Do You REALLY Know Your Audience?

How Well Do You REALLY Know Your Audience? by Cultivate CommunicationsSo you’re pumping out tons of great content, but you’re starting to see that it’s focused around the same topics, and it’s not getting the traction that it used to. Maybe it’s time to refine your content marketing strategy and ask yourself:

How well do you REALLY know your audience?

Sounds like an easy enough question to answer. But when you get down to brass tacks, do you truly know what motivates your target audience to buy? Or are you basing that answer on your own assumptions and viewpoints? Have you ever asked your actual customers about what motivates them, or what business problems they have that keep them up at night to see how you could help?

As content marketers, we understand that the words and images we create help potential customers navigate their way through a buying decision. We should never assume that we already know what our audience wants to hear or see.

To truly understand what motivates your potential customers to buy, you need to “walk a mile in their shoes” — and realize that there are many different types of shoes all those customers walk in.
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For example, a C-Level executive who has a lot of budget and decision-making authority may not jump into a buying process until the end, where he or she may be interested in product comparison data, case studies, and ROI analyses. The content needs of this executive are vastly different from those of the person who may have first initiated contact with your company to garner general information. That person may have little budget or decision-making authority, but may have a strong influence on the executive or on other decision makers in the chain of command.

Enter the buyer persona . . .

Think about all the types of visitors you’re drawing in with your content — it probably runs the gamut from CEOs to interns. All of these people view their roles and responsibilities through different lenses and have different needs that can be met with your content. Understanding and empathizing with what motivates each visitor/reader can help you dial in and personalize your content marketing efforts by constructing well-written, targeted content to help these individuals:

  • Understand what issues they face
  • Decide what steps to take to solve their issues
  • Gain the confidence they need to take action

 “For you to achieve your goals, visitors must first achieve theirs.”
   — Bryan Eisenberg { Tweet This }

Your buyer personas should be specific to your business and sales cycle. But for the sake of discussion, let’s use the examples of some typical B2B buyer personas below:

  • Initiators
  • Influencers
  • Decision Makers
  • Buyers
  • Users

Free Buyer Persona Template DownloadBegin by building out information related to the specific role of each buyer persona listed above. Examples of information you may want to flesh out include:

  • Title
  • Time spent at current role
  • Reports to
  • Number of direct reports
  • Daily tasks & responsibilities
  • Likes/dislikes about role
  • Pressures
  • Concerns
  • Immediate needs
  • Long-term goals
  • Budget & decision-making authority
  • Buying stage

{Customer Personas} At each phase of the sales model detailed in the link above, each type of buyer persona is going to have different types of questions and content needs. Once you’ve determined the appropriate buyer personas and filled in all the salient data above, begin to map them to the various stages of your sales cycle. Your sales cycle should reflect your own business model, but for illustrative purposes, I’ll use this basic sales cycle model.

Each type of buyer persona is going to have different types of questions and content needs. Completing this exercise will help you map your content marketing efforts to areas where you currently have gaps, and help you broaden the scope of your content to be sure it includes something for all your target buyer personas.

Like many new endeavors, this step of determining your buyer personas so your content marketing reaches and resonates with the right people — and at the right stage of the sales cycle — can be a rather daunting task. That’s what we’re here for.

Call on the Content Engineers at Cultivate Communications to help your content marketing efforts. Let US walk a mile in your prospects’ and customers’ shoes so you don’t have to. We’ll even bring the shoehorn.