Like any element of your marketing, you shouldn’t dive into content marketing without a strategy. To ensure that your content marketing is valuable and creating reciprocity, you need to understand your audience.
Last week, I wrote about the 5th P of the marketing mix – the persona. Here is a practical guide to creating marketing personas.
You will need to start with a sturdy information gathering process.
1. Conduct market research – If you have the budget to do so, investing in focus groups or one-on-one interviews will provide great data for your buyer personas. If you are short on budget, interview customers and prospects, either in person or over the phone, to discover what they like about your product or service.
2. Send out questionnaires – You can generate a tremendous amount of information by sending questionnaires. If possible, offer a small incentive to those that complete your survey. I find this a useful exercise internally too with all customer facing staff. Survey Monkey is a great tool for this with some pretty good reporting at little or no cost.
3. Use your website and social media analytic tools – Analytics programs can’t tell you who your target customers should be, but they can provide demographic data about the people who are currently interacting with your site and your social profiles.
4. Look through your contacts database to uncover trends about how certain leads or customers find and consume your content.
5. Listen to the feedback from your sales teams on the leads they’re interactive with the most.
How many of personas do you need to create? I would recommended that you make three to five personas to represent your audience; this number is big enough to cover the majority of your customers yet small enough to still carry the value of specificity.
Need help? Here is a great step-by-step wizard from HubSpot that will guide you through the process of creating your own personalised buyer persona.