Now that we’ve seen the shift from outbound to inbound marketing, getting someone to care about your brand, visit your website, read your blog, or download your eBook can seem a feat of Herculean proportions.
Having strong content that engages your visitors is a prerequisite to having a successful brand and website. The trickiest part of writing engaging content is getting a feel for your audience and understanding how to write specifically to them.
This guide to marketing to your audience will help you learn just that.
Create Your Personas
The pivotal first step in marketing to your audience is to create customer “personas.” What are personas, you ask. According to Hubspot, “Personas are fictional, generalized characters that encompass the various needs, goals, and observed behavior patterns among your real and potential customers. They help you understand your customers better.” How do you create these personas? The easiest and cheapest way to do so (without extensive and costly market research) is to enter the mind of your “typical customer.” Ask yourself questions, such as:
- What do you do for a living?
- What is your level of education?
- What are your hobbies?
- What are your challenges? How does our product help you to solve these challenges?
- How old are you?
- Are you married? Do you have children?
- How do you prefer to interact with vendors?
- Do you use the internet to research products? If so, how do find this information?
After you’ve answered the above questions to try to discover your typical “customer persona,” you will likely discover that multiple personas have emerged. Not to worry; this is perfectly normal. In fact, having two or three customer personas can help you better understand your consumer base and how to write more well-rounded copy to speak to your diverse personas.
Now that you’ve asked yourself these questions, and understand that there may be multiple personas, create a story about each. For example, let’s say your company sells vacations to Bora Bora. One of your customer personas may be a late 20s/early 30s man who is planning an island honeymoon. A story might look like this:
“Harry Honeymooner is 31. He is engaged to be married and has no children. Harry is planning the island honeymoon of his dreams to Bora Bora. Harry has an MBA from Wharton and works in private equity. Harry prefers to email with vendors since he is always in and out of meetings at work. He often finds vendors through word of mouth referrals. Harry is looking for someone who can help him book a luxurious honeymoon and who knows the islands well, since he does not have the time to concern himself with the small details.”
Create a story for each customer persona and let that persona come alive.
Shape Your Content to Your Persona
This is where common sense helps the rubber meet the road. You would not market your beef hamburger to a vegan. You would not use the word “luxury” in the copy of a discount site. You would not emphasize how cheap something is if you’re selling a luxury product.
You’ve got to use common sense. Ask yourself if the content your writing would be something that your customer persona would want to read.
Is the reading level appropriate? Do your adjectives describe something that your persona would be shopping for? Do you say anything that could even remotely be interpreted as offensive? Would your copy excite your persona and make them want to learn more? Would it bore your persona? Would it anger your persona and make them not want to return? Answer these questions honestly. Cherry pick your topics of conversations, and the tones of those conversations, accordingly. Then get marketing!