They key to excellent marketing is to understand your customers better than they understand themselves. The first step in understanding your customers is crafting buyer personas to get a feel for your customer’s needs and desires. This sets the stage, providing a back story that will assist you in solving a customer’s problem. Once you create this context, you can then begin creating helpful content. Ask yourself these questions when shaping your marketing strategy.
“What does my customer want?”
Believe it or not, this may be the most difficult question for you to answer. Why? Because people can often recognize what they don’t want, but hardly can communicate what they’re actually looking for. How do you help someone on his buyer’s journey if he himself has no clue what he’s looking for? Tap into basic human instinct. People crave passion. Provide content that makes users feel alive. How do you do that? Create content that motivates your visitors and resonates with the needs and desires you identified when crafting their buyer persona.
Think of this question as the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. At this point, a person is not aware of your company, and more often than not, unaware that he even has a problem. You want to establish yourself as a source of credible information and begin to build trust with this potential customer.
“What story is my customer in?”
Every day, we each carry a story that we have either heard or lived through. Our personal stories have a direct impact on who we think we are. As a marketer, you need to know where a potential customer is in their story. This is the time to lead the horse to water. Gathering personal information about visitors is the best way to create content that is meaningful to them. By having contacts fill out a form, you capture key details that help you tailor your marketing better to their buyer’s journey.
Think of this stage as the convert and close stage of the inbound methodology. People have been attracted to your content and have identified a problem that needs to be solved. Your mission is to provide a content offer, such as an ebook or whitepaper, that’s more specific to answering this visitor’s question. The visitor downloads the content, reads through it, and decides that you would be the best at remedying his problem. Now you have the ability to close the lead and convert him into a customer.
“How can I rewrite this story to delight my customer?”
Just like each person has a “story”, so too does each company. Once you have aggregated enough data about your buyer personas, their pain points, and their needs and problems, it’s important to rewrite your own story a bit. We’re not suggesting you misrepresent your company. Instead, we recommend telling your story from an angle that will resonate with your personas. As a silly example, let’s say you’ve got a durable product and you’re marketing to new mothers. The item description may include words like “long-wearing” or “reliable”. If you’re marketing to a forty-something year old man who works in an industrial setting, you may describe the product as “rugged.” It’s little tweaks like this that can help you find common ground with your customers and may help them to feel at home with your company.
When you use context to identify your persona, their “story”, and align your messaging with your personas’ stories, you will delight your customers. The delight stage in the inbound methodology is what creates inbound’s success. A traditional marketer only cares about the sale, and once the check is in his hands, he slams the door on the customer. Inbound marketers know that’s important to continuously nurture their customers with content that speaks to them, ensuring that they become repeat customers. Companies work hard to create relationships and earn a customers’ trust, so it’s important to keep it. Not only will this increase the likelihood of a customer knocking on your door the next time they have a problem, but they’re also going to spread the word about how awesome your company is.