buyer personas

All posts tagged buyer personas

Mobile First and Live Streaming Video Help You Succeed in Social Media

by Joanne Dolezal on 12th October 2018

The rise and rise of the smartphone and ‘mobile first’ strategies has meant that your customers expect to find you on their mobile phone. Sure, they’ll use a desktop or laptop sometimes, but they are just as likely to research, select and buy ‘on the move’ (on their mobile devlce).  The functionality on a smartphone, coupled with 4G broadband has enabled us to watch films, catch up on our favourite TV shows, follow vloggers and learn from ‘how to’ videos. The jump to live streaming video, where your audience can become part of the show, via comments or questions, is truly amazing.

Live Streaming Video

The world wide web has spawned dozens of social media platforms. We’ve gone from long, text-heavy social media to short and sweet posts, with photos and video.

Clients regularly ask me about the latest platforms and features. As you will no doubt know, video is increasingly popular, but in the last two years, live video streaming has becoming more accessible. Live Hangouts on Air (now YouTube Live), Facebook Live and Periscope are popular tools, and allow you to have guest contributors. Unlike GoToWebinar and Zoom, (as well as the many webinar tools) they are also FREE, so if you want to give them a go, there’s no big upfront investment required.

They’re also useful because you can usually access a recording of the discussion later on, although it’s not always easy to extract it for use elsewhere. Once you do, though, you have a recording that you can share again and again or repurpose for other platforms.

You do need to have a moderator, or co-host, as trolls can pop in and be really unpleasant on some platforms. If you are hosting alone, you will find it really distracting.

Top Tip: vary your media to appeal to different ‘learning’ styles. Not everyone’s a reader / listener / viewer

 

Mobile First = Right Time and Place

Your customer is increasingly mobile… and so are you. This means that your content can be accessed and consumed literally any time, anywhere.

You no longer have any control over the device your customers and audience use, so adopt a mobile first approach.  Your website, blog, social media and email need to look good on mobile. Full stop.

Google now penalises you if your website is not mobile friendly by not presenting you in mobile search results. But mobile friendly is more than just templates, images and fonts. It’s also the chance to create content in real time, on the go, capturing the moment.

Guess what… all the social media platforms have a bias towards ‘live’ social media activity versus scheduled.  So, make sure you have the apps for your social media accounts on your phone and get posting.

The Right Place

Success will depend on picking the right social media platform to connect you with your target customers.

I recommend picking just one, then adding more once you’re comfortable with each one and you know why you’re using it.

The most important thing, beyond finding your customers on social media, is making sure you show up only where (and when) you are welcome. Otherwise, expect to be ignored.

Top Tip: research and test to find the social media platform where customers are most happy to hear from you. Otherwise, you may just become ‘background noise’.

The Right Time

Scheduling your content requires a bit of advance planning, but it’s a more efficient way of working and allows you to create better content and posts.  Remember mobile first – if it works and looks right on mobile, it’ll work anywhere.

When you invest time in thinking and planning, you create something meaningful and of better quality. Quality trumps quantity every day of the week.

Repetition of messages, links to content (content seeding) and sharable content will help you reach your customer at the right time in their customer journey.

  Top Tip: ‘mobile first’ and mobile friendly – brief copy, clear images and subtitles for silent ‘viewers’.

The Right Message

Make sure you’re really making an effort to post content that’s interesting to your target customer, rather than just updates about your brand, products and services.

Have you developed your buyer personas yet? It will help you focus on them.

It’s fine to have a mixture of content formats and topics. It’s also fine to have some messages that are about you, your brand and products, but always flip it on its head: what’s in it for your readers?

Can you turn it into a benefit in some way?

Top Tip: your customer is at the epicentre of their own universe.

Remember, it’s all about them

Build It, or Buy It

There’s probably no point in buying followers, because they won’t convert to customers. It’s better to attract followers gradually, based on genuine affinity, as they may well want to become your customers one day. Using a scheduling tool can save you time and send out content on your behalf to keep engaging with these people.

Top Tip: bought contact data & social media followers are the hardest to convert.

Are your Goals for Social Media ‘SMART’ Enough?

There are so many different ways of communicating with people now, and like with learning styles, we all have our preferences. But, think about what your target customers really like, and give them what they want.

Top Tip: be selective, focus on quality and be realistic about how much social media can add to your marketing.

And the most important tip, last

Consistency is vital. Plan, schedule and post good quality content on a regular basis. Curate and share others’ good quality content too. Remember the 80:20 rule.

It may take a while to build you social media audience but ask yourself:

Question: How long do you intend to be in business anyway?

When you look at it this way, you can see why building a following doesn’t need to happen overnight.

We hope you enjoy the The Three Rs of Social Media Success.

Why not check out the other blogs in the series:

  1. The Three ‘Rs’ of Social Media Success
  2. Know the Right Place for Social Media Success
  3. How do You Know the Right Time for Your Customers on Social Media
  4. Get the Right Message: Get their Attention
  5. Build Your Social Media Following versus Buying Reach and Followers
  6. Are your Goals ‘SMART’ Enough for Social Media Success?
  7. Mobile First and Live Streaming Video Help You Succeed in Social Media

If you like video, check out our recording of this fascinating topic and give your social media a rethink.

Our new online programme Content Marketing Conquered is designed with you in mind. Based on our successful workshop series and latest strategies, we guide you to the top in 6 easy steps.

Ready to take the next step? Download your free Content marketing eBook today.

 

Photo by Rahul Chakraborty on Unsplash

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Joanne DolezalMobile First and Live Streaming Video Help You Succeed in Social Media

Build Your Social Media Following versus Buying Reach and Followers

by Joanne Dolezal on 28th September 2018

It’s never a bad time to look at how you attract people to your social media profiles and build your social media following.

There are two sides to the audience building argument.

One side will tell you to focus on quality, build your following slowly based on quality of connections and a real affinity.

The other side will tell you to focus on quantity, building your following quickly with paid social media campaigns, buying likes and followers and creating sensational content to ‘go viral’.

You will know what works for your organisation…

You will need to gauge what feels right, how much time and money you want to spend on achieving the ‘numbers’ – how many page likes you have on Facebook page, followers on Twitter or your Linked In company page.  You may prefer to focus on building your audience slowly and look at the ‘quality’ metrics: engagement – comments, retweets, shares – instead.

But you should know that these options exist, i.e. through paid advertising or ‘likes’ campaigns, if only to analyse others’ social media following more dispassionately.

Remember, though, that anyone promising you instant success is trying to sell you something…

You want to go for quality and build your following ‘organically’

It is still possible to build your audience on social media through content marketing and organic growth, by regularly posting a variety of content that is relevant and appealing to your target audience (or customers). Bear in mind that what you post on social media will depend on what type of business you run.  There are many different types of content for business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) companies, and most of it will be familiar to you.

The diagram below charts the most common formats for content marketing.

The best content is user-focussed, non-selling, informative and engaging.

Content marketing uses many different formats to deliver quality content.

Think ‘person to person’, not ‘business to business’.

What you’ll find, even when you are selling to another business person (as opposed to a consumer) is that it’s ‘B2B’ for the first five minutes only. It soon becomes you speaking to another person, another human being, and seeing them as an individual.  Everyone in business knows that this is what relationships are based on, and you’ll be on first name terms within the hour.

On the B2C side, with consumer marketing, the people who follow brands on social media want to be rewarded in some way. They want offers, deals and coupons or to know when the ‘flash sale’ is going to be. There’s very little brand loyalty these days, so think about different types of content which could be appropriate for your audience.

This quote is about Twitter, but I like it because it’s relevant to any social media platform:

“…humanize it.” Talk like a human, treat your readers like a human and empathise -this is how you get people’s attention and start to build trust with them. Be real!

Pam Moore

You want to go for quantity and grow your following quickly

All the major social media platforms have launched advertising tools in the last few years.  These are not to be underestimated, either in terms of their targeting capabilities or the potential reach they offer you, regardless of geography.  If you are familiar with the principles of display advertising (picture or video adverts) and pay-per-click (PPC) you will understand the advertising tools immediately.

For successful content marketing, you need to build your inbound marketing funnel.

The Inbound Marketing Funnel

For those who are new to paying to reach new ‘customers’, both operate on an auction model.

With paid ads, the most exposure (impressions or reach) goes to the highest bidder for that target audience.  It’s a fair system, in as far as you know either how much (the maximum) you are prepared to bid for either a click (through to your website or product page) or impressions, the number of people the ad will be presented to (sold per mille/’000).

When you are buying ad campaigns on each platform, you’ll be asked to choose your goals, based on the stage in the inbound funnel (see at right) / customer journey you want to reach your customer at.

Basically, you will be looking for Awareness, Consideration or Conversion.

Paid ads can help you reach target customers beyond your networks, sector, industry, location or language.

Some ads will present your picture ad, others may have a few lines of copy and Call to Action.  The success rate on all social platforms is low: typically the click-through-rate (CTR) will be lower that 0.5% or the people you are targeting.  You then have to follow up in some way to convert them.

Targeting can be based on the common characteristics of you target customer (or buyer personas) or you can create ‘look-alike’ target audiences based on the custom tools within the platform.  For more information about the paid ad tools on each platform, please see our blogs about each platform.

Buying followers can be done in a couple of ways.

The first option is to respond to a direct approach, normally on social media, offering to sell you followers.  These are normally sold per thousand.  Buy followers at your peril.  They won’t engage with your content (posts) and may distort your page analytics (metrics) significantly.

Accessing a pre-existing ‘community’ that has been pre-built by an agency can produce an impressive number of page (and post) likes.  Some will have millions of members who are, evidently, very obedient and do as they are asked.  This is a tactic if you need to demonstrate interest in your brand or products, perhaps to an investor, but it is not cheap.  Or particularly sustainable.

Am I against ‘paid’ social media?  No.  I think the targeting and advertising tools have the potential to put you in front of people you’d never reach otherwise.  I think the best combination is paid + organic, still delivering as much quality content as you can to your social media following.

But I would avoid buying followers, in the same way that I’d avoid buying contact data.  It is poor quality and unlikely to convert.

Whether you want to build a social media audience that delivers ‘quantity’ or ‘quality’, we recommend you:

1. Identify your target market – you may already have some information, but the more you know about who you’re trying to target, the better the social media platforms will support you. They have targeting tools built within them based upon the data they gather from users, and in the paid versions these are really sophisticated.

2. Know what they’re looking for – once you start to interact with them you’ll know what questions they ask and also what kinds of things they interact with.  Taking time to understand what your target customers care about helps you talk about topics they are interested in.

3. Attract and engage them – by being interesting, engaging and relevant, you’ll start to attract people to your profiles and pages.  Use the language they understand and use themselves and your posts will be relevant to them.

4. Build trust and earn leads – doing so will encourage people to visit your website, subscribe to your mailing list and download the lead magnet you’ve created in exchange for an email address. They WILL ring you or send you a direct message, because it happens all the time.

5. Measure and improve. Think about what you’re going to measure, because big numbers don’t always mean anything. The quality of interactions is what matters for a social media following who will ultimately buy from you, or recommend you to others.

Social media is great for weak links, so don’t feel too disheartened when things don’t go your own way immediately and don’t expect too much of people.  After all, you’re not face-to-face, so you can’t rely on non-verbal cues or the opportunity to have a proper conversation to build rapport.

At the bottom of the inbound funnel, once somebody has become a customer, it’s a great way to keep in touch with them.

Turn them into an advocate and they will make sure your posts, comments and shares ‘move’.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the The Three Rs of Social Media Success.

Why not check out the other blogs in the series:

  1. The Three ‘Rs’ of Social Media Success
  2. Know the Right Place for Social Media Success
  3. How do You Know the Right Time for Your Customers on Social Media
  4. Get the Right Message: Get their Attention
  5. Build Your Social Media Following versus Buying Reach and Followers
  6. Are your Goals ‘SMART’ Enough for Social Media Success?
  7. Mobile First and Live Streaming Video Help You Succeed in Social Media

If you like video, check out our recording of this fascinating topic and learn from these amazing thoughtleaders.

Our new online programme Content Marketing Conquered is designed with you in mind. Based on our successful workshop programme and latest strategies, we guide you to the top in 6 easy steps.

For more Content Marketing tips and tricks, grab your free eBook here.

 

Photo by Fleur Treurniet on Unsplash

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Joanne DolezalBuild Your Social Media Following versus Buying Reach and Followers

Get the Right Message and Get Their Attention

by Joanne Dolezal on 20th July 2018

The modern consumer is egocentric, and truly only cares about themself.

They care about what they are trying to achieve and what matters most to them.

So naturally, they skim (ruthlessly) over content in their social media feeds that aren’t of interest to them.

Unless you get the right message you will not get their attention.

This means that your content and posts need to be tailored to them. Just them.

They need to be interesting, engaging and relevant. To them.

If it’s about you, your customers really aren’t that interested. Unless it’s about them.

 

Zig Ziglar famously said:

“people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”

Particularly, how much you care about them.

If you can reach out to people with your content and demonstrate that you have something that will change their lives, then you will get their attention.

Listen with your eyes

You need to post and share content that’s relevant to their lives, so how do you find out what that is? Enter, ‘social listening’.

I highly recommend watching and listening (observing) your customers on social media, whether you’re just starting out or moving to the next level. Be passive and see what people are talking about, sharing and interacting with. If you don’t you can often get it wrong.

Develop buyer personas

When you are ready to move beyond the broader categories that people fall into (segments) and start thinking about what is influencing their decision making, you may want to develop your buyer personas. Our recent blog on buyer personas explored the different ingredients that go to make up a buyer persona, but if you take the time and really drill down into who they are and what makes them tick, creating content for them will come as naturally as speaking with an old friend.

Get inside your customers head

Who is your customer and what do they want? Perhaps they’re trying to overcome a challenge or tackle an issue that they’re dealing with. Or it could be something positive, such as an aspiration or desire.

If you appeal to their current mindset, rather than giving a lot of information about your products, services and staff, you will get their attention more easily. Concentrate on solutions to their challenges, ways to reach their ambitions and try to anticipate their questions. If you can give them the answers, you will be helping them to come to a decision. And demonstrating your expertise and trustworthiness.

And get inside your customers heart

When you start talking about someone’s problems, their fears, hopes and aspirations, in a way that shows respect, empathy and understanding, you get their attention.

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”

Henry Ford (quoted in Dale Carnegie)

This is your opportunity to show the human side of your brand – social media is a great place for us to demonstrate our ‘personality’ – and make a personal connection.

What’s really interesting, is that even B2B purchase decisions will be influenced by how the customer feels. It is not just a rational decision, so think about how they feel right at the moment. Can you appeal to their emotions?

What is the Right Message?

We’re still selling something. Good sales people know that you’ve won the sale when the answer to all your questions is: YES. You’ve exhausted their objections, allayed their fears, gained their trust and confidence, then finally, their business.

It’s whatever you say, that makes them want to say ‘ yes’.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the The Three Rs of Social Media Success.

Why not check out the other blogs in the series:

  1. The Three ‘Rs’ of Social Media Success
  2. Know the Right Place for Social Media Success
  3. How do You Know the Right Time for Your Customers on Social Media
  4. Get the Right Message: Get their Attention
  5. Build Your Social Media Following versus Buying Reach and Followers
  6. Are your Goals ‘SMART’ Enough for Social Media Success?
  7. ‘Mobile First’, Live Streaming & How to Succeed with Social Media Marketing

If you like video, check out our recording of this fascinating topic and learn from these amazing thoughtleaders.

Our new online programme Content Marketing Conquered is designed with you in mind. Based on our successful workshop programme and latest strategies, we guide you to the top in 6 easy steps.

Don’t leave without grabbing your free eBook.

 

Photo by Adam Jang on Unsplash

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Joanne DolezalGet the Right Message and Get Their Attention

Why your Buyer Personas Need the Sales Team’s Customer Insight

by Joanne Dolezal on 29th March 2018

Are your customers just a blur of names and data? In the latest blog on how your sales team can support your content marketing, we look at the importance of buyer personas and the valuable customer insights your customer facing teams have as the first line of contact with them.

So, what exactly goes into developing your Buyer Personas?

Selecting the right dimensions or shared characteristics to include can be hard for the marketing team. In many organisations, the marketing team never gets to meet the customer and has very little sense of who they are.

Customer insight + relevance = customer value + £sales.

This is where the sales and customer facing teams come in. They may have better information, insight, because they’re in contact with your customers daily and hear what they say:

  • What is your target customer’s desired experience?
  • What do they want the outcome to be: a relief from some kind of irritation or the holiday of a lifetime?
  • Are you trying to solve a problem, or fulfill their dreams and desires?
  • No less important: who are they buying for?

B2C Buyer Personas include…

In consumer marketing (B2C), you may be selling to the purchaser in the household, but not the actual user, e.g. toiletries for younger teens, but bought by mum! You need to know who they’re buying for and why, what they value about their purchase and what the pressures are on them in order to buy.

When you develop personas, you can think about typical challenges or issues the person is facing, or a day in the life of. Think about their information sources: are they mobile users, active on social media or do they prefer print ads?

It can be helpful to get some magazines and pull out pictures of the kind of things this person would like, the brands they would like or even a picture that looks like them.

Then, think of their common objections – what reasons do they give for not doing something?

They may say things like: “I would, but…” or “We haven’t yet, because…”

Sales people are fantastic at surfacing and then dealing with these objections, because that’s what they’re really good at.

B2B Buyer Personas include…

With commercial / enterprise customers (B2B), you may need slightly different information, because largely they’re buying for the organisation. You may be marketing to one of the buying ‘team’ – not always the end-user. Depending on how big and important that purchase is, it may leave them feeling anxious and exposed, particularly if they’re in a project management role. They’ll worry about everything that could go wrong, that colleagues will hate it or find fault once they start using it.

We’ve all been in that position, where we’re project managing something new and championing it, but you may be feeling exposed. Everybody in the organisation who’s using or paying for it will have an opinion.

Either way, developing buyer personas will help you to reach the hearts and minds of customers just like them. This will help you to create content that is personal, relevant, honest and reassuring.

If there is no sales team…

You may not have a sales team. You may be the sales team, along with marketing and every other business function.

You may need to work around the sales team, for whatever reason. Overstretched, poor communication, or needing that extra dimension.

Because if it’s a past customer, you also have the opportunity to go back and ask:

“What problem did we solve for you?

How has it impacted your business?

What are the positive changes you’ve seen?”

We know what is involved in developing buyer personas. They take time, research, testing and repetition before they ‘stand up’ but it’s important for marketing to move away from assumptions, hypotheses, “business as usual”.

What is the reward?

Your customers have never had so much choice, and so much information at their fingertips.

Do they choose you?

Or do they choose a competitor who speaks their language, shares their interests and publishes content that looks and sounds like them?

Our online course, Content Marketing Conquered, takes you through everything you need to know about developing Buyer Personas. We also help you develop your online value proposition. Oh, and there’s a deep audit, content generation framework and guidance on how to build a a ‘proper plan’ around it.

One that reflects you. And your goals.

We’ll be looking at how to involve the sales team more in your content marketing in this series of blogs.

What key insights can marketers learn from the sales team?

It’s not easy to get sales and marketing working in harmony but we share tips and real life examples from the sales and marketing teams we’ve worked with – saving you time, money and heartache.

We hope you’ve enjoyed Why Your Sales Team holds the key to Content Marketing. Why not check out the other blogs in the series:

Or if video is your preferred content type, click here to view the recording.

Our new online programme Content Marketing Conquered is designed with you in mind. Based on our successful workshop programme and latest strategies, we guide you to the top in 6 easy steps.

Don’t leave without grabbing your free eBook.

 

Photo by mauro mora on Unsplash
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Joanne DolezalWhy your Buyer Personas Need the Sales Team’s Customer Insight

Content Marketing and the Journey from Customer Segmentation to Buyer Personas

by Joanne Dolezal on 22nd March 2018

Whether you call them buyer personas (or personae) or customer avatars, it’s never too late to develop them. If you work in marketing or closely with marketing colleagues you will know that the way we group our customers together (segmentation) and choose who to market to (targeting) has changed. Content Marketing has taken us on a journey: from customer segmentation models, marketing to easily defined ‘groups’ of customers to developing buyer personas. We have gone from mass communication to a more personal, visceral understanding of what our customers really want to know.

Marketing has changed.

Dramatically.

Customer profiling used to rely upon historical data, past purchase, demographics (age, gender, occupation, etc) and psychographics (values, attitudes, lifestyles, etc).

Then along came social media. At last, we could not only speak to people directly online, but also hear what they had to say about us. And everything else.

Gradually, the old ways of segmenting and targeting are being replaced by a new kind of customer profile.

From Segmentation…

Old style database building depended on contact data. This was often the starting point, whether it was the business cards you’d collected or a database you’d bought. You will probably have added in customer data and prospect – people who’ve made an enquiry.

You may have first and last name and email address, possibly with other contact details. You may also have some sales data on them and an idea of what their role is within the business.

But is that it?

You can’t create engaging content for your customers if you don’t know anything about them.

You can’t talk to your customers as real people if you just have them as a nameless group on your database, i.e. “lead”, “suspect”, “prospect”. It’s not personal enough.

The customer data businesses have is not the same as customer insight.

… to Buyer Personas

Sometimes called avatars, or customer avatars, buyer personas help us to move beyond broad brush assumptions about our customers or potential customers to something more relevant.

Relevant to them, that is.

And much more personal.

What we’ve learned about our customers is that, surprise surprise, they’re people. Individuals. Complex, quirky and highly unique. In fact, just like us!

How do you get closer to your customer and create great content, web pages and sales materials they will love?

“Customer data is NOT customer insight!”

Your customer’s journey is changing too.

Recent research shows that potential customers are looking at 12 or more sources of information before making a new purchase online. If they’ve never bought that type of thing online before, or more importantly, they’ve never bought online from you before, they want a lot more information. And reassurance.

 

That’s a lot more marketing.

If you want (and need) to show up in all these different places, a website and a few leaflets just don’t cut it anymore.

Businesses need to be more active in creating a variety of content. And you need to appeal to different consumption patterns, as well as different learning styles across:

word, pictures, film & sound

With blogging, videos, infographics, email marketing, podcasts and other forms of content, along with a more strategic use of social media, you will succeed in providing good quality information at each stage of your customer’s journey.

What does your customer’s journey look like?

You don’t know when your customer is going to move on to the next stage in their decision making. You have to be there, whenever they are ready. You now have more, many more places to share links to the content on your website, including information about your products and services.

Curation, creation and the 80:20 rule

Remember, sharing other people’s content is really valuable too. Collate and share thoughtfully and you will help your customer find the best solution for them. You will also position your brand very clearly in the mind: they will know what you care about.

Your sales, customer services and services teams may have insights that you, the marketer, don’t have.

 Content Marketing is the bridge between sales and marketing.

We’ll be looking at how to involve the sales team more in your content marketing in this series of blogs.

What key insights can marketers learn from the sales team?

It’s not easy to get sales and marketing working in harmony but we share tips and real life examples from the sales and marketing teams we’ve worked with – saving you time, money and heartache.

We hope you’ve enjoyed Why tour Sales Team holds the key to Content Marketing. Why not check out the other blogs in the series:

Or if video is your preferred content type, click here to view the recording.

Our new online programme Content Marketing Conquered is designed with you in mind. Based on our successful workshop programme and latest strategies, we guide you to the top in 6 easy steps.

Don’t leave without grabbing your free eBook.

 

Photo by Israel Egío on Unsplash
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Joanne DolezalContent Marketing and the Journey from Customer Segmentation to Buyer Personas