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Developing Buyer Personas for Content That Converts

If your business blog’s main goal is to turn visitors into conversions, then you need to write the type of content that is most attractive to your buyers. Once you’ve worked in a particular industry long enough, it can be a little difficult to see things from the outside of it with your customer’s perspective….

If your business blog’s main goal is to turn visitors into conversions, then you need to write the type of content that is most attractive to your buyers. Once you’ve worked in a particular industry long enough, it can be a little difficult to see things from the outside of it with your customer’s perspective. This is where buyer personas come in.

creating-buyer-personas

Photo Credit: Chris Pegler on Flickr

In today’s post you will take a step back from everything you know, answer some key questions, and create buyer personas to target your content towards for maximum conversions.

Question #1: What size business buys your products and/or services?

Does your products or services cater to a specific size business? When you are creating content, be sure to gear it towards tips for the size business you generally work with – or want to work with. If you’re writing for small business customers, then you will want to steer away from talking about how large corporations could use your products. And if you’re writing for enterprises, they will not be able to relate to advice written to a small business owner.

If you’re having a hard time figuring out the type of content to write to target people in specific-sized businesses, your best bet is to survey them. Ask questions on your Twitter or Facebook page like “Small business owners: what is your biggest challenge?” This way you can get answers (and content ideas) from the people in businesses you want to gear your content towards.

Question #2: Who buys your products and/or services?

When it comes to the person who ends up fills out a lead form and talks to a sales representative in your organization about purchasing your products or services, you need to know two things: who they are and who their purchasing decisions are approved by. This is where you will have to determine who those people are and what will convince those people to buy your products or services.

For example, if you sell project management software to small to medium sized businesses, then the people most likely to want to purchase your product would be project managers within an organization. But first they will need to convince the business owner why your project management software is best. Hence, your content’s goal will be twofold: to convince project managers that your software can help and to help them convince business owners why their project managers need your software. You might even want some content that the average employee could stumble upon to convince them why they need to convince their managers to look into your software.

Question #3: What industries are your buyers in?

While some businesses may cater to only one industry, your business might target many. If your business does attract customers from many industries, then you have a few choices when it comes to your content’s focus.

  • Create the majority your on-site content to make it applicable to most industries.
  • Create some on-site content towards specific industries such as case studies on how your products or services helped a particular customer in a particular industry.
  • Create some off-site content (such as guest posts) for specific industry blogs that leads them to want to learn more about your products or services.

Another thing to consider while developing your buyer persona is which industries are most profitable. While you may cater to many, maybe only a few are worth focusing on because customers from that industry have a larger budget, are more likely to be long-term customers, or are simply easier to work with. It’s a great way to ensure that your company is working with its top customers.

Question #4: What are your buyers primary concerns about your product and/or service?

While you can’t address every concern that every customer will have, there’s a good chance that your sales team has logged some common concerns that are asked about by the majority of potential customers. Web hosting companies, for example, are probably asked about their service’s downtime, hence most web hosting companies make sure they emphasize their 99.9% uptime guarantees. Automotive companies are probably asked a lot about the safety of their line of automobiles, hence most will always include details about each car’s safety features.

This is where you have to put yourself into your customer’s shoes and ask “If I were to buy my product or service today, what would I be most worried about?” You can even pose this question to your current or potential customers using quick survey questions on Twitter or Facebook. Once you have the answers, make sure your content reassures potential customers of how you will handle the things they are most concerned about.

Question #5: Where do your buyers spend the most of their time online?

Last, but not least, where do the buyers of your products or services spend the most time online? Because those are the places you will want to spread your content so it reaches the right people. So just look at the things you’ve figured out so far about your buyers and then ask the following questions about them and your content.

  • Do they engage with brands more on Facebook or Twitter? Are you sharing your content at the right times on these networks to reach your buyers?
  • Are they actively asking questions on LinkedIn Answers or Quora? Would your content be good to share as answers to their questions?
  • Do they read Forbes, Mashable, or another particular set of blogs? Can you become a regular contributor to these blogs?
  • Do they participate in forum discussions? Is someone in your organization there to interact with them?
  • Are they on their smartphones a lot because they travel? Is your content geared to be mobile-friendly?

Putting It Together

Once you’ve answered all of the above questions, you should be able to focus on creating content that does the following.

  • Applies to the right sized business for your product or service.
  • Helps convince people in specific positions within a business why they need to buy your product or service as well as helps them convince the decision makers why they should allow them to buy your product or service.
  • Shows people in specific industries how your business can help them get great results with your product or service.
  • Answers common concerns about your product or service.
  • Is successful in the places your buyers are most likely to be online.

What other ways could develop a buyer persona for content creation? Please share in the comments!

  • Ashish Rai

    Fantastic insights, Kristi. And while all of these are helpful for companies where they already have a user/customer base to run a survey. But for early stage startups it becomes quite a challenge to answer few of these questions especially the need specifics.

    The way we work our way around into this issue at our startup was by digging deeper into the chat logs. You see, everytime our sales team had a decent conversation with any visitor, the next day we would pull up those chat logs and get down to identifying their problem/situation/need specific statements. Then write down everyone of those problem statement into a post-it note. In a week or two, we came up with tons of post-it notes with all types of problem statement that our products could solve. Finally, we channelized our focus on where each of these problem statement needs to be addressed in a typical buying stage (early, mid or later).

    Essentially my point here is, many of us start persona development on the wrong foot. That is, investing all of our energy around the look and feel of the persona template, naming the persona or even what their roles would be and so on and so forth. Ofcourse, all of these information are essential to draw a complete profile of a persona. That said, these can always be saved for the last.

    Your thoughts?

    • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

      That’s a great way to do it! Some businesses start off thinking they’re not big enough to get into this kind of analysis, but then by the time they are big enough, it’s almost too much to handle. Having chat logs that you can refer back to is definitely a plus – I wish companies that have support chat would do the same and then create useful content to solve people’s problems so they don’t need to get on a chat and wait around for an answer.

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