Content marketing is all about knowing your audience, like all good writing (and other forms of media too, from images, to audio, to video). But how do you go about building a so-called ‘buyer persona’ to help you understand exactly who you are producing content for?
Knowing your audience is one of the basics of producing good content. It’s one of the first things English students are taught, and a version of the same principle is used in English law – the ‘man on the Clapham omnibus’.
The phrase dates back to 1871 when it was coined by Lord Bowen, who was a junior counsel at the time, based on the much, much older Roman concept of ‘bonus pater familias’, the ‘good family father’ who was considered to be the example of a typical citizen.
But what do these phrases all actually mean? In law, it’s about determining a reasonable standard of care, for example in negligence cases, while in content marketing, customer personas allow you to define several different audiences based on the types of people who buy from you.
Why do customer personas matter?
Have you ever watched an advert on TV for a product you regularly buy, but felt that in this particular case, it didn’t appeal to you at all? Or worse, that the message of the advert specifically excluded you as a potential customer?
Knowing your buyer base is crucial to getting your marketing messages right. Promote your products or services only to families, for example, and you might be missing out on a lucrative market of single people, couples without children and all kinds of less common households.
You might say “but my customers are all families…” but this can be a self-fulfilling prophecy too. If you only market to one type of customer, and all of your customers fall into that category, it’s impossible to know which is the cause, and which is the effect.
Three main types of buyer persona
Your own customer base and target audience will determine the exact demographics that go into building your buyer persona, but in general there are three main types of customer persona to consider:
• Existing customers. You want to make sure your marketing is inclusive of anyone who already spends money with you, even if you do this using multiple adverts, landing pages and blog posts to cover all the different characters.
• Potential buyers. It’s important to create a buyer persona for potential customers who you do not already target, as you could find an untapped niche with considerable opportunity for profit.
• Unwanted customers. It’s easy to overlook this one, but it’s often equally valuable to describe the kind of person who you don’t want to appeal to, especially if you don’t think it’s enough just to not actively reach out to this demographic.
Putting customer personas into action
Creating customer personas is just the first step, and they can be quite complex, including demographics like:
• Socioeconomic status
• Hobbies and ambitions
Depending on your products and services, you might even want to define your audience by gender identity, sexual preferences and so on, and clearly it is important to get your message across without appearing to discriminate against anyone.
Need a hand defining your customer personas?
The Content Marketing Team have plenty of experience producing content for online businesses that strikes just the right balance in terms of tone of voice and content.
If you want to reap the return on investment of correct use of customer personas, but you’re concerned about offending any of your potential buyers – or you just don’t have the time or expertise to do it yourself – let us handle it for you and we will make sure we target the right audience for you.
Get in touch with The Content Marketing Team to find out more.