Certainly, you don’t need to be told that knowing your customer is the first, and most important, step of the marketing process. That’s been the cardinal rule since advertising’s Ice Age. But getting to know the customer in a digital age… that’s where the rules are evolving, and it’s where inbound marketing can help.
Eyes on the target
Today’s online marketplace uses the word “target” a lot, and if you imagine a target, you appreciate how small that bull’s-eye seems. And you’re not the only one looking at it. Countless competitors from both near and far firing their arrows at the same target, so taking careful aim is of the essence.
The basis of inbound marketing is getting that target customer to discover and appreciate the great content – blogs, videos, white papers and more – that ultimately leads them to your landing page, where they may offer their contact information. But you have to make the first move.
Create a persona
A customer persona has proven to be a highly effective tactic in identifying a target customer. Think of the way a novelist or screenwriter creates a character – he describes everything about the person, from age and background to hopes, fears and goals in life.
Your customer persona works in much the same way. It doesn’t need to be lengthy – even one paragraph will do – but it does need to be the result of research from your existing customer base, your sales team and any other stakeholders who have information about your target.
And when you do, you’ll find yourself asking questions like:
How far did you get in your education?
What are your hobbies or passions?
What keeps you up at night worrying?
Do you prefer Facebook or Twitter … or neither?
What have you always wondered about …[your product or service]?
The answers to questions like this may appear irrelevant at first, but they point toward a holistic picture of the type of person you want to see your message. In particular, a persona will help you craft the right content for your target based on their concerns or interests, not yours.
More than one?
Seldom will only one type of person patronize your business, so you may find yourself creating different personas for different products or services. For instance, you may have one persona to recruit new business, and another to retain current patients or customers. The trick here is to tailor your high-value content to those specific characters. The “blast” approach of trying to get everyone interested in everything you have to say simply doesn’t work online.
Call for help
Customer personas for inbound marketing purposes can help you get a better bead on your target customer so you can create and publish content that resonates with them. Once you’ve been “discovered” this way, your target is more likely to find your practice or company credible – no small claim when you consider that many less-credible companies also competing for attention.
Your SEO services company will play a role in helping by evaluating the keyword ranking aspect of your research. This data and more will come into play to survey and assess your target audience and discover the details that contribute to a good customer persona. Once that’s done, your inbound marketing agency can identify the kind of content that works best, what keywords your targets use to research your industry, and where to publish content so your target will find it.