Are you looking for a marketing Audit?
It’s true that any marketing audits or campaigns involves some degree of risk; after all, not even the biggest agencies can guarantee you results (and if they do, you should avoid them!).
However, if you’re feeling anxious about what you can do to help ensure the best chance of success with your content or digital marketing strategy, I have a few key insights I can share.
From running an inbound marketing agency myself, I’ve seen some clients’ traffic, leads and sales skyrocket over just a few months; whereas I also get the odd client who seems to stumble in the early stages.
The reason for this? Well, it all seemed to depend on exactly how well they knew their ideal customers – in other words, their buyer personas.
Let me explain…
Why are buyer personas important?
Superwarm, one of our most successful clients, have simply gone from strength to strength, and after two years of inbound, their numbers are still reaching impressive new highs.
This is fantastic news, and I can say without a doubt that their success is due to the fact that the owner, John Carmichael, knows his customer base inside-and-out, having spent 20+ years visiting their homes and talking to them directly about their challenges and concerns.
From all his time spent with his customers, he knows the type of questions they are typing into Google, the type of boilers they are looking to buy, and what’s important to them when they make a purchase.
All of this information – and more – is the key that has helped him create some truly engaging, quality content that his buyer personas really appreciate; and if I’m honest, it’s put him miles ahead of his competitors.
If you’re thinking about hiring a digital marketing agency, one of the first things they should establish is how well you know your buyer personas.
TIP: For more information, take a look at my blog post ‘Stop Wasting Time on Poor Leads: The Importance of Buyer Personas’.
How to clearly define your buyer persona
So, by now you probably have an idea of what a buyer persona is; a semi-fictional representation of your best customer (or customers) that is based on as much information as you can possibly get your hands on.
But where’s the best place to start honing in on your buyer personas? Your customers, of course! (If you don’t currently have any, simply skip this section and move onto the next)
However, you can also get some very valuable information (such as the types of questions they ask, their challenges and concerns) from:
- Your sales team
- Your customer services team
- Your prospects
- The customers you didn’t convert
Let’s start with the obvious one, though – your customers!
I highly recommend thinking up some key questions you can ask your customers, before preferably calling them and setting up a time to talk. I usually find that if they were happy with your services, most will not object to a quick 5 – 10 minute phone call.
TIP: If you really can’t afford to spare the time, or your customers tend to be more responsive to email, sending out email surveys could be another option – just be aware some of them will go ignored.
Some of the questions you could ask your customers include:
- Their age
- Their job title and role
- What their typical day looks like
- Their hobbies/what they do in their free time
- Which websites they spend the most time on
- What their main challenges were before they made their purchase
- How much research they did before they made their purchase
- What their buying process looked like (where did they start, who did they consult)
- What made them choose you over your competitors
- Whether they are likely to purchase from you again
- How they prefer to interact with companies/vendors
- What they liked/didn’t like about your website
These are just a few questions that you’ll need to know from your customers when developing a detailed buyer personas to use in your content. Don’t stop there, though!
You should always be building on your buyer personas and adding to this valuable information every chance you get. You never know when will be the perfect time to put them to good use!
What if you’re a new business or startup?
Okay, if you’re just getting starting with your business or startup, it’s safe to say that you don’t have much of an established client base, so you can’t do any of the above.
So, what can you do?
Well, firstly, I’d advise you to try and build up some data before spending thousands on a new marketing campaign – and there are a few ways you can do that.
1. Interviewing potential buyers
Even if you don’t have a customer base, you probably have a good idea of at least the kind of customer you want to attract, and that’s your starting point.
By interviewing potential customers, you can ask them some questions to help better understand them – use some of the questions I outlined above to get you started, such as their challenges or problems, what would make them choose you, what might put them off etc.
2. Look at online reviews
Next up, online reviews are a potential goldmine for finding out all sorts of information about your buyer personas. For instance, if you’re selling a particular product, taking to sites such as Amazon to look at product reviews can help you learn a tonne of valuable insights.
Of course, this will really depend on what you’re selling; for example, if you’re selling services (perhaps you sell and install products, like hot-tubs or roofing), another good idea is to look at review sites such as TrustPilot and find out what people are saying about your competitors.
Looking at what real-life people are saying about companies and services very similar to what you’re offering will really help you understand what makes your potential customers happy, and what mistakes you really need to avoid.
3. Pay attention to analytics tools
If you’re planning on doing PPC, you can often get some great data off the back of that, which will tell you more about your demographics and the people who are clicking on your ads.
I’d also highly recommend setting up Google Analytics on your website to find out even more about your demographics – and doing the same on your Facebook page means you’ll soon be able to build up a much better picture of who is interested in your products/services.
4. Setup retargeting
Setting up retargeting on Google and Facebook means you can target specific ads that are only seen by people who have previously visited your website. Google will be able to tell you their likes, interests, websites they’ve visited, age etc. and you’ll get some very similar results from Facebook.
Doing this can help you gain an even better insight into the lives of your buyer personas, plus it’s only a fraction of the cost you’d pay for Adwords.
Of course, nothing actually compensates for actually speaking to these people in real life, and hearing this information straight from the horse’s mouth, as they say.
Just speaking to even one customer will tell you more than 10,000 visitors ever could; real people can accelerate your results by telling you exactly what they want, and what they’re thinking.
5. Try online testing websites
No customers to give you feedback on your shiny new website?
Some smart websites (such as UserTesting.com) have come up with an effective way around that, which can at least give you a better idea of what your potential customers will be thinking when they arrive on your website.
All you have to do is stick in your URL, and someone will record themselves looking at your website and giving you their first impressions, so you can instantly see what visitors may like, and what aspects they may be struggling with.
You can even ask them to perform specific tasks, such as booking an appointment, ordering a specific product or even finding a page – just to see how easy it actually is.
Lots of services offer this, and I find these sites oh so valuable, as what may seem obvious to you, isn’t necessarily going to be obvious to someone visiting your website for the first time.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading, and that you’ve found some of the tips in this blog valuable when developing buyer personas for your content or digital marketing strategy.
I’ve written about buyer personas in the past, but this blog was all about providing more actionable information you can really use to get the best results out of your marketing efforts.
Do you have any specific questions about developing your own buyer personas? Let me know in the comments, and I promise to reply!