Are you talking to the right audience?
How to target your customers and align content
Have you ever told a joke to a group of your friends that was a big hit then told the same joke to your parents or grandparents and have it flop? You didn’t change the tone of your voice, the words, the delivery, but yet the outcome was not the same. Marketing is like that. You have to know to whom you are delivering a message so that your punchline (in this case call-to-action) doesn’t fail.
If you work hard to write copy and don’t see immediate results, it might seem like you are screaming to draw attention to your message or brand. The truth is you can have the best message in the world, but if you deliver it to the wrong audience, it will fall on deaf ears and not resonate.
How do you avoid wasting time and finding out what copy and message will work for your brand? By developing buyer personas to drive your content decision-making. There are some common and basic frameworks that people use to develop their target profiles and I’ll go over those. But I also want to dive into a deeper process to help you discover who you are trying to target and what their thoughts are at every part of the buying process.
What questions can you ask to find out who is your target? Below are some examples by type — either a demographic or behavior.
1. Are you looking for a male or female to use your product or service? Gender makes a difference in how you are going to speak to your audience and form campaigns. Even if your product or service could be for either gender, you’ll want to have specific campaigns so that your messaging does not become too general.
2. What age is your ideal customer? Millennials have a very different way of interacting with money and products and have different wants and needs than a baby boomer. Knowing your target age will help create fun campaigns that resonate with the right generation. Look at memes as an example. Let’s say you want to take a concept and turn it into a meme about dial-up internet. Chances are a younger generation will not get the concept and it will be a missed opportunity.
3. Does your ideal customer live in a certain location? There are differences in branding and the meaning of words from the United States to other countries. But even within the United States, mannerisms are different in the south versus the north versus the west. Rural and country living is different than city dwelling.
4. Does your target buyer belong to a certain income bracket? How you sell and talk to a lower-income person is different from an upper-income family.
5. Is your customer married? Do they have kids? Single people have different needs than those of a married couple and then people with kids have even different needs and wants.
6. What type of job does your customer have? Are they an entrepreneur? Do they work a desk job from 9–5? Are they an hourly employee out in the field?
Once you can understand the basic demographics of who your target audience is, you can look at their behaviors and do some research to understand what makes your customer tick. What are they motivated by that helps drive their decision-making? These questions will help develop the lifecycle of courting your ideal customer.
1. What motivates your ideal customer? Do they want to get promoted at work? Do they seek approval and recognition? Do they want to have work-life balance? This gives insight into how and when you reach them.
2 What pain-points does your ideal customer have? Are they overworked and never get home on time? Are they overwhelmed by client emails or bound by stacks of paperwork? Do they lack decision-making rights at the organization?
3. What values or attitudes does your ideal customer have? Are they family-oriented and attend church every week? Do they answer calls and emails at midnight and cling to their phone during dinner?
4. How do they make buying decisions for other products? Do they believe in referrals from family or friends? Do they prefer to read print or online? Do they research or impulse buy?
Once you have thought about these questions and developed answers, you will have a better understanding of your ideal customer and what their needs are. The next step is to take action and think about how your product or service can help ease the pain-points of your customer. These bullets serve as a focal point to your key messaging moving forward.
Knowing and understanding your buyer persona helps launch your marketing initiatives and hone in on who you can serve and create value. The last key component to the persona should include the customer experience lifecycle. This piece seeks to understand how long and in what ways will the potential customer interact with your brand before buying.
Successful marketing requires compelling content. Compelling content needs the right ears and eyes to receive the message. The audience needs to be considered when deciding on what platforms, how often, and what time of day or week you are engaging with your prospects.
When you can align your message, with your target audience, on the platform and time they are most likely to accept it, you win.
You might be wondering, “Okay, I have thought about these questions and have some ideas, but what do I do with it from there?” There are many templates for personas that you can adapt to fit your needs. Here is an example of my persona for reference:
As you can see, my target customer, Jeff, is a busy entrepreneur. So I know that I need to catch his attention quickly and use facts and data to back up my work. Perhaps I can use infographics and then point to case studies and white papers I have written that delve deeper into my work and results. I know that Jeff probably isn’t going to click on a social ad, fill out a form, read emails, and engage. Rather, he might be drawn to an article I posted on LinkedIn or saw a piece I wrote in a trade publication online. I might also meet Jeff at a networking event where he’s chasing venture capital.
My key messages should focus on helping him attract investors, position his product, demonstrate my industry knowledge, and show that I can learn the benefits of the product, research the market, and make my recommendations to him so that he can focus on other issues. I can also read the content in publications he might view to get a feel for the types of subjects, phrases, and tone he might be accustomed to and like.
As you target clients based on your buyer persona, you can make adjustments and learn more about their behavior to help better market to them. The buying lifecycle is very important. Looking at how the customer interacts with your brand and product can determine how long a sales cycle could be and where to look for customers. In this case, you can see that I know that getting Jeff as a client will be on a trial basis and I’ll have to perform each month to keep earning his business until trust, data, and results are built.
One final note: if you are selling both to consumers and other businesses, you will want to make sure you have personas for each segment. Let’s say Jeff hires me to market his product. It’s a technology solution that a CEO or CIO will buy, but the end-user will be different — perhaps a doctor or a patient. Each of these people have different needs and behaviors, so a persona will help target the messaging and tactic appropriately.
If you sound like Jeff, or you have pain-points that he has, send me a message. I can help create content and a marketing strategy to launch your brand.