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How to Segment Your Buyer Personas and Create Unique Content for Each

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When you run a business, you want to seek out the customers who are the best fit for you. These people are not only the ones most likely to need your goods or services, they’re also the people you would most like to work with.

For a lot of businesses, though, they have more than one type of ideal client. That’s where the concept of buyer personas comes in. It can help you define each type of customer you hope to target, which in turn allows you to create content that speaks specifically to their needs. When you marry great, meaningful content with the right audience, you can generate hot leads and drive them down the marketing hourglass quickly.

Let me walk you through everything you need to know to build your own buyer personas and create content for each of them.

What is a Buyer Persona?

Essentially, a buyer persona is a composite sketch of your ideal customer. Based on research and interviews with your existing best customers, you can begin to create a portrait of your fictional ideal client of the future.

Buyer personas should include demographic information, like age, location, and gender, as well as patterns of behaviors, goals, and motivations.

How Do I Establish Personas?

Creating detailed buyer personas takes a little bit of legwork, but it’s well worth it in the end.

Check the Data

Start by taking a look at the data you already have on existing customers. In today’s digital world, most businesses have a lot of data stored up across their CRM and email marketing tools, social media and website analytics, and sometimes even via good old fashioned methods like hard-copy sign-ups for a mailing list in your store.

In looking at all this data, do you notice any trends? Are there people with certain attributes who tend to buy certain products or services? Are there actions that most buyers take on your social channels or website before they become customers? Establishing patterns among the demographics and behaviors of existing customers is the first step to creating meaningful personas.

Ask Your Team

Your team is interacting with your customers each and every day. Why not get their feedback on what they see? Often, they can quickly identify patterns in behaviors that you might not see based on data alone. Maybe your sales team gets the same set of objections over and over again from customers in a certain age bracket. Or perhaps your in-store associates have been chatting with customers and noticed an uptick in traffic from your neighboring town.

Go Straight to the Source

Once you’ve done some digging on your own, it’s time to reach out to your customers to see what they have to say. Hopefully by this point in the process, you’re already starting to see some strong persona categories emerge. The number of personas you have really depends on the size and type of your business. Some businesses will only have one or two personas, while others might have dozens.

When you begin talking to customers, you want to do so either in person or on the phone, rather than relying on a survey. You should aim to speak with a handful of customers that represent each persona, and go for a mix of happy and not-so-enthused people. Speaking to similar customers who have differing opinions of your brand allows you understand what pain points you might not already be addressing with your goods or services.

Your interview questions should cover a variety of areas, from demographic information to their thoughts on interactions with your brand. Come up with a list of 10-20 questions for each interviewee. Consider the following categories:

  • Who are you? Ask your customers to tell you more about themselves. This can be demographic information like age, location, annual income, job title and role, number of children, or marital status. Hone in on the categories that are most relevant for your business (i.e. if you run a B2B, things like job title will be more relevant; if you’re a wedding photographer then age could be important).
  • How do you shop? You want to better understand the process your customers take to discover and interact with new businesses. Where did they first learn about your business? What was their journey like leading up to their first purchase with you?
  • What keeps you up at night? People come to your business because you solve a problem for them. What is it that worries your customer, and how does your offering eliminate that worry?
  • What is a win for you? Your best customers who will go on to buy from you again and again go to your business because you provide win after win for them. Ask them what that win is, and why you’re able to provide it.
  • Anything else? Give your customers the chance to share any additional feedback they might have on your business. Sometimes you’ll hear a comment repeated a number of times that you wouldn’t have thought to ask for.

Bring it All Together

Once you’ve analyzed the data, spoken to your team, and interviewed your customers, you’re ready to create your personas! It’s likely that you’ll have a handful of personas, although some very niche businesses will have less and some bigger businesses will have more.

If you’re unsure what constitutes a clear persona, start by grouping together like behaviors and attributes. Hopefully a clear pattern emerges. For example, let’s say you run a lawn care business. Maybe your first persona is young professionals who are busy at work and don’t have time to tend to their yards. Another persona might be retirees who are not well enough to handle the heavy-lifting of yard work on their own.

Now with your personas in hand, it’s time to move to the next step.

Next Up: Content Segmentation

In establishing your buyer personas, you’ve identified different segments within your larger customer population. Armed with this information, you can begin to create content that speaks to each of their needs.

Take the lawn care company example above. The way that you market to a harried 30-something looking for assistance keeping their lawn in check will be different from the way you approach the senior citizen who needs a helping hand with their yard.

For the busy professional, ease of scheduling is probably a concern, so your marketing messaging might highlight things like your online calendar, which makes it easy to book and confirm appointments with your team. The older folks likely living on a fixed income might be worried about the cost of your services, so you can target them with messaging that allows them to bundle services—say, leaf raking and lawn mowing—for an overall 10 percent discount in pricing.

You can use these personas to segment your content everywhere. Create blog posts and explainer videos that speak to each segment of your audience. Use your CRM to direct different email campaigns at appropriate customers based on their attributes and behaviors. Tailor your calls to action on your website to speak to the most pressing needs that each of your personas expressed in interviews. Create ad campaigns that speak to each individual persona, and then build customized landing pages that cover the pain points addressed in the ads.

Understanding your customers is the critical first step in marketing to them successfully. But it’s also important to acknowledge that you might not have just one type of customer. Creating buyer personas helps you to better understand what your business offers to all of your best customers, and helps you create messaging that speaks to customers and prospects alike, no matter what segment of your audience they fall into.

If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Website Design.

5 Great Ways to Add Video to Your Website Experience

Video has become a major marketing channel. More and more people are saying that it’s the way they want to consume content. Why scroll through a long blog post or text-heavy web page when you can instead watch a quick, visually-engaging video and get all the information you need?

As consumers’ attitudes towards video shifts, it’s up to you to meet that demand and give the people what they want! There are tons of great opportunities to incorporate video all throughout your marketing efforts, from social media to your website.

Here, let me walk you through five of the most effective ways to add video to your website experience.

1. Share Your Mission

You started your business because you’re passionate about what you do. But sometimes that passion appears diluted when you try to write about it. If you’d like to share your mission and value proposition with your audience, why not do it with a video?

You can include this front-and-center on your home page. A mission video is a great way to grab attention and immediately begin to build trust. When visitors to your site can see you speaking with conviction and commitment about the work that you do to help your customers solve their problems, they feel an emotional connection to you and what you’re saying.

2. Explain Your Benefits

No matter what it is that you’re selling, a video can help you clarify the benefits of your products or services. Plus, while everyone else is relying on words (and perhaps still images) to showcase their offerings, you’ll stand out from the crowd with a video.

Video is certainly beneficial if your business does something that’s complicated or technical. Say, for example, you’re a B2B software company who provides data analytics for retailers. A video can help you quickly and easily share what your product does, why data analytics matter, and what data can do to help your prospects solve their business problems.

Even if your product is more straightforward, video can give you an edge of the competition. Take, for example, Anthropologie’s line of wedding wear, sold under their BHLDN label. They include videos in many of the product descriptions for their wedding dresses. The 10-second clips show the models moving around in the dresses, and give brides-to-be a sense of how the fabric looks and moves on an actual person. Anthropologie clearly understands that choosing a wedding dress is a costly and emotional endeavor. The video makes it a little easier for prospective shoppers to picture what the dress would look like on the big day.

3. Spread Industry Knowledge

You know that content creation is a key component of establishing your presence as a thought leader and expert in your industry. If you’ve owned your business for a while, you’re hopefully in the habit of creating regular blog posts (and maybe you’ve even taken things a step further and designed some hub pages to share all your incredible content).

But even if your blog posts are filled with nuggets of wisdom and incredible advice, sometimes your audience wants to consume information another way. Video can help break up the monotony of your blog by injecting some bold visuals into your posts.

Plus, with video, you can get a lot of content bang for your buck. Filming a three minute video on a topic you know well takes hardly any time at all. If you have your phone on-hand and a basic mic hooked up, you can create a pretty professional-looking clip in minutes. Get that video transcribed, and you can turn that content into another blog post, or break it up and share quotes from the video on your social media—there are so many other uses for the content! With video, you can get multiple forms of content in a fraction of the time that it would take to write even one traditional blog post.

4. Highlight Your Team or Customers

I’ve already touched on a few other ways that video can help to build trust with your audience. Creating videos featuring your team or customers is another important way to inspire faith and confidence in your brand.

Videos that introduce your team make your customers feel more at ease. They can see a bit of each employee’s personality and charm, and grow to feel like this employee is someone who is personally invested in creating great customer experiences. It’s a trust-building element for any company, but it’s an especially great tool if you run a service business where technicians are dispatched to clients’ houses. Creating a video with each technician, where they introduce themselves and share something about why they do what they do, makes people feel a bit more at ease about welcoming them into their home. Your technician becomes a familiar face, rather than a total stranger in a uniform.

Video testimonials build trust from another angle. When potential customers watch a video about how you solved an issue for your existing customer, there’s an instant flash of recognition. That prospect sees themselves in your customer! The person in the video has had the same problem and found great success by entrusting your company to solve it for them. Video allows you to build an emotional connection between prospect and happy customer in a way that a written testimonial couldn’t.

5. Tackle Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve all scrolled through FAQ pages, scanning for the information we really want and then glazing over by the time we finally find it, bored to death by a solid wall of text.

Video can turn your FAQ page from informational slog into something far more fun and engaging. FAQ videos are an opportunity for you and your team to show a bit of brand personality. Ask a handful of employees to get involved with answering questions, so that there’s variety on the page. And try to unite the videos thematically in a way that ties in with what your business does.

If you’re looking to keep prospects and customers engaged on your website, video is a great way to do it. There are a number of ways to incorporate video into your messaging and marketing, and doing so can help you build trust with viewers and stand out from the crowd.

5 Tools Every Business Needs to Create an Amazing Website

Your website is the heart of your online marketing efforts. Every other tactic that you undertake should drive visitors back to your website. It’s the one corner of the internet that is all your own. It’s where you can share your brand story in the way that best represents who you are and what you do.

But having a great website goes beyond creating great content. There are some technical elements that you need to nail in order to keep things running smoothly, give visitors a great experience, and easily keep track of leads. Here are the five tools that every business owner needs in order to create a website that works wonders for them and their customers.

1. A Tool to Host Your Website

First thing’s first: You need a way to get your website out there! There are a lot of web hosting services, but they are not all created equal. A bad host can hurt your website. Bad hosting can slow down load times on your site, which drives prospects away. In fact, a one second delay can result in a seven percent reduction in conversions!

Security is also a major concern nowadays. Having an HTTPS certificate for your website is an essential part of trust-building. Google now calls out websites that aren’t HTTPS by labeling them as “not secure” in big red letters in the address bar. If that’s the first thing a customer sees upon clicking on your website, chances are they’ll think twice before handing over any sensitive information to you on your site. Some web hosting companies include HTTPS certificates at no additional charge, while others will try to upsell you for this necessary element.

For my part, I swear by Pressable WordPress Hosting. They provide super-fast and secure web hosting, and their customer service team is on hand 24/7 so that you’re never left in a lurch if you have issues with your website.

2. A Tool to Design a Beautiful Site

As much as we may hate to admit it, looks do matter when we’re browsing websites. Sites with outdated designs and hard-to-read formatting are a major turnoff for customers. And if your business isn’t big enough to have a full-time web designer on hand, it helps to have a tool that allows you to make changes to your website so that you can keep information current and include all the elements you need in a modern site.

A tool like Thrive Architect can help you get it all done. They have simple drag-and-drop layouts that allow you to control the content and design of your site without a computer science degree. And it’s about more than just adding texts, images, and video; they have conversion-focused elements that you can easily incorporate into your pages.

3. A Tool to Generate Leads

Speaking of conversions, a great website needs a way to collect and generate leads. You can have the fastest, most secure, and beautiful website on the internet, but if you don’t tell visitors what they’re supposed to do once they get there, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

Yes, your website should include your promise and story, but you also must tell visitors what you want them to do next. Do you want them to sign up for your mailing list? Register for a free trial? Providing a call to action, where you ask visitors to take one specific move, is the first step in the process of generating a lead and moving them down the marketing hourglass.

Thrive Leads is a simple WordPress plugin that helps you do just that. It allows you to create forms using simple drag-and-drop design so that you can capture the information that you need from your visitors. Getting this information is step one to building a relationship with a prospect. Without that information in hand, you can’t possibly move forward with other tactics to move them further down the hourglass. And the Thrive Leads plugin has advanced testing, targeting, and analytics so that you can measure the success of each lead generation effort.

4. A Tool to Integrate Email and CRM

Once you start collecting these leads, you have to do something with them! Housing all of the information in one centralized location is an important first step—that’s where a CRM comes in. I love ActiveCampaign, which brings together CRM, marketing automation, and email marketing tools all under one roof.

Having all of your prospect and customer information in one place allows you to begin an effective email marketing campaign. You can also design targeted search and social media marketing campaigns, with messaging designed to speak to various segments of your audience.

5. A Tool to Design Custom Landing Pages

Once you begin to undertake marketing efforts beyond your website, the end goal is still to drive traffic back to your online home. But you don’t want to send paid search and social media ad traffic back to your homepage. It’s far more effective to have a custom landing page for each and every campaign you run.

Landing pages allow you to tailor the information to the specific offer that’s featured in the ad. When your audience clicks through and finds only the most relevant information on your website, conversion rates go up, and you get the greatest return on your advertising investment.

A tool like ClickFunnels can help you create these highly customized landing pages. Like the other tools I’ve recommended, they have a drag-and-drop design feature that makes it easy for you to build a page with the layout and messaging you want. Their focus is on lead conversion, and they have the strategies and tools on hand to help you create the most effective landing pages possible.

Building a great website means incorporating a lot of different elements—from superficial things like design elements to behind-the-scenes pieces like proper security. Fortunately, there are lots of tools out there that make it simple for any business owner to create a strong, effective, secure online presence for their business.

If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Website Design.