As a business owner, your constant struggle is turning your message into sales. There are many ways that marketing works to achieve this goal, but one of the essential keys is making sure that your message falls on the right ears. To do that, marketers employ a tool called the “buyer persona”, and if you don’t have your buyer persona nailed down before you develop the rest of your tactics, you are doing yourself a huge disservice.
What is a Buyer Persona?
Think of a buyer persona as a character you are creating for a TV show. This character has specific goals, motivations, demographics, and behaviors that make them a unique person. This character also absolutely has to buy your product or service – in fact, every time they come into contact with your message, they will buy without fail. It’s all the little details about this person that make them your ideal customer, and this is what you need to know in order to sell to them properly.
A buyer persona may include information about this person’s job, age, gender, and so on, but remember: a buyer persona is not just a list of facts about a market. “20-something IT specialists” is not a buyer persona. Instead, a buyer persona is a description of common behavior points, goals, wishes, dreams, and struggles that a specific individual has that make them need your product or service.
Example of a Detailed Buyer Persona
You may have more than one buyer persona for your business, especially if you offer more than one product or service. That’s good! The more specific individuals you can sell to, the better your profits will be. A good buyer persona may look like this:
“Jane Doe is the head of human resources who has been at her company for over a decade after starting as an associate. She is between 30 and 45 years old. Her income is $140,000. She is a calm, collected individual who relies on a secretary to keep her scheduled and prefers to receive offers in writing via mail.
Jane’s goal is to keep turnover low and to support the financial team at work. She struggles with getting all her tasks done with such a small staff, and she would benefit from having all her employee data in once place that was integrated with the financial team’s data. However, she worries about getting the entire company started with new software.”
This information tells you exactly who Jane Doe is, what she needs, and more importantly, how to sell her what she needs. You know that Jane doesn’t like flashy video ads or anything that will waste her time – she’d be more swayed by a careful but efficient presentation of the facts via mail.
How to Create a Buyer Persona
In order to create a buyer persona, you need to ask questions that relate to your end goal. The persona above was focused on what Jane needed in her role at work. But what if you want to sell her a product that is meant to help her at home? Then you’d probably like to know that Jane is married with two school-aged children, that she lives in a suburban neighborhood, and what she struggles with at home.
Questions that you can ask this fictional person include questions about their role at work, questions about their company, about their goals, about their challenges, about their personal demographics, where they go to learn new information, what social networks they use, and how they prefer to interact with businesses. Consider how each area should be answered by someone who absolutely must buy your product or service, and then tailor your advertising efforts to that person.
Need help figuring out your audience and how to reach them? Words You Want can help!
The world of blogging and the world of social media used to be two very distinct Internet phenomena. One was known for being a place for serious conversation in long form with posting schedules; the other was known for zippy entertainment in spontaneous bursts. These days, however, social media and blogging have begun to merge into two sides of the same marketing tactic. Connecting with your audience can take place in both spaces and statistics tell us it would be foolish to ignore either.
For example: More than 80% of Millennials, the audience with the most purchasing power, check Twitter daily. And almost 70% of the entire adult American population uses Facebook. Those are just two of the many popular social media platforms out there. And as for blogging? Search engines index over 430% more pages from website with blogs, than those without. So how can you use these tools together to boost your engagement all around?
Cross Promotion on a Blog
The first way to integrate social media accounts into your blogging is by simply including your social media content in your blog posts. This doesn’t mean rehashing what you’ve Twitted or Snapped today; but it does mean embedding content that leads to your social media accounts, such as embedding Instagram photos or Facebook videos. There are two reasons for this practice:
First, it gives your content a continuity that clearly links your blog and your social media presences. Second, by embedding the content rather than reposting it, you’re giving your audience an easy way to find you and follow you on social media.
Video Content is King
It’s no secret that video content is the number one choice for sharing information online. In fact, YouTube reaches more 18-49-year-old Internet users than any cable network in the U.S. does TV watchers. That’s an astounding statistic that proves just how powerful video content is.
In your blog, consider posting your YouTube videos with content below for people who may not want to watch the video, or who want to skim the content and briefly check out the video. This integrates your video content with a blog that can be indexed by search engines.
Other Tips for Integrating Social Media with Your Blog
Want to integrate your social media accounts with your blog even more? Try these ideas:
- Include a share button so that your audience can post your blog post to their own social media accounts. If you use a “Click to Tweet” service, be sure to add a brand-specific hashtag or your username so that the Tweet leads their followers to you.
- Keep your follow buttons visible and up to date. Social media brands change their look frequently. Keep yourself caught up to ensure your audience that you are a quality account to follow.
- Integrate social media only how it makes sense. Does your social media feed include contests and limited time offers? Make your current feed on your website visible for customers to take advantage of the information. If your feed is more about curating blog posts and sharing industry news, consider letting your more in-depth blog content shine.
Efficiently Integrating Blogging and Social Media
The key point is to not ignore the power of either platform. More than 409 million people view blogs every month on just one blogging platform, and social media has billions of users every day. Integrate the two to streamline your audience generating efforts, and you’ll soon find that all of your content is doing double duty. This saves you time and money as you work towards growing.
It’s no secret that your customer base is searching for you online before they ever make a purchase. As of 2017, statistics show that up to 80% of your customers will look you up first – often before even visiting your store. With such a significant part of your sales dependent on the impression you make online, you can’t afford for your content to be anything less than stellar. But all too often, businesses fall into the same trap when it comes to their online presence.
It’s a Trap! Focusing On Your Business, Not the Solution
Did you know that only 22% of businesses have satisfactory conversion rates with online content (according to a 2016 study by Econsultancy)? There’s one big reason that many business owners overlook: their content is all about their business.
When your content exists only to stroke your brand’s ego, it won’t connect with the audience. While there is a place and a time for telling your customers who you are, they don’t come to you for a brand experience – they come to you for a solution. The solution is your product or service, and that’s what your content should focus on.
Educate and Inform
When you head to the Internet, what are you usually searching for? If you are like most people, your searches are typically for information of some kind, rather than a blind hunt for an advertisement to sell you something. Today’s consumer has been raised to find the information they want on the world’s largest marketplace, and that could be a powerful tool for your brand when used correctly.
Lead generation, or getting people to visit your website or profile, is one of the most important parts of online marketing. And yet, only 20% of marketers feel that their efforts are effective, according to a 2015 study by BrightTALK. The problem is that the audience is hunting for answers, and will happily skim through all other content until they find what they need. Offer your audience education and information to slow them down and keep them coming back to you for more.
You Are Not Your Audience
Another issue that many businesses face is that their content is not tailored for their audience. They use their blog or their social media profiles as means of sharing updates or launching products – in other words, keeping all the attention on me, me, me.
Your audience needs content that is tailored to them. That is the number one way that you will convert clicks to sales. In order to deliver content that converts, you need to know what your audience wants. Information? Solutions? Entertainment? Often it’s a mix of the three. But, did you notice what’s not there? That’s right – anything to do about the running of your business. Keep the focus on what the audience wants.
Fix Their Problems or Make Them Money
Offering a product or a service is all about fixing a problem. Your audience has a demand and you have the supply. Your content should make it very clear how you are going to fix their problem. Is your product or service going to remove a major life obstacle, or is your content going to help them make money? Fixing a problem or helping someone make money are the two most important types of content on the Internet today. Highlight these aspects of your business before anything else.
Since 2014, online research prior to making a purchase has accounted for more than 80% of all shopping habits according to Retailing Today. Give your audience what they want – the solution – because they aren’t searching for your brand.
The humble blog remains one of the single most powerful marketing tools available to entrepreneurs, small business owners and big businesses. Your blog provides a place to highlight products and services, to give your business a personal face, to grow thought leadership, and to connect with your audience on a deeper level. However, it is crucial that you practice good blog management techniques to ensure effectiveness, save time and really create the impact you need to see. Let’s look at some of the basics of blog management.
Yes, blogs can be informal things. However, the most successful blogs are planned strategically and tied directly to a company’s goals. This applies to everything from the topics chosen to the posting frequency selected. In order to plan this way, you’ll need to determine your goals. Those must be concrete, attainable and specific. It does no good to set a nebulous goal, such as, “We want more readers”. There’s no way to measure progress toward that, nor does it tie in with any of the company’s products, services or its position in the market.
Get Your Topics Together Now
There’s a lot of freedom to be gained from blogging “on the fly” but while that might work for personal bloggers, it’s no way to run a business blog. You need to have your topics planned out well in advance. Ideally, you should have a minimum of a month’s worth of blog topics planned and the posts written at one time. This gives you at least some buffer, but it also ensures that there is a constant stream of relevant content being posted to your website.
Not Written as Articles
To be clear, articles can sometimes double as blog posts. There’s actually a lot of crossover between the two. However, when it comes down to it, blog posts should be more personable and articles should be more journalistic. Make sure that your posts strike the tone you want for your company. This will vary from one business to another, and will hinge on your brand’s perception, your position within the industry, and the persona you’re trying to create for your company.
One area in which too many businesses fail when it comes to blogging is in regular posting. Many start off strong, posting once or twice a week for a couple of months. Then, something comes up. There’s a crisis in the workplace and it’s all hands on deck. Someone is out on maternity leave and there is no replacement planned. This is when everything falls apart. Without regular posting, your audience has no real incentive to check back, and they’ll eventually get out of the habit and you’ll lose readers and reach. Set a posting schedule during your planning session and then stick to it. Really, the frequency of posting doesn’t matter as much as staying consistent with your posting.
Reply to Comments
Blogs are social, but in order for that to happen with yours, you need to actually interact with your readers. Ask them questions in the post, but make sure you reply to their comments on each post. Of course, you’ll need to moderate spam or abusive comments, but your authentic readers and followers need to hear from you, and your responses should be timely or you risk alienating them.
Blog management doesn’t have to be a struggle. If you’re dealing with tight deadlines, a lack of staff, or any other challenge, Words You Want can help. Get in touch today to learn more.
Social media can be a powerful tool in your online marketing efforts. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn should be big parts of your Internet marketing strategy, but the fact remains that these networks must be used correctly if you’re going to leverage full value from them. One of the most important things to understand is the need for engagement. Social media is not a one-way street. It’s a two-way conversation, which means that you need to engage your friends and followers and make them part of that conversation. How do you do that? Here are a few best practices to follow to improve your results.
- Know Your Audience and Share Content That Interests THEM
You might be under the impression that your social media accounts are about your company. That’s only partially true. They’re really about your followers and fans. It’s all about keeping them interested and engaged, so make sure you’re sharing content that interests them, and that does not necessarily tie directly to your own products or services. With that being said, you can do a great deal that does tie directly to your company without making it a sales pitch that will interest your followers.
- Know about Adjacent Content
Adjacent content is a confusing term that really means nothing more than content that is somehow related to your audience and will be of interest to them, that doesn’t originate from your company. You don’t need to share a competitor’s post, but you can share news stories of interest, community events, industry trend information and the like. This will give you quite a bit of content to post that doesn’t fall into the realm of being promotional.
- Responding to Followers
You can’t expect your audience to be engaged if you’re not willing to engage with them. This means that you need to reply to comments, respond to mentions and the like. You need to be involved. If you’re not, you really can’t expect your audience to be, as your lack of interaction proves that you really don’t care about them. It implies that you’re only on social media for your own benefit. While there’s nothing wrong with a company pursuing profitability (that’s sort of the point), you should never be blatant about it. Build relationships, and sales will follow.
- Don’t Over-Post
Striking the right posting frequency on social networks can be a huge challenge. It varies a lot from one network to another, as well. For instance, a tweet is generally only viable for about 18 minutes after you tweet it (although it technically lives forever and inappropriate tweets can come back to bite you long down the road). However, you shouldn’t tweet ever 30 minutes to make up for that fact. You need to post often enough that your audience is engaged, but not put off. After all, too much of a good thing is still too much. This applies to all of your social networks, from SnapChat to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and more.
- Add Value
While sharing humorous pictures, posts or videos can be great, as can new product announcements, community event posts and the like, don’t neglect the ability to share tips and tricks with your audience. These can involve your products or services, or a related area of your customers’ lives where you can provide additional benefits. For instance, a gutter company might post tips about roof care and maintenance.
Social media engagement doesn’t have to be an impossible challenge. Follow these tips to see better results, and get in touch with Words You Want for professional help.