With today’s globalization and new technologies, customers and buyers use more channels than ever before. With over 75% of consumers doing their research online before contacting or visiting a business for a service or product, it’s imperative to have a good online presence (that means a good website and social media with SEO).
Knowing your customers’ challenges and providing relevant solutions through their journey in the buying process is key to building a successful business. Here, we’ll be tackling three points in producing your marketing strategy:
- Creating buyer personas
- Building a customer journey map
- Researching your competition
Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. Personas help internalize the ideal customer you’re trying to attract and how you can relate to them as real humans. Having a deep understanding of your buyer persona(s) is critical to driving content creation, product development, sales follow up, and really anything that relates to customer acquisition and retention.
Here’s some interesting stats on how valuable it is to know your ideal customers.
How well do you know your customers?
- 90% of companies using personas have a clearer understanding of their buyers.
- 82% of companies using personas have created an improved value proposition.
- Using personas made websites 2-5 times more effective and easier to use by targeted users.
- 56% of companies have developed higher quality leads using personas.
- 71% of companies that exceed revenue and lead goals have documented personas.
Conversion in Marketing Channels
- Persona-based content increased customer engagement almost 6x when targeting cold leads.
- Email open rates increased by 2-5 times using personas.
- Click-Through-Rate (CTR) increased by 14% using personalized emails.
Who should create a persona?
This isn’t a one-person task, it takes many people within your organization to add their perspective to create a buyer persona, this could be employees from sales, service, marketing, front line staff, etc.
How do I create a buyer persona?
First, identify the required information. Each area of your company should have input in this as they all will know things about your customers specific to their differing relationships. Here are a few ideas of some questions you could use when creating your persona.
- Who are my existing customers? Your CRM will also help give you some very important data.
- What are their demographics (approximate age, job title, experience, male/female, location, etc.). Your Google Analytics or Social Media analytics may be able to help you with this as well.
- What challenges do they face (Pain Points)?
- What would make their lives easier (Gains)?
- Where do they look for information?
- What are their organizational goals?
- How do they prefer to be communicated with?
- Are there other people within their company that are part of the purchasing decision — who does this persona report to?
- What kind of things will make them recommend you to someone else?
Here’s an idea of how a chart would look like for each persona.
You may find that there are some similarities between these personas; they may have the same goals or objectives and challenges.
Once you complete your buyer personas, validate them. You could ask your existing clients some of this information, or when bringing on new clients make some of these questions part of your conversation and add it to your CRM. By adding persona information to your CRM, it’ll make it easier for marketing to segment and send relevant email campaigns to these individuals.
CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAPPING
Now that you have your personas created there’s another important process that will help you in sending relevant information to your personas based off of where they are in the buying process. This is called the customer journey.
Creating a Customer Journey Map
You might be saying that this isn’t necessary, you know your customers and what they need — but do you really? Not all customers are the same. By breaking down the customer journey phase by phase and restructuring your touchpoints and content needed for each of these steps, your organization will have a step up on your competition.
Below is an example of an inbound buyer’s journey from HubSpot. There are 3 stages; Awareness, Consideration and Decision. It’s good to do one of these for each persona.
Let’s add one more stage to the end: Retention. This will help you identify the types of content, communications that you would make for your existing clients to keep them engaged, provide referrals, and to have your company top-of-mind for when they’re ready for another transaction.
RESEARCH YOUR COMPETITION
Knowing your business’s competition matters! This step will help your organization compete effectively.
There are a number of different ways to get a handle on your competition. Start with a simple Google search.
- Keyword research
- PPC (pay-per-click) ads that appear in search results
- Create a competitive matrix
Here’s an example of one that I typically like to use.
Goals and Objectives
Strategies and Tactics (What are they doing? Content, Social Media, Advertising, Events, etc.)
Once you’ve completed this task, perform a SWOT analysis to identify what your organization will need to work on to compete and be successful over the competition.
Now that you know how to develop a marketing budget, how to create a buyer person and customer journey and you’ve done your customer research it’s almost time to start putting together your marketing strategy! It may seem like long and tedious work, but the effort will be well worth it to your bottom line.
Stay tuned for third and final blog on creating a marketing strategy. In the meantime, why not learn more about the entire inbound methodology?