Comment below with your answers…how many of you have a fully documented content strategy? If you can lay your hands on your plan within five minutes then that’s good. Sadly, in many of the businesses I deal with, the limbs operate independently of the head.
The head, in this case, is the one person who knows what everyone else should do on a day-to-day basis.
Okay, so at the very least, the head should have a number of goals set up in their Google analytics dashboard and they should use some extra analytic tools like Majestic, Moz and AWR to monitor KPIs. By now, most of you will have ticked all of the above boxes and have the basics covered.
How Personas are Linked to Your Digital Marketing Strategy
This is where it gets interesting.
From a personal perspective, persona development should precede all work on your site. If you are selling a product or service, everything you create should gear towards the wants and needs of your semi-fictional buyer persona(s).
Buyer personas should dictate everything about your digital presence and objectives. The following example may help you decide why:
Persona-Based Website Design
Where will your website traffic originate and what will be the intention of the visitor when they arrive at your site?
You need to answer that question many times when creating your personas because each will have significant differences. The
landing pages you create and the buyer journey you anticipate should be different for each persona. This is a vital step for any new web design.
Maybe the landing pages you design are for personas at different stages of the sales funnel and they need your help to make a decision. If you have no personas to work with, there’s a good chance you will design a linear sales funnel that will leak sales opportunities because you don’t have the content the visitor wants or you don’t present the content to them at the right time.
PPC campaigns that take visitors to a homepage are a clear example of a business skipping persona development. PPC is an expensive tool that your campaign manager should optimise for a persona that is ready to buy and should arrive at your site able to do so.
Content Marketing to Modern Buyers
Shoppers in the digital age, decide to buy long before they arrive at your site. The primary reason is that we are constantly bombarded with information about products and services that interest us and so is your buyer. We are always connected. My point is that in an always-connected marketplace, your content should become customer and prospect touch-points wherever they choose to spend their time.
There was a time when we created content for out blog just to tell search engines what our site was about and perhaps to contribute to a deep linking strategy that adds weight to the pages we are trying to rank. Today, our content is part of a semi-automated sales department that does all the selling before we speak to customers. Buyers want to make their own decisions, in their own time. Calls to action are always important, but CTAs need to be served to the buyer at the right time and sitting next to the right content.
Unless your product or service is an impulse buy item that fits either into the FMCG category, there’s a chance that a one-page sales letter is not going to be enough to convince and convert modern customers.
Single page sales letters still work well with low-ticket sales, but if you sell items or services at a cost that will make customers compare prices and features, then content marketing is probably your best option.
Over time, content marketing will result in lower cost per customer or lead because of both new sales and repeat business. Your next customer is actively searching for information about your products and services. If you don’t provide the information they want, someone else will cater to their needs. It’s that simple. To be successful at content marketing, you need to become an educator. Provide your buyer personas with the information they need and those personas will become real customers. Tweak your personas over time and base all of your actions on data to create the most compelling reason to buy since Otto Frederick Rohwedder created a bread slicing machine.
Closing Sales with Content Marketing
Making sales with content marketing is relatively easy when you understand your buyers and have mapped their paths to your goal completion. You achieve those sales by creating content and feeding the content marketing machine, but also by monitoring how your visitors interact with your website. That means creating awareness content for visitors at the top of your funnel with more targeted content at each progressive stage.
Sales funnels are no longer linear and sometimes your next customer may jump in half-way through your funnel thanks to a referral or some other unexpected touchpoint, so you need to anticipate a percentage of customers stepping backwards as well as forwards. This means you need content and options available that are able to establish trust in your business and begin the cycle again.