No matter how mainstream you want to be, your product, brand, and website simply isn’t going to resonate with everyone. Besides, there are too many well-established, multinational companies investing millions on an ongoing basis to reach the masses.
Success is in building an audience of like-minded people rallying around a brand they feel connected with. These people are the ones engaging with your content, loyally buying your products, and serving as brand advocates. They are the people who are going to take your business to the next level.
But who are they?
Identifying and Targeting Buyer Personas
To address these potential customers effectively, you'll need to know as much about them as possible; how they spend their time, where they get their information, and what they care about.
To accurately define who your ideal customers are, you need to build buyer personas. These are informative dossiers of those people who typify your best customers. Buyer Personas can then be used as the backbone of your marketing strategy.
Having well-crafted and avidly maintained buyer personas will transform all aspects of your inbound marketing efforts. It will ensure that your content and website messaging is resonating with the right audience.
Identify your ideal customers
While based on real data, buyer personas are fictional characters that encapsulate the traits of your prototypical customers. Your business should develop four to six ideal customer types for targeting. For example, an online gaming site could be targeting:
A teenage skater boy from a Phoenix suburb
A Los Angeles bachelor working as an investment banker
A software engineer in Baltimore who's totally gaga for tech
A rural Ohio elementary school teacher who wonders about the educational value of gaming in the classroom
The best way to identify your buyer personas is to talk to your most loyal, existing customers and use their data as a baseline. Try to find out what their lives are like, what their relationship with your product is like, what they want, need, and especially, what they fear.
Target your ideal customers
Once you’ve figured out who your archetypal customers are, optimize your marketing message and content to resonate with them. Each piece of content should be focused on at least one of your buyer personas. Your homepage, landing pages, and blog content should be focused on addressing their wants, needs, and fears. Once you’ve addressed those three things in your content, your product will be a logical choice that solves their pain points. Solving their problems becomes your unique value proposition.
Your website and blog content should not be focused on selling. Instead, address the concerns your personas have at various stages in the decision-making process. In this sense, your website should serve the role of a trusted friend who understands the customers’ mindset.
Customers eventually make purchases because they believe the product will help them in some important way. Demonstrating how your product helps the customer should be the main goal of your marketing strategy.
Attract your ideal customers
Inbound marketing is not just about creating content and hoping the right people see it – it’s also about promoting it effectively. Online communities, social networks, and forums are all ways to promote your content. Keep in mind your target personas may be congregating offline, too. In that case, consider leveraging event sponsorship, outdoor advertising and even print (gasp!).
Find out where your target personas spend their time and get their information. Then, present them with your content in their own environment. You’ll often find what works in one online community doesn’t translate as effectively to the next. Always experiment with different tactics and measure what works best for each marketing channel.
Learning from Garyvee
Before he became a digital marketing icon, Gary Vaynerchuk grew his family's wine business by identifying, targeting, and attracting his ideal customers. He understood his target market consisted of people with sophisticated tastes who were interested in the art of wine, wine tasting and wine culture in general.
In 2006, Vaynerchuk concentrated his marketing efforts on YouTube, with videos explaining wine concepts and helping people understand the wine they were going to buy.
This strategy was wildly successful.
Vaynerchuk was not selling wine. He was selling the wine experience. His store was simply the place he sent people to take part of the experience. As far as his content was concerned, sending people to the store was not the goal, helping them make the right choice on wine was.
His business profited greatly from this strategy, and soon he became known as a marketing guru as well as a successful wine entrepreneur.
It's up to you
You can do this with your brand as well. Show your ideal customers what experiences are wrapped up with your product. Focus on solving their problems, and the sales will start rolling in without a single pitch.