Having an inbound marketing plan for your business is a sure way to build a strong customer base and keep the stream of new prospects flowing. Let’s break down the inbound marketing strategy into three main components: Creating buyer personas, developing your content plan, and publishing your content.
Creating a buyer persona
A buyer persona is a fictional description of your target customers. The importance of developing buyer personas cannot be underestimated. If you don’t know your customers inside and out, how can you expect to prepare content that will not only get their attention but convert them, too? As you create buyer personas, you are getting into the mind of your future customers. Therefore, you can target them more effectively. You may think that anyone is a potential customer for your business, and while that may be true, it’s important to define different personas so your content is more narrowly focused.
You can create a buyer persona out of thin air but it may not be very accurate of who your actual customers are. That means you need to gather real data to help you develop your buyer personas. The best way to do this is to use information from current and past customers. You may already have some of this data collected from your CRM software, files, and so on. You can gather additional information by administering a survey to your customers. Another way to obtain information about your buyer persona is to research what kinds of customers typically use your services.
Once you have all your data, then you are ready to create the personas. You’ll likely have more than one. Here is a breakdown of the general information you’ll want to include about your buyer persona:
This includes such things as name, gender, socioeconomic status, age, and so on.
This includes things like education, job title, profession, and family status.
What is the person’s demeanour, communication style, personality type, etc.?
Identify things that move your buyer persona to action.
What challenges does your buyer persona deal with?
Once you have this information, you are ready for the next phase of your inbound marketing plan.
Some businesses may design an attractive website and fill it with all the necessary content, but then they sit back and wait for customers to “find” them. This may occasionally bring in a customer or two but since there are millions of other websites out there, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. This is where the content marketing strategy comes into play. As you continue to put new content out there, you increase your chances of finding the customers who need your services. It also lets Google know that your practice is active, which is good for search results.
Simply creating content and posting it to your website and social media accounts won’t give you quite the boost you’re looking for either. You need to have a focused plan that targets your buyer personas and where they are on the buyer’s journey. Let’s take a look at the three stages of the buyer’s journey and how you can create dynamic content for each stage.
When a potential customer is in the awareness stage, they are just becoming aware that they may have a need. For example, someone who is experiencing intermittent pain in the jaw and ear area may start googling questions like, “What causes pain in the jaw and ear?” Another person who is noticing wear on their couch may begin researching the pros and cons of replacing it? The types of content that will attract these prospects are educational and informative in nature. You don’t want to put a hard sell on this content. This part of the buyer’s journey requires you to provide value for the prospect. You are building up your brand as informative, helpful, a thought leader, and so on.
During this stage of the journey, things become more serious and the prospect is considering action. To use our example above, the person may be in more pain or they simply read enough information to determine they need a dentist. Since they haven’t reached the decision stage yet, they are still considering all potential solutions. Your content for this stage should be solution-focused. You may use studies, data, and testimonials to explain how a particular solution worked.
Now the customer is ready to make a decision. They realise they have a problem. They know what the problem is and what will solve it. It’s time to decide who will solve their problem for them. Once they are at the decision stage, it’s time to convince them your practice is the one to try. You can do this by offering coupons, discounts, or a free consultation. You may also provide video content that introduces the staff and the facilities. Any content that will help them select your practice is a good fit for this stage.
As you create your content for each stage, you need to be aware of your buyer personas. This will help your reader to better identify with the content. By zeroing in on the buyer persona, the focus narrows and you will get more credible leads. For example, if one of your buyer personas is a 30’s something woman with a professional job who is interested in maintaining her appearance, then a post about teeth whitening would be helpful. Knowing who your buyer potentially is helps you with the right “voice” as well as the content.
Now that you have your buyer personas created and you know what type of content you need for each stage of the journey, you’re ready to move on to the publishing part of inbound marketing. Of course, you want to publish your content on your website but you can also put links to it on your social media accounts. You can determine what social media accounts are best for your content by seeing which site gets more views and shares.
Are you ready to start creating your inbound marketing strategy? Connect with eSense Web Design today for more information.