No matter what your business does, an emotional marketing initiative can be effective. A 2016 Nielsen report found ads with the best emotional response generated a 23 percent lift in sales, and claimed “emotions are central to advertising effectiveness.” So, how can you incorporate emotional connections into your marketing strategy, even if you’re not selling puppies? The answer lies in marketing to personas.
Connecting with those making purchasing decisions, making them feel understood, and showing them how you can help solve their specific problems will encourage your consumers to trust your brand and will help build authority in your industry. Persona-based marketing consists of using data analysis to understand who is actually engaging with your brand, building archtypes from your target audiences, and then crafting content that speaks directly to what they care about. Writing to personas rather than abstract audiences allows each piece of content to address the specific questions, concerns, and challenges they face. Publishing content that demonstrates an understanding of your audience's true motivations will help them feel valued and encourage them to further engage with your brand.
Personas as a Valuable Marketing Tool
Personas provide a purpose for each piece of your marketing content. This purpose can be much more holistic than that of your homepage or general marketing collateral; the purpose of your content allows you to address the specific concerns customers grapple with before taking a desired action. This is why 63 percent of marketers create content using buyer personas.
While it might feel like you’re leaving out other customers when you talk to one persona, persona-driven content allows you to make a stronger connection with the readers who will benefit most from your post. Plus, your content won’t be inaccessible to other personas, it just might address secondary concerns instead of their primary motivations.
Creating Your Customer Personas
Ready to start creating buyer personas that will help your content provide real value? The best place to start is with an understanding of your existing customers. If possible, survey your current customers and ask them three questions:
- What’s the top reason you buy our product or service?
- What is the biggest problem our product or service solves?
- What do our competitors do better than us?
While it might feel like you’re leaving out other customers when you talk to one persona, persona-driven content allows you to make a stronger connection with the readers who will benefit most from your post.
Your support team may also provide additional insight into how customers use your product.
If surveying your customers isn’t a possibility, try collecting anecdotal information from your own employees. Ask your sales team about the information that best helps close sales, the types of questions they hear most often, and the different types of buyers they encounter.
You can also use your website analytics to understand the details about who your site visitors are and where they are coming from. Talk to your IT team to find out how current and prospective customers are interacting with your product or service online. Try not to guess when it comes to creating customer personas: You want to show leads you can solve the problems they have, not the problems you think they have.
Once you have gathered this information, group similar customer hurdles together and define a few personas based on them. Create greater depth for each persona by identifying traits like:
- What are their goals, motivations, frustrations, and pain points?
- What content do they find helpful? What problem do they need to solve today?
- What might kill a sale to them? What obstacles stand in the way of them taking action?
Finally, give your personas an identity by giving them names, ages, hobbies, and interests. This will remind your team of them human face behind their anonymous interactions online.
Appealing Emotionally to Each Persona
Now that you have your personas, it’s time to put them to use when creating marketing content. The first step is to brainstorm topics you want your brand to be known for and assign a persona to each piece of content you plan to publish. The angle of your post should take shape based on the type of information your persona would seek at that moment in their buyer journey.
When writing, remind yourself of the challenges your persona is facing, and what they’re concerned with. Begin by validating their concerns to help them feel understood.
Next, use your content to help solve the problem your persona is facing. This step highlights your brand authority on the topic you’re writing about and further validates the connection you initiated with them. Provide tips, tricks, and techniques that will help them get where they want to go. For instance, a university blog writer might write about the key steps to applying for scholarships for a persona that is interested in education financing options. This solves an important aspect of the hurdle this persona is facing.
You’ve just written a killer blog post that can provide real value to your audience, but it’s time to provide value to your business as well. The final step is to offer a compelling CTA, based on what you know about your persona, that will provide value to your reader. Bear in mind, your CTA should gently nudge your reader to the next stage of their journey, not necessarily turn them into a customer in one quick motion.
Offerings like ebook downloads, forms to request information, additional blog content to peruse, and checkout pages can all be effective CTAs as long as they direct the reader to the next logical step in their journey. Since you’ve already formed a strong emotional connection with your reader, they’ll be more likely to take action, and keep coming back.
Provide Value with Emotion-Driven Marketing
While general marketing copy can prove effective in some cases, personalizing your writing based on customer personas is the key to making an emotional connection with your audience. Not only will they feel more connected with your content, they’ll be more likely to trust your brand.
Personas are an important component to any brand strategy but building a brand identity takes more than just personas. Check out 9 Steps to Building Brand Identity Guidelines to see what else your marketing team needs to succeed.