Content marketing: how well do you know your buyers?

Whilst we all busily create wonderful content (or CRAP as another agency once put it) as part of our content marketing strategy, we rarely stop and think about what our audience actually wants to hear. We’re too busy telling them what we want to say.

When creating content of any kind, there’s a natural urge to want to talk about ourselves, our products or what we’ve achieved and time and again, you see this in the content that is pouring out into the ether.

By taking a step back from the content marketing production programme and considering what your buyers want to hear, the collateral you produce will end up being quite different, both in tone and in content. More importantly it will resonate more strongly with the right people.

I’ve been on both sides of the fence: B2B and B2C and it’s fair to say that every client I’ve worked with tends to focus on the key selling points and benefits of their product or service. As an agency, it’s our job to look at the offering from the customer’s point of view and persuade our clients to move away from the ‘buy, buy, buy’ message and towards one that focuses on what it will do for the customer.

Motivating people

People are people, whether you’re selling in a B2B or a B2C space. People are driven by emotions and I believe they are inherently self-motivated. That’s the reason businesses want to focus on the ‘this is what our product does’, rather than the ‘this is what it can do for you’.

So there’s two points here:

  • Understand what drives your buyer and what will move them to engage with you.
  • Understand your business well enough so they are compelled to engage.

You need both: the ‘who’ and the ‘why’.

Last week we touched lightly on the ‘why’. There’s a video that explains that concept very well within the blog post, so there’s not much need to repeat that here.

Getting the first part right and having a clear understanding of your own ‘why’ is critical. Then crafting that around an audience need or personal motivation will ensure more focussed content. This approach to content marketing will keep your content more relevant to the person you’re looking to engage, and more importantly it will be powerful.

So, an example.

Let’s go back to ‘motivation’. Let’s face it, features and function are not going to motivate anyone. I haven’t heard many people say, ‘I must buy it because it has 500 widgets and more storage’. They buy based on feelings – how they feel about something (and what it can do for them) or someone (how that person made them feel).

We regularly say that it’s not what you say or do, it’s how you make someone feel. They’ll remember you because you evoked an emotional response.

When selling, a positive emotional response is critical, so every interaction, whether digital, in print or in real life, should aim for a positive emotional response.

So, to get that positive response, you need to look at what motivates the individual.

Think about basic needs: love, food, self-esteem.

Think about powerful emotions: greed, power, guilt, fear, pain, disgust, humour.

When we run workshops examining audience profiles, we start to really uncover traits or behaviours that our audience exhibits and we look at what motivates them in their professional and personal lives. More often than not it can be drilled down to basic needs and emotions.

By starting there and considering what content will support key decisions in the buying process, we then get a clear idea of the types of content we need to create. We also ask the question ‘does this piece of content deliver real value to our audience?’ every time we create something as an added check.

Content created in that way is more in-tune with helping them making a decision because the reader is more empowered, or they’ll look good in front of their peers, or they’ll get social kudos from sharing something funny, or because the sales person took the time to make them feel good.

So how does your content marketing stack up? Does is resonate and does it add value?

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