When it comes to your marketing efforts, you want to reach the right people, at the right time, with the right messages. In order to do this, you need to know who you’re talking to and where they are in the buyer journey.
The Fight for Attention
Today, there is more noise than ever, thanks to massive amounts of content created every day and more and more brands competing for attention. If you want to reach your audience, you have to make sure your content is relevant to them. Relevancy requires more than just creating content that you think would appeal to your target audience. Your content has to also be aligned to where a person is in the buyer journey. Even though some messages may be relevant to a type of audience, if the person is not in a time and place where it would be relevant to them, then it’s useless.
How Do You Know If It’s Relevant?
Your personas plus behavioral data and data about website and other marketing activity should guide your understanding of what messages are relevant to your audience and at what time. This requires knowing more than just basic demographics. It’s helpful to know more about the context of your audience’s life:
· What does a typical day-in-the-life look like?
· When do they look for information?
· What kind of information are they looking for?
· Where do they go for information?
· How often do they go to those channels?
· What steps do they take during the buying process?
· How long does it take them to go from awareness to action?
Understanding the answers to these questions can help you determine what kind of messages to create, where to distribute them, and at what times.
Why All Personas Are Not Alike
Taking the time to develop comprehensive personas will help you determine your audience’s needs, wants, frustrations, pain points, etc., but it doesn’t mean your work is finished. Even if you have identified a particular persona, this doesn’t necessarily mean everyone in this group experiences the same things at the same times. This is where the buyer journey comes into play.
You need to have content created for each persona and for different steps of the buyer journey. For example, you may have a cycling company that sells bikes, shoes, and other cycling gear. You may have identified the “weekend enthusiast” as a persona. You know this person tends to bike mostly on the weekends, is dedicated to the sport but not ultra-competitive, bikes for health and social reasons, and tends to be between 35-54. For some within this audience group, an in-depth article about how to buy the right bicycle will be helpful. However, what about the person within this persona group that just bought a bicycle? This will not be relevant to them at all.
Marketing to People After the Purchase
This doesn’t mean marketing to people who have already purchased is a waste. It’s important to consider how often people buy so you don’t bombard people with the message to buy when they’re clearly not going to purchase. However, it’s likely there is other relevant messaging for them. You may want to consider these questions when creating content for people post-purchase:
- What info is helpful right after purchasing, to get started?
- How can they get the most out of their purchase?
- What complementary products and/or services might they need?
- How can you solicit user reviews?
- How can you encourage people to share their positive experiences online on social media and in forums?
Later on, you may want to consider creating content to inform people about how to know when it’s time to buy again.
Marketing to People Before the Purchase
You’ll want to create content for the person who is unfamiliar with your brand, or may be familiar but not sure which bikes are going to be part of their decision set. Determine what information is needed to convince someone your brand of bicycles is worthy of being part of their decision set. First, you need to make sure they’re aware of your brand. Determine what background knowledge is needed for a person to make a decision. Then, you need to provide proof points to support why your brand is the best offering. Remember to carefully consider your personas when determining which proof points will be salient. You can use several pieces of content to build the case for why your product is valuable and why it’s better than competitor products.
How Much Should You Push Product?
This depends on your brand, your personas, the context, and where the person is in the buyer journey. In short, it’s highly dependent on a variety of factors, which further highlights how important it is to know your audience and to tailor your message accordingly. In many instances for B2B products, prospects are looking to gather information to aid their decision-making process and aren’t ready to have a sales pitch pushed on them. When it consumes to B2C retail brands, there tends to be a lot more flexibility in terms of how early and how much you can push your product. There are some retail brands that focus on pushing the brand in nearly every communication, such as Brandy Melville, while others, such as Patagonia and REI, take more of a lifestyle approach. Aligning with your brand strategy, as well as testing to see what works and what doesn’t work can help you find your brand’s sweet spot.