One of the reasons why SEO is so valuable is that it works in a radically different way from traditional advertising and marketing. Search engines connect you to people who are already looking for the products or services you offer.
That means you don’t have to waste time and energy reaching out to people who are never going to become customers. Search engines give you the power to choose the people you reach.
Of course, your search engine marketing campaign isn’t going anywhere until you know who those people are. That’s what audience targeting is for. Spending a day identifying your target audience will set your content marketing efforts up for greater success.
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Building a Target Audience Profile: The Buyer Persona
The best way to understand your target audience is by creating buyer personas that represent the individuals that comprise it. These semi-fictional characters share attributes with your real-world customers. By segmenting different types of users into buyer persona categories, you can get a clearer idea of what your customers are really looking for.
Some of the details that you might use to thread these customer profiles together include:
- Professional Role
- Goals and Challenges
- Shopping and News Preferences
But a buyer persona should describe a person – not a set of characteristics. The key to creating a credible buyer persona is consolidating these attributes into a lifelike fictional character. The result should be a believable, generalized version of what a certain type of customer looks like.
Let’s look at an example of how that might work.
B2B Buyer Persona Example: Facilities Manager Frank
Frank is a 48-year-old facilities manager working for a large manufacturing company. He reports to the CEO and supervises the operations staff team. He is married and has two high-school-aged children.
Frank and his boss measure professional success in terms of space and operations efficiency. They also meet monthly to review employee productivity. He has an undergraduate education, and his skills include people management, analysis, and industry knowledge.
For Frank, success either means a raise or a promotion. His main values are job security, his family, and recognition for his successes. Franks’ greatest challenges include keeping up with new systems and managing people with technical skills he doesn’t have. He avoids situations that can make him appear old and out-of-touch and spends several hours a week reading trade publications in his field to compensate, but it never seems like enough.
Imagine marketing facilities management software to people like Frank. You would get the best results showing how your software optimizes operations efficiency while showcasing its modern, state-of-the-art design. You would want to offer in-depth tutorial content to users like Frank, knowing they won’t risk implementing technology they aren’t totally comfortable using.
But your facilities management solution will need more buyer personas than Frank. A younger decision-maker in a smaller company might have entirely different priorities than Frank does.
Take Action: Craft at least one buyer persona for your business. If you’re having trouble getting started, envision your favorite existing customer who had a short sales cycle and who now maximizes profits and is a pleasure to work with because they’re the perfect fit for your value proposition.
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How Are You Helping Your Buyers?
Your buyer personas should be informed by real-life customer interview data. Organizing their feedback this way will help you identify the ways your product, service, or solution helps them. The two main questions this exercise answers are:
- Who are you serving?
- What is the problem you’re solving?
Notice that your products and services aren’t taking center stage at this point. The value you provide is in the solution you offer to your customers’ problems. That means you have to know who those customers are and what problems they have. Everything on your website needs to be centered on these two elements.
Take Action: One of the easiest ways to create search engine-friendly content that answers your customers’ questions is by replacing “we/us/our” statements with “you” statements. For example, consider how well the two examples below explain how your solution resolves a customer’s pain points:
- We/Us/Our + service: We provide full-service SEO content writing services.
- You/Your + solution: Grow your business with high-performing SEO content.
The second example better represents the value you provide to your customers because it’s focused on the outcome your business provides rather than the product or service itself. Creating content that articulates the impact will resonate with potential customers who are searching for a solution.
Targeting your audience helps you differentiate between high-value customers and low-value window shoppers. It helps you cut through the noise and address the people who are actively searching for the solutions you offer right now.
Next up: Continue developing your SEO strategy by learning how to conduct keyword research like a content marketing pro using free tools.