We all know that guy — the one that people gravitate toward, the one that you talk to for just a few minutes, and you think, “I really like that guy.” He seems nice, sympathetic, understanding, sincere and is more interested in you than he is in talking about himself.
Want to be that guy in the world of content marketing? It doesn’t take much. All you have to do is know your customer. The key to doing this correctly is developing audience personas.
What are audience personas?
According to a study conducted at UCLA, subjects rated over 500 adjectives based on their perceived significance and likeability. The top-rated adjectives had nothing to do with being gregarious, intelligent, or attractive. Instead, the top adjectives were sincerity, transparency, and capacity for understanding. In marketing, this knowledge is the key to driving customer engagement.
To come across as understanding and sincere, you must know your audience. Obviously, the conversation you’d have with a CEO heavily focused on top-down revenue forecasts will be vastly different than the conversation you’d have with the head of sales focused on managing the sales pipeline.
The most effective buyer personas are based on research, in-depth interviews and surveys. They’re optimized over time through testing and analysis. This allows you to learn everything you can about your ideal customers: What are their goals? How do they research products/services? What criteria do they develop to guide their purchasing decisions? The answers should guide your content and engagement approaches.
There’s a reason why developing a detailed content marketing strategy is such a big part of our upfront work (learn more here). You have to play their game, on their terms, and offer what they want out of it. Otherwise you’re not going to make it. It’s the platinum rule of marketing.
Transparency is More Than A Buzz Word
Knowing the customer well helps you come across as sincere and understanding, but what about being transparent? To do that, you have to be completely open about your business, your product, and your content. Transparency leads to trust…and trust leads to sales.
Even though consumers are more heavily informed than ever before, openly sharing information with them further eliminates any sense of information asymmetry. The “Lemon problem” theory, popularized by economist George Akerlof in the 1970s, demonstrated that even good products suffer when unscrupulous competitors in the marketplace misinform consumers.
Today’s buyers are savvy and sensible, and they’ve heard the horror stories. Even when they’re presented with brand-name services, they ask questions such as, “Will they really take the time to understand my business?” These concerns can be addressed when you have well-developed personas, providing customers with the assurances needed for to confidently make a decision.
Being an authentic, trustworthy partner is what keeps the two-way conversation going, turns leads to conversions., and makes you the most popular guy in the room.