This is a guest blog post for ExactTarget from Steven Shattuck. Steven is VP of Marketing at Bloomerang, a featured contributor to Social Media Today, and has been published in Search Engine Journal, Business2Community and the Content Marketing Institute. Steven will be making regular contributions to ExactTarget's blog to share his expertise in social media and content marketing.
So you've formulated your content offers and mapped them to each stage of a perspective buyer's journey. Now it's time to get started on creating that content, right? Wrong! Having a one-dimensional content strategy that does not take into account multiple, unique buyer personas is a great way to set yourself up for disappointment. Marketers who map their content to only one sales funnel will either ignore potential customers, or introduce the right piece of content at the wrong stage of consideration.
A typical content-mapped sales funnel will look something like this:
Most content marketers stop here and get to work producing content. In reality, you should have a content-mapped sales funnel for each of your buyer personas. But don't fret! Here is a simple guide to content mapping for multiple personas:
1. Research & Identify Your Personas
For agency, B2B, and SaaS providers, a good place to start is job title. Retailers and consumer services will want to focus on demographics. Regardless of your industry or product, identifying your audience should be the first step of any content marketing effort. These will be the personality and buyer types that your content is tailored towards.
2. Identify Their Pain Points & Solve Their Problems
Next, identify the day-to-day struggles of each persona. Quora is an awesome place to start. Your top-of-the-funnel content (blog posts, whitepapers, guides, eBooks, etc.) should solve their problems, and not feature your products and services. Personalization is critical here, as this stage of the funnel will represent the bulk of your content production.
3. Create Relevant Calls-to-Action
If you're going to all of the trouble creating blog posts that speak to each persona, you'll want to make sure that content is populated with relevant calls-to-action so that you can convert those visitors. For example, a blog post written for Persona A should lead them to register for a webinar on the same topic, while a blog post written for Persona B should lead them download a white paper that expands upon the topic of the blog post.
4. Tailor Bottom-of-the-Funnel Content to Each Persona
As you get toward the bottom of the funnel, your content will begin to be centered more around your product offering or solution. Even though you aren't producing problem-solving content at this point, it's important not to lose sight of your personas. Persona A will want a case study that speaks to results that are aligned with his or her KPIs, and that will look different than a case study that targets Persona B.
5. Give Each Persona Something That They Can Take to Their Superior
If you haven't been engaging with the primary decision maker, you may need to help them influence their superiors. Empower them with content that they can take to the decision maker to either get them involved in the process or to ensure a smooth handoff.
6. Individualize Lead Nurturing Campaigns
Once Persona A has downloaded a piece of content, make sure that the email drip campaigns make relevant offers in the future. This will speed their progression through the sales funnel and reduce the risk of alienation.
Putting It Into Action
Joining a startup that produces fundraising software for nonprofits has given me a unique opportunity to build a content strategy from the ground up. Following my own advice from above, I first identified my target personas:
- Persona A: Fundraiser (Outreach Manager)
- Persona B: Responsible for all Fundraising (Development Director)
- Persona C: Responsible for the Organization (President)
With three content-mapped sales funnels, I can now begin to create content tailored for each persona: an end-user, a person responsible for results, and a decision-maker.
- Persona A: 5 Tips for Increasing Your Direct Mail Response Rates
- Persona B: How to Make the Most of Your Next Fundraising Gala
- Persona C: How to Turn Your NPO Employees Into Brand Advocates
- Persona A: Social Media for NPOs: Your Questions Asked
- Persona B: 10 Tips for Battling Donor Attrition
- Persona C: A Fireside Chat with 5 Leading NPO Executive Directors
- Persona A: Ease of use, gained productivity ("Hey, this software might make my life easier.")
- Persona B: Reduced donor attrition, increased revenue ("Hey, this software might save us mone.y")
- Persona C: Nonprofit organization growth ("Hey, this software might help my organization grow.")
- Persona A: Live Demo
- Persona B: Needs Analysis
- Persona C: Free Trial
You can see that each piece of content is tailored to the individual, day-to-day concerns that each persona faces. Your problem-solving content at the top of the funnel will build brand equity and foster community, while relevant middle and bottom-of-the-funnel content will shorten your sales cycle and create happy clients!