Successful marketing of any kind, whether content marketing, search marketing, account-based marketing, etc, all has one thing in common; success requires knowing your buyers.

Rand Fishkin of Moz took a sneak peek at our new Success with ABM eBook, and commented about the impact of understanding your buyers. 

rand-fishkin-moz.jpgIf you don’t understand your buyer (and their influencers) intimately, you’ll almost always lose out to a competitor who does. Empathy is at the core of great marketing, and that means researching what makes buyers buy, what holds potentially qualified customers back, and what you can communicate to impact that decision. [Click to Tweet]

So how can you achieve that? Here’s some tried and true tips for researching potential buyers and 5 ways to apply the insights to your content strategy:

Tip 1: Build meaningful Buyer Personas.

  •  Analyze data. The best place to start is with information you already have. Your CRM and Marketing Automation tools have a wealth of insight about persona behavior by funnel stage. [Click to Tweet] You can use this information to validate your persona list, and understand variations in roles and participation throughout the buying process.
  • Bring in the research from analyst reports, industry data and any previous persona research.
  • Capture knowledge from employees. Survey key team members who interact with buyers like sales and customer success teams, as well as product marketing and experts who help implement your solutions.
  • Interview buyers. Once you’ve gathered your internal knowledge, now it’s time to interview actual buyers to validate your research, deeply understand their day to day motivations, preferences and needs.

Tip 2: Understand and map the Buyers’ Journey 

Buyers’ journeys are the representations of all buyers and their individual and group behaviors within an account, with their needs, activities, preferences and barriers for each step in the purchase journey. The buyers’ journey is the marketing and sales funnel through your buyers’ point of view, instead of the lens of your processes.

understanding-buyers-journey-example.jpg

5 ways you can use your buyer research to create impactful content marketing and search strategies:

  • Use buyers’ needs in your search term research. Pay close attention to the specific lexicon used in buyer interviews. Using the language of your buyers will help your content resonate and that usually outweighs using terms with higher search volume [Click to Tweet]. Example: Few marketers search for “Buyers’ journey” but they also research “Marketing and Sales funnel.” These are highly related, but from different viewpoints. Not sure which tools to use to research search terms?
  • Activities are the ways in which your buyers are trying to solve their needs.  Are they Googling? Talking to peers? Asking questions on Twitter or LinkedIn? Determine which channels you can impact with your search and content strategies and optimize for them.
  • Your buyers’ preferences for format, style, tone and timing are just as critical as what they need and how they find it.  If your content ranks high for their search, but you deliver a whitepaper when they prefer a video, you’ll likely lose this person in the middle of the funnel.  They’ll search for a resource that best suits their needs, not yours.
  • Barriers are the things that despite your best resources for solving their needs in their preferred ways (framing, deep understanding of impact) may still stop them from moving forward.  These can be internal like not getting alignment on budget priorities, or external like meeting regulatory requirements. Knowing possible barriers helps you understand the types of resources to create to help them navigate their barriers.
  • Once you implement, measuring and recalibrating your strategy is critical. You’ll want to track and understand:
    • Traffic
    • Engagement
    • Impact on moving accounts through funnel
    • This data will help you understand where your content is succeeding, and when it’s time to recalibrate. Find out if you need to adjust your content, search strategy, or re-evaluate your buyer understanding.

Persona_Content_Marketing_Results.jpg

Ready to take your content marketing to the next level with an ABM strategy?  Check out our eBook: The Missing Link for Account-Based Marketing Success