A decade ago, your company website might have been a kind of digital brochure with some basic contact information.
These days, a successful digital presence is a living, breathing, meaningful experience–rooted in inspiration, customer empathy and clear utility. Your goal is to provide real value to prospects and customers by anticipating their needs, giving them a reason to do business with you and fostering their loyalty to your brand.
The problem is that creating a great web experience is easy in theory but difficult in practice, if only because there’s so much that can be done. Broad, generalized web content doesn’t resonate with visitors. So, how do you tailor your content to fit specific needs?
The answer is by looking not just at customer demographics but at behavior. Standard demographic data doesn’t cut it anymore, instead, you should be building example profiles of people who influence or make decisions about what you’re selling. Marketers call these “buyer personas,” and they can be enormously helpful in persuading potential customers to choose you over a competitor.
You need to be one of them. So consider not only who your ideal customers are (job title, industry, location or company size) but also how they live and work. Are they on the road a lot? Are they online? Offline? Where do they get information? Who influences the decisions they make? Which blogs do they read?
Other questions to consider: What associations do they belong to?
What events do they attend? Which social networks do they rely on? Do your twenty something prospects poll their friends on Facebook and Twitter, read recommendations on Yelp or browse Pinterest? What factors might they consider before pulling the trigger on a purchase?
There are ways to get this information, starting with asking. You could telephone a few customers (both happy and grumpy) and interview them; you might also query current prospects. Talking in person or by phone is best, but you can also gather information via a free survey tool like SurveyMonkey.com.
Essentially, knowing who you are selling to–and why and how they buy–makes your job a whole lot easier.
Insightful buyer personas can inform strategies for messaging or content marketing, product launches, ad campaigns and sales alignment. The key is to think of such customer insight as your secret weapon: When you know when, how and why buyers look for an answer to the problems that you address, that knowledge is a significant source of competitive advantage for your business.