We all grew up with stories told by our parents. As we get older, we still love stories and anecdotes, which is why storytelling is so popular as a content marketing strategy. But unless you learn how to develop buyer personas that really resonate with your audience, you risk losing their attention, or worse, their trust.
Great stories generate great results
What’s great about kid's stories is that they made you imagine you were that person (or dragon, or robot). Children playing fireman, doctor or chef imagine themselves in these roles, which influences how they think.
Great marketing requires you to use your imagination to put yourself in your consumer's shoes. This allows you to craft content that resonates, just like the stories that captivate children.
The issue is that many companies struggle to find their unique story in a saturated marketplace. Moreover, they don’t understand their consumer's story and how it fits in with their own. The solution? Buyer personas.
We are all storytellers
We are all writers and storytellers in some capacity. Whether it’s a blog, a tweet or even a snapchat, everything we create becomes part of a larger narrative of who we are. Think of it as your personal unofficial biography.
This being the case, we are all capable of creating narratives, not only for ourselves but also for others. The question is, how do we create narratives that are accurate and authentic? And how do we use these to inform our marketing?
Let’s look at a recent experience that we faced here at Six and Flow. A business colleague asked us why their Facebook page was struggling for engagement. The small amount of activity they saw was from staff’s family, friends and peers, not the new consumers that they wanted to reach.
So, why was engagement so poor? And what was the solution? Well, there were a couple of reasons around the creative and targeting process, but underlying it all was a lack of understanding of their buyer personas. They had a vague idea of their market, but they didn’t have a narrative which guided all their interactions. As a result, all their communications fell flat.
We helped them to develop a process for creating narratives, and a structure to dictate their interactions and targeting. Below, we are going to share all this lovely knowledge with you (you're welcome!)
Creating buyer personas with a back story
Every great story needs a bit of imagination and a lot of real world experience. When you are crafting a narrative for your target consumer, break it down into sections that relate to universal experiences people have in this particular environment.
For example, when creating a marketing manager buyer persona, we split our narrative into these key areas:
- Daily routine
- Working environment
- Level of knowledge and skill
- Beliefs around their job
- How they view their industry
Now comes the research. We speak to people who work in this specific sector, send out questions to peers, look at LinkedIn profiles and find as much information as possible.
Next comes the imagination. We use all this acquired information to try and empathise with this person. How does their demographic influence their behaviour? How does their working environment influence their beliefs about their job and the industry more broadly? By putting ourselves in their shoes, we can build out a much better narrative and begin to imagine how buyer personas will feel and interact with our marketing.
Using that story
So we've crafted our narrative and began to empathise with our buyer personas. We can then use this information to dictate the way we communicate with our target audience. If you understand your potential buyers, you can map out the difficulties they face in their role and the goals they hold dear.
Once we have a picture of their goals and challenges, we can figure out how to create content that will help them reach their goals, or at least minimise their barriers. We can then effectively create a narrative of the wider world in which they operate, and discuss their goals and difficulties accordingly. For example...
“Our marketing manager wants to boost the company’s profits by differentiating the business from competitors. However, he is working in a saturated market which makes this difficult. This creates frustrations in his personal environment which is opening him up to the possibility of bringing in outside help.”
Now we have an idea of the wider industry, we can figure out introductory, mid level and closing content. We can then look at content themes, tone of voice and even target publications for outreach. Finally, we use our narrative to determine when and how is best to contact our target market.
What’s the point of all this?
Creating a story for your target consumer helps to generate understanding and empathy in your thinking. This allows you to create a well-informed marketing strategy which is engaging for your consumer, and also aids your sales team in building engagement and rapport with prospects.
So, let’s get back to storytelling and contemplating our audience. Once you understand them and can imagine a day in their life, you will gain the ability to captivate and engage your consumers.