When it comes to nurturing leads, personas are an absolutely vital part of the creative process. They help you to visualise and identify markets most suitable to the success of your business and its growth trajectory.
There’s an excellent interview on Forbes with Scott Levine of Kern, though, who points out that personas aren’t set in stone. Like the people you want to target, personas are constantly growing and evolving with their respective audiences.
Outlining and reaching out to personas can be difficult enough for businesses to do. It can be one of the most time-consuming parts of the inbound marketing process.
If you need to follow trends which interest your market (and even stay ahead of them) you risk overcomplicating your marketing strategy and pushing potential leads away.
There’s also little more cringeworthy than seeing a band trying too hard to be cool with its audience; it’s one of the quickest ways to turn them off.
So, how do you create personas and identify a relevant audience, discovering their trends and nurturing leads as time goes by?
A brand new way of marketing yourself
The first step is not to overcomplicate things.
John Murphy, also known in the advertising world as the ‘Brandfather,’ recently said that even though there are more communication channels than ever and branding is everywhere, branding is as simple as it’s ever been.
To that end, simply communicating on social media, researching with polls and surveys and interacting with people interested in your market on a one-to-one basis is the best way to outline and build initial general personas when laying your inbound foundations.
If you’re serious about persona marketing, creative content marketing will be key to everything you do. Again though, for brands new to inbound marketing, this can come across as a bit confusing. What is content marketing, and how can both it and social media work together to attract new audiences and pull existing customers away from established brands?
Simple. Creative content can be anything designed to attract attention; from blogs to news articles, infographics to original graphics and artwork, emails, videos, podcasts and many other methods.
Content marketing is beyond an advertising trend too, with 75% of companies set to increase their investment in content marketing and 53% of B2B marketers saying they see greater success when they employ content marketing as part of their outreach services.
The future of content marketing also looks bright with more brands shifting to native advertising and newer technological advances seeing the growth of live video and AI, brands can cultivate some serious audience engagement and interaction if they focus their efforts on a creative inbound marketing strategy.
Where is your audience spending its time?
Nurturing leads with content can be a long game, but a highly rewarding one as you enhance your brand’s reputation and build trust with potential customers through a creative inbound marketing philosophy.
‘Creative’ is in the eye of the beholder though, and it pays to know the types of content your market is interested in and influenced by, as well as the places they spend their time on the internet such as the social platforms they visit.
Research by Zendesk for instance suggests that 88% of buyers make purchasing decisions based on customer reviews while including a video in an email lead can potentially increase click-through rates by an astonishing 300% according to a report by Forrester.
Again though, it’s dependent on the direction you want to take your brand and what you consider success. While 80% of PPC leads will be happy to watch a video, that doesn’t mean that you should abandon blog posts or strong graphic design elements on your landing pages.
This is where further research of your personas and building them out is essential to further growth. Creative content shouldn’t just be there to entertain people and tickle their fancy. It can also be a way to gauge consumer trends, collect essential customer data, generate product interest and build relationships with the people who matter to you most.
Content marketing is a strong ally when defining your market and visualising the personas most important to you, but initially attracting and nurturing leads also needs a combination of other channels to maximise your content’s reach.
How nurturing leads helps brands grow
Working with an inbound marketing agency to make use of its social marketing and targeting expertise complemented with marketing automation services can also increase your chances of building a stronger rapport with your market as well as improving the quality of your leads.
Putting some budget into biddable media programmes like paid search and social media targeting allows you to reach out to your personas them in incredibly refined and creative ways. Facebook’s new dynamic ads allow businesses to target personas’ web activity, for instance.
That allows brands to put themselves directly in front of the people they want to speak to and attract almost instantly, letting you direct them to specific areas on your website with your products and services.
That can help you to potentially see an immediate sales spike, but for true long-term business growth, directing your personas to places on your site with creative content and encouraging them to interact with you and providing them with incentives to submit their data is the key to nurturing and building strong relationships with people who tell your friends and family you exist.
Automating that system with a creative inbound marketing strategy also allows you to ethically and transparently collect the right types of data from your target market helping you to better refine your audience, gauge its movements and evolve with it as its tastes change.
Creative content marketing complemented with a strong social strategy, data collection, marketing automation and other proven inbound services can cultivate new markets and nurture leads, turning them into brand ambassadors committed to growing alongside your company.