Buyer Personas: Your Secret Weapon for Showstopping B2B Marketing

Buyer Personas: B2B Marketing's Secret Weapon

Here’s Everything You Could Ever Want (or Need) to Know About B2B Buyer Personas...

How do you make sure, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that your marketing will hit home?

Simple.

Learn to understand your customers at their core and speak to them accordingly.

As B2B marketers, we all know that your message lives at the core of every piece of marketing that you put out as a business, but the first rule of good messaging is to know your audience.

Whether you’re selling to businesses or consumers, it all comes down to understanding who your customer is and how they make buying decisions.

This all starts with developing a detailed buyer persona that nails down who your customer is and defines the different unique ways to appeal to their purse strings.

Buyer personas can impact your brand messaging in a myriad of critical ways, but they’re not always as widely known or used as they should be.

Believe it or not, many business owners think they know who their ideal customer is, but haven’t taken the time to sit down and put together a detailed persona snapshot.


To help you get the most mileage out of your marketing, we’re going to help you understand and develop a snapshot for your primary customer base in this article.

First Of All, What Is A Targeted Buyer Persona?

In short, a targeted buyer persona is a snapshot of who your ideal customer(s) is, what sort of things can impact their purchases, and how that can impact your bottom line.

This detailed snapshot should detail:

  • The age range of the person(s).
  • Dominant gender of your demographic.
  • Their marital and familial status.
  • Their profession and current income.
  • What sort of things interest them.
  • How they typically make their buying decisions.
  • Where they tend to spend their time, both online and offline.
  • What sort of challenges they are faced with on a daily basis.
  • How they typically overcome those challenges.
  • What potential objections they may have to working with you or buying from you.

There are a ton (a metric ton) of potential details that you could learn about your ideal customer that will be important when it comes time to create marketing content to appeal to them.

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Honestly, this is one of the few situations in life where you really cannot have too much of a good thing.

So, when you’re creating your buyer persona, dig deep and spare no detail.

Why Do You Need A Buyer Persona As A B2B Marketer?

Let’s be real; knowing who you’re selling to is more important than breathing.

Well, maybe not. But, close.

So here’s a quick rundown….

Targeted Buyer Personas help you tailor your messaging and marketing to better attract, engage, and inspire your audience to perform the action you want them to.

Every business needs to know who they’re catering to. Unfortunately, more often than not, your understanding of your customer may be a little off the mark.

Taking the time to work through a detailed customer avatar snapshot can help you uncover how to deliver on the deeper benefits of understanding your customer:

  • Create A Buyer-Driven Experience
  • Personalize Your Marketing Message
  • Generate More Qualified Leads
  • Maintain Message Consistency
  • Align Marketing & Sales
  • Optimize Ad Targeting

To drive this home a little further, here are a couple of really heavy stats that may put things into perspective:

Buyers are 48% more likely to consider solution providers that personalize their marketing to address their specific business issues. (Source: ITSMA)

A MarketingSherpa case study found that buyer personas added the following value:

    • 900% increase in length of visit,
    • 171% increase in marketing-generated revenue,
    • 111% increase in email open rate,
    • 100% increase in the number of pages visited. (Source: Act-On)

Behaviorally targeted ads are 2X as effective as non-targeted ads. (Source: HiP)

In the case of Thomson Reuter, buyer personas contributed to a 175% increase in revenue attributed to marketing, 10% increase in leads sent to sales, and a 72% reduction in lead conversion time. (Source: DemandGen Report)

What Role Does A Buyer Persona Play In Your Business?

A buyer persona can impact nearly every aspect of your business, from conception to marketing, and everything in between.

Really!

Developing a strong customer avatar should be the first thing every business does, even before developing a business plan. The truth is that you can’t truly determine product-market fit without taking the time to take a good, hard look at your ideal customers.

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In fact, a quality customer avatar can mean the difference between a successful sale and a blow-off, especially in business-to-business engagements.

Here are just a handful of business-critical processes that can be affected:

  • Go-to-Market Strategy
  • Operational Processes
  • All Marketing Copy
  • Business Plan
  • Sales Scripts
  • Product Placement
  • Packaging
  • Pricing
  • Marketing Channels
  • Marketing Message

The list could go on, but the point is simple: skipping or undervaluing your customer avatar is a mistake that you can’t afford to make.

Who Will Benefit Most From A Buyer Persona Within Your Company?

So, with a keen understanding of your ideal customer, who will benefit the most from that information?

The short answer is; everyone.

Marketing Department – Website and ad efforts are more effective and generate more raw traffic and leads, resulting in better marketing efficacy.

Sales Department – Leads are far more qualified leads before they are sent to sales, resulting in more closed sales.

Leadership – Revenue and overall ROI is higher and customer churn is lower, resulting in a happy board of directors.

Now that you know what a buyer persona is, it’s time to figure out how to build one specific to your unique audience and market.

How To Build An Accurate B2B Buyer Persona That Works

Building a functional persona is not as simple as outlining the age and profession of your ideal customer and calling it a day. Unfortunately, while that information is useful for general ad targeting, it doesn’t help you tailor your message to meet the customer’s needs.

Instead, you have to dig deep and get into the personal nature of making purchases. The truth is that most humans make buying decisions based purely on emotion, not logic.

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So, to help you build an accurate buyer persona from scratch, we’ll walk you through all of the critical steps to building an avatar; from the types of personas to where to get the info you need:

What are the different types of B2B buyer personas?

When it comes to evaluating your customer base to define the right persona for your market and products, there are three specific types of B2B personas to consider:

Direct – A direct persona is typically going to be the final decision maker in the business’ buying process. This might be a departmental head, CEO, or even the accounting department.

Indirect – An indirect persona is going to be a user who happens to be on the front lines but has no true decision-making power. This person recognizes that they have a problem and need a solution, and will do a ton of research on their own to find and vet options. Then, they’ll send the info up the chain to the powers that be.

Medial – This particular persona is basically a unicorn. They are both on the front lines and recognize the problem AND function as the primary decision-maker. This type of persona is more likely to be present in smaller, tight knit companies or startups running a lean business model.

Depending on your industry, you may have any variation and combination of direct and indirect personas. Chances are, you will have a couple of indirect users who will do the grunt work and then send the info up the chain for a purchasing decision.

If you’re lucky, you may have one unicorn persona that ties it all together and makes your job easy. But, if that’s the case, your persona will likely change as the market evolves and your buyer persona will need to be adjusted regularly. Startups don’t stay startups for long!

How many buyer personas do you need?

This question is best answered with a little research. Realistically, you should have one distinct customer snapshot for each unique customer type or each person in the decision-making ladder.

Typically, three is a good place to start.

But, you may find that you only have one distinct persona, or you may find that you have six.

The 7 Critical elements of a strong buyer persona.

Developing a functional snapshot of your ideal customer has many moving parts to take into account; seven, in fact.

Each of these elements directly informs the personality and actions of the persona you’re developing and helps you understand how to really speak their language.

General Demographics – This includes basic targeting elements like age, gender, location, income level, marital status, profession, and education.

Role Responsibilities – When it comes to B2B relationships, outlining exactly what your customer is responsible for in their profession can open up many lines of communication and provide insights into their unique pain points.

Goals – Find out what the customer’s underlying goals are as they relate to their job and positioning your product or service as the solution to help them reach those goals.

Challenges – When it comes to the intersection of their goals and daily responsibilities, what sort of challenges are they facing? This directly relates to how you can solve their problems and the kind of verbiage you can use to appeal to them.

Information Sources – Where are your customers spending time or getting information, online or offline? This could be books, magazines, blogs, or specific gurus that they trust to answer their questions or help them get ahead on their goals.

Possible Objections – What are all of the possible reasons that your customer could find to say ‘no’ to working with you or buying from you? These objections may be obvious, or they may take a little digging to uncover.

Personal Motivations – Now, push the technical details of the customer’s day aside and take a look at their personal motivations for achieving their goals or overcoming the challenges. What is their deeper reason for looking at a solution like yours?

Here’s an example of a complete B2B buyer persona:

Completed B2B buyer persona example.

This particular persona happens to be one of Inke Digital’s primary personas.

Top 6 reliable sources to find your customer data.

Now that you know what you’re looking for, how can you find the customer data that you need to build a solid persona?

While there are a ton of good sources for customer data, we find that these six are the most reliable and easiest to access:

    • Testimonials and/or Reviews
    • Social Groups
    • Q & A Forums
    • Industry-related Amazon Book Reviews
    • Competitor Testimonials
    • Customer Surveys
    • Customer Service or Support FAQs

How do you decipher your customer data?

When you’re digging through all of the potential sources available for customer data, what exactly should you be looking for?

Well, each of the sources has their own slight caveat, but the overall gist is to look for commonly occurring words or phrases.

    1. Start with one source and search for a broad keyword or one of the primary questions that you believe your customer might ask. (ex: Amazon)
    2. Check out the top reviewed result.
    3. Take a look at the title, description, and customer reviews for the result.
    4. Look for commonly repeated phrases, questions, feelings/emotions, keywords, and interests.
    5. Look specifically at both the really good reviews AND the really bad ones to find commonalities and what NOT to do.

Want to build your own buyer persona but aren’t 100% sure where to start?

Download a copy of our B2B Targeted Buyer Persona Worksheet and get started mapping your ideal customer today!

How Do You Implement & Use Your New Buyer Persona?

With a new buyer persona burning a hole in your pocket, how do you put it into practice? 

Well, there are a couple of things that affect how you can use a persona, such as:

  • The number of personas you’re working with.
  • The size of your company.
  • The number of team members you have available to implement the changes.
  • The overall volume of existing marketing materials to be revised.

Obviously, it will be a bit more complicated to implement several buyer personas into a relatively large company, but you’ll need to take everything into consideration when planning your implementation.

To put your new buyer persona into practice, you’ll want to:

    1. Perform a full content audit so you know what you’re working with and can take stock of pieces that need more attention than others.
    2. Organize your content into priority sections. Content that receives the most traffic should be highest priority.
    3. Distribute a documented buyer persona guide, preferably in conjunction with a brand voice and customer journey outline, to all relevant team members.
    4. Schedule edits to your content in order of priority. Do this in waves, rather than trying to push it all at once.

How to make sure it’s working properly.

To ensure that your buyer persona is on point and has been implemented properly, you’ll want to schedule regular reviews of both the persona and the related content.

We recommend quarterly reviews for the first year after implementing a new buyer persona and/or messaging strategy.

After that, reviews are up to you. Go with your gut and review as needed to solve any issues with your marketing engagement.

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Ready to Really Understand Your Customer’s Needs?

Now it’s time for you to settle in and do your research or let us do it for you!

Take advantage of a fully-formed and documented brand messaging strategy, including buyer personas, brand voice, and brand statement of value, through our new Brand Message Mastery program.

Apply today to find out if you qualify!

The Beginner’s Guide to Brand Messaging That Converts

THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BRAND MESSAGING THAT CONVERTS

How to Engineer a B2B Marketing Message That Turns Heads and Opens Wallets Like Clockwork

Do you have an incredible B2B service that you know in your bones will make your customer’s lives easier and more productive?

… But, every marketing campaign you run falls flat on its face right out of the gate.

… So, you’re wracking your brain daily to figure out what gives.

… Which stresses you out and causes more harm than good.

You’re not alone, and chances are good that your brand messaging is to blame for the lukewarm reception in your market.

Luckily, this article is especially for you: the overworked marketing manager, overwhelmed entrepreneur, or ambitious business owner in the B2B professional services space.

In this easy to understand guide to B2B brand messaging, you can expect to learn:

Sluggish revenue. Declining sales. Indifferent customers. Smug competition.

Sound familiar?

You’re either struggling to break into the market or you’re trying to hold onto the market you already have, but everything is coming up ‘meh’ when you roll the dice.

As a B2B service-based business, winning the hearts and minds of your ideal customer is no walk in the park. In fact, it’s a deathmatch in the Thunderdome: two men enter, one man leaves sort of deal.

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B2B marketing is one of the most difficult arenas to compete in because it’s always difficult to nail down how to speak to your customer.

But, what if you could kick up more of the right kind of customer and keep them around longer WITHOUT shelling out more for marketing and advertising?

That’s where having an artfully developed brand message comes in.

This strategy is the glue that holds your marketing together and is your first line of defense when it comes to the ‘WTF’ moment of exactly how to tell your story and get people to listen.

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Before we get down to the nitty-gritty of developing a powerful brand messaging strategy to take your marketing from zero to brand hero, we’ve got to start with the basics first: What it is and why you need it.

First of all; what is Brand Messaging?

So, what exactly is messaging? What makes it up? How do you deploy it?

Slow down, we’ll get to the good stuff in a minute… but…

Simply put, brand messaging is the language and tone that businesses use in their marketing content to describe their services and value proposition.

Basically, how you talk to people and what you have to say.

Obviously, this all sounds pretty important to know and include in all of your marketing.

But, why?

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Why is Brand Messaging Important to B2B Businesses?

While it’s safe to say that brand messaging is important to all businesses, it is especially critical in the B2B space.

This is typically because business owners and marketing managers know the song and dance by heart and are overly cautious when engaging with marketing content.

I.E. They can smell bullshit a mile away.

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Not to mention the fact that service-based offerings are completely intangible and very difficult to quantify, even to a savvy businessperson.

So, how do you de-stink your marketing?

By perfecting your marketing message, of course!

But, why bother? Just another thing on your plate among a pile of plates over the course of the week, right?

Nope.

By now, you’ve probably heard that Content Is King. In fact, I’m pretty sure that every marketer and their mother has been relentless in beating you over the head with that fact.

Here’s the thing; they’re not wrong.

But, they’re only partly right.

Here’s the real lowdown:

🤴 Content is King

👸 Context is Queen

🧙 Messaging is the Royal Advisor that runs the whole damn kingdom from behind the scenes.

That’s right, the biggest factor in successful marketing is ultimately your brand messaging, and the underlying strategy that drives that messaging.

Messaging, in turn, drives every single piece of communication that you put out as a business, including internal memos.

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If you’re still doubting the value of a solid message, here are some crazy statistics to keep in mind:

💎 Presenting a brand consistently across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%. (Source: Forbes)

💎 78% of consumers trust brands that produce custom content, compared to generic content. (Source: Crowdspring)

💎 80% of readers think authentic content is the main factor that will drive them to follow or engage with a brand (Source: Pardot)

💎 63% of people say they have engaged with disappointing brand content and 23% say they wouldn’t engage with the brand after that. (Source: Mathew Sweezey)

 

Plus, here are some solid tangible benefits you can expect from working through the development of your brand messaging strategy:

👉 Understand Your Value – Working through the brand messaging process allows you to pinpoint and understand your unique value proposition.

👉 Refine Your Offer – An understanding of your value and the customer’s needs help you adjust your offer to be more relevant and appealing to the customer.

👉 Bridge the Gap – Instead of burning bridges with customers, you will now bridge the gap between knowledge and genuine understanding.

👉 Control The Narrative – Leverage your unique brand messaging strategy to guide the conversation between your brand and the customer.

👉 Improve Brand Resonance – Maximize the customer perception and sentiment toward your brand using a message that resonates on a personal level.

👉 Stimulate Growth – Come full circle and use your new brand messaging strategy to reel in customers and grow like crazy.

 

To help you get a grip on your marketing message and develop a clear strategy, we’ll walk you through the 5 primary steps to developing a marketing messaging strategy.

5 Steps to Creating a B2B Brand Messaging Strategy That Doesn’t Suck

1. Identify Your Long-Term Marketing Goals

When it comes to developing a brand message, and any marketing for that matter, the first thing to do is outline your goals as a company and develop with those long-term goals in mind.

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I’m not talking about the goal of improving revenue by 3% YoY. That’s not a relevant long-term goal when it comes to your messaging strategy or your marketing. I mean, it’s a great goal…but it doesn’t really correlate to your sales and marketing message.

Some examples of solid long-term marketing goals:

  • Increase new user traffic by X%.
  • Increase return visits by X%.
  • Reduce bounce rate by X%.
  • Increase new customer sales by X%.
  • Increase customer retention by X%.
  • Increase referrals by X%.

These types of goals directly relate to the consistency of your marketing message across the entire customer journey, from strangers to advocates.

Not sure what your goals are?

Start by sitting down and putting together a SWOT analysis and subsequent S.M.A.R.T. goals that directly relate to your marketing efforts.

 

2. Assess Your Message & Determine Any Opportunities for Improvement

Whether you’re a brand new business or an existing establishment with years in the game, you have already extended a message to your audience, even if it wasn’t intentional.

The thing is; an accidental message is worse than no message.

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Brand messaging is at the root of everything that you write and say as a brand, and a poorly articulated message can cause any number of marketing issues across your entire organization.

Messaging is one of the most important aspects of both a branding and marketing strategy because it helps establish and maintain your brand perception in the mind of your audience AND within your own organization. 

So, how can you diagnose whether your message is being well received or if it’s a complete flop?

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Firstly, you’ll want to take a look at all of the content you’ve been putting out as a brand and assess whether the marketing message that you’re putting out there is resonating with your audience. I.E. Whether they’re picking up what you’re putting down.

When I say all, I mean ALL. You want to review each and every scrap of content you’ve created, like:

  • Website Copy (Base pages, landing pages, sales pages, etc.)
  • Blog Articles
  • Press Releases
  • Social Media
  • Emails
  • Internal Communications
  • Phone Scripts
  • Print Ads
  • Digital Ads
  • The list goes on…

I’ve developed a handy dandy scorecard that will help you dial-in the issues (if any) in your brand messaging strategy by scoring the impact of the message at different points in the customer journey.

Snag a copy of the 6-point Brand Message Scorecard today and shift your marketing message into overdrive:

3. Understand the 4 Key Elements of a Strong Brand Messaging Framework

Before you can even begin to craft a powerful brand messaging framework, you need to understand the four key elements of that strategy: Targeted Personas, Positioning, Brand Voice, and Content Style Guide.

Each element is made up of several smaller facets, and each plays a pivotal role in shaping your marketing message to the masses. I’m going to lay it out in terms that all of our heads, hearts, and stomachs can jive with: the good ol’ PB&J.

 

Targeted Buyer Personas (or Customer Avatars): The Bread

Knowing who you’re talking to is the FOUNDATIONAL element of good brand messaging. Everything else is built upon and falls in line with what you learn about your ideal customers.

In fact, even the most expertly-crafted ‘why’ statement would fall flat on its face without a keen understanding of the audience.

This is why taking the time to research and develop a strong targeted buyer persona, also known as a customer avatar, is the first step to creating ANY marketing strategy, including your brand messaging strategy.

A targeted buyer persona is a snapshot of your ideal customer that outlines key demographic information as well as decision-making factors like their goals, challenges, and any potential objections that they may have to buying from you.

You’ve heard of ‘pain points,’ right? A well-planned customer avatar is where pain points are both discovered and soothed.

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A solid buyer persona should tell you:

Who the customer is. – General demographics like gender, age, profession, income, lifestyle, and marital status.

What their goals are. – Because this is B2B marketing, you’ll want to highlight things that weigh on their mind on a daily basis while they’re at work or driving forces behind their search for a new provider/solution.

What challenges they are facing. – Your customers are businesspeople, too. So, they have their own unique set of work-related challenges that they need to overcome and are looking to you or a competitor to solve for them.

Possible objections or fears they may have. – Price is always a common objection here, but think of other, less obvious objections that might come up in the sales process.

Completed B2B buyer persona example.

Now, this example is a pretty common and relatively lean customer snapshot used in B2B marketing. But, I encourage you to dig as deep as your data and customer relationships will let you. In this case, you can never have too much.

(Can you ever really have too much of anything? Nevermind, didn’t think that through. Yes, you can)

So, how can you find the information to build an adequate persona?

While much of this information is best gathered from the horse’s mouth, some of it can be gleaned from some careful internet stalking.

    • Job Boards
    • Surveys
    • Testimonials & Reviews
    • Social Groups
    • Customer Service
    • Common Support Issues
    • Complaints

 

The Statement of Value (commonly called the Positioning Statement): The Peanut Butter (I prefer smooth)

The Statement of Value is a beefy component of a strong brand messaging strategy because it defines:

    • Who you are.
    • What you offer.
    • Who you’re selling to.
    • What’s in it for them.

However, this information is delivered in a variety of vehicles, including some that you may have heard of:

🔊 Mission Statement –  A simple statement about who you help and what you help them achieve.

🔊 Vision Statement – A simple statement about your long-term goals as it relates to your mission statement.

🔊 Positioning Statement – A more robust statement that outlines who you are, what you do, why you do it, who you help, and what you help them achieve.

🔊 Brand Values Statement – Outlines the culture and values that your business lives and works by.

🔊 Elevator Pitch – A very conversational version of your positioning statement.

🔊 Tagline – A quick, memorable version of your mission.

Needless to say, these elements factor into pretty much every single piece of communication that you put out as a brand.

“Effective messaging emerges at the intersection of what your buyers want to hear and what you want to say.” – Adele Revella

Now, you probably already know most of this information or have a lot of opinions, but refining it into something that makes sense to your customer could be the missing link in your marketing message. Because let’s face it; passionately describing what you do to a customer doesn’t always have the impact that you hope. That’s what happens when you’re too smart for your own good.

See…as business owners, marketing managers, and entrepreneurs, we know we’re smart. But, sometimes we aren’t sure how to articulate what we want to say without using jargon or techno-babble that the customer just won’t understand.

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Taking the time to sit down and work through your Statement of Value as a team helps simplify a complex subject. Plus, having an outside perspective is MASSIVELY helpful in making it human and conversational. 

 

Your Unique Brand Voice: The Jelly (or jam, if you prefer)

The final element of a powerful brand messaging strategy is your fabulously unique brand voice.

A brand voice is the expression of the people and values behind the brand. Without a brand voice, you’re simply a commodity competing on product price and as we all know, the lowest price often wins but doesn’t necessarily produce loyal customers.

Your voice is not WHAT you say, but HOW you say it. It embodies the feeling that your audience gets when interacting with your brand both digitally and in person. 

A unique brand voice can easily set your brand apart from the rest of the industry by instilling trust and being relatable. While what you’re saying may not necessarily cause people to remember, how you say it and how it hits them…will.

The most important thing to remember about your brand voice is that it represents the brand, not the person, and therefore cannot come from a single source. To best represent your brand, your voice must be sourced from everyone that deals with your brand, from the customer to the CEO.

You can find great sources for your brand voice in many of the same areas as you found your customer avatar details:

    • Surveys
    • Surveys
    • Testimonials & Reviews
    • Social Groups
    • Customer Service
    • Common Support Issues
    • Complaints

Look for commonly repeated adjectives and phrases. These phrases highlight both the Voice of Customer (phrasing that they identify with) and Brand Voice (tones and styles they identify with).

 

The Content Style Guide: The Butter Knife

You don’t want to cut the crusts off of this key messaging element! While your content style guide is an often overlooked element of a messaging strategy, it really ties it all together.

That rug really ties the room together, man.

The style guide is essentially the butter knife that is an organized set of rules for crafting branded copy across all of your channels. It pulls together all of the strategic elements of your Persona, Voice, and Statement of Value into a single, easy to understand document.

A content style guide also includes all baseline style requirements such as:

    • AP or Chicago Style Guidelines
    • Relevant acronyms.
    • Formatting for numbers, time, dates.
    • Specific punctuation to use or avoid.
    • Hyphenation rules.
    • Specific word choices to use or avoid.
    • Title formatting.

Think of it as the big manual of DO’s and DON’Ts for your marketing message, specifically the written word.

 

4. Implement Your New Brand Messaging Strategy

Now that you’ve got a shiny new brand messaging strategy, what the hell do you do with it?

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1. First of all, you should crowdsource approval and revisions of the document.

The entire process of developing a message tends to shake a lot of things loose for your team and letting them review the final product will typically result in more enlightened results.

 

2. Distribute the final strategy documents across your company.

Once the strategy has been revised and finalized, distribute the final copy to everyone within your organization who is responsible for creating content, either directly or indirectly.

Distribute physical or digital copies of the strategy to:

    • Marketing Manager
    • Social Media Managers
    • Call Centers
    • Salespeople
    • Freelancers

 

3. Schedule gradual updates to your existing content.

Now that everyone has a copy of the expected messaging strategy, it’s time to go back through your content audit and update the overall message.

Start with the most critical, customer-facing sources:

    • Website Content
    • Social Media Content – Both posts and page details.
    • Email Templates
    • Email and Phone Scripts
    • Print Marketing Collateral
    • Employee Onboarding/Offboarding Documentation

Don’t try to rush and do this all at once, you’ll end up missing a step or falling into old habits. If you have the resources, hire a freelancer to help you update the content.

 

5. Engage in Ongoing Message Maintenance

A brand messaging strategy is designed to be a flexible, living document. That’s why it’s always smart to reevaluate it every so often as your business and markets evolve.

So, after you and your team have updated all existing content and distributed the strategy to all relevant parties, schedule message maintenance roundups.

During these roundups, you’ll want to repeat your message assessment, make necessary tweaks to your strategy, and repeat steps 1-3 in the implementation phase above.

Think You Have a Good Grip On Your Marketing Message Now?

By now, you should have a pretty solid understanding of the importance of a brand messaging strategy and be well on your way to developing one for your business.

But, as with all other elements of digital marketing, some things can get lost in translation. So, if you have any questions or comments about brand messaging, feel free to drop a comment below and I’ll be sure to take a peek and adjust the article as needed or leave you a special comment.

Or, if you totally get the importance of messaging but just don’t have the bandwidth to create one yourself, let us help you get there. A professionally crafted and implemented brand message can literally be the difference between efficient marketing and a wasted effort.

Our new Brand Message Mastery program offers a turnkey solution to get your marketing message off the ground completely stress-free. Apply to see if you qualify for the program today:

I’m A Millennial & Here’s What I Learned At A Marketing to Millennials Workshop

Millennials have gotten a bit of a bad rap lately. Maybe it’s because we’re impulsive or ask too many questions. Or, maybe it’s because we’re just too uncomplicated to be human. Whatever the case may be, the simple fact of the matter is that millennials make up the vast majority of the active population of this era.

I am a millennial and here is what I learned from attending a workshop on marketing to millennials in the digital age.Hello, I'm A Millennial Badge

1. Transparency & Honesty Are Key
The thing about millennials is that we don’t mess around. Millennials value honesty and transparency above all else.

Don’t bother beating around the bush or trying to pull the wool over our eyes about your product or service. Regardless of the industry that you’re in, we can smell a liar from a mile away.

Be honest about who you are and how your product or services can help us grow and live easier. If you can stick to that, you’ll be fending millennials off with a stick.

2. Don’t Dress It Up
Millennials understand that nothing is all sunshine and rainbows. Some things are scary or nitty-gritty. But, that’s the way it needs to be and we understand that what we see is what we get.

Don’t put lipstick on a pig. It’s still bacon.

Don't put lipstick on a pig. It's still bacon.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com.

Some basic life necessities happen to be a little scary but are still necessary to a healthy life. Say it like it is. If you’re selling financing services…say so. Managing your finances is kinda scary, but we get that and we won’t shy away from straight talk and transparency.

3. Keep It Simple, Stupid
Seriously, the K.I.S.S. principle is still a thing. Whether you’re looking at a website or a TV advertisement, marketing to millennials should contain simple and easy to understand content.

Don’t overcomplicate things with extra hoops to jump through, industry jargon or overly stylized design. You have all of 3 seconds to grab out attention and roughly 3-5 additional seconds to keep millennials interested. Extra steps, flashy buttons or flowery content do nothing but distract us from the end goal…to buy your product or service. You don’t want that, do you?

So, what did we learn?
Millennials can’t stand fluff. Once you grasp that fact, you’re on your way to a successful and well-respected business.

Are you a millennial? Do you agree or do you have something to add?

Your Essential Guide to When You Should Use I or We

Your Essential Guide to When You Should Use I or We

The ongoing dilemma of whether to use “I” or “We” in business content comes up often and is a tricky subject. While we feel that it can be more of a personal opinion, this is your essential guide to when you should use “I” or “We” in business copy.

Before we dig into the meat of it, we’re going to share a secret with you. The truth is, Ink.e Digital is actually run by a single human. But, we made the conscious choice to use the term “We” in all business correspondence because it made sense for the brand and our goal is to eventually become “We”.

Step 1. Sit down and figure out your brand. If you don’t know who you are, how can you determine if you’re actually an “I” or a “We”?

Figure out the following:

• What do you offer?
• What problem are you solving?
• Why do you do what you do?
• Who is your ideal customer?

Step 2. Ask yourself what the future holds for your brand. Will you be hiring employees or using freelancers/contractors for anything?

If the answer to this question is “Yes”, then you are definitely going to be a “We”.

Step 3. Think about the trust factor within your niche audience. Would they respond better to a single person, or to a group?

This is a serious question. Some types of people can often feel a little out of their element when dealing with a larger organization while others can feel empowered knowing that they have the attention of the single decision-maker.

Step 4. What sounds right to you? Ask your family, closest friends and even customers. Everyone will have an opinion, and breaking it down will really help determine how to refer to your brand.

Step 5. Once you’ve determined whether you’re an “I” or a “We”, make sure to use that term consistently and within the proper context in all business communications.

Do you have a process or an experience that has helped you determine how your business should refer to itself in content? Share it with us in the comments below!

What is a Buyer Persona and Why Does It Matter?

12/2/2019 : There’s a more in-depth look at this topic here: Buyer Personas: Your Secret Weapon to Showstopping B2B Marketing

Knowing who your customers are is half the battle. But, how do you nail down who those people are and how to appropriately target them? The answer is targeted buyer personas!

What is a Targeted Buyer Persona?

In short, a targeted buyer persona is a snapshot of your ideal customer(s).

This detailed snapshot should detail:

  • The age range of the person(s).
  • Dominant gender of your demographic.
  • What interests them.
  • How they make their decision.

Google Demographics ScreenshotGoogle Interests Screenshot

But, How Do I Figure Out These Things?

Don’t panic! Figuring out your buyer personas is much, much easier than it sounds.

If you’re new on the block, figuring out your buyer personas can take a little bit of time and sometimes some guesswork. It’s ok if you don’t know who your ideal demographic is yet. But, you can figure this out by doing a little asking around or digging through your website analytics.

If you just started your business, you should have a loose idea of who would buy what you’re selling. If any of those people are friends or colleagues, ask them to answer a few questions for you. This will help you nail down a good idea of who you should be trying to talk to.

If you’re an established business, it is much easier for you. The following avenues are typically a persona goldmine and should be mined at all costs:

Google Analytics Demographics and Interests

If this feature isn’t already turned on, please enable it right now. This option will help you not only figure out who your ideal customer is; it can tell you how they’re interacting with your website/content. This is key to taking full advantage of your content marketing strategy.

Your Facebook Insights

This is similar to the Google Analytics option. It helps provide unique details about who Likes your Facebook page and how they’re interacting with the content that you’re placing in front of them. This will not only help you figure out who your customers are, but it will also help you tailor the content that you’re developing to provide the max value to your audience.

Facebook Insights - Engagement DemographicsFacebook Insights - Engagement Stats

Your Current Customer Base

This is a no-brainer. If you’re established and have an existing customer base…ask them! Most of your clientele would be more than happy to give you feedback when you ask. Send out an email survey or simply give them a call and ask them for a few minutes of their time. You’ll be surprised at the results.

Why Do Targeted Buyer Personas Matter to my Business?

Seriously, you’re asking that question? Knowing who you’re selling to is more important than fresh air.

So here’s a run down….

Targeted Buyer Personas help you narrow down who your ideal customers are, what they like, where they’re spending their time on the web and how you can inspire them to act.

Every business needs to know who they’re catering to. Unfortunately, more often than not who you think your customer is, probably isn’t actually who they are. Do a little research and figure it out or let us do it for you! Email us today to take advantage of a fully-formed and documented content marketing strategy, which includes buyer personas, brand voice, and your mission.

What is a Brand Voice and Why Does It Matter?

What is a Brand Voice and Why Does It Matter?

You’ve probably noticed that we talk about brand voice all the time, but what is it and why does it matter to you? Well, it’s a very important part of content marketing, and it should matter very, very much.

What is a Brand Voice?

Simply put, your unique brand voice is how you speak to your ideal audience.

This voice or tone of speaking is meant to be a fluid combination of your brand culture, mission, audience demographic and the people that you employ.

Brand Culture – Your culture and the way you work on a daily basis plays a big part in how you portray yourselves to a specific set of people. You can easily distill a cultural essence into a way of speaking or a style.

Mission – Your brand mission and why you do what you do MUST be woven into each and every thing that you put out there for your audience. Plus, you and your people must believe in the mission. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing it comes through in the way you speak, and your audience will notice and turn away.

Audience Demographic – Although you should be true to you and your brand, there is also your demographic to think about. You must appeal to your ideal demographic in a way that they’ll appreciate and understand, and unfortunately the demographic that you cater to might determine that.

For Example: If your demographic are parents of young children, you wouldn’t want to use a direct or brash voice.

Your People – Your people ARE your brand. There’s no differentiating the two, and you must always incorporate the spirit of your company into your brand voice. If you employ some very quirky millennials or some very eccentric techies, make sure to filter them into your brand voice in a way that suits your audience.

Think of your brand as a person and always consider the following:

  • What would they act like?
  • How would they speak and act?
  • What kind of people would they surround themselves with?

Why Should A Brand Voice Matter for Your Business?

As a business owner, you should be concerned about whether your brand voice is correct for your brand or not because it directly relates to the kind of community you are building.

Because your brand voice embodies your brand ideals as well as speaks to your specific audience, it is imperative that every business have an appropriately tailored voice. It will be used in every single piece of content that you put out, and even should be used by all client-facing employees.

Using your unique brand voice properly and consistently will appeal to your audience on a personal level, and is meant to create brand advocacy and trust.

So, if you’re not using a brand voice…you should. We can help design the right brand voice for you, and help you learn how to use it. Email us today about a unique brand voice or content marketing strategy.