As an economic development professional, you're likely laser focused on targeting a specific sector, or group of individuals, who will find your messaging relevant and informative and use it as a means to an end. That end may be the evaluation of your community or a business location decision that is made, due in part, to the content, data, and information these very individuals or groups of people receive and act upon. And not only are you focused on certain circles, industries, or divisions, you're probably segmenting these groups further into group sub-sets that deserve their own content or marketing. If so, excellent, you're successfully utilizing marketing personas the right way. Not quite there yet? Let's take a step back and determine what marketing - or buyer - personas are, how they're determined, and ways to use this type of segmentation to your organization's advantage.
According to our partners at HubSpot, "Buyer personas (sometimes referred to as marketing personas) are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. Personas help us all - in marketing, sales, product, and services - internalize the ideal customer we're trying to attract, and relate to our customers as real humans. Having a deep understanding of your buyer persona(s) is critical to driving content creation, product development, sales follow up, and really anything that relates to customer acquisition and retention." Bottom line, buyer personas help you more accurately target your content and marketing efforts to reach those aforementioned 'ends' we talked about earlier.
So, as an EDO, how do you create your buyer personas?
Five simple steps will help you get there.
- Filter through your contacts database and current customer list, and uncover common traits. Similar likes and tendencies (e.g. types of content consumed or engaged with) can help you begin grouping individuals into sets or "buckets" that can eventually take on specific personas.
- As mentioned in #1, look for trends on types of content they consume and what inspiries interaction. If one type of messaging elicits heightened response (and you see, for example, a significant increase in website traffic or content downloads), consider similar messages that will likely draw a comparable response.
- Interview prospects and current customers. Find out what initially drew them to your community or region, the assets they found most valuable, and the type of marketing that best spoke to their organizational needs. This insight will help your EDO further classify prospects into personas.
- Compile your list of possible personas and create a detailed narrative that describes that person - consider job role, skills, company information, goals, challenges, and more. Assign individuals to the personas, and your targeted, segmented lists begin to take shape.
- Cater your content to your personas. According to one source, 90% of consumers find custom content useful. And remember, the end goal is for your organization's marketing output to be useful in helping make strategic decisions about communities like yours.
At Atlas, our target personas are people like you. Economic developers who are looking for ways to differentiate their communities, create jobs in their communities, and help their communities grow into ideal places for business and pleasure.
We want EDOs to do well - to successfully generate awareness for their communities, to bring in new business, to drive revenue, and ultimately to exist as places where people want to live, work, and play. Because of this, we're constantly curating resources that help drive EDOs forward.
Our editorial calendar template is one of those resources. It will help you organize your content marketing efforts, and distribute unique and distinct content to your newly created buyer personas.