If your business is struggling to make a dent in your industry’s online visibility, then you have probably explored a few options in working with a marketing agency that can help you achieve your goals. But who should you consider working with? Just because a company is a Google Partner agency, does that mean they are a sure thing? If an SEO team has been in business for more than 10 years, are they a safe bet for helping you attract and convert customers? Sure, these things matter…to a certain extent. However, if your goals are to target people who will buy your products and services, and also draw in consumer groups you are completely missing out on, you need one of the best digital marketing agencies that offers inbound as a key approach in helping their clients grow their business. This means your inbound marketing agency must also be detectives, because at the end of the day, knowing WHO and HOW to market to is essential, as businesses can not survive on “SEO bread” alone.
Be the “Watson Assistant” to Your “Sherlock Agency”
An essential part to any inbound digital marketing strategy is to create a content plan designed not only to rank your site in the search engines, but to attract people. These two are more closely related than most think; the more clicks you get in the SERPs, the better Google will reward your site’s authority. 94% of online searchers click on first page results. This means it is paramount to rank AND deliver the right content to the right kind of people.
A good SEO agency specializing in content marketing will do research to create fictionalized representations of ideal customers. According to HubSpot, buyer personas are critical for driving content creation, and this means your agency needs to delve deep into data and analytics to gather facts about customers. You can help your inbound marketing agency by sharing important facts about your customers; talk to everyone in your company from the phone sales floor to executive officers to find as many details as possible about your customers so that your digital marketing agency can create content that will move them through the inbound methodology process.
What Good Marketing Detectives Discover when Creating Buyer Personas
Content tailored to the right people can help consumers better understand what their real problem is, how they can attempt to resolve it, and how a brand’s products and services can help them. Ideal digital marketing agencies that focus on marketing automation with strong content have a process. The first step is to create personas tailored to each phase in the buyer’s journey:
Awareness Stage – A prospect is aware of a problem and has just started doing some educational research to better understand their symptoms and give names to those concerns.
Consideration Stage – The prospect has done enough research to give their problem an identity and frame it within defined context. Now they are committed to doing further research to explore various approaches or methods to resolving their conflict with a good opportunity on the horizon.
Decision Stage – The prospect has nailed down the approach they wish to take and is creating a list of companies or service providers who pose solutions to the defined problem(s).
When creating buyer personas be sure you include profiles that fit within each of these. Traits to consider include:
- Sex / gender
- Job / professional responsibilities
- Family life (single, married, children)
- Personality traits
- Financial stability / income
- Challenges they face
- Hobbies and activities
- Common needs / goals
- Common obstacles
There is no limit to the number of buyer personas you can create for each of these three stages. Once you feed your digital marketing agency’s content creation department with as much information about your buyers (and prospects you have yet to capture), your inbound team can put on their detective’s hat and farm good factual data to create great content aimed at motivating the right people.
Example of a Inbound-Driven Buyer Profile for Content Marketing
Imagine a mid-size company that offers life coaching services. Collected data reveals the majority of their clients are professional women aged 32 to 45, live in the city, they are mothers, nearly half are divorced, they enjoy fitness / yoga, they earn six figures, don’t have a savings plan they are confident in, they tend to be short on time, and they have a layer of undefined sadness. We will call this buyer profile “Bummed-Out Brenda”.
For the Awareness Stage, Bummed-Out Brenda knows she isn’t happy. She realizes that “on paper” her life looks really good compared to most, yet she can’t seem to feel fulfilled and she wants to explore why this might be.
Clever blog content written for this persona will address issues like “Top 10 Reasons High Earners are Never Happy” or “7 Common Reasons Executives Feel Depressed”.
In the Consideration Stage, Bummed-Out Brenda has done enough research to realize that her sadness comes from a perceived failure to give enough time to her children, her job, and to her own self-care. She is now researching various ways to address her problem. She is reading blogs, eBooks, and watching videos that convey how personal training, psychiatry, life coaching, psychologists, and religion help working women balance their life.
Good blogs to target a buyer persona like Bummed-Out Brenda in the Consideration Stage include titles like “Is a Life Coach the Same thing as a Psychologist” or “5 Ways a Life Coach can Help Working Women Find Inner Joy”.
For the Decision Stage, Bummed-Out Brenda has decided that a life coach is indeed the best approach. She knows she wants to work with a woman coach whose own experiences are on par with hers. She also wants a life coach who offers phone appointments because her time limitations make commuting problematic. She is now doing an online search for life coaches who meet her requirements, and is making a list of potential providers to interview.
This content needs to address the brand (New Beginnings Life Coaching) and services in a specific way that meets the buyer persona’s needs specifically in the Decision Stage. Blogs titles could include “How New Beginnings Life Coaching Empowered Women in 2016” or “NBLC Case Study: How Our Clients Successfully Balanced Work With Family”.
Content Distribution is Not Entirely “Dispense-At-Will”
There are a lot of automated marketing platforms out there that can blast your content to thousands of people, and this is fine. However, to reach THE RIGHT PROSPECTS you need a savvy digital marketing agency to create agile distribution models, and keep analyzing for areas of improvement. When done the right way, inbound content marketing agencies excel at leveraging customized content through distribution strategies. Rather than try to plaster your content on every wall you can get your hands on, the idea is to fight for attention in places where the people who see it, will want to read it, and then engage with it.
First, not all content types perform the same in various distribution methods. Consider the buyer persona, and what type of content they tend to engage with the most. These types include:
- Business blogs
- Web pages
- Direct social media posts
- Landing pages
Once the preferred content type is discovered, good detective work must uncover the most popular times of day when buyers read and interact with content. There are a number of social tools that can be customized to track consumer audience engagement based on a variety of metrics relevant to your buyer personas and times. You can set up an automated system to blast content out at various times of the day. Just make sure the right content goes to the right people, through the right channels, and your CTAs, images and descriptions are unique.
Find the “Inbound Inspector Clouseau” of Digital Marketing Agencies
Finding the right digital marketing agency staffed with veteran researchers requires detective work of your own. Find out to what extent they rely on inbound, how and where content plays a role, and ask them how marketing automation can help you achieve your specific goals.