Nelio Content Marketing Plan V – Buyer Persona

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This is the fifth post out ten posts in which we share our strategy and marketing plan for the launch of Nelio Content (have you already tried it?):

  1. The Idea
  2. Strategic Objectives
  3. Marketing Training
  4. Marketing KPIs
  5. Buyer Persona
  6. Webdesign
  7. SEO Strategy
  8. Web Content
  9. The Blog
  10. Social Media and Emailing

In this post I’d like to talk to you about the first proper marketing action we’ve done to achieve our objectives: defining the Buyer Personas for Nelio Content. But first, what are the “Buyer Personas”?

What is a Buyer Persona?

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better. – Sam Kusinitz (The Definition of a Buyer Persona [in Under 100 Words]

Buyer Persona is not the same as target market, as Don Roy describes in Buyer Personas versus Target Markets- What’s the Difference? Some great articles explaining the process to follow to define buyer (or marketing) personas are: How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your Business [Free Persona Template] by Pamela Vaughan, Marketing Personas: The Complete Beginner’s Guide by Kevan Lee, or How to Build an Epic Buyer Persona Profile by Adele Revella.

Defining the buyer persona means that we have to find our ideal customer archetype, which defines their data specific demographic and information on aspects such as their conduct online, personal, professional and relationship with us.

Unlike the concept of target or target group, which is more abstract and brings together a number of people without their own identity, the buyer persona does not have to refer to a single market segment. It’s more complex than that. And most importantly, the buyer persona is such that, rather than focusing only on aspects such as sex, age, or purchasing power, it defines their needs (“pains”). If you know the “pain” of your ideal customer, you know what motivates them (“the driver”) to perform a search on Google. And that’s where you have the key to your marketing strategy.

Who Is Who Game

Buyer Persona for Nelio Content

Defining your buyer persona seems like it would be an easy job, but our experience has taught us it’s not. For instance, with Nelio A/B testing we were not able to identify who our customer really was until we had more than 100 paying subscribers! And we did everything we’re supposed to do: we talked to our customers, we interviewed them via Skype, we asked for their needs…

Let’s see how we created our buyer persona 1.0 for Nelio Content.

1. Information that I Need to Know

To identify what information I need to define the buyer persona, I’ve followed the script from Pamela Vaughan I already mentioned previously. The idea is to answer the following questions:

  1. Role
    1. What is your job role? Your title?
    2. How is your job measured?
    3. What does a typical day look like?
    4. What skills are required to do your job?
    5. What knowledge and tools do you use in your job?
    6. Who do you report to? Who reports to you?
  2. Company
    1. In which industry or industries does your company work?
    2. What is the size of your company (revenue, employees)?
  3. Goals
    1. What are you responsible for?
    2. What does it mean to be successful in your role?
  4. Challenges
    1. What are your biggest challenges?
  5. Watering Holes
    1. How do you learn about new information for your job?
    2. What publications or blogs do you read?
    3. What associations and social networks do you participate in?
  6. Personal Background
    1. Describe your personal demographics (if appropriate, ask their age, whether they’re married, if they have children).
    2. Describe your educational background. What level of education did you complete, which schools did you attend, and what did you study?
    3. Describe your career path. How did you end up where you are today.
  7. Shopping Preferences
    1. How do you prefer to interact with vendors (e.g. email, phone, in person)?
    2. Do you use the internet to research vendors or products? If yes, how do you search for information?
    3. Describe a recent purchase. Why did you consider a purchase, what was the evaluation process, and how did you decide to purchase that product or service?

2. Determine how to obtain information

Next, I had to come up with a work plan to determine how we would investigate the buyer persona and how to get the answers to the questions we formulated.
To do this, any marketing professional recommends that you interview current customers. This, as I have already mentioned before, is what we did with our Nelio A/B testing service. But when we first considered our buyer persona, we hadn’t even marketed the new product, so talking to real customers was out of the table.

So, what to do in these cases? One option would be to hypothesize, but then you’d be at the mercy of your ability to generate such an hypothesis. Another alternative is to ask or conduct surveys with contacts you have and that you think may be potential customers.
In our case I decided that I would basically perform the following tasks:

  1. Search for information on the internet and formulate a hypothesis (first googling and then using common sense),
  2. Interviews (common sense does not have to be so common), and
  3. Surveys (faster than interviews).

3. Conducting Research

Formulation of the Hypothesis

“Common sense” tells us that Nelio Content‘s potential customer profile is that of a person who generates content on their blog or on the website of the company they work for, and promote it on social networks. With this first approach, I look for more specific information on this” generic” persona, and I discovered the following profiles:

Creators who create their own content
  • Create blogs and their own pages
  • Upload videos
  • Upload music
  • Write articles or stories
Critics who update their status on various social networks
  • Post updates on Twitter
  • They publish ratings and reviews of products or services
  • Comment on other peoples’ blogs
  • Participate in online forums
  • They contribute to and edit articles in wikis
Collectors using RSS
  • They tag web pages, entries, or photos online
  • The rate websites and blogs
Social people who maintain a profile on social networks
  • Visit social networks
Spectators who just read blogs
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Watch other users’ videos
  • Read online forums
  • Read consumer ratings and reviews
  • Read tweets
Inactive: None of the Above

It seems reasonable to think that in the above profiles, our ideal customer fit is: creators of blogs and critics.

After collecting a little more information about the different classifications of blogs and bloggers, I tried to formulate a hypothesis about what kind of customer profile we have, the main goal of his blog, what the content of his blog is, what possible analysis metrics are used in his blog, and what needs it may have.

Se busca gente especial - El Pais
(Source: Article in El Pais, Se busca gente especial. Vignette by Romualdo Faura)
Business Blogger

Person who writes for a business (own or contracted by a third party).

  • Main objective of the blog: gain visibility, get more traffic and, above all, get more customers for business.
  • Content: focuses on the business and its industry and any topic that may be attractive to their customers, but above all, the readers learn more about the products and services offered (how to use…, success stories…).
  • Analysis metrics: subscribers to the mailing list, leads fill out an application, more sales of product/service.
  • Needs: demonstrate the value provided by the blog, generate ideas about what to write, organize a calendar, create quality content, optimization and
    promotion. More information on The 5-Point Survival Guide to Blogging as a Business.
  • Example: any corporate blog as what you can find in Top 50 business blogs.
Professional Blogger

Someone who has a blog to earn money online using any of the following methods: ads, queries, ebooks, online courses, conferences, lectures and any other digital product (own or third party). Some started with a personal blog and ended up being a business blog. Many times the name of the blog is the full name of the author.

  • Main objective of the blog: monetizing the blog, gaining visibility, personal branding, and getting lots of traffic to attract not only the readers but also to ad providers, etc.
  • Content: focusing on a niche to try to become a reference in that niche and provide information so that the readers stay abreast of developments for this particular issue.
  • Analysis metrics: pages visited every month, subscribers to the mailing list, and clicks on ads, banners, and affiliate links.
  • Needs: always being up-to-date on the latest news relating to the theme, generating ideas to write about, organize a calendar, and focusing on content optimization (getting many links pointing to your blog) are key elements to the promotion and impact on social networks.
  • Example: mentioned in Top 10 professional Female Blogger in the Wordld by Amit Kumarin.
Affiliate Blogger

We can consider it a case of a Professional Blogger, but specialized in doing reviews of products and monetizing the blog with affiliate links and paid reviews.

  • Main objective of the blog: gain visibility and, above all, get lots of traffic to attract not only the readers but also ad providers, affiliates, etc.
  • Content: It focuses on conducting quality reviews to become the expert in these types of products and to provide information so that readers are also up-to-date on emerging new product news.
  • Analysis metrics: pages visited every month, subscribers to the mailing list, clicks on ads, banners, and affiliate links.
  • Needs: always be up-to-date about the latest developments in their field, generate ideas for articles, keep a calendar (might be less important), create quality content, optimizing (get lots of links Example: see Top 25 Affiliate Blogs Of 2015 by Dave Schneider.
Personal Blogger

This is a blogger who writes about anything. There are no rules on the matter and there is something for everyone. Many of them have a duration of no more than two or three years and others end up becoming a professional blogger.

  • Main objective of the blog: to create a community of readers and discussion.
  • Content: a personal diary where one shares experiences, concerns, ideas, or thoughts on a theme or a hobby or passion.
  • Analysis metrics: number of pages visited, participation of social networks, subscription to the newsletter, and readers (engagement) of the posts.
  • Needs: generate ideas to write about, keep a calendar (might be less important), get more fans on social networks or find sponsors or advertisers for the blog.
  • Examples: mentioned in Top 100 Personal Development Blogs 2016 by Brendan Baker.
Mom Blogger

A mom blogger is a particular case of personal blogger who writes about any topic related to the family and family life (included in here are the mompreneurs whose theme focuses on the reconciliation between entrepreneurship and family). Many of them begin with a personal blog but just start getting revenue through promotions of brands who make contact with them to do reviews of products and offer discounts (Why Mom Bloggers are so Valuable to Brands).

  • Main objective of the blog: create a large community of readers and then, when it’s funded, converts to an affiliate blogger. They become professional bloggers.
  • Content: a personal diary, recipes, tips for cleaning, parent tips, decorating ideas, coupons, and product reviews.
  • Analysis metrics: same as Personal Blogger.
  • Needs: generate ideas to write about, keep a calendar (might be less important), get more training on how to improve their websites, get more fans on social networks, find sponsors or advertisers for the blog.
  • Examples: Top Mommy Blogs or Top 50 U.S Mom Bloggers

And now that we have the first task accomplished, let’s continue with the following one.

Interviews

Here’s where things begin to get a bit complicated. If you want to do interviews when you still don’t have a product, the only input you dare ask for is from someone you trust, to whom you don’t mind explaining your project idea, and who will also give you an honest opinion about what he thinks.

The chosen ones were a pair of close friends, a creative professional and marketing strategist, Miguel Damaré of the Spanish blog Píldoras de Comunicación, and Mireia Marcet, owner of the handcraiting blog Tuteate (also in Spanish), with a Youtube channel with more than 160,000 subscribers and exceeding 30 million views.

With a completely informal format, having a coffee, they explained me how they work, the problems encountered in every day life, their needs and concerns, what they would like to improve, and so on. Of course, we also took the opportunity to discuss our project, what it looked like, and whether or not it could be adjusted to their needs.

Surveys

Finally, I prepared a very simple form on Google Forms with very similar to the Guide questions mentioned above.

And here, as with the interviews, the problem is somewhat the same. It didn’t seem appropriate to send it to our current Nelio A/B Testing customers or all our contacts from LinkedIn or Facebook. Why? Well, because at that time the product was still at an early stage of development and it seemed too early start making noise. So I just sent it to some of my peers from a Marketing workshop I attended, some friends, and various mentors from Barcelona Activa.

I’ve only received a dozen answers. Not too much… but some is better than none, right? It seemed sufficient to define the first version of our buyer persona, which we will already be subsequently evolving.

4. Analysis of the information and creation of our buyer persona

After analyzing all the information that we had and seeing some of the templates of buyer persona you can find on the internet (you can download one from HubSpot), we finally have the Nelio Content buyer persona.

Buyer Persona: Roger Sterling
Buyer Persona: Roger Sterling
Buyer Persona: Emily Mackenzie
Buyer Persona: Emily Mackenzie
Buyer Persona: Ruth Belmont
Buyer Persona: Ruth Belmont

All these profiles are fictitious, but they help you get an idea of the type of customers we may have. So, what should I do with this information? What’s it useful for? These personas help you to identify:

  • the first features that should be implemented, according to the needs of our buyer persona,
  • what type of content and which topics are of interest (in fact, we should be able to define which keywords they use most often in the search engines),
  • what writing style may be the most appropriate to make our content attractive,
  • where to find them: in which groups, social networks or forums they can be found, and which events to attend, if that is the case, and
  • who their “influencers” are, i.e. those who help them to make decisions about which products to use.

All the above points should serve to continue with the rest of the marketing process:

  • Generate content that provides solutions for their interests and problems, and in the right style to make your content attractive.
  • Generate all marketing campaigns (via social networking, email, etc.) to get the maximum possible information to them.

But before continuing with the activities mentioned above, we will have to design an attractive website for our Buyer Persona… but this is something we’ll discuss in the next post: Webdesign.

Featured Image from Danny Molineux (license)

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by

Ruth obtained her PhD in Software Engineering at UPC and did a Master of Information Systems at DePaul University (Chicago). She has professional experience in the business world and at the University. Ruth has been University Lecturer at UPC, Vice-Dean for Corporate Relations of the Barcelona School of Informatics, and Associate Lecturer at ESADE. She specializes in software engineering and information systems management. She is also certified in Inboud Marketing.

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