Who’s Your Sweet Fish?

big-fish-little-pond-a-new-way-to-think-about-finding-your-sweetest-customersSeth Godin says it beautifully in this post:

“There’s no doubt that the big fish gets respect, more attention and more than its fair share of business as a result. The hard part of being a big fish in a little pond isn’t about being the right fish. It’s about finding the right pond.”

He wisely advises us to get better at finding the right pond, “where we can do great work, make a difference, and yes, be a big fish.”

I love this analogy…what pond shall we swim in? My work lately focuses on translating enterprise-level content marketing theory into practical content creation for smaller size businesses that need to get their story out there. When we connect, it works like gangbusters.

My grandfather used to say “You can’t catch a fish with a toothpick.” I have no idea what he meant, but I’ve taken it as my mantra lately. Who is my sweet fish, and what kind of bait will he love?

What about you? Are you swimming in a pond that’s just too big? What niche can you narrow your search to and make some solid connections with real live fish in the same pond?

Are You Talkin to Me? The Importance of Buyer Personas

Buyer Personas
Buyer personas help you create content that is relevant and effective to the real people who will visit your site.

Ever been to a website that seemed tailor-made for you?

You scan the site, immediately find what you’re looking for, and also find some deeper information that clearly explains a point you’ve been wondering about. The site seems to have already answered your “next question” before you even thought to ask it.

It’s not magic, but a sign that the site owner understands and uses buyer personas in their marketing.

What Is a Buyer Persona?

According to Oracle’s white paper “How to Create Personas:

  • A persona is simply a description of someone who’s interested in your company, products, and services.
  •  A persona provides a detailed description of a fictional person who would buy your product or use your service.
  • A persona describes their behaviors, job role, responsibilities, priorities, and personality traits.
  • It puts human attributes on an abstract marketing description. (Source: Oracle.com)

This last point is key. If we can write our copy and create content marketing that speaks to this imaginary person, our marketing efforts will be seen as more relevant, more helpful and ultimately more effective at making the sale.

How Many Buyer Personas Do I Need?

There is no hard and fast rule. If you haven’t created any, start with three or four. Begin by looking at your current best customers; what do they have in common? What’s unique about each one? This can be a good place to begin to craft your own personas.

For example, in my work, I deal with several different types of people:

  • business owners who need help outsourcing their blog writing
  • publishers that need a way to manage their editorial work load
  • nonprofit leaders searching for some direction for their content marketing strategy and social marketing plan
  • website developers who have clients that need  website content written
  • etc…

My personas are based on real people in these roles, so I can feel like I’m speaking directly to them when I write.

Having solid buyer personas is the first step in any website content or content marketing strategy. Without understand who you are talking to, your content will be scattershot, less relevant.

Get the buyer personas right, and everything will begin to flow from there.

The Art and Science of Content Marketing

Forbes on Content MarketingIt’s the rage, the buzz, the must-have “thing” on your marketing plan.
And for many businesses, it’s totally overwhelming.

It’s pretty simple really, and dramatically effective when done right. Especially when you merge your content marketing strategy with your existing business and marketing goals.

Let’s break it down:

1. Start by taking a fresh look at your buyer personas (You do have buyer personas, yes? If not, we need to talk.)

2. For each persona, decide what questions/challenges/issues they face at each point in the buyer life cycle, aka  your sales funnel. (If you haven’t really thought about your sales funnel, consider these three stages: awareness, consideration, decision).

3. Decide what content you can provide to each persona at each stage in the sales funnel. Have a lead that is at the awareness stage? Provide a Top Tips blog post that addresses their current business pain. Is your prospect seriously considering finding a solution to their challenge? Now’s the time to offer a research-based article that proves the veracity of one aproach. Are they considering YOU for their solution? Offer take-away content that gives prices, specifics on deliverables, etc.

If you are doing this, and using all of the channels in which your prospects communicate (online, social, email, print, etc.) you are doing content marketing!

If you aren’t doing this, I can help you get started, gain momentum and keep it going.