What does it take to write content that attracts eyes and opens wallets? What magical dust do you need to write content that converts? In our last blog, we outlined some tools you can use to make your content compelling. In that blog, we went over the importance of personalization.
Personalization is incredibly important in all things digital marketing and plays a large role in things like SEO, PPC, and even Web Design. But, as discussed in the previous blog, it also plays a big role in the success of your content marketing. Today, we’ll be discussing how to go about adding this personalization to your content.
Before we begin detailing some of the more in-depth methods for personalization, let us quickly cover an easy tip that will instantaneously make a message feel personalized. If you are not already, try using the word “you” in your content writing.
Using the word “you” allows the reader to feel as though they are having a one-on-one conversation, which instantly feels more personal and direct than using the third person. In scenarios where you are truly only speaking to one person at a time the inclusion of an individual’s name is even more powerful.
Get Inside The Mind of Your Audience
Setting yourself up for success will make the next steps of content writing that much easier. To set yourself up for success you need to get inside the mind of your reader.
Understanding your audience may sound obvious, but good advice always does. Ask yourself if you are really putting it into practice. Understanding your audience may in part from data you’ve collected but don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of consumer data, you can still make a meaningful assessment without it. This can come from previous interactions you’ve had with customers or your imagined customer based on the products and services you offer.
We can divide what we know about our audience into 3 categories. Let’s start by outlining the three categories when it comes to honing in on our target audience:
- Demographics: Age, gender, location, etc.
Demographics may appear to be the least telling of the three determining attributes that concern your audience but this is not the case. In digital marketing this data is regularly made available to us. Because these demographics are broad, there is also the most research done as to what each demographic best responds to in marketing. In some scenarios, such as the example in the next category, demographics can be used to gauge some information in the following categories.
Do some research on both who you appeal to and what they respond to. Then ask yourself: What appeals to my target demographic that I am not including?
- Psychographics: Interests, hobbies, values, etc.
Questions about interests, values and hobbies are far and away the most important question you can ask. It often needs to be thoughtfully addressed before you can really consider the category.
Your audience’s hobbies and areas of interest can serve as a good framing for the content that you write. Writing to your audience’s interests will make your content engaging to them.
But, perhaps even more important than your audience’s interests are their values. Most people define and differentiate themselves first and foremost by their values and beliefs. According to psychology people will do their best to align their actions with their sense of identity.
Therefore, people will make purchasing decisions based on what they believe it says about themselves. A business that establishes a sense of identity will attract people who resonate with that identity.
In the book “Made to Stick”, Chip and Dan Heath exemplify this point with the use of a successful anti-littering campaign. At the time the campaign began, the state of Texas was having issues with litter on the highways. The main culprits were young truck-driving males. Frequently anti-littering campaigns employed marketing tactics that only appealed to those who were already conscientious.
Despite the fact the marketing team didn’t have actual data about the culprits’ interests, demographics were used to narrow it down, and then cast a wide net. Appealing to the demographic’s Texan pride and love of sports, celebrity football stars from the Cowboys were hired to utter the now iconic slogan, “Don’t mess with Texas,” all across Texan TV screens. They were shown throwing highway garbage into a can that read “Don’t mess with Texas”. The campaign continued and featured a large quantity of Texan stars uttering the phrase.
Today, the campaign goes down in the advertising hall of fame for its success, even has even been voted America’s favorite slogan
- Needs and Pain Points: What problem are you solving for them?
This leads us to our next point. Obviously, you know the purpose of your service and what you DO for people. But, this isn’t to say you understand the problem you’re truly solving. When asking yourself what problems you solve for a consumer, it’s important that you look beyond face value.
Oftentimes, when asking this question, we may list features as opposed to the value of those features. It’s important that we not only showcase what we do for people but why they need it. In order to ask the question more effectively, you may want to also try asking different variations of the question
For example: What annoys the consumer and how am I alleviating them from that annoyance? How is my product or service aligning the consumer with who they perceive themselves to be? How will my product or service serve to define the consumer as who they are or who they want to be? What would my customer rather be doing than expending time and energy on the problem I’m solving?
Tapping around in this way will allow you to truly understand the appeal that you hold to consumers. Frame your product or service as a solution to this problem.
Where and How To Get This Information
If you don’t have figures to reference regarding your audience, don’t panic. Getting this information can come from online demographic information from various platforms, but it can also come from experience, or your brain’s intuition. In fact, a buyer persona is often something you want to establish even before you have real people buying your product or service.
Simply ask who, and where the people are that have the problem you fix. Then you can build out from there. A lot of this will be intuition.
If you have experience selling, recall questions you were asked. What things were said in your interactions? Look for common denominators so you can be specific with your writing without cutting yourself off from the marketing.
Understand that a consumer’s problems do not start and end with a description of your product. Promising an answer to someone’s problems can go a long way to appeal to a customer’s needs but it does nothing to make good on that promise. Addressing hesitations someone might have can be an equal point of importance when designing content.
Unfortunately you can not rely on content marketing alone to build trust. According to Search Engine Journal, nearly all online purchasers look at reviews before purchasing. With almost 80% of purchasers citing that they trust online reviews as much as a friend’s personal recommendation or a topic expert’s article.
That is why online reputation management is an imperative part of building that trust.
Rethink and Reconsider
In some cases you will need to reconsider your marketing in order to be successful. This is particularly true in the case of products. Sometimes we need to pivot in order to steer the ship in the right direction. Marketing can start out as intuition but occasionally, we get it wrong. We always need to reflect back on what the data is telling us and make adjustments accordingly.
Perhaps sales are low and you’ve heard a customer mention they use your product in a way different than intended and they like it better. Perhaps businesses would be better able to utilize your product than your current customers. Maybe the product has picked up some popularity with a different demographic than you had anticipated. Whatever the case, this information can prove valuable when going forward with your content marketing strategy.
Crafting Your Message: Art Meets Science
Crafting a message that leads to conversion is a blend of art and science. It’s helpful to understand what words and ideas lead to conversions but they also need to be artfully applied in order to actually resonate. With that being said we’re going to tell you some general rules of thumb.
Conclusion on Crafting Your Message
Crafting your message shouldn’t be about manipulation, it should be about meaningful communication. By understanding your audience, you’re fostering an organic connection between your customer and what you have to offer. To write to your audience simply means that you speak in terms of their interests and showcase how what you offer may appeal to them.
Conclusion to the Method
Language that fuses research with compelling language tailored to your audience is powerful. When you employ these techniques, content marketing is no longer an elusive die roll. Rather, it is a formula that helps bridge the communication between you and your audience. Feel free to contact us with any questions.