If you were sitting down for a Marketing 101 lesson today, what would it cover?
Most of today’s marketers may never have taken a formal Marketing 101 class. Conventional outlines of the marketing process are valuable for conservative firms in traditional industries, but they don’t move fast enough for today’s marketers. They live in the online world.
And the online world is driven by content. Content is what builds brands, what fosters trust, and what helps web users out in the real world get the information they need to solve their problems.
So, any good overview of Marketing 101 would emphasize that content is pivotal.
But that’s not the whole story; It’s also important to understand what content people seek out and how they use it to make buying decisions. Their needs change over the months, weeks, or even hours based on what they know and what they hope to find out next.
That’s reflected in the buyer journey, usually depicted as three distinct steps.
Of course, there has to be a somebody reading all that content and taking that journey. That’s reflected in the buyer persona, a sort of capsule summary of your ideal customer.
These three ideas, together, are the Marketing 101 trifecta. They give you the insight you need to hit the ground running and make your mark in today’s digital marketing world.
So, let’s take a closer look.
Marketing 101: What is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a snapshot that represents your ideal customer. You might also hear them called “customer avatars,” since they usually take the form of a “character” who resembles a real customer of yours in all the glorious details.
A buyer persona starts with some fairly basic information: For example, age, gender, state or region, industry, and educational background. You want to fill in your buyer persona as much as possible, making it rich with detail.
To get started, though, keep these two questions in mind:
- What problem is this buyer trying to solve with your offering?
- How will he or she use the offering on a day-to-day basis?
Marketing 101: What is Web Content?
Once you know who your buyer is, you can start thinking about what web content will help him or her. Web content is informative, helpful, compelling information that you provide to prospects and customers to help them resolve their dilemmas.
As a preview of the value you have to offer, your web content helps you build trust and rapport with all the many people who aren’t ready to buy from you yet. It also helps you secure retention among your existing customers. In short, it reflects your brand online.
Your website’s blog is the hub of all your content. Writing blog posts that your prospects will use, respond to, and share will consume most of your time in content marketing.
Ideally, those blogs should also be aligned with keywords – the search queries users type in when they need what you have.
A keyword will give you insight into what your prospective buyer is looking for – and the main idea you should focus on in a given piece of content. From there, you write an article expressing your insight on the topic, usually focusing on one burning question prospects want answered.
Marketing 101: What is the Buyer Journey?
For content to be truly useful, it has to meet prospects where they are and answer questions they have right now. But how do you know where prospects are? After all, it can take them months to make the decision to buy anything. Sometimes even years.
Luckily, there’s a progression every customer will go through, and once you internalize it, you can write web content speaking to any of those stages.
The three-phase buyer journey includes:
In the Awareness stage, the buyer has just figured out he or she has a problem and may not know much about it. They don’t recognize much jargon and need simple explanations, usually in the form of short, easily-digested blog posts.
In Consideration, the buyer is figuring out their purchase criteria and assembling a great big list of possible buys. They need content that will explain what makes a solution in the space good and what they need to avoid.
In the Decision phase, the buyer is looking closely at the solutions that best meet their criteria. This is your time to pivot to in-depth content such as product videos, demonstrations, white papers, and case studies that show how your solution fits the buyer’s specific context.
Bring these three concepts together – and publish new context every week – and you’ll master Marketing 101 for the digital era. For all the deets on Marketing 102 and beyond, just visit the rest of the Bluleadz blog.