By Megan Taylor
We’re honored to publish the guest post from our colleague, content writer, marketer, and digital strategist Megan Taylor of Megan Taylor Creative. Keep reading to learn how Megan increased her website’s organic engagement, and gained more clients, by identifying clear customer segments and marketing to each segment.
.@Meganljtaylor: Understand your consumer audience to develop an effective content marketing strategy. #MarketingTwitterTweet
If you know anything about content marketing, then you probably know about buyer personas and how important they are.
Buyer personas are fictional characters that marketers use to understand their target audience. They are especially important for creating targeted messages that resonate and convert (that’s marketing-speak for persuading your audience to perform a specific action, for example, to buy something).
Related to buyer personas is a more high-level form of understanding your prospective and existing clients called customer segmentation. In customer segmentation, you divide your customer base (both existing and potential customers) into sub-groups based on shared characteristics. This means that, within a customer segment, customers may have aspects of their buyer personas in common.
Recently, I realized that my buyer personas were too broad. So, I decided to review them to see how in-depth they were.
This is because I noticed that my content wasn’t yielding the organic results I had anticipated.
As expected, this exercise increased my engagement and conversions.
I knew this information was too valuable not to share with others.
That’s why I’m sharing with you how identifying more specific customer segments and buyer personas increased conversions and engagement for my business, Megan Taylor Creative.
What is organic engagement and why is it important?
A high organic engagement rate is any small business owner’s dream.
Organic engagement refers to any engagement you get from marketing activity that’s not paid. That includes things like likes and shares on organic social media or blog posts, and replies to email newsletters. Any interaction that doesn’t come from ads or boosted posts is organic engagement.
Organic engagement is important because it shows that your target audience is responding to your content.
You will need to analyze the quality of this engagement over time, but generally, the more engagement the better.
What are buyer personas?
Buyer personas are fictional profiles of your ideal target audience.
They contain useful information about your audience which you can use as you develop your content strategy.
Buyer personas are a popular marketing buzzword and with good reason…they’re a useful tool to use if you are looking to create more targeted content.
The most important piece of information that you can uncover in a buyer persona is your target audience’s pain points, or the challenges they grapple with.
Your customer’s pain points will help you understand two things:
- How your product or service solves your customer’s problems; and
- The sort of content that you should make to communicate the value of your offering and their pain points.
Other characteristics like age, demographic, gender, and interests are also important. They will help you establish the tone of voice and the social media platforms you should use.
For example, if your business is marketing directly to consumers (this is often called “business-to-consumer” or B2C), make sure to adapt your content to your consumer base. If you are targeting younger consumers, you may want to use Instagram Reels, for instance. You may also want to adopt a more casual tone to ensure that your younger audience can connect with your message.
On the other hand, when targeting B2B (business-to-business) audiences, you will be communicating with business professionals. This requires a more sophisticated and formal tone of voice. You may also want to use platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter as they’re mostly used by professionals looking to network with other professionals.
What are customer segments?
When it comes to buyer personas, it’s important to remember that you’ll likely have more than one buyer persona. This is because no two customers are the same.
They will have nuances in their characteristics that you need to account for.
That said, if you have buyer personas that have similar traits, you can group them together. These clusters of buyer personas are referred to as customer segments.
.@Meganljtaylor: Marketing to multiple, research-derived customer segments helps create better, more intentional marketing campaigns.Tweet
Identifying customer segments is a useful exercise. This is because you can work on creating pieces of content that speak directly to each segment.
By doing this, you can then create more intentional campaigns that will yield more results.
How did I identify my customer segments?
With four years of industry experience, I’m familiar with creating buyer personas.
Though I had experience on my side, I still needed to do some research to refresh my memory and create my buyer persona process for my business.
Doing this made me realize that there were three types of audiences that contacted me:
- Small business owners, normally business-to-consumer (B2C);
- Digital marketing agency owners looking for contractors; and
- Business-to-business (B2B) clients in the technology industry needing freelance writers, typically Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Financial Technology (FinTech) companies.
My challenge was to create a content plan that had defined content pillars — your website’s chosen content topics — that overlapped enough that all three audiences would be covered.
Because the segments differed greatly from each other, I worried that my website wouldn’t have a cohesive content strategy if I tried to cater to all of them. There was a way around this, which I’ll get to later in this blog post.
How customer segments improved my organic engagement and conversions
Now you understand buyer personas and customer segments, it’s time to look at how to use them to improve your strategy.
When I started Megan Taylor Creative, it took a while to start seeing any traction on social media. This is because I was trying to appeal to a much wider group of people.
This started to show in conversations that I was having with prospects. They weren’t sure what my business did and who we worked with.
With updated customer segments and buyer personas, my messaging is more streamlined. This means that I can now tailor my social media messaging and web content to each segment.
Since implementing this tactic into my strategy, I’ve seen incredible growth.
Perhaps the place where you can see my strategy in action the most is my Twitter bio.
My target audience for Twitter is startups and digital marketing agencies. With this in mind, here is how my Twitter bio reads now that I’ve identified clearer customer segments:
This bio has a clear value proposition for all three customer segments. It speaks to the main customer segments that I interact with on the platform. This way, people who are most likely to need my services or are interested in my content can find me easily.
I also use relevant hashtags within the digital marketing and FinTech niches in my Tweets. This ensures that my reach and impressions are up each month.
Now that I am creating clearer messages, my engagement on social media has increased. In other words, more people are discovering and interacting with my social media profile and content.
For instance, my Twitter profile visits have gone up by 15.6% from April to May 2022, and my impressions have gone up by 37.5% in that timeframe.
I highlighted these two metrics because they provide more insight into audience behavior.
Ultimately, my analytics suggest that my audience is now more engaged with my content. Thus, they’re more interested in learning about me and my brand.
This is likely because there’s a clearer message, and it’s more obvious what I do and who I work with.
Finally, because my engagement has increased, the Twitter algorithm has started to trust my content. In turn, the algorithm has started pushing my content more often. An increase in mentions has also contributed to a bigger reach.
As you can imagine, an increase in interaction on my main socials has also translated to an increase in web traffic, too.
Content pillars and consistency
Content pillars are another popular phrase that content marketers like to use.
Content pillars are the primary subjects that you’ll focus on in your content. They’re important because they make it obvious to audiences what type of content you offer.
They also offer you a guide. By defining the topics that you write about, you can create a more streamlined content plan. It is also great for your website as you can start generating more targeted landing pages that are specific to different buyer personas.
While you can explore topics outside your content pillars, you don’t want to do this too often. If you do, you could risk confusing your audience.
If you confuse your audience, they’ll be less likely to stick around; they won’t know why they should follow you. This leads me to my next point and that is that you should allocate a content pillar for each customer segment.
Creating content for each customer segment
Earlier, I said that I was concerned about having contrasting customer segments. I was worried because I wasn’t sure how I could create content that appealed to each customer segment while having content pillars that worked together.
Here’s how I solved that problem: First, I made digital marketing one of my main content pillars, as it is core to all three customer segments I came up with. Next, I ensured that each piece of content addressed each customer segment individually.
Remember the customer segments I defined: B2B businesses, digital marketing agencies, and FinTech companies? I am working on creating content for each segment that overlaps to some extent, focused on my core content pillar of digital marketing.
For instance, I have a FinTech series, on my blog that talks about how FinTech startups can grow their business with digital marketing. I also plan on doing the same for digital marketing agencies and B2B businesses.
Fundamentally, this approach allowed me to create targeted content that still could, in theory, appeal to my other customer segments.
This is because I was offering strategies that each segment could use for their business.
Ultimately, more defined content pillars meant I could create a structured content plan. A structured content plan led to more qualified leads – in other words, prospective clients – and more paid conversions (that is, sales) as well as unpaid conversions (for example, free eBook downloads or newsletter subscribers).
While every content marketer’s journey to success is different, I can say that each business benefits from more engagement, whether it’s social media likes and shares or web traffic to your site.
The relevant type of engagement will depend on your overall content marketing goals, but likes, comments, shares, and mentions are all signs that your content efforts are working.
To recap, here’s how to use buyer personas and customer segments to increase engagement which will in turn increase conversions:
- Create buyer personas
- Identify customer segments
- Create targeted campaigns for each customer segment
Have you used customer personas successfully in your content marketing strategy? What advice would you add? Feel free to chime in below in the comments!
Megan Taylor is a content writer, marketer, and digital strategist. She loves making content that helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Megan owns Megan Taylor Creative, a creative content marketing agency in the UK. Megan Taylor Creative specializes in content writing, content strategy, and social media management. Follow Megan on Twitter and on Instagram.