November 26, 2020 | Sean Foo
Creating B2C content might sound easy – but does it resonate with your reader? Do your readers have a desire to share your article with their friends and family?
If your B2C content marketing efforts are falling flat and you aren’t predictably (and consistently) driving results, you aren’t creating content your readers care about.
And 9 out of 10 times, the main issue is a poorly defined B2C customer persona.
While you might believe that your product or service targets a big wide group of prospects – there is a core group of fans that adore your brand, these are the people your content has to appeal to.
Think of Apple, while their products are being used almost everywhere and by people from age 8 to 80, their brand specifically speaks to a group of customers who value creativity, style and aesthetics as much as function.
If you want your content marketing efforts to really shine, you’ll need to effectively define your B2C customer personas.
A B2C buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. It represents an entire consumer group of your brand and allows you to dive deep into understanding what makes them tick.
A well-defined B2C buyer persona allows you to step into their shoes and essentially, experience life as your customer.
You’ll better understand how they think and feel.
You’ll see what motivates them as well as the challenges they face every day.
You’ll understand what influences them in their decision making.
All this allows you to tailor content that is important to them and cover topics that really resonate with them on a personal and deep level.
When marketers speak of B2C content, the terms ‘brand awareness’ and ‘multi-channel approach’ gets thrown around.
While for B2B content, you’ll soon realize that the goal of the content is to get visitors into a sales funnel where the content pieces are strictly segregated into awareness, consideration and decision-making phases.
Why is this so?
In B2C marketing, you are engaging the consumer directly. He or she can immediately make the final purchase decision.
However, in B2B marketing, you are trying to convince a company or business to buy your solution. That involves a group of people in an organization that will have to decide if your product is a good fit or not.
In fact, there is an average of 5 to 7 people involved in most B2B buying decisions – and that means longer sales cycles and more complex convincing is required.
Here are 3 differences between B2C and B2B prospects that you’ll need to remember when crafting your buyer personas.
If you are in the B2B space, it is very likely that a big proportion of your content is establishing thought leadership in your industry or space.
This allows prospects to immediately acknowledge your authority and accelerate more towards the consideration and evaluation phase of the sales funnel.
But in the B2C world, your customers largely care more about their immediate needs being satisfied and the emotions the brand delivers such as status, security, excitement and freedom.
When your main goal is to drive brand awareness and get in front of your customers, B2C companies can tackle a variety of channels to reach their audience. This can include:
However, for B2B content marketing, marketers will have to look for highly relevant and targeted channels to focus their efforts on as the quality of the viewership is more important than the quantity.
A B2B company selling an accounting software SaaS solution might get more eyeballs doing sponsored content or advertising on publications such as the New York Times, but the quality of readership won’t be targeted.
However, the same resources if put into Google search marketing (such as blog content or search advertising) will likely pull in more qualified leads that will translate to sales.
Ever wondered why B2B content marketing seems to always revolve around in-depth white papers, hour-long webinars and case studies?
While B2C content is more skewed towards social media posts, real-time videos and user-generated content?
This is because B2C customers connect and engage differently compared to B2B buyers.
They want to be entertained, they want to learn, they want to engage with the brand and only buy once they are ready (or when there is a need to).
However, for most B2B buyers, the format of the content is all about putting up a logical case that convinces them your solution is the right choice for their business.
They all have issues and challenges they face every day – and they want it to be solved.
A sales manager’s biggest headache might be motivating his sales team to perform better, while a stay-at-home mom’s challenge could be the lack of adult interaction.
All these are issues that need help or guidance.
This is where crafting a solid buyer persona comes into play. It helps you uncover topics, regardless of the format (blog posts or video), that you should cover to attract the right type of prospects you want and better connect with them.
Content marketing is all about delivering value and tackling issues that your audience cares about.
And with your B2C buyer persona on hand, you’ll be able to develop a content strategy that maximizes your audience reach as well as boost conversions on your website and landing pages.
A well-crafted buyer persona will allow you to:
One of the biggest challenges of B2C content marketing is casting a wide net in the right direction – one that captures the right audience by going after the right keywords & topics.
It seems simple right?
After all, there are a near-limitless number of topics with significant search volumes that might seem like perfect opportunities to create content about.
You just need to create as much content that informs, entertains, inspires and answers questions right?
But that is far from the case.
The topics you decide to cover have to fulfil a set of key criteria that includes:
Take Barkpost for example – it is the official blog of BarkBox, a monthly subscription service that provides dog products and services to dog owners.
With a clearly defined B2C buyer persona, BarkBox is able to create content that their customers (and prospects) care about.
As well as narrowing down to key topic categories, such as ‘dog training’, to identify highly relevant topics that are a good fit for their brand that their ideal customers are actively searching for.
Your B2C buyer persona will help you find out where your audience is hanging out – which is where you’ll want to distribute your content or advertise.
Whether that be through sponsored content posts on niche lifestyle blogs or targeting specific hobbies and interest groups via Facebook ads.
A well-defined buyer persona will shed light on:
For example, OCBC bank reaches their ideal prospects to promote their Robo-Advisor product by publishing a sponsored article on MoneySmart, a highly popular personal finance blog where people keen on investing & saving money get advice and information from.
Ah yes, the holy grail of B2C marketing – crafting a piece of content that gets shared and goes viral, driving massive brand awareness.
While creating viral content can’t necessarily be controlled, you can increase the odds of your content being shared by your reader to their friends and family.
By knowing the values and motivations of your buyers, you’ll be able to create content that really resonates with them.
Like how Red Bull has consistently scored home-runs with many of their branded content videos, like the ‘Last Call For Jason Paul’ video that captured the essence of the brand and spirit of their ideal customers – adventure, freestyle sports and overcoming limits.
It’s so successful that on their Facebook page alone, it has been shared over 75,000 times and on YouTube, the video has been viewed over 140 million times!
Creating your B2C buyer persona goes beyond just casual brainstorming, it requires a set of steps to flesh out who your ideal customer really is.
It’s all about understanding your buyers’ deepest motivations, how they lead their lives every day and what (or who) influences their purchasing decisions.
Here’s our four-step guide to help you define your customer persona from scratch with examples to guide you through the process.
Your customer demographics is simply a broad statistical overview of the group they belong to – simply put, the basic information to identify them that includes:
Your customer psychographics, however, involves classifying them based on their activities, habits, interests, opinions and values just to name a few.
While your customer demographics give the dry facts about a person’s age (for example a 22-year-old female), psychographics will highlight the fact that she has just graduated and is about to enter the workforce and is nervous about securing a position.
Crafting your buyer demographic and psychographic profile provides a quick snapshot of your ideal customers, allowing you to view them collectively as a unique group of individuals sharing common traits and interests.
Your buyer (or audience) empathy map is a framework chart that allows you to be in the shoes of your customers, allowing you to truly understand them as much as possible.
This chart will help you truly understand what your customers want, their needs and most importantly, what influences them!
A well thought out empathy map will cover six core areas that your ideal customer experiences every day and essentially guides their actions.
Let’s go through each one and start fleshing out your customer persona to better understand them.
Every day, your buyer is walking around with a ton of thoughts and emotions that are swirling inside them and as content marketers, our job is to identify these feelings and relate them to our product offerings.
The key here is to link them to the right context of the industry and business you are in.
Let’s take Martin (our gamer buyer persona) and identify the key things he is thinking and feeling that’s relevant to us.
Every day your buyer is being exposed by opinions, thoughts and advice. These can be from family and friends to blogs and influencer YouTube channels.
While these can seem trivial, no one is truly 100% independent and are influenced by what they hear daily.
Understanding the content and location of where they get their information is key for you to understand the type of content you’ll have to create and where to effectively distribute them.
While your buyer is influenced by the people in his immediate social circle, publications and influencers that he voluntarily seeks out, there is a whole host of external influences and things they see naturally as they go about their daily life.
Understanding this allows you to understand the various factors that affect their purchasing decision and what the various content types that will best suit their lifestyles.
One of the most important components of your buyer empathy map is understanding what exactly they are saying or behavior when it comes to:
Do pay attention to their attitude in public and how they also interact with other people, as it will determine the way you should market to them.
You’ll want to understand his actions when it comes to everything related to the activity (gaming in this instance) and the common stereotypes (and misconceptions) surrounding the products and services in your niche.
Every buyer has an end goal (or a set of goals) they are trying to achieve in their life as well as those related to your offerings.
Here are four things to note:
Depending on how broad your offerings are, you can list down categories of wants and needs of your buyer.
One good example is if you are a bank offering a new savings account and you’re targeting young working adults – you’ll have many buckets of wants & needs to consider.
However, for our gaming example, we choose to focus it directly on the wants and needs of our ideal buyer related to the gaming industry and our offerings.
This allows us to get hyper-specific and define what really matters to them, allowing us to better formulate the exact content topics to produce and cover.
Each one of your buyer personas will have their own personal fears and obstacles are the blocking from reaching their goals.
This can be something as simple as a working-mum struggling with a lack of time and having anxiety about their child’s education.
Or as simple as a school kid fearing judgement from her circle of friends for not looking cool or hip enough in her dress sense.
Knowing their fears and pains will allow you to tailor your messaging and content angles to pre-emptively address these issues.
One of the most challenging parts of crafting a B2C buyer persona is getting the information.
After all, unlike B2B customers, there isn’t an online profile like LinkedIn where you can simply look them up.
You’ll have to go search in key areas that will give you the most insight at scale – here are 4 ways to gather the information.
While surveys might seem rather cliche, it is actually one of the best ways to quickly understand your paying customers at scale and map out their wants and needs.
A great way to get started with a survey is to check if their tastes and preferences are changing and get a feel for what kind of offers they are being exposed to by the competition.
You can ask questions such as:
The key here is to build a map (or update it) with the common personality traits of your current paying customers to attract more of the same when you are planning your marketing activities.
Two great tools you can use to run your surveys are SurveySparrow and the good ol’ Survey Monkey.
While it is quite physically impossible to sit down with each of your ideal customers and engage them in an honest conversation, the next best thing is to go where they hang out and be the fly on the wall.
That means spying on their conversations in places such as Facebook groups, Subreddits and even physical conventions. Best of all, you can start being part of the community by contributing to discussions and adding value.
This will allow you to gather the highest number of quality responses and feedback when the time comes for you to directly ask questions to the community.
Reddit is a great place to investigate the questions that people are asking – this allows you to immediately gain insight into the topics (and issues) that your prospects care about.
This will help you create targeted content. The more comments or engagement a question has, that means it is a hot topic and possibly a winner!
One of the most direct ways to understand your buyer’s persona is to check out the content your competitors are creating.
If you see a competitor brand that is already marketing to the customer you desire, put on your Sherlock Holmes cap and see which content is performing the best.
Let’s say I’m creating a money management app and one of my biggest competitors is Mint.
By looking at their blog, I immediately can understand the big topic categories they are creating content for.
I’ll be able to see that my ideal customer will probably want content that solves their challenges and information revolving around topics that include budgeting, early career and family finances.
And in order to learn which specific blog posts are driving the most traffic to the blog, I’ll simply use third party SEO tools such as Ahrefs to find their most popular content.
Right off the bat, I can spot four topics that I can create content around that will potentially drive me over 20,000 traffic visitors a month!
While competitor research is good and surveying your customers will provide insight, sometimes the best discoveries into the wants and needs of your buyers are by running market research on cold traffic.
This is also a great avenue if you don’t have a current customer base or are trying to break into new market segments.
And a great way to do so is to spend some money and run paid ad campaigns on platforms such as Facebook or Google search.
However, to run these campaigns effectively, you’ll need to have sufficient skill in creating engaging ads and targeting the right audience or keywords.
But if you are a brand with a significant marketing budget, paid ads allow you to test your content at scale with multiple audience types across different interests and habits.
Pay attention to the content that gets the most engagement in terms of comments and shares, and you might have identified a core group of potential buyers you might have overlooked.
Just remember to use the exact same ad when doing the campaign to ensure the only different variable being tested is the target audience themselves!
When it comes to B2C content marketing, it is likely you’ll be creating at least 3 to 5 customer personas as a start.
While this will serve as guides to better aid your content creation process, you’ll want to dress them up and transform all the information you have collected into beautiful visualizations.
They can be as direct, minimalistic or as colorful as you want! The key here is to turn them into full real-life profiles of your ideal buyer and view them holistically as a person.
Personally, I prefer utilizing a minimalistic approach and use UserForge to get the job done.
However, if you want something more vibrant, be sure to check out other persona creation tools such as HubSpot or UXPRESSIA to get the job done.
Congratulations on crafting your B2C buyer persona, but wait, it isn’t over!
You’ll need to understand how to effectively use them to drive in the targeted traffic you’ll want.
Here are 5 ways to transform your content marketing strategy utilizing your brand new set of buyer personas!
Creating content is easy, but can you create a theme to your content that resonates with your buyer’s wants, needs and desires?
Using your buyer persona, you’ll be able to effectively utilize the content cluster strategy to find big issues or key topics that matter to your ideal customer – and then create content around that master topic.
This is known as the content cluster strategy and it works wonders for not only fully tackling a problem and leaving no stone unturned, you’ll rank for multiple long-tail keywords on Google, allowing you to build up topical relevancy, rank higher for the master keyword and bring in even more traffic!
Let’s say I’m selling dog food and I discover that training an obedient dog is one of the challenges my customers face on a daily basis.
This allows me to establish ‘dog training’ as a key content pillar and create smaller pieces of content around it (it could be a blog post or a YouTube video) to really address key concerns and details surrounding the main topic.
While your tone of voice embodies the personality and values of your brand, you’ll want to also utilize your buyer persona to really determine if it is suitable or a mismatch.
Will your tone of voice be upbeat with a touch of humour? Or will it be blunt and straight to the point?
It’ll largely depend on what kind of messaging your customer is being exposed to on a daily basis as well as their personalities – that’s where your buyer’s empathy map comes into play.
Take Netflix’s homepage, for example, the tone of voice and copy here is straight to the point.
They know that their customers want things fast, sweet deals and no-nonsense kind of communications and they tailor their sales copy with the right tone of voice.
While Steinway’s tone of voice and copy on their webpage focuses more on the experience – utilizing highly descriptive language, taking their time to describe the heritage and quality of their pianos.
This is because they appeal to a more sophisticated audience where quality is key and understanding their purchase is important. After all, a single Steinway Piano can cost beyond $50,000!
How do you better influence your audience with your content?
How can you be sure your content connects and resonates with your base?
With the B2C buyer persona on hand, you can start framing your content in the context that you want your reader to understand it through.
Take the search results for the keyword ‘Trump Tax Cuts’, and we get a whole host of articles that cover essentially the same topic: Donald Trump’s Tax Cuts, but the context is different for each of them.
Bloomberg’s article below frames Trump’s tax cuts in a narrative that shows it was overall beneficial for the nation.
The narrative has already been decided by picking key facts and showcasing them to the reader.
While this article by CBS news wants the viewer to take a more balanced and objective view. It lays down the facts and subtly requests the reader to decide for themselves.
By knowing what resonates with your buyer, you’ll be able to create quality content and be able to frame almost any topic into one that your reader loves.
Take Quiksilver’s YouTube video, Truffle Pigs, while they could easily create a standard showreel shoot of snowboarding enthusiasts gliding down the Alaskan mountains, they decided to weave a narrative that their audience identifies with and values.
The spirit of adventure, friendship and exploration.
And when your content is done right, your audience will naturally show their appreciation and engage with your brand.
And that is what content marketing is all about.
One of the most challenging types of content in B2C (and in B2B for that matter) is content that gets your prospects to take action.
Content that convinces them that your product is suitable to solve their specific challenges and is a worthy purchase.
A great way to accomplish this is to utilize tailored customer testimonials. You can do this by going through your buyer personas and list down:
And then find the customers that best fit the profile and create a testimonial that touches on each of those points.
Which is exactly how SweatBlock does, with in-depth customer testimonial videos, to help move their prospects along the decision phase towards the sale.
Now that you have a content plan on hand and your list of hot topics are ready, which platform do you create content on?
Is it good to start a blog on your own website and go after traffic from Google?
Maybe it’s smarter to create YouTube videos and build your online brand there?
Well, it all depends on where your ideal customer is consuming their content from and where they are searching for answers.
Here are some questions to ask yourself together with your buyer personas:
Take BarkBox for example, this dog-treat subscription service dominates their niche by creating content where their audience is such as Facebook and Instagram.
While they do have a blog, their most updated content comes from their social media channels where they can get instant feedback, engagement and shares from their audience.
BarkBox understands that the best content for their business (and their audience) are the pictures of pets taken by their owners enjoying the treats & toys from their product – and they cleverly utilizes this user-generated content on their Instagram page.
Allowing them to utilize the full power of the platform to drive massive brand exposure. That includes tagging the owners, communities, using targeted hashtags and allowing their content to be shared to the Instagram community at large.
With your B2C buyer personas, you’ll also uncover the influencers that your buyers turn to for advice, entertainment and to help them with their decision-making.
Understanding this, it’s no surprise that BarkBox partners with content creators on YouTube to get the brand out through sponsored videos and bundling in attractive offers for their subscribers.
Sure, creating B2C content is all about creating valuable content that entertains, excites and educates – but it has to be done at scale.
Whether you are selling a $5 pack of candy or a $50,000 car, you want to drive brand awareness as much as possible – and that will require a set of well-defined buyer personas.
Not only will you understand exactly the topics to cover and the format of content to create, you’ll be able to identify the best avenues to distribute the content.
Here’s an example of how to craft your B2C persona that includes a full empathy map.
We’ve removed any fancy visualization or graphics so that you can focus on the content of the persona profile and what a well-defined one looks like.
Let’s say you are an athletics wear company that sells surfing gear and Michael is one of your ideal customers.
“Surfing is my life. I want to push the boundaries and catch the biggest waves and see if I have what it takes to compete. I know I’m not currently at the pro level and I want to do what it takes to improve my surfing skills.”
Age Range: 18 – 24
Marital Status: Single
Education Level: High School – Bachelor’s Degree
Earning Potential: Up to $30,000 annually
Location Of Residence: Coastal cities such as Miami and Virginia Beach
Michael is a college student who always had a love for swimming and the beach. He picked up surfing as a young kid at 16 and has been practising every weekend ever since.
Michael loves to compete and achieve new heights in his everyday life (not just surfing). From his school work to looking for a career, he is always on the move and looking to meet people, not just hang out with his same old group of friends.
While he might not be very financially well-off, he comes from a middle-class family and does part-time jobs to fund his purchases and would rather spend more on quality than quantity.
This where we seek to understand and experience what Michael goes through in this day to day life.
– Always seek the next big thrill, something to constantly challenge him
– Choosing between his professional career path and his growing interest in surfing
– Juggling his time between studies, work and surfing
– How to maintain his fitness amidst his busy schedule
– How to stretch his dollar even further so that he can spend his time on activities he loves
– Opinions and views from his surfing team at school & outside school
– Discussions with his friends on cool and exciting places to travel for the holidays
– Stories from his favorite podcasts like Joe Rogan and David Goggins about self-improvement
– Ads from surfing brands (such as Quiksilver) popping up on his favorite YouTubers’ videos
– The opinions and content about surfing from his favorite influencers on social media
– He sees his friends wearing the latest gear, from surf gear to the latest iPhone
“As a student, I’m always on the move and I invite my close friends to social events and my sporting buddies to go surf on the weekends. I don’t really live on a schedule and I’m more of a spur of the moment guy.
When I’m not actively working, studying or surfing, I’m learning about travelling. More specifically, where can I catch the perfect wave in countries such as Brazil and Australia.
Currently as a student, budget is definitely an issue but I am willing to sacrifice and save up for things that I really want and care about.”
– He wants to travel the world and visit at least 10 countries before he graduates
– He desires to participate in the USA surfing championships at least once (and win)
– He would like to film his travels and catching that perfect wave
– He secretly wants to become an influencer and build an audience that will help him build a career on what he loves to do (surf and teach surfing).
– He fears being stuck in the corporate world working for money in a job he doesn’t particularly care for.
– Not having enough finances to travel the world and explore new cultures and surf.
– Not having enough time to graduate and staying an additional year to complete his studies.
– Not being able to attend surf meets during to the current pandemic restrictions (missing out on meeting new people & learning in real-life new surfing techniques)
And voila! There you have it, a full B2C buyer persona crafted from scratch.
Using this, you’ll be able to flesh out an effective content marketing campaign (as well as other parts of your marketing) to effectively speak to buyers like Michael and turn them from a prospect to a loyal customer & fan.
While the benefits of content marketing are undeniable, they can only be fully accomplished when you start the process right by having a set of well-defined buyer personas.
If your brand needs help with your customer personas or your entire content strategy, we can help!
Just contact us here and we’ll get in touch.