With the average Internet user seeing #1. Getting to Know Your Audience When you create the voice for your content, whether it is for your blog posts, social media updates, email newsletters, etc. it’s important to speak to one person: your buyer persona. Who is your target customer? Go beyond demographics like age, gender, income, marital status, and geographic location. Think about things like: living situation, their career, and any other details that may impact whether or not they buy from you. Now go even deeper. Are they an impulse buyer, or are they someone who conducts extensive research before making a purchase? What problem are they trying to solve? How would they describe the problem? How does your product or service solve it? What do their values look like? Where are they spending their time online? What publications do they read? What shows do they watch? With these notes and details in hand, craft your buyer persona, as if they were a real person. It’s okay to have more than one, if your product or service has several distinct types of people who are interested in it. Then, go to the communities where your buyers are online and pay attention to what’s going on there. If you’ve already got an existing customer base, look at all the available data to find common trends. You may discover a buyer persona you didn’t know you had. Or, you may discover your buyer persona isn’t at all who you thought it would be. In either case, adjust your messaging accordingly. #2. Blending Customer Stories with Your Personal Brand Story People love stories, and when you craft yours the right way, you’ll be selling your products and services without directly selling. Start by focusing on your buyer persona, and what you’d want them to know about you. Put the desire to make money aside for a second, and think about what you do, who you do it for, and why you do it. What motivated you to start the company? What emotions can you draw on? Once you’ve crafted your story, think about how you can tell it in a way that resonates with your buyer persona. Avoid jargon they won’t understand. Speak to them the way they would speak to you. Create a conversation, if you will. Weaving in the customer story can’t just be, “Jane bought our product X years ago and uses it every day! She loves it because X, X, and Y.” That’s still blatant selling. To truly weave the customer’s story into your own, make them the star of the show. Show, don’t tell, prospects. Reach out to loyal customers, and ask for their stories, photos, and videos featuring your product. If you don’t have any loyal customers yet, make your buyer persona feel as if they are part of your story. Dove has been doing this with marketing campaigns for a while now – with both the Campaign for Real Beauty, and the Choose Beautiful project. Using real women from all over the world, they work to destroy the stereotypes and definitions of beauty as seen in the media. They showcase these women and highlight their beauty in various ways. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DdM-4siaQw[/youtube] #3. Tips to Help You Connect with Your Audience Establish expertise. Remember, your audience is looking to you as an expert. Provide information to support your case, whatever it may be. Back everything up with resources where they can find more information. Provide insights they can’t get anywhere else, especially your competition. Use emotion. Humans love to relate, so whenever possible, use emotion to create a connection to your audience. Evoke emotion with imagery, speaking directly to your customer’s pain points, and by changing your angle on a particular subject. Use positive emotions where possible, as these have been shown to have a more “viral” effect. Pandora, as part of a Mother’s Day marketing campaign to “celebrate the woman in your heart” and demonstrate the bond between mother and child gathered six women and their children. The children were blindfolded and led to the group, and then asked to identify their mothers. As viewers watch, they’re overcome with emotion as children use their other senses to locate their mothers, and experience joy when they realize each of the children was able to find their mothers. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRoqk_z2Lgg[/youtube] Ask questions. Make people think. Spark debate. Ask about experiences with your company, products, and services. If there’s a hot-button issue your audience wants to know your thoughts about, give it to them and ask if they agree. Whenever you ask a question, the answers you get provide insight into what your customers want from you. For example, responses may indicate that your customers need a bit more guidance, so now you know you’ll need to produce a blog post, eBook, or video about the particular topic. Responses may give you ideas about what additional features you could add to your products and services to keep customers happy and coming back for more. #4. Video Marketing: Tying it All Together Video marketing allows your business to not only connect with your audience but gives you a more interesting way to tell your brand story. Other content methods do the trick, of course, but video adds audio and visual elements to create a more engaging experience for the user. 92.6% of shoppers say visuals are the most influential factor on their purchasing decisions, and 73% of customers are more likely to make a purchase after watching videos that explain a product or a service. Different types of video marketing are available to help you accomplish your end goal. An overview video, for instance, provides an overview of your business, telling your audience what you do, why you do it, and goes into the value of your services. A service video is like a mini-documentary to emotionally connect with your clients through your value. Case studies or testimonial videos let you show prospects how pleased others have been with your company. Video biographies share who you are, your background, and your experience. Video pages are designed to highlight a particular service or set of services, to establish authority and expertise. Video blog posts, or vlogs, are short videos designed for use on your blog and social media platforms. Even businesses on a budget can benefit from using video marketing in their sales funnel. Video marketing is a rising trend, as 75% of B2C marketers and 92% of B2B marketers include video in their marketing strategy. By 2018, video is projected to represent 79% of all Internet traffic. When you know your audience, you know the right way to tell your story. With the right delivery, you can see an increase in conversion rates, sales, and profits. 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