If you don’t understand your customers, your content will consistently fall flat. Ouch. That was harsh, but it’s the reality of content marketing. Your customers are bombarded by media and messaging all day, which makes it hard for your content to stand out from the crowd. When you develop a deep understanding of your customers through self-reflection and research, you gain the edge over competition.
Build your understanding from the ground up.
When you build a house, construction doesn’t stop once the walls and roof are done. You still need to add insulation, carpeting, lighting – the components that make a house robust and livable. The same is true about understanding your customers.
Like building a house, it’s hard work to understand your customer. But the best way to begin this process is deceptively simple: just ask! Use social media and digital channels to gather intelligence in three ways:
- Pose questions on social media and email. Ask questions in organic posts or use poll options to understand your customers. Email past customers a survey link to ask why they bought your product or service and how you helped solve their problem.
- Listen actively. Discover what your audience is really saying about you. Frequently monitor your social media mentions, comments, and shares.
- Gather reviews. Uncover customers’ past experiences with your business by asking for and reading reviews on sites like Google, Yelp, or Amazon, depending on your business offerings.
For The Inn at Herrington Harbour, our team created a word cloud from the boutique resort’s online reviews to capture which words were most commonly used. What we uncovered was intriguing: guests favored the resort’s private beach over any other feature.
Our client knew many characteristics of their guests already, but we built a deeper understanding of guest preferences that became a key component of their marketing. The private beach is featured heavily throughout the site in visuals and dedicated pages.
The three action points above will lead you in the right direction of understanding your customers’ preferences, habits, and needs. Now, let’s take this a step further.
Identify pain points and opportunities.
Ask yourself these questions about your customers:
- What problems are they trying to solve?
- What information do they often seek out? Is any of it hard to find?
- How are their behaviors and preferences evolving?
- What gaps exist in their lives?
If you stopped trying to understand your customers at the demographic level with aspects like age, location, race, and occupation, this is akin to living in a house with no electricity: it isn’t complete. While demographics are helpful, they aren’t your customers’ full story.
In order to form connection and deep understanding, you have to uncover their needs, habits, and motivations, then create authentic content.
For the Inn at Herrington Harbour, we discovered that the location was an easy drive from three major cities. This made it a great “weekender” destination for couples and families seeking a quick getaway.
Knowing this behavior, we created an Experience section of the site with content categorized by lifestyle interests (not features or benefits), to encourage road trippers to explore the region during their stay. This content has great SEO value as well because it’s aligned with searchable phrases like, “Romantic Getaways at Chesapeake Bay”.
Now that it’s clear how important it is to deeply understand your customers, let’s explore why authenticity is important in content creation.
Rise above the noise genuinely.
It’s estimated* that people spend almost 7 hours a day consuming content. Your customers’ attention is being pulled in a thousand directions a minute and if you aren’t providing valuable content, someone else will be there to fill in the gap.
Specific, valuable content rooted in a deep understanding of your customers will draw them in. It’s also helpful to understand your WHY, or your core purpose. At Muse, we practice a message-first approach to content creation where your WHY is at the center. Authentic, inspired messaging is an emotional pull that builds customers’ trust and confidence.
An important aspect to note is that your customers are smart – they can easily sniff out when you aren’t being genuine. Take a look at how you can easily bake authenticity into your content.
Reflect on your WHY.
Why do you do what you do? Revisit what motivated you to begin your business, then put yourself in your customers’ shoes and imagine what you would want if you were them.
When you pair the answers to the questions outlined above with research and self-reflection, you will deliver value to your customers. This process helps you choose better topics to create content around and aligns customer interest with your WHY, giving you authority status. Deeply understanding your customer will support your core business goals, no matter what they are.
Are you ready for a partner to help you create better content and understand your customers? Contact our team today.
About the Author
Megan Factor is a Content Manager at Muse and a passionate creator, both professionally and personally. She developed her content marketing skills working in a wide range of industries and pulls inspiration from her diverse experiences. Her keen eye for design, penchant for writing, and love of good storytelling work together to create meaningful content that provides value to clients.
*Global Online Content Consumption Doubled in 2020, Forbes.com
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