Expert Influencer & Buyer Persona Tips from a Digital Marketing Entrepreneur
“Marketing is telling the world you’re a rock star.
Content marketing is showing the world you are one.”
– Robert Rose, content marketing guru, and author
A more accurately descriptive name for the Planet Earth we find ourselves inhabiting today would surely be “Planet Google.” So endemically ingrained now in our daily existence, this importance placed on the digital world, and our increasing reliance upon living our lives in such a way, has never been greater, and that’s not going to change any time soon.
Let me give you an example. A rather jaw-dropping one at that. Back in 2014, according to eMarketer, your typical U.S. citizen interacted with some form of media for a total of around 12¼ hours every day. Now read that again… Yes, the average U.S. citizen. 12¼ hours. Every single day.
If the average person sleeps 8 hours a night, that means over 75% of their waking hours are spent in the marketplace. Our culture of consumerism, certainly ever-present on dear old Planet Google, clearly now has the largest marketplace. In the world: Ever. Now pick your jaw up.
Yes, Planet Google – a marketer’s dream. Each day, and every day. Makes you think, doesn’t it?
My name is Andy Macia, and I’m a continually successful digital marketing entrepreneur. So surely, you ask, being successful when you have such an amazingly large captive audience is a given, no? Hmmm… No. Slight problem – you’re not alone. Every other marketer on the planet has the same, identical captive audience. So how can you be truly successful in the digital marketplace?
Put simply, the successful are the ones who know who they’re speaking to. Are they speaking to Tom, self-employed plumber and NFL fanatic from Dogtown, Alabama, or Vanessa, a highly respected, highly successful neurosurgeon from LA? Yes, successful marketers know who Tom and Vanessa are, but, more importantly, they know what differentiates them.
Influencer Personas & Buyer Personas
The secret is this – personas. Open your dictionary (and I know you won’t do that – you’ll type the word in a search engine, followed by “def”), and you’ll see this definition of the word persona:
“The aspect of someone’s character that is presented to or perceived by others.”
In other words, know the people in the marketplace, and know their personas. Some of the personas that exist in the digital world actually influence the purchasing decisions of others, while some are happy just to spend, spend, and spend again. People who influence – influencer personas, and people who buy – buyer personas, living together in relative, consumer-driven harmony on Planet Google.
Now, let’s introduce the subject of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which just happens to be my chosen field in the world of entrepreneurship. As a successful digital marketing entrepreneur, the complexities of SEO, and creating strategies that utilize SEO to the max, are my bread and butter, so to speak.
This is fundamentally why:
Every specifically-tailored search engine optimization strategy needs to begin by establishing the type of influencer personas and the buyer personas you wish to reach; those who influence the buying decision, and those who will invariably buy the product. It’s the basic first step; if this step isn’t taken, you are throwing your marketing campaign budget to the wind. And it will always blow away. It always does.
Identifying such personas determines who exactly your content creation and backlink generation is going to be targeting. It dictates the type, tone and language of the content, and how that content is best distributed, and through which channels.
What is a Buyer Persona?
Let’s look first at buyer personas, the people who are actually going to part with their hard-earned dollars, and invest in your product or service. The buyer persona can be defined as “research-based archetypal (modeled) representations of:
- who buyers are
- what they are trying to accomplish
- what goals drive their behavior
- how they think
- how they buy, and
- why they make buying decisions”
You can add more meat to the bone by also asking further questions that address their location, hobbies, and sports, income, lifestyle, to name but a few. The clearer the picture you build up, the clearer the strategy you ultimately devise.
What is an Influencer Persona?
The SEO influencer persona is quite a different representation. These people aren’t going to buy the product themselves (they may do later, however); what these people are going to do is affect how far your content is spread online, and to the type of people it is spread to. They will surely have a say in its success.
In essence, influencers are those who can spread targeted content with just one simple link on their website. By placing this link, they create a much bigger audience who will view your content, but they’ll also increase the volume of traffic that comes to your website, thus giving your website a high authority backlink.
There’s your theory. Now let’s look at how that pans out in practice with a real-life example.
Real-Life Case Study: FoodHeavenMadeEasy.com
Meet Jessica and Wendy, both professional, registered dieticians, and the proud owners of FoodHeavenMadeEasy.com, a blog sharing their expert advice on nutrition and health. Their audience? Predominantly female, who are looking to eat healthier, and who like to try out new recipes.
Their target influencers – high authority sites to place their content, and informed audiences to disseminate it – were online enterprises such as BuzzFeed.com. Jessica and Wendy were tasked with selling an article idea to BuzzFeed and then creating the article content. Their choice? How to Eat Healthy For a Week with just $50. Take a look – it’s supremely good content.
Jessica and Wendy saw their site traffic enjoy a 350% increase, from 20,000 visitors a month to over 70,000 and realized a far higher Domain Authority, then up to 37. Furthermore, and this was the icing on the cake for them (not exactly nutritious or healthy, but you get my point), BuzzFeed asked them to contribute regular content to their site – they’ve since published more articles with them. So how come did that one article work out so well, so beautifully…?
The “Three E’s”
Jessica and Wendy’s article did everything that all good content needs to do to attract influencer personas – it provided the “Three E’s.” These are:
- To Engage: Create a conversation with the people that see the content.
- To Equip: Give those people reasons to talk about the content and, ultimately, the product, and
- To Empower: Provide easy ways for those people to share the content throughout social media.
Understand the persona of an influencer, and the 3 E’s can successfully target the desired audience directly through the content.
Can You Have Multiple Buyer & Influencer Personas?
In short? Absolutely.
Everybody’s different. Every buyer persona can be found in a target audience; however, their individual circumstances and consumer needs can vary greatly. The same goes for influencer personas- they, too, can vary greatly given their personal interests, preferences, and motivations.
The Marketing Power, Potential & Importance of Personas
“Without quantified buyer personas, you may as well set your revenue on fire.”
– Andrew Gierer, Chief of Staff of “Price Intelligently”
“It’s what makes your buyers tick and what makes your influencers click.”
– Andy Macia, digital marketing entrepreneur (yes, me – all the time to clients)
Short and sweet. Highly-targeted content creation can only be possible and be truly effective when personas have been determined and developed. Once that has been done, the world, or, more appropriately, your target audience is your oyster. By not understanding the needs, motivations, and interests of those within the audience, the target will be missed.
Would you like to know just how important your influencer personas are? Well, remember this?
The Ice Bucket Challenge of not-so-long-ago? Undoubtedly, a viral phenomenon. It provided staggering statistics for a social media-empowered event. Of the 4 million-odd tweets that used the #IceBucketChallenge hashtag, 69.3% were retweets. Put another way, word-of-mouth. That’s the power of your influencers.
Its creator was Pete Frates, an ex-professional European baseball player diagnosed with ALS (better known perhaps as Lou Gehrig’s disease). Frates knew that in order to reach maximum awareness of the disease, he had to get to major influencers involved. When he heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge from a friend in 2014, he challenged various major influencers via social media.
Before long, recording yourself dumping an ice-cold bucket of water over your head in the name of ALS, and then challenging three of your friends to do the same, was the thing to do. Even President Obama was challenged (who, sadly, didn’t take the challenge, but did still donate to the charity). However, many famous faces around the world were more than happy to do the challenge.
What was the SEO result? According to Time.com, by August of 2015, the ALS Association had raised over $115 million in donations, and I’m assuming it’s a lot more now.
Know Your Audience…
Ignoring the power of both the buyer and influencer personas in an SEO strategy is 100% fatal for any marketing strategy, here on Planet Google.
Dismiss either one of them even, that same result is inevitable. However, if you can utilize both to not only reach your target audience, but, in fact, to constantly grow that audience, the longer-term success of your product or service, and therefore, your business, will be assured. Never forget – great content creation and quality link generation are inextricably linked to personal identification.