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Become a Content-Mining Machine, Develop Buyer Personas & Start Creating The Perfect Content

In Conversation with Rebecca Dutcher

For this episode of Ecoffee with Experts, Matt Fraser hosted Rebecca Dutcher, Founder of RED66 Marketing. Rebecca lays out the process of creating a detailed buyer persona to formulate effective marketing strategies. Watch this episode for some deep insights.

Bad marketing is a problem because businesses don’t target the right customers and don’t get the right message that speaks to the target audience’s persona.

Rebecca Dutcher
Founder of RED66 Marketing
Hello everyone. Welcome to this week's episode of Ecoffee with Experts. I'm your host, Matt Fraser. And on today's show, I have with me, Rebecca Dutcher. Rebecca founded RED66 Marketing in 2016, after spending 15 plus years working for marketing agencies, with specialties in SEO and SEM, web development, branding, creative design, and integrated communications. Drawing on her wealth of experience, she provides her clients with a comprehensive and effective marketing approach. She was recently awarded the 2021 Alumni Award for Davenport University's Donald W Main School of Business. She is a frequent guest blogger and speaker at various Associations and Organizations. Rebecca, thanks so much for being on the show.

Thanks for having me. Happy to be here.

Yeah, happy to have you. So we had discussed talking about developing content, and how businesses and agencies can become a content mining machine for developing buyer personas and start creating the perfect content. In your opinion why is it important for businesses to have well-developed buyer personas?

Well, that’s the first thing we learned in marketing. You have to know what your target audience is and dig deep into establishing those buyer personas so that anything you create is geared to that buyer persona. We know who they are, what they look like, a sign, a name. We have their demographics, everything that we know what’s important to that buyer persona. So when you create a marketing piece, now, is it something that this person would find helpful, entertaining, or whatever we’re trying to accomplish.

So besides the things that you mentioned, are there any other components of a good buyer persona? Do you get down to the exact job description and how much money they make, what books they read, what magazines they read, what hobbies they like to do? The more detailed the persona, the more effective is what I'm trying to say or ask?

Oh, yeah, I think digging deep enough to create that persona enough to make good content and attract them, but don’t spend too much time creating it, that it’s so detailed that you’re never gonna find that person.

Oh, man, that's a good one.

Is it helpful or are we past that point of being helpful? Right now we run on EOS and they always talk about the 80/20 rule, like getting 80% of the way is better than trying to get to 100. Because that’ll take too long, then it won’t make that big of an impact.

Yeah, that is so smart. So what is the process you typically go through to develop buyer personas for clients?

We work with a lot of business-to-business marketing, or companies that sell to other businesses. So we sit down and talk to their sales team, and we talk to their customer service teams so we can get a good picture of who’s the sales team going after? What titles do they hold in these companies that they’re targeting? What responsibilities do they have? Where are they getting other information? And then on the service side, because usually, that can be a different person, who’s responsible then for purchasing is that accounting? Make sure that we understand that role, so that as we are creating content, whether it’s to retain or attract customers, we’re hitting on all those personas and giving them what’s important to them.

Yeah, that's interesting, because even though you're working with B2B businesses, and helping them to attract businesses that want to do business with them, there are still people that work for those companies that you're trying to think of who they are, and what their positions are and I'm pretty sure you could develop some pretty good personas around knowing that information?

Marketing, whether Yeah, you’re marketing to another business, but someone, a person still needs to make that decision. Someone influences that decision and someone needs to write the check at the end of the day. Marketing is all about people, the right people.

And you find it helpful to develop multiple personas for the company more than like a male and a female and different types of people in that regard?

Yes, I’m not sure if you know male, female is as important but you’re going to have it when we’re selling into another business or even marketing for ourselves. There are going to be several people that are involved in that decision-making process. If someone’s changing a supplier or a vendor, whether it’s marketing, whether it’s uniforms, whether it’s cleaning supplies, you’re going to have your main point of contact who’s going to be your user that might start looking and doing research because of pain with whoever they’re working with now, but they’re going to have a boss or someone that’s going to have to approve a PO or a vendor change. So is that facilities person? Is it a maintenance person? Is it a purchasing person? And so there you have those other influencers that can impact that buying decision.

And you mentioned something intriguing. For instance, you mentioned the pain. So, having a line item on the buyer persona, like do you use templates that include a pain point, like what is their pain point? Because even developing the problem agitate solve copywriting formula, could be used for that in regards to knowing what ads to write.

Right. Digital Marketing 101. What do most people go to Google for? Solve a problem.

Yeah, they're solving problems. They're looking for solutions on Google.

So when we think about who we’re marketing to, for ourselves, or for our client, who are we talking to? What’s causing them pain? What do they need to solve? And then how do we do it? That’s the content you try to put in front of them in a fun, entertaining, and engaging way.

Yeah, tell me about that. Like, how do you use the personas to formulate the marketing strategy?

Understanding, I mentioned we work with several uniform rental companies across the country. So we know, when we’re looking at their buyer personas, the salespeople are probably talking to a facility person, maybe a safety person, and a purchasing person. But no one wants to manage the uniform program at a company like it’s a pain in the butt. If you’re a supervisor, like, you don’t want to do it, you don’t want to deal with employees who talk about missing pants, like where’s my shirt, that kind of stuff. So one of the biggest things we know about missing garments, poor communication, and not upfront invoicing, those are the biggest pains across the industry. So as we’re creating our personas, and even the headlines and the content and things we do is like- tired of missing pants? You want to reach a person on the first phone call, or we have an app for wearers to monitor their delivery. And using technology and RFID chips, so we can account for what came back in. And that makes sure it goes out together so that they don’t have to manage their programs, it will manage it for you and empower your employees to manage it themselves. So let’s just take away that pain, because you have enough to do.

And you know that from the buyer persona? So that is fascinating in the fact that you know technology and RFID. I mean, there's a huge problem and you're finding out what that problem is based on the persona. And you guys have developed solutions, such as RFID chips, which is just amazing how technology is changing the world in that regard. Are there any other data points you find useful in developing personas?

Well, when we’re thinking about some of our E-commerce clients, getting into consumer certainly, and even some of our home service clients, yeah, thinking about are they homeowners? If we’re gonna sell homes, services, income, education, where they live, we know those clusters. Years ago, people talk about kids and cul-de-sacs and the soccer moms or what is their pickup trucks and shotguns and all these different clusters where like-minded people tend to live near each other. So you can target neighborhoods. So we certainly take those personality psychographics into account for that consumer marketing for sure. Because if we’re selling a home service, a window cleaner or a power washing. It’s got to be painful enough. They either don’t have time. So they’ve got money for it. So that we’re hitting the people where they’ll find the value of taking care of their home that way, but they don’t want to do it themselves. So yeah, it’s identifying their interests, their household income, and where they’re at in their lifestyle. Maybe an 18 to 25-year old that might be a new homeowner might and is not going to be ideal, but that 35 to 55, with kids in sports, that two household income, nice home at this value. They’re probably willing to pay the money to get it done because they don’t have time. So psychographics and things come into play.

And I guess the benefit of that is you have more effective outcome, more effective marketing because you're targeting who you know you want to target. You're not wasting ad spend on targeting people who don't own homes. Of course, you can't do that on Google. But I mean, in other facets, you can do that. Tell me about that a little bit, like how do you apply that knowledge to the targeting and in certain campaigns and channels like Google ads, or Facebook ads, or things like that?

Facebook ads and Instagram make it a little easier, because when you’re marketing services and things like that you can get- Are they a homeowner? Do they like this thing? So some of that profile data, if they share it, you can target them there. Google has the option for look-alike audiences. So when we have customer email lists, and we know who our customers are, they have a lot of data, some of the AI components in that machine learning that we start to look at what’s working, what’s not. We’ve started some new campaigns for one client, and we’re starting to look at the data. We’re hitting that 18 to 24 and we know that’s not right. So we’re going to exclude that for the next month and see if it allows our spending to go more to the right audience. Then we’re also looking at the days of the week because if our clients are in the office Monday through Friday, are we paying to get leads on Saturday, Sunday if no one’s there to respond? Do we save that budget for the week when someone is there? Do we staff someone just to respond to leads on the weekend because they could close more because nobody else is doing it? So looking at that data? Again, if you’re talking to busy parents, and homeowners about home services, odds are they’re talking about it on the weekend, and they’re on their phone on the couch, going to take care of it right now, kind of mindset. And the first to respond lead wins.

I know that from my days. Working not only as a salesperson in a car dealership but as a Marketing Director. So yeah, whoever responds to VAS is the lead like that data.

Fast enough without being creepy.

Yeah, without being creepy. The data that proves that I may not have the statistics off the top of my head, but in the automotive industry, the data that proves that is astounding. It's just astounding. And I assume it's across the board for different agencies.

I recall a sales presentation I did. If you respond within an hour or less you are 70% more likely to close that lead.

Yeah, we were on the minutes. Less than 15 minutes, like even less than five.

Oh, sure. Especially for business to consumers. Fastest response. That’s why now you’ve got like chats on the website. And you’ve got immediate responses and bots and AI that help everyone respond faster.

Sorry, it's almost like our entire society has gone ADD, but I don't think that's true. But it's just people's attention spans and demands for instant gratification, instant results have changed with the evolution of smartphones, I would say. Do you think that every business, for instance, you people may find this surprising, but I mentioned I worked for a car dealership as a Marketing Director and even the OEM. And I don't want to mention it there. No, not the largest car manufacturer in the world, but a significant player didn't have this data, and didn't have buyer personas for each of their vehicles. And it blew my mind away. And the General Manager of that particular dealership was at a mom-and-pop shop wasn't particularly interested and didn't see the value. But thought it was a complete waste of time. All he wanted, only gave a crap about was leads, leads, leads, leads. It's like, well, I can develop better leads if you give me the time to develop these personas, which I had all the data there. They have been in business for over 10 years under that name. And so the CRM data was extensive that I could pull the data out to find who those people were that were buying the entry-level vehicles and who was upgrading and what their pain points were, why they were upgrading from one vehicle to another or why they were getting one in the first place. And if I could go back, I would have pushed back a lot more on developing those personas and it just blows my mind away from that they didn't have those. So my question then, and what I'm trying to say is, how can a plumber, should every business have a buyer persona? And how do you overcome the resistance like the one that I was dealing with any tips on how to sell the need for a buyer persona development for businesses?

No, we work with a plumber. But whether it’s, again, the HVAC, you’ve got to know who makes a good customer and who doesn’t. So if it’s on your inquiry form or the type of service they’re requesting, your site’s out there and you’re generating leads, can we use the content as a filter for other ways to get the right person through to that customer? Because some people don’t want some types of jobs. So we’ll let the content be a filter. If it’s plumbing, we don’t want your leaky faucet-type calls we want. We want plumbing projects. So we are talking about bigger-scale projects.

So we are talking about bigger projects. So you let the content dictate that?

Yes. So do we advertise 24 Hour Emergency Plumbing Services on our Google My Business page, or do we look like a plumbing contractor? So again, understanding that audience and what they’re looking for. So your content can be a filter and if people were like, Oh, that’s not right for me. They’ll go elsewhere, where hopefully it is a better fit.

Well, tell me a little bit about that, about the important thing and how you develop content around buyer personas to me. You just mentioned something using content as a filter and I never even thought of that. But it's pretty interesting. So do you map out the customer journey based on the buyer persona? And then figure out what content pieces are we going to develop at the top of the funnel, informational problem-solving content, and then move down to possible quotes, offers and lead magnets, and things like that? Can you talk a little bit about that?

When we’re mapping out, knowing those buyer personas, and I mentioned, an LED lighting manufacturer that we worked with, well, they only sell to the trades. So they’re selling to lighting distributors, energy management companies, building property management companies, and selling to you and me that might need to buy a new fixture. So make sure a lot of our content is around, whether a manufacturer or supplier. Even though we have the online product catalog, it’s pretty, pretty clear who we sell to. If you’re looking for a bulb, here’s where to buy it. So getting them to inquire if they’re looking for pricing if they’re looking for inventory versus availability. You know what inventories are on hand, specification information, that type of information. And then when they get them in, whether they request information, request a quote, or run into someone at a trade show, our content calendar includes our email marketing, which is more of our lead nurturing content. So we are always thinking of our content. Top of funnel, increasing our search position for those keywords. But if someone already knows of us, we want to get them back to the site to find what’s valuable. So what are the key differentiators? Like why would you choose this LED manufacturer over others? Well, we have inventory on hand, we have customer service when we answer the phone, we have a better warranty than this company, this company, this company. So highlighting that more mid-funnel where they’re still in that consideration, decision-making process. So they’ve got that content to refer back to as well.

So the content is even based on the unique selling proposition and positioning of the business in the marketplace?

Yeah. And there’s some content you create just for current customers, right, just for existing customers. Does that go on your blog? Or should that just be an email to customers? Is that something we’ve provided a PDF that salespeople can send or customer service people can send to their customers? It’s a good touchpoint to work on that retention and a gentle reminder like Oh, I forgot you guys did that. You can help with that too. Little reminders, new product introductions, new services, those types of things.

In my mind there's so much content for this elite like they could be developing video content around products, video demonstrations, demonstrating the products and how the product works, and then testimonials from the customers that are based on the buyer persona.

Yeah, they have some fun customers that resell their products, so they’re a distributor. But they have some fun videos that are geared towards the consumer, especially with like color selectable lights and changing the colors on the outside of your home and things like that. Now our manufacturer will say that we have a whole product line of these products that are color selectable and that have the Bluetooth and the connectivity for sensors and technology, so that a distributor will buy that product from them, but then they can resell it to the consumer. So marketing contents are a little different.

Yeah, it all comes down to knowing the market and knowing your buyer persona. Are there any common mistakes marketers make when developing or avoid when developing buyer personas and when using them for targeting? Have you ever seen things you've learned from your extensive years of experience?

Good question. Well, assuming you know everything about the customer, or assuming they’re like you. Because sometimes I don’t think customers do that. Well, I wouldn’t. I’m like, we’re not talking to you. You already have a ton of information.

Yeah, this dealership owner that I worked for, he thought everybody was like him. He thought that all customers were like him. Are there any tools you recommend using? Like, what tools can people use? I think we've touched on some of them. And I don't mean to backtrack, I'm just this comes to my mind, like, the tools for developing buyer personas, are they specific in-house like, Okay, so let's use the CRM that's one they can use. You talked about the customer service and the sales department. But are there any other tools besides those three? Are there other templates that are valuable? I know you probably have your proprietary processes and templates only talk about that. But are there other resources in generality that you know of that you could say over the years you've discovered or care to share? And you can plea the fifth on this one if you want.

Yeah, there are tons of templates and resources out there. One thing that I like, and we’ve used it for several clients is looking at those, the axiom or the personick clusters. Not sure if you’re familiar with that. Everyone falls into one of these types of clusters. That’s where I mentioned, like the kids and cul-de-sac or pickups, and shotguns. Like-minded people live together or in near areas. So we took one example of how we’ve used those things is, you can take an existing customer list, and that information, and then we had some database work done to profile and look at what clusters these people fell in just because of the income, home value and where they live based on those zip codes. And then we can buy or rent lists of people that are just like them that fall in those clusters. So we don’t take the people that wouldn’t fit because you wouldn’t want to mail to an entire zip code. But we want those that look and act like our best customers.

And that's where it helps with direct mail. Like people think direct mail is dead. I don't think direct mail is dead personally.

No, I was touring one of our printers in town. They had a big open house last week. And they said their direct mail business through COVID went through the roof because people were home and more people were doing more targeted direct mail. And junk mail gets a bad rap. But if it’s junk, it will. If it’s targeted mailing and it’s relevant to the person then you’re gonna have a better ROI and better response rate. But we’re going to get those blanketed mailers that everyone from car dealers, for example, and there are others, we have seen, they are big, some are. Our son is 17. He’ll be a senior this year. So we’re starting to get direct mail from different colleges. So looking at the personalized experience, and some people use personalized URLs, there are QR codes and videos to get the kids now, but that has like a social media component. So they’re all integrated campaigns. Some direct mail we’ve done for customers, actually do neighbor mailings, so they might do a project in one home. And then they’ll mail to five people on either side of that home with a very specific mailing. Like your neighbor, just blah, blah, blah, just got this done, scan here to see the pictures or to learn more about it. So they’re very relevant.

I'm assuming you're talking about home renovations, maybe kitchen renovations? Landscaping?

Renovations, landscaping, window cleaning. I mean, power washing, you name it. You’ll see if someone’s treating the lawn, they’ve got their little flags out there. Those aren’t just for safety. Those are marketing opportunities, too, because people see them. They see the trucks. They see the flags.

I know one roofer who did a lot of business just from sticking lawn signs, roof finished by yada yada yada. Like, can you imagine if he put he put his phone number on there, but he imagines if you had a call to action on there, like with a QR code to scan or call to get your free report on seven mistakes to avoid before hiring a roofer or something like that, to get them into the funnel?

And door hangers, right?

Door hangers. Oh, bloody brilliant.

I know. We are going old school now. And homes are all probably built at around the same time. So they’re all, whether it’s HVAC, roofing, windows, landscaping, they’re all going to be very similar in age.

Therefore, if you know the demographics based on the buyer persona, you can target the right neighborhood, because you're targeting the right person? And therefore maximizing your ad spend. That's probably one of the benefits of developing buyer personas is it reduces costs and ad spend, and a better return on investment.

Yes. The original fore players were right, we’re all about the people, and the audience can’t forget that. And now with geofencing. And we look at what we can do with, again, Facebook ads. If I want to target homeowners 55 to 65, in this zip code that are interested in HGTV. That might be a very niche market. It does for marketing stuff. Employment ads now, you can target a radius. And that’s it.

That's amazing. I say that because I haven't dug into Facebook ads. So for about two years, I haven't been on the platform myself. But I did some pretty neat things with Facebook when I was doing it, they crushed the market. But anyway, I won't talk about that. But yeah, you can do some really neat things, when you know who your customers are. And you know who they are. Is there one big takeaway you want listeners to get from this episode?

I think the marketing 101. The basics are you’ve got to know who your target audience is. And everything else and make sure it takes away their pain and solves their problem. And is a language that they speak. Because that’s the most important thing. Everyone in this world is tuned into WIIFM, what’s in it for me? So the more that you’re writing to that buyer persona, you’re writing that blog post, you’re making that video for this person, you’re creating this ad copy for that person. The better your response rate and engagement are going to be. If you’re just like, I’m just writing this for a business that needs uniforms. If you’re not talking to anybody, nobody’s going to read it or find it valuable either.

Absolutely not. That's fascinating. And it's just so fundamental. And I hope that people listening to this start to put more thought into... I think it's one reason why there's bad marketing, because, as you said, car dealerships are bad. Because it's bad marketing, because they don't know who their customers are, and they don't necessarily get the right message that speaks to their persona for the target audience. And listening to this, people would think, hey, maybe I should develop those personas. And maybe I should talk to my clients about developing personas.

I’m thinking about personas too like, even for those age demographics where are they going to find this information? And how are we going to engage with them? So, I talked a lot about the homeowners and the home services, but think about, there are younger homeowners, what’s most important to them? Because I talk a lot about millennials and this other generation, well, their remote work, the flexibility, they like to travel, they want to do business with companies who are doing good things for the environment and their community. So that becomes part of your marketing content to attract that person versus someone who might skew a little older. What they value as far as what you provide could be a little different. So you just need to adjust the message for who you’re talking to.

That makes so much sense. Absolutely. Hey, Rebecca, where can our listeners connect with you online?

Our website is red66marketing.com. We are @Red66.marketing on Instagram. You can find us on Twitter and LinkedIn as well.

And if they want to find you on LinkedIn they would just search for Rebecca Dutcher?

Rebecca Dutcher. Yes

Are you on Twitter as well?

I am. Not very active lately, but I am there.

Fair enough. I want to thank you for being on the show. It's been a pleasure having you here.

Thank you.

Have a great day.

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