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Applying Buyer Persona Modes to Create Customer Focused Copy

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 2/17/13 8:46 PM

If Content is Currency, It's Worth Doing Right

You have likely heard all about content marketing and how crucial it is to SEO now. If you haven't, do a quick search on "Google Penguin and Content Marketing", that should get you caught up. (or you can just take my word for it).

Ok, so now that Google is speaking and acting accordingly, the rest of the marketing world has caught up to the concept of content marketing. The next questions that come are; how to do it effectively? What should the content be? How do we write in the customer's perspective? How do we pop our heads out the bottle of our own internal processes, language and think like our customer? How do we not just develop a sense of empathy, but operate from it?

I was asked by a client to write down the guidebook in my head on how I write and optimize copy. I'm not a fortune teller, but I am a good student and scientific observer. The process I use to create buyer persona modes is based on science and research done by people much smarter than me.

And so, using the buyer persona modes we created for their sales and marketing strategy I map content according their prospect's buying stage, in a style that they prefer, in a way that can be tested and optimized. With those 'customer profiles', I use each page, headline and paragraph to answer four basic questions: (you have likely heard these).

4 Questions Your Online Copywriting Must Answer

Your prospects don't care about what you do, how special you are, or why you are the market leader. They care about their problem. Your copy should be able to tell them:

  1. What: am I getting?
  2. Why: should I care? should I do it now?
  3. Who: else is doing it? benefits from it?
  4. How: does it work? can I do it?

"If your marketing strategies must include customer profiles (and they must)- how can your online copywriting appeal to multiple personae on the same page?"

Why Your Copywriting Misses the Mark

Today, professional copywriting services need to be able to answer those questions as effectively and efficiently as possible. This is nothing new of course, but is made even more challenging by the fact that you have such little time to grab attention and keep it for them to keep reading. In addition to the known needs, copy also has to:

  1. Persuade the reader to take the next step. Do you know what they need in order to want to do that?
  2. Focus their attention. Where in the copy do they look to answer their questions?
  3. Speak their language. But how to do that without seeming bi-polar and maintaining brand and consistency?

Let's throw one more aspect into the mix. Remember that people are dynamic, we do not all fit into neat little buckets. But we do tend to be a mixture of 4 basic modes when it comes to gathering information and making decisions. Remember that creating buyer persona modes is like a screenwriter creating multi-dimensional characters. Think of each mode as a layer, not necessarily a bucket. Each layer has a touchpoint that make up the four common traits as shown below.

How to Tips for Using the Buyer Persona Mode Framework for Persuasive Copywriting

Buyer Persona Modes  diamond

The copy below is color coded to show which piece appeals to which mode (replace yellow for orange). This is just one example of how the same piece of content can appeal to multiple people, all with different modes of operation and motivations.

Our approach is timed to meet your objectives. The bottom line is that your results are guaranteed. Explore our methodology (process) to discover how thousands of clients like you have met their goals.

Notice that the modes which have a bias for speed are addressed in the first 2 sentences? What other ways do you think this segment of copy appeals to each mode?

(If your ring tone is the Star Wars theme, and you want more details on the commonalities and attributes of the 4 types of buyer persona modes then check out "Customer Profiles-Examples".)

Using the framework depicted above, here are some additional tips on how to apply the behavioral attributes of each persona mode in your copy.
Tips for the Competitive Buyer Persona Mode

Clues into the competitive mode is that they want you to get to the point quickly and make it easy for them answer some questions just as quickly. They like processes and use language that focuses on the 'what' of things. Your copy needs to answer questions like:

  • What can you do to give me a competitive advantage?
  • Why are you a better choice?
  • What are your credentials?
  • How do you make me look cutting edge?

Where and how to answer the competitive persona mode questions:

  • Focus on 'above the fold' copy for this mode.
  • Bullet points give them a process to follow.
  • Headlines and sub-headlines allow them to scan for what is important to them.
  • Give them options on what to do next either by giving a link to more information or enabling them to take action. Make sure you always have a next step prepared for them and tell them what to expect.
Tips for the Spontaneous Buyer Persona Mode

The spontaneous side to ourselves is the one that grocery stores cater to when they set up the end-cap aisle displays. Ideal for those of those that want to breeze through the store quickly and don't want to sort through a lot of choices. Your copy needs to do the same thing for them and answer questions that focus on the why of things. If you give them a reason 'why', like they are about to miss out on a sale, they will act. Time is everything to them.

  • How quickly can they solve their problem or get what they want?
  • Can you help me narrow down my choices to the best ones to save me time?
  • Will this make my life easier, more enjoyable?

Where and how to answer the spontaneous persona mode questions:

  • Focus on above the fold, preferable near an image or video to draw attention.
  • Make action oriented calls to action easy for them to find.
  • Answer their concerns first as their attention is the hardest to keep.
Tips for the Methodical Buyer Persona Mode

Dot the i's and cross the t's, the methodical mode within is uncomfortable with inaccuracy and unknowns. It's the cynic in us that wants proof, the details, the fine print. They want to know 'how' something works before they can believe that it does.

  • What are the details and how does it work?
  • What methodology do you use and what research is it based on?
  • What proof is there and can you guarantee your data?

Where and how to answer the methodical persona mode questions:

  • Below the fold is where calls to action for more information should be available.
  • Use lots of third party links (that open in a new window!) for credibilty to your claims.
  • Use additional supporting web pages that provide details in a logical way.
Tips for the Humanistic Buyer Persona Mode

When we put the needs of others before ourselves, we are tapping into the humanistic side of ourselves. When we employ our ears before our mouths, we are in a humanistic mode. People who are great hosts have a strong humanistic side. When how something makes you feel drives your decision, it is your humanistic nature coming through. For your copy for this mode, focus on the 'who' questions like:

  • How will this product or service make me feel?
  • Who else uses this? How have they felt about it?
  • What are your values? Are they like mine? Are you trustworthy?

Where and how to answer the humanistic persona mode questions:

  • Use customer testimonials, seals from the BBB or like below the fold.
  • Provide links to your About Us pages.
  • Use real pictures of employees and customers.
  • Tell them what it is like working with or buying from you.
  • Use stories and incentives for calls to action.

Understanding how behavioral modes effect your audience enables you to create compelling copy accordingly. The psychology of persuasion is based on empathy. Persona modes are the tool to bring teams together for copy, design, development, sales and marketing alignment, customer service and even hiring and recruiting.

How will you apply these tips to your copy? What mode of behavior are your prospects or customers in when trying to solve the problem that your product or service is a solution for?

Learn more about what a Smarketing strategy is and how buyer persona modes are a central part.

Topics: marketing strategy, sales and marketing alignment, copywriting, customer personas, customer profiles, buyer personas