You’re the target audience…

Push marketing is the annoying guy propped up at the bar bragging about his big arms (ugh!). Inbound marketing is the gentler guy who already knows he has value and substance. There’s no need for him to shout louder because he’s confident (in a real way) that he can make you feel amazing…

So he asks questions in an attempt to get to know you and understand what drives you, what makes you happy, what makes you sad and what makes you downright furious.

Here’s the thing: Push marketing guy is all about him. Inbound marketing guy is all about you. Which marketer do you wish to be? The one who puts his/her target audience first and gets listened to and respected or the one who puts him/herself first and gets a drink thrown in his/her face?

Below, I’ll reveal a step by step guide that helps you create unique, educational and emotion-led content that makes your customers feel good about themselves and ensures they are confident in their purchasing decisions. Learn how to make your prospects feel loved, understood and deeply satisfied through the words and feelings you create…

Phase 1: Craft True to Life Personas (& Learn to Listen Better)

Inbound Marketing Personas

Think of crafting your personas as the ‘getting to know you’ phase.

The push marketer makes assumptions about you based on the needs he wants satisfied.

The inbound marketer gathers insightful information from you so that he can focus on the needs you want satisfied.

Yes, the inbound marketer wants to know where you’re from, what age you are and how big your family is. But his desires go deeper because he cares about what motivates you, what you want to achieve in your life and what you’re scared of. And so he asks insightful questions about your feelings, your motivations and aspirations. And you like that approach better. Your audience will too.

Use Personas to Create Better, Emotionally Intelligent Content:

  • Follow the guide below to learn how to create insightful and feeling-based personas based on real information and insightful assumptions about your target audience.
  • Consult your personas at every single point of your marketing process – whether you’re crafting content, an email campaign or conducting longtail keyword research.

How to Create Fictional (But-Real-to-Life) Personas Worth Referencing:

HubSpot Persona Tool

Step 1: Use HubSpot’s (Free) ‘Make My Persona Tool’: HubSpot’s Make My Persona Tool’ will help you create insightful personas and enable you to get to the heart of your audience’s needs, desires and problems. It contains a series of insightful questions for you to complete in order to gain a deeper insight into your audience’s psyche, drive and motivations. Choose a name and a picture, complete the questions asked and submit your persona for completion – once you do, you will get emailed a well-designed and easy to read Word doc that will help guide the content you create.

Step 2: Interview Your Customers: Use the HubSpot ‘Make My Persona Tool’ above to guide your questions but also add in any unique additional questions you think will help you understand your customers, social media fans and prospects better. Then set about interviewing your customers in the form of surveys, focus groups and/or phone calls. If you choose to create a survey, you can use Survey Monkey or Google Forms. Whichever method you choose, ensure that you segment your audience types and create a new survey for each type. For example, your social media fans might have different needs than the customers who have already bought from you.

Step 3: Interview Your Sales Team: Your sales team talk to your customers and prospects every day. They listen to your audience’s frustrations, the concerns they have over purchasing your product/service and the big dreams they want to achieve. So interview your sales team and ask them what they know about their customers. You’re looking for pain points, problems and barriers to buying. But you’re also looking for motivations, what excites them and what they ultimately would like to achieve with your product/service.

Step 4: Analyse Your Existing Data: Try to identify popular trends in your existing content to find out what your customers already enjoy reading. To do so you can use a content analysis tool like BuzzSumo. Simply click on the Content Analysis section, enter your blog domain and click ‘Search!’ You will then receive a variety of helpful insights designed in pretty and easy to understand graphs. These will help you decide your most popular article types. For example, you’ll find out your most popular articles in terms of shares, whether long form or short form posts perform best for you and which social media channels bring in the most shares.

Phase 2: Understand Aspirations & Frustrations (& The Part You Play)

Frustrated Marketer

Ask: How does your product or service help your customer avoid a pain or achieve a gain?

Your customers have powerful aspirations and frustrations that drive their purchasing decisions. You need to understand the part your product/service plays in helping them achieve these aspirations or the part it plays in helping them to avoid or fix these frustrations. That’s why it’s so important to create true-to-life, emotion-led and insightful personas (based on the points above). You’re going to use the pain and gain information you’ve gathered from your persona research to form the beating heart of your content strategy. It’s the only way you can ensure your content is helpful, valuable and unique. I’ll show you how below…

How to Tap Into Pain Marketing to Solve Problems:

Understanding Large Pain Points:

No, I’m not encouraging you to make your customers feel pain. Quite the opposite actually. Instead, identify their pain points and how you can help them alleviate them. It’s best to start with a larger overriding pain point and then map out little pain points along the way that are related to their big frustration. For example, a large pain point (the real reason they need your service) could be that your prospect is struggling to find a job in the specific field they want.

Understanding Smaller Pain Points:

A smaller (but related) pain point could be that they don’t know how to create a CV that catches the right employer’s eye. Another small pain point to map along the way could be that they don’t know the questions to revise that will help them get the job. Your content should concentrate on helping them alleviate or fix these smaller frustrations (that all help them tackle their big frustration).

Your Mission: Create a pain map to help your prospects win small  battles and move them toward conquering their bigger battle (this should be the problem your product/service helps them alleviate).

How to Tap Into Gain Marketing to Inspire & Educate:

Gain Marketing

Understanding Large Gain Points:

Similar to the pain point lesson above, your prospects also have an overriding gain point – this could be the big dream or aspiration they want to achieve or the person they want to be (for example, strong, healthy, independent, smart, good at their job, better than their neighbours). Identify the large aspiration that your product/service helps them achieve. For example, your service could help them become the best content marketer in their niche industry or your product could help them become a healthier, happier person.

Understanding Smaller Gain Points:

Now map out the smaller gain points that will help your prospects achieve their larger gain point. For example, if we’re taking the example above and the aim of your service is to help them become the best content marketer in their niche, a smaller gain point is to create a blog post that teaches them how to distribute their content. Another gain point you can help them achieve is to create a guide that helps them learn to measure their content or manage their time more effectively. The content you create should concentrate on helping them nail these smaller aspirations (in order to help them tackle their big aspiration).

Your Mission: Create a gain map to help your prospects achieve small victories and move them toward nailing their larger mission (this should be the aspiration your product/service helps them achieve).

Pain Marketing & Gain Marketing Are Great for: How-to blog posts, email content, landing page content, whitepapers, etc. –  anything that needs to be written really.

Handy Tips for Using Pain Marketing & Gain Marketing:

  • The mission of your content strategy should be the large pain point or gain point you’ve identified.
  • Use your smaller pain and/or gain points you’ve mapped out to create your content calendar.
  • An effective method is to use pain marketing to introduce your blog post…present your reader with the problem and tell them how your post plans to solve it. You could equally start with a gain point and get them excited about how you can help them achieve their big dream.

And there you have it. If you learn nothing more, pain point and gain point marketing will help you become a better writer and content marketer.

You see, sometimes inbound marketing guy and push marketing guy can look the same. However, spend more than two minutes talking to either and you’ll know who “gets you”, who knows what he’s talking about, who cares about helping you, who’s worth investing in.

Go forth and be that better marketer…


Zara Burke

I'm a digital content marketer/writer based in Dublin and I love what I do. I've enjoyed working in a variety of content-focused fields, including digital marketing, journalism & PR. Nothing inspires me more than a good story, the chance to learn and a well-brewed cup of tea.

All articles by Zara Burke »

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