In this quick guide, I’ll outline a process to find content ideas to fulfil your customers’ needs, and optimise your website conversions.

While the focus of this process is SEO and content marketing, it can be applied to other marketing activities too.

When I heard April Dunford talk about positioning at Learn Inbound 2019, I was impressed. Her book “Obviously Awesome!” is essential for anyone selling a product or service.

Whilst the process April Dunford outlines is about (re)positioning businesses or products, my take on it enables you to focus your website content and marketing funnel. With this framework you will be able to analyse your business, interview customers and discover why they bought your product in the first instance.

This process will highlight areas of focus to attract organic traffic, increase your conversion rate, and transform curious users in customers.

Step 1. Identify your best customers

Identify the customers you like (who value & support your business) and why you like them. 

You know what kind of customers you want. They are easy to deal with, bring additional business, value your time, have the best LTVand so on. Wouldn’t be great if you could work with more of them?

Throughout this article, I will use a fictional French language school, with a few branches across France.

Their best customers are sales people in North American and Asian companies who deal with small French small businesses.
They interact with clients by phone and in person when they spend a few weeks in France every year.
They buy the most expensive courses 6+ months long and prefer the accommodations the school provides them, from which they get a referral fee.

Get clear on exactly who your ideal customers are. Investing time and effort in the persona research stage will pay dividends later.

Step 2. Find your alternative

Examine the perception your customers have of you, based on what and who they would consider an alternative to your product or service. You need to understand what problem they have that your solution solves.

  • Ask your customers what they would use or do if your business did not exist
  • List what customers see as an alternative to you and make them elaborate why
  • Note their language. Gather and rank the answers by how common are

They might mention a competing product, an alternative business, or a product that you do not consider a competitor. However, if your customers do note this valuable information. French language school example: For the example listed in the prior section that I will use throughout this article, the French school interviewed the students they found in Step 1, and these are the top alternatives:

– Other French languages schools in France
– Online French language teachers
– Schools of French language in home countries
– Language learning apps
– Interpreters and translators

Other schools in France are the most popular example of a competitor. Students want to achieve an advanced level of the French language so that they can have regular conversations with their clients.

But our French language school offers so much more. Other solutions would not allow them to understand different accents or cultural aspects of their clients (online teachers and French schools in their own countries), have real-life feedback about their progress (language apps) and interact with their clients (interpreters and translators).

Step 3. Find your unique features

Compare the features and capabilities you have that competitors don’t, to discover why your favourite customers pay for you. Include what your product does,  your customers’ feedback, your business model, special skills your team has, and so on. What makes you different to your competitors are your unique features:

Do not mix up features with benefits which are the ultimate results they can achieve with your solution.

Alternative #1 Alternative #2 Alternative #3
Unique feature #1
Unique feature #2
Unique feature #3

Table 1: Alternative solutions and your unique features

French school example:
The goal of the students is to quickly learn to speak French with small business owners. Therefore, students also need to understand different accents and cultural aspects. Table 2 shows the top 3 most popular alternatives that have been mentioned during the interviews: Other schools in France, online teachers, language schools in their home country.

Other schools in France Online French language teachers Schools in home countries
Unique feature #1 Location: branches in rural areas Accent: teachers from different areas Real life: students live and interact with local habits
Unique feature #2 Accommodation: Private houses with locals Lessons: recording of the lessons are provided Classes: Longer and intensive classes
Unique feature #3 Visa: complete support with visa bureaucracy
Unique feature #4 Program length: 6-12 months course

Table 2: Alternative ways to learn French and our school’s unique features

Step 4. Identify ultimate goals and tasks you help them with

The next step entails matching your unique features to your customer’s ultimate goal, and the task that your feature helps them solve.

In Table 3 analyse the list of your best customers and investigate what they want to achieve using your solution.

Fill the table with:

– Unique features: what your product does  that competitors do not
– Ultimate goal: the outcomes or results that users want to experience by using your offer
– Task: how these features support your customers’ ultimate goal, the specific importance to them

Unique Features Ultimate goal Tasks
1 2 3

Table 3: Matching of features, goals and tasks

French school example:
The school can now identify how their unique features are important to their students, see Table 4.

Unique Features Ultimate goal Tasks
Support with visa Spend a longer period in France learning language and culture No need to deal with bureaucracy when they are not confident with the language
Branches in rural areas Practicing French in real life situations Do not need to spend time looking for native speakers in their home country
Intensive 6-12 months courses Learning language and cultural aspects French language they will learn is based on real life experience
Interact with cultural aspects Students as salespeople can close higher value contracts Interact and learn more about their clients

Table 4: Matching to find your best audience – French school

Step 5. Identify your best-fit customers

Identify your best-fit customers, who are interested in the outcomes your unique features deliver, so you can optimise your SEO and content marketing activities.

In Table 4, identify the target personas for each feature.

Unique Features Ultimate goal Tasks Best fit customers

Table 4: Matching to find your best audience

French school example:

Unique Features Ultimate goal Tasks Best fit customers
Support with visa Spend a longer period in France learning language and culture No need to deal with bureaucracy Students not confident with French language
Branches in rural areas Practicing French in real life situations Do not need to spend time looking for native speakers in their home country Students that want to be immersed in a French speaking environment
Intensive 6-12 months courses Learning language and cultural aspects French they will learn is based on real life experience People that don’t want to spend years learning the language
Interact with cultural aspects Students as salespeople can close higher value contracts Interact and learn more about their clients Salespeople that want to converse with locals on a more profound level

Step 6. Find your customers pain points

In this step, go deeper and identify the specific pain points that bring customers to buy your products.

A pain point is a problem that your business helps customers solve when they try to achieve their goals.

Look for questions that potential customers may ask online. Social networks, communities, niche websites, and competitors are all sources of information.

To dig deeper you can use the following tools and platforms:

– Keyword research with tools such as SEMrush, Ahrefs or Moz
– Quora, Reddit, Stackoverflow, YouTube
– AnswerThePublic.com and AlsoAsked.com
– Forums and Facebook groups related to the topic
– Competitor’ reviews
– Amazon questions and reviews
– Twitter advanced search

Step 7. Merge and use all elements

All the above information aids the creation of better content for your users. Below I outline how to use the collected data for alternatives, unique features goals & tasks and audience.

7.1 Alternatives

This includes competitors and alternatives your customers would replace you with.

Analyse their websites with tools such as Ahrefs or SEMrush to:
– Expand your keyword research
– Identify competing products and services
– Identify competitors’ most important pages and topics
– Audit their backlink profile
– Analyse their customers’ reviews
– Determine the language they use

When alternatives are activities rather than products or businesses, look for questions using keyword research tools, AnswerThePublic.com, AlsoAsked.com, forums or social media communities.

7.2 Unique features

Uncover different ways they are defined, find related topics, utilise language customers used during your interviews. This is where your expertise comes into play.

Use unique features to:
– Optimise your landing pages for SEO and PPC
– Improve and expand your sales pages
– Find new angles opportunities
– Use newly find terms in paid search

7.3 Goals & Tasks

With your audience’s goals and tasks in mind, analyse forums, Facebook groups, Q&A websites and Reddit to expand your keyword research and find new competitors.

– Create content hubs (ultimate goals) and supporting pages (tasks)
– Create how-to type content and FAQs
– Mirror your audiences with relevant images
– Improve and create landing pages including goals or tasks
– Change your CTAs with relevant wording to improve your conversion rate
– Find new markets to target
– Use newly found keywords in PPC campaigns and search copy and CTAs
– Use them in your sales process

7.4 Audience

Create content for your ‘best-fit’ prospect customers, who are more willing to buy from you than anyone else.

Your newly found audience can help you:
– Create audience-oriented landing pages
– Change your images to mirror your customers

Use Audience:
– Expand and narrow down your niche
– Uncover new markets and business opportunities
– Expand your link building prospecting
– Use new audiences in paid social campaigns

Conclusion

The process outlined in this article enables you to analyse your business data and knowledge, to create content for your current best customers to attract in more of them.

Share your thoughts with me on Twitter (@betakrea) or your ideas on how to find the best customers for your business.

 

Francesco Baldini

Francesco Baldini is a Freelance Lead generation and SEO Consultant for clients in Ireland, UK, Europe and North America. He helps brands increase conversion rates and close more sales. Francesco has worked in Digital Marketing for over 10 years in client and agency side environments. He is originally from Italy but is now based in the UK.

All articles by Francesco Baldini »

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