Ideal customer profiles (ICPs) are a valuable tool for all types of marketing, but they’re especially beneficial for building out a content library. Customizing content to your ICPs generates affinity for your brand, as prospects get the sense that you’re perfectly aligned with them. Let’s take a look at how you can use ICPs in content development and how a good content partner can help accelerate your production schedule while producing on-point content that attracts the right prospects.
ICPs vs. Personas
It can seem as though the ICP terminology simply took over when the buyer persona fell out of favor in the B2B world (another topic altogether). But there’s actually an important difference between the two. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of a specific buyer, such as a CTO of a healthcare company who lives in the Pacific Northwest and is heading up a new data analytics initiative with specific goals and aspirations to meet. This persona likely interacts with other personas as part of a buying team.
An ICP is focused on an account rather than an individual in the buying team. It’s a representation of a company with a specific set of qualities that make it an ideal fit for your solutions and thus likely to buy. When creating ICPs, you might consider company size, revenue, typical budget for a solution like yours, industry, geographic location, and catalyst for seeking a solution, among other things.
ICPs are most commonly used by teams using account based marketing, but they’re useful for any SaaS marketing team. ICPs can help you more clearly define the problems you’re solving for, identify product/market fit, and provide a roadmap for product development.
Why Customize Content to Your ICPs
So why create content targeted to each of your ICPs? The short answer is that your prospects will feel as if you’re speaking their language and directly addressing their issues and concerns, and that your solution is specifically designed for them.
Creating content targeted to your ICPs is also a great starting point if you’ve been creating general content up to this point. It’s a much more achievable undertaking than trying to create content for each buyer persona within each ICP — which is valuable, but requires a lot of time.
How to Customize Content to Your ICPs
I’ve seen customization done successfully in different ways. Some SaaS marketing teams customize super precisely and have mini libraries for each ICP within their resource center, while others focus mostly on the differences in the primary pain points for each ICP. There’s no one right way to customize content, but here are a few ideas to consider.
- Jargon and tone — Each ICP will have its own jargon and tone associated with it. While you, of course, have to maintain your brand’s voice, you can also use the terminology your ICP uses and match their tone. This mirroring will help prospects within the ICP feel that you “get” them.
- Problem-solution strategy — Each of your ICPs will have a primary pain point (or set of pain points) that your solution solves in an ideal way. These pain points will likely vary among ICPs. For example, if you have a data pipeline solution, your customers in the healthcare industry have different ways of describing their challenges and the solution they’re seeking than your customers in the media industry.
- Topics of interest — Based on their pain points, goals, and aspirations, your ICPs will each have specific topics of interest. Creating content within a framework of ICP interests will help ensure that you’re covering everything your ICPs are looking for related to your solutions. Of course, interests will overlap, and in these cases you can create different versions of topic-based content for each ICP.
- Types of content — It’s possible that different ICPs will have different preferences when it comes to types of content. For example, some may prefer audio content, while others prefer text-based content, and some may want a deep-dive while others just want an overview. You can repurpose content in different formats with each ICP in mind.
- Keyword strategy — Your SEO keyword strategy for blog content will flow from the jargon your ICP uses and how they describe their pain points. Your ICP research will inform your keyword strategy for each piece of SEO content, allowing you to attract the type of traffic you want to attract.
Again, you don’t have to create multiple versions of each piece of content you produce for each ICP. Customize according to what makes the most sense based on your solution and your ICPs — this may be a simple tweak to jargon and references to an industry, or it may be building out full topic tracks for each ICP, or anything in between.
A Good Content Partner Targets to Your ICPs
A content partner can help accelerate your content production, but a good content partner will be able to digest your ICP research and write specifically to your ICPs without hand-holding. A good content partner will also be able to make smart suggestions on how you can repurpose content for additional ICPs and provide input on keyword strategy to more effectively attract prospects within a particular ICP.
A content partner that understands ICPs can take more work off your plate. Armed with your brand/product messaging and ICP research, they’ll be able to effectively create on-point content with minimal guidance — no need for highly-detailed content briefs or time-consuming revision processes.
This post is part of the Content Partner series, where I share how marketing teams are working with me and other content strategists and creators to increase their performance. I offer a behind-the-scenes look at what my clients are doing and what I see other successful SaaS marketers doing.
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