Content marketing can be a powerful way to connect with your audience, gain new customers and boost sales. However, success when it comes to content hinges on a solid understanding of your customers and their needs. It’s only then that you can create content that’s tailored to your target market to increase reads, social shares, traffic to your website and, ultimately, conversions.

Here are five key buyer needs you need to know for your content marketing efforts, using the example of a customer buying a printer to illustrate each need. Buyer needs can be varied and complex, but nearly all can be placed into one of the five following categories:

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1. Functional Needs

This need relates to some function or task that must be performed. The buyer simply needs the product to do what it’s supposed to do.

Example: “I need a printer because I need to produce hard copies of documents.”


2. Situational Needs

These needs usually result from conditions or circumstances experienced by the buyer.

Example: “I need a printer because my old one broke and there’s a major deadline at work.”


3. Social Needs

This reflects a desire for acceptance or a desire to belong to a particular group. The buyer needs an item to “fit in” or to present a certain image.

Example: “I need a state-of-the-art printer to show my colleagues that I’m savvy about technology.”


4. Knowledge Needs

These needs come from a desire for personal development or growth. In these cases, the buyer seeks to purchase information to expand their knowledge.

Example:  “I need training on how to operate my new printer.”


5. Psychological Needs

This buyer need sometimes stems from a desire to minimize risk or feel reassured. In other cases, the buyer needs the product to evoke positive feelings, such as excitement or success. The purchase is intended to make the buyer feel good.

Example: “I need a printer that comes with an extended warranty.”


Understanding Your Buyers’ Needs

A good way to start figuring out buyer needs is researching and developing your buyer personas – detailed representations of different segments of your audience. These personas can include demographic information about customers, as well as their goals, needs and pain points. You can use this detailed information to create targeted content that addresses the unique needs of goals of every potential customer.

If you want to develop a successful content marketing strategy, it’s clear that you have to know your audience. Understanding the basic buyer needs outlined in this post will help you tell the right stories about your brand and your products. When you know what your customers need and want, you can guide them through each step of their buying journey to a purchase decision.

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