Your marketing company can use a customer persona of your ideal client to craft each aspect of your marketing plan, and even market to various segments within your demographics; however, developing your client persona (or personae) is best done by a member of your sales team.
Maybe rather than taking a walk in your ideal client’s shoes, you should walk beside them for a mile or two. After all, you’ll learn more from taking a long stroll with someone than by stealing their shoes, which likely don’t fit.
Go on a Fact-Finding Mission: Gather Data for Your Customer Persona
The best walking partner is a good listener. We suggest using a checklist at sales appointments to capture pertinent data about your client base; we have created research tools like this for clients while revamping their sales process and materials. If you want to take it a step further, you can have your sales team conduct interviews with past clients, prospects, or buyers who hired one of your competitors.
Believe it or not, if you are seeking information about their purchasing decisions, no strings attached, many people are willing to have a conversation about their experiences. People like talking about themselves. The best approach to take is complete transparency: “We see you recently had a remodeling/building project completed and we were wondering if we could ask you a few questions about your experience for our marketing purposes?” You can offer a small token of gratitude, like a gift card for coffee.
Another way to find information is to look at social media profiles or Houzz discussion forums. The nature of social media makes it a uniquely helpful source of information for client research purposes. It’s interesting to note that many people consciously curate a persona for their social media, and because this is the persona they want the rest of the world to see, it’s not such a stretch to use aspects of it for marketing purposes.
Stolen Shoes and Other Things to Avoid
Client personas have value in your marketing strategy, but here are some tactics to avoid:
- Do not steal your would-be clients’ shoes. It’s not up to you, or your marketing company, to tell your clients what they want. Listening to them and valuing their wants and needs is a part of the process you don’t want to gloss over.
- A customer persona represents an actual person. Please do not give your buyer persona a cutesy name, like Remodeling Rachel or Homebody Hilda. We love alliteration as much as the next person, but please don’t. And, yes, we may have–sort of–done this in our satirical blog “Who is Your Ideal Client Remodelers & Home Builders?” Who’s to say we weren’t just trying to prove our point?
- A persona is not a stereotype. Say it with me: a persona is not a stereotype.
- Do not get lost in convoluted narratives. Good marketing is good storytelling, and we get that, but do not miss the point of creating your buyer persona because you get lost in their story. If the persona profile is filled with creative, but irrelevant, details it may hinder you more than it helps.
- Realize that researching may be an investment of time or money, but it is a necessary part of the process.
As discussed in our blog “Relationship Marketing for Remodelers & Builders” inputting the data you have on prospects into a spreadsheet or CRM provides your entire team with relationship-building information, right at their fingertips. Getting to know your client base means compiling information on demographics, psychographics, and creating realistic, helpful personas to guide your marketing efforts.