What the flip is a Buyer Persona? And why your Fire & Security company MUST take note!
by Jo Shaer, on March 1, 2019
Don't know what a buyer persona is? Or why your Fire & Security business should have one?
Well, you're not alone. But it is a fundamental piece of the digital marketing jigsaw.
Done correctly, your buyer persona will get you more leads from your website and digital marketing efforts. And, of course, more leads mean more site surveys and more customers. In turn that means more maintenance contracts and more upsells.
And all of that will give you more lovely revenue and a thriving, growing Fire & Security business.
Not bad... eh?
But what the flippin' 'eck is a buyer persona?
Everyone... OR Someone!
Many Fire & Security business owners, if asked, will say they want to appeal to EVERYONE! Certainly on their website.
When we ask "Who is your ideal customer?" There's usually, umming and ahhing. And lots of:
- But we don't want to forget X...
- Of course, we will do Y...
- And the occasional Z is good too!
And all because you don't want to miss out on the work.
But it is a MASSIVE problem. By trying to appeal to EVERYONE, you invariably end up pleasing NO ONE. This is very important. Because you REALLY DO NOT want to appeal to everyone.
Ask yourself, how good are enquiries from people who:
- buy only on price.
- want a quick quote for insurance.
- want a bells only alarm without maintenance.
Okay. You'll happily provide a great bells only alarm... But if all your enquiries were one-offs like this you'd get fed up pretty quickly. Point is these are not GREAT customers.
More of the best Fire & Security customers!
Buyer personas are about targeting the people you DO want to work with. Your ideal customers. It means you need to be specific rather than generic. And I do mean mega specific.
Being specific is magic. It makes everything better. Suddenly your marketing becomes much much easier. Why?
This next bit might be confusing at first but, please, bear with me...
Marketing becomes easier because you can target the pain points and behaviours of your ideal customer - the person who is most likely to want your product and service. You speak to those people with your digital marketing as if you were in a room with them. The emphasis is on helping them to keep their family secure. OR... to get the best fire protection for their warehouse...
Starting to make sense?
If your website is set up to talk to the right people, these will get in touch. Not the tyre-kickers...
This is what buyer personas can do for you. Bring more of the best customers to your website AND get more of them to convert!
So, what is a buyer persona?
Tony Zambito gives us the original definition from 2002
Buyer personas are research-based archetypal (modeled) representations of who buyers are, what they are trying to accomplish, what goals drive their behavior, how they think, how they buy, and why they make buying decisions. (Today, I now include where they buy as well as when buyers decide to buy.)
Is that clear? Kinda...
According to Hubspot, it is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.
It includes demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations and goals. And please note the important bit - market research and real data about your existing customers. That means no guessing.
When you dig in, it can be surprising what you find out...
However, as the Buyer Persona Institute reminds us, a buyer persona is not merely a description of your buyer. While profiling all your buyers will result in too many personas.
Your buyer persona is a mish-mash of your ideal customers rolled into one. But that does not mean it is just slapped together...
You have to think about and understand what causes your buyers to invest in your solutions. And what is different about buyers who don't. It's about buyer behaviour.
You have to address the pain points and also the tipping point. So, the problems that would cause someone to need your product. But also the change driver that will make them go out and actively research for a solution to that problem.
A simple example from the domestic security market. Homeowner A wants 3 quotes from a professional company because his wife doesn't trust his DIY. Price is a big factor for him. Homeowner B is scared because there have been break-ins locally. She just wants to keep her home and kids safe while her husband is working away.
Different buyer personas with different motivations. And, you will probably not want to attract Homeowner A at all. Competing on price is a race to the bottom.
Buyer Persona Template
These semi-fictional representations aren't too difficult to create - if you know the right questions to ask the right people.
Luckily, Hubspot have a buyer persona template that you can use with all the questions on it.
- Making stuff up.
- Getting sidetracked by irrelevant trivia.
- Developing too many BPs.
- Conducting scripted Q&A interviews with buyers.
The last one gave me pause to think. Isn't a scripted Q&A what Hubspot's template is? However, apparently, it is better to be unscripted but agenda driven to get the most in depth detail rather than simple generic answers.
The key to success in developing a buyer persona is asking probing questions based on your buyer’s answers. For example, if buyers tell you they chose you because your solution is easy to use, you might ask follow-up questions to understand what about the solution needed to be easy.
Keep asking "why?"...
Buyer Persona example and why it is so important
An example is perhaps the best way to appreciate the power of wielding buyer personas. And there was a great one during an episode of AMC's Better Call Saul. Stay with me here, I'll explain.
Saul's target market were elderly people in a specific chain of care homes. He knew the itinerary and their gripes. So Saul made a TV ad that pushed their buttons.
He knew they were unhappy with the pricing and the service. So he got very specific in the ad. The star was a little old lady, because most of the care home users were female. She was confused and a little worried. Just like his target customers.
Because he knew the care home itinerary he could target the ad directly to the right people. He knew that ALL his elderly target customers would be watching Murder She Wrote at 3pm on a Wednesday afternoon.
So his television ad ran during the first ad break.
But the phone didn't ring straight away... He had to wait until Jessica Fletcher had solved the crime. Then the phone rang... off the hook!
It was a piece of content with the right message placed strategically in front of its target audience. The right place, the right time and with the right people watching. That's guaranteed to get the right results.
Saul knew his buyer persona and how to use it!
But we don't have ads on the TV...
No. I bet you don't.
But in the 21st century people hang out online. A good place to find your ideal customers is LinkedIn. Or Facebook even. And there's Twitter too...
You know where your ideal customers will be. That's a great start. All you need to do is sort out your buyer persona and the rest follows.
To Do: build out your buyer persona (see links above for help). And you will know how to tell the right message to ensure the right people respond.
There is one more thing. On LinkedIn you need to connect with the right people first. So you need to build an audience on LinkedIn!
And Lollipop are here to help you do just that!
Find, Connect and Sell on LinkedIn
Once your Buyer Persona is in place you need the audience. LinkedIn is the perfect place to find your ideal customers. The next step is to download this eBook - Find, Connect and Sell on LinkedIn.