I was at a trade show recently and the conversation turned to marketing. One fertilization contractor had recently purchased a large database of about 50,000 people from a source and was wondering how he should market to them.
My first thought: Why did you purchase that list?
Then, I talked to another irrigation contractor who was running television ads in a major metropolitan area. He was excited because he expected it to get him at least 500 new customers.
My first thought: Yes, but are these 500 customers profitable?
You know why Google was able to grow Adwords into a behemoth advertising platform? One reason is that they were able to deliver value to advertisers in the form of highly targeted ads. They aren’t showing ads for lawn care businesses to apartment dwellers who don’t have a lawn. And targeted marketing not only works better than a mass marketing approach, it’s also more cost effective.
So how do you develop a targeted service business marketing strategy? Start with a buyer persona or two. What’s a buyer persona? Essentially, it’s a detailed description of your ideal buyer. It helps you identify what makes them tick so you can more effectively sell to them.
Here are four tips for creating a buyer persona:
- Identify your ideal customers. The first thing you want to do is identify your ideal customer among your customer database. If you have work order software, this should be easy. Find out where your best customers live, what services they buy from you, and their demographic information.
How do you identify your best customer? I’d look at a mix of customers that you’re most profitable servicing and those that produce the most revenue. You could also include customers who rate you highly online, give you lots of referrals or generally sell your company for you. At HindSite, we use a variety of factors to rate our customers A, B or C customers.
- Interview or survey your ideal customers. Now that you’ve identified your ideal customers, take some time to talk with them. Find out who they are, where they shop for services, how they like to be communicated with, and what a typical day in their life looks like.
Try to find similarities among your ideal customers. If they all prefer email to a phone conversation, you’ll probably have better luck emailing them that you would calling them. Gather as much information as you can and draw as many conclusions as you can. It will help you build an accurate portrait of your perfect customer.
- Write a detailed summary of your survey results. Speaking of that accurate portrait of your customer, now’s the time to draw up that summary. Include as much detail as you can about your ideal customer – their gender, income, size of their lawn, typical day, pain points, goals and values, where they go for information, common objections to what you sell, what they expect from a service provider, etc. By being as specific as possible, you’ll know precisely what your ideal customer expects and how to please him or her.
- Go find more ideal customers. Now it’s time to go find those customers. As you can see, carpet bombing approaches – like buying a huge list of random people or advertising on TV in a large metro area – probably aren’t going to find you your ideal customer. Plus, it’s going to be harder to create a message that resonates because you’re hitting such a wide swath of people.
If you find that your ideal customer is most likely a member of a country club, it becomes a lot easier to create a targeted message and then distribute it where they’re likely to see it. Like, for example, the country club.
You can bet that few, if any, of your competitors are spending a lot of time creating targeted messaging for buyer personas. Because they help you craft a better message to your ideal customer, you’re likely to have much better results in your marketing, and save money doing so.
Want more tips on how to get more bang for your marketing dollar? Then check out our free eBook, 6 Requirements for a Website That Sells.