If there is one thing I’ve learned from marketing it’s that making assumptions isn’t a good idea. It’s always better to ask so that you know instead of guess and hope for the best. This concept can be applied to your own building materials prospects and customers. The information you gain from asking can be directly applied to the marketing strategy you create.
When you base your marketing strategy on real information that comes from your customers and prospects you are setting yourself up for success. The reason you want to gather this information is to create buyer personas or an ideal customer profile that you would like to attract to buy your materials.
Let’s take a closer look at what personas are, why you should define them, how to develop them, and some examples of real personas in action.
What Is A Buyer Persona?
As I mentioned above, buyer personas are an ideal customer profile that represents the type of customer your building materials company desires. They are not actual customers or people that you know. The main purpose of your buyer personas is to gain insights about real problems that your buyers have so you can create content that has the solution.
According to the Buyer Persona Institute, “When you have insights into what your buyers think about doing business with you, including verbatim quotes from people who have recently made the decision to solve a similar problem, you have the knowledge you need to align your marketing decisions—from positioning and messaging through content marketing and sales enablement–with your buyer’s expectations.”
Now that you understand what a buyer persona is, let’s explore why you need to define your building product’s personas. The goal of the next section is to help you see the true value of audience definition.
Why Do You Need To Define Your Audience?
The cause behind defining your audiences boils down to one main purpose, your return on investment (ROI). You want to make sure you are attracting and converting the right type of customer who sees your company’s value and will continue to purchase building products from you in the long haul.
If you are going to spend time and effort creating a marketing strategy with plans for content, social media, videos, etc., don’t you want to reach the people who will purchase your materials?
If you sell door frames that are made specifically for commercial buildings, you don’t want to sell to just any architect or builder. You want to sell to commercial architects and commercial builders. This is where persona building makes things easier. You would have a very specific target in mind when creating your persona and use it as a guide for everything that comes after from marketing and sales to customer service.
How To Define And Develop Your Personas
Developing a buyer persona can take some time but it is well worth it in the end. Choosing to define your audience by looking at demographics, behaviors, and purchasing habits will benefit your business in ways you didn’t know were possible.
There are different methods when it comes to attaining information for your personas. The first and most important step is to think about who your customers are and who you want your customers to be. Once you have a top level idea of the profile you are creating, it’s time to look at the questions you should be asking your prospects and customers.
After choosing the information you would like to gather about your building materials prospects and customers, it’s time to collect the information. There are different options available here as well, so it’s up to you to decide how much time and resources you want to invest in this process. You can use surveys, emails, phone calls, and interviews to talk to as many customers and prospects as you can.
If you are concerned that people will not want to participate, you can always use incentives to sweeten the deal and make it mutually beneficial. You could offer a discount, gift card, or account credit to your customers. The larger the sample, the more accurate your persona will be.
Once you have gathered the information you are looking for you can use persona-building tools or create your own version. It’s nice to give them a name like “Architect Andy” or “Builder Bob” and select an image to represent this audience so you can associate them with your potential customers.
Examples Of Building Materials Buyer Personas
Looking at examples before crafting your own persona can be very helpful because it will give you a sense of direction. Digi Bizness has some great examples of what your buyer persona profile could look like once it’s been completed. See one below:
Another good example comes from Buffer Social, a company that offers social media marketing advice. Take a look below:
Although these examples have the same visual appearance this is not the only layout. If you look at the complete profiles of each you will see how these two personas differ.
Think about how you would target and deliver your message to each. If someone prefers a phone call vs. an email that can play a critical role in their receipt of your marketing message. Also, consider the publications that the target reads. If you can get an article with your building material’s brand in a trade magazine your persona reads on a regular basis they have a better chance of encountering your company.
As you review the examples above, look at the amount of detail provided and begin to think about how you would fill in that information when looking at your own customers.
The persona building process is not finite. Once you have set up your personas, they should be evaluated and adjusted as things change or on a quarterly basis. As your building materials business grows and your personas’ (i.e. architects and builders) needs change, your messaging should evolve as well.