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Patty Panicker. Fred Fixer-Upper. Sam Suburbia. Eleanor Estimate. Who are these people? They’re VIPPs (Very Important Pretend People). They are customer personas, based on real data, who help you target your marketing message.
How and Why to Use Customer Personas
Creating customer personas can be a great way to focus your marketing message. You can use personas to define the way you describe your products and services via the web. You may like to think that your target market is “everybody,” but that approach lends itself to watered-down messaging that doesn’t address your true customer’s needs and wants.
How do you come up with accurate personas? Use what you know about your customers.
Say you own a replacement window business. Because you’re a smart business owner, you’ve been tracking your leads and other data, plus you have historical knowledge of the kinds of customers you typically serve. You may have them narrowed down to a few types, like these:
- New homeowners – People who have moved into an older home and are upgrading the windows. They usually want mid-range, energy-efficient windows.
- Long-term residents of older homes – These folks have lived in their home for at least 10+ years. It has come time to replace the failing windows of their aging home. They are looking to save money.
- DIY remodelers – These product-savvy homeowners are redoing a kitchen or adding a new bedroom or family room. They are buying windows to install in this project.
You definitely can use these general categories to develop marketing messages. But when you are strapped for content ideas (such as blog post topics) you may find it useful to take them a step further and turn them into personas—then create content geared specifically to them. Here are a few examples based on the information above.
- Sam Suburbia – Sam is 32 and works as a customer service rep at a local pharmaceutical firm. He and his spouse moved into an older home about 18 months ago. They have a 4-yr old boy and a new baby on the way. Replacing their windows is the next item on their list of things they want to do to update their home. Sam has done some research on replacement windows, but he’s relying on you for your expertise—while hoping that you won’t overcharge him.
For Sam, you write a blog post about how energy-efficient windows can save homeowners money in the long run, using several colorful infographics. Perhaps you use that as a tie-in to a limited-time sale or special offer. You emphasize comfort and safety because his children’s well-being is very important to him.
- Eleanor Estimate – Eleanor is 63 and retired. She and her husband have lived in their home for more than 30 years. Their 28-yr old daughter has recently moved back home with them after a layoff. Eleanor has realized that most of the windows in her house are no longer performing well—they are letting in cold air and many have cracked weather-stripping and other worn elements. Although she is watching her budget, she is also looking for excellent customer service. She is getting several estimates, and you are one of many companies she has called.
For Eleanor, you write a page that emphasizes your reputation, competitive pricing, and what sets you apart from your competitors. You focus on customer service and the benefits of replacing subpar windows in an older home, along with money savings. You want Eleanor to know she can trust you and the installers that you will send to her home.
- Fred Fixer-Upper – Fred is 40 and works as a freelance programmer. Fred and his live-in girlfriend, a graphic designer, are renovating their home all by themselves. They have two dogs and are active mountain bikers. Fred prides himself on his self-taught know-how, and enjoys talking about the projects he’s working on. He is on the fence about buying windows from you—he has been researching energy-efficient products online and wants the most innovative model he can afford.
For Fred, you develop a page that’s all about your products’ technical specifications. How does the coating on your windows’ glass perform? What is the energy-efficiency rating of your windows and how do they achieve this? The content should emphasize design, advancements, and all the ways your windows surpass their competitors. You may also want to refer to the fact that you’re a local company with ties to the community.
Non Grata: Creating Content Marketing Magic
Get to know your personas—develop them into strong profiles as your business grows. Give them neighbors and friends! It may sound unconventional, perhaps a little strange, but the next time you’re stuck for a blog idea, you’ll be happy that Eleanor and Fred are sitting on your shoulders, asking you questions.
If you think you’ll feel like too much of a dork talking to your VIPPs, let the copywriters at Blue Corona do it. We don’t mind being dorks, obviously.
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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