Persona Development: Meet Helen Homeowner
If you were asked the question “who’s your ideal customer?”, would you be able to provide specific characteristics? I’m not talking about just a target age range or ideal zip code they should live in, but what is their name and where do they work?
It might sound silly to be this granular with who you want to target your HVAC, home performance or solar services, but creating a “persona” makes your ideal customer tangible. This allows everyone on your team, from the technicians to the office staff, to focus on the same goal of making this customer happy. Instead of guessing what your potential customers might want, a persona helps you to answer these questions yourself.
The Benefits of Creating a Marketing Persona
There are many different ways you can go about creating a marketing persona for your target customer. These fictional characters can be compiled from previous customer data, interviewing or surveying current or past customers, or from more goal oriented intuition based on what type of customer you want to target. But the benefits are the same no matter which way you go about it. In a poignant quote from interaction-design.org (a reputable authority on user experience and design):
“The more people engage with the persona and see them as ’real’, the more likely they will be to consider them during the process ... and want to serve them with the best product. These personas examine the emotions of the user, their psychology, backgrounds and make them relevant to the task in hand. The perspective emphasises how stories can engage and bring the personas to life”
The process of creating a persona is much more robust than just choosing a specific demographic. In short, developing a “fake” customer persona can keep your marketing efforts focused on a seemingly “real” person, guiding your team each step of the way towards a common goal on emotional, rational and social levels.
Let’s Meet Helen Homeowner
So, let’s go through the process of making an “engaging persona.” For fun, let’s pretend we are a solar installation company in the western contiguous United States. We know we are going to want to target a homeowner, which narrows down our age demographic a little. We know from our experience with previous customers that the age range for most of our installation jobs is between 45 and 60 years old. So, what other things could we assume about this homeowner? Here is where you can start to tell the story.
Maybe this person has a couple of kids, both in middle school. She has a college degree and works a steady 9 to 5 job. Now let’s give her a heartwarming name: Helen Homeowner!
These are details that help guide the “how” and “what” of marketing your services to them. What kind of problem would going solar solve for Helen Homeowner? And what marketing message would eventually win her over? With two busy kids, late summer is the time she may be looking to save on expenses before for paying the upcoming school year fees and supplies. Perhaps just before the end of the year she is looking for tax deductions, or maybe tax return season is the time she is most likely to have some disposable income to spend on a home upgrade.
Where should you be advertising to try and capture her as a lead? Perhaps sponsoring a local middle school sports team will get your logo more visible to her. Maybe targeting your social media and Google display ads will cater to someone like Helen Homeowner. Now that you’ve successfully developed one persona, make another to fill in the gaps of what your other customers might look like!
Provide a Common Goal for Your Team
Like we mentioned earlier, having agreed upon target personas brings benefits for your entire company in more ways than just an “ideal demographic” would. Your sales or marketing team can envision a person with pain points and a story. You can train your technicians and office staff on how to provide the best customer service, with an actual customer in mind.