The following excerpt is from franchise expert Mark Siebert’s book The Multiplier Model. Buy it now.
The goal of any marketing effort is to attract qualified candidates at the top of your sales funnel. But before you start, it’s important to know who you are targeting, so you can determine how to target them appropriately.
The best way to do that? Develop and refine buyer personas to systematically identify your target audience—and then refine your messaging to them.
The buyer persona concept
Buyer personas are essentially “characters” or profiles of your ideal targeted audiences, which are fleshed out by assigning them a name (we’ll use “Calvin Customer” for this example).
Start by listing the persona’s expected demographics, (age, gender, ethnicity, family status, etc.) considering their work experience and job titles and identifying their values, goals and primary motivators.
Some buyer personas even include a representative photo of the target customer; it can be a stock image or a photo taken from Google Images to help you visualize who Calvin Customer is.
Buyer personas can evolve
Developing buyer personas is never a set-it-and-forget-it exercise. Profiles may initially be based on who you think your ideal customers may be—but they can and should be refined over time as you identify common characteristics of your most loyal customers.
So Calvin Customer may evolve to become a new persona: Paula Patron, for example. Paula may skew younger or older, and she may have different motivations for considering your brand or buying your products than Calvin does, but it’s important to identify and target her as well.
You can have multiple buyer personas
Along those same lines, there’s no reason to limit yourself to just one customer profile. Most concepts across most industries are likely to have products or solutions that appeal to and serve the needs of different types of customers.
In this case, Calvin and then Paula may be a solid starting point—but you can expect to add to your collection of buyer personas over time and continue to refine their individual profiles as well.
Develop your message to your buyer personas
Once you know who you are targeting, then you need to decide what to say to your target audience(s). Beyond simply telling them what your product or solution is, think about your brand story and why it matters to your buyers.
Effective messaging and positioning should communicate what is unique about your brand to a prospective customer. Developing relatable, effective messaging and content is the key to building a trusting relationship with your audience. Good messaging should make them feel like they have learned something from you and ideally encourage them to take action.
Facts are good, but emotions are better
Beyond conveying the facts about your products or solutions (such as features, pricing and other details), try to create an emotional connection so your audience feels good about buying from you. The emotional response consumers have to your product or service often plays a critical part in their buying decision.
An excellent example of emotional advertising is the campaign Dodge created to introduce its retro-deisgned Challenger in 2010. It centered on a TV commercial (introduced during the World Cup soccer match between the U.S. and England) showing George Washington leading his troops into battle against the British behind the wheel of a Challenger. Ford had successfully introduced its retro design for the Mustang several years earlier, and Dodge knew consumers would respond well to patriotic messaging combined with America’s love for classic cars. While there were likely other contributing factors, vehicle sales increased by 42 percent in 2010!
Related: Why Marketing Your Franchise Matters
Messaging can also evolve
Messagubg is also not a static element—and while core messaging about your brand, company and products should be consistent overall, you also need to be prepared to tweak wording based on the marketing tactic or delivery vehicle being used. How you convey features and benefits to buyers will naturally vary based on whether they’re being presented in a website or brochure, or if they’re being communicated in an email blast with a specific LTO (limited-time offer) or a tweet.
Knowing your customer + targeting your customer = success
If you’re looking to develop a system for generating sales leads in the most cost-effective manner, then you must understand exactly who your customers are.
Knowing the age, sex, political leanings and other demographic information of your customers is essential to understanding how you can and should communicate with them.
But remember: Knowing your audience is half the battle. Knowing how to speak to them appropriately based on where they will be most likely to read and learn about you is just as critical. Master that—and you are on your way to franchising success.
Get started with The Multiplier Model
Going from small business to successful startup to scalable growth takes more than just good luck. It takes a system. Over the last 34 years, franchising consultant and growth expert Mark Siebert has been sought out by more than 70,000 executives looking to expand their companies. Out of those 70,000, only 5,000 had the right systems in place to go from successful to scalable. In The Multiplier Model, Siebert discusses the factors that determine if an entrepreneur is ready to scale their venture — and the best ways to get started. Read more.